Making Soap without Lye?

Question: Do you have a recipe for soap that does not use lye?

Answer: This is a common question we see regularly from new soap makers and those who are just getting started. The short answer is NO. The full answer is NO. The only answer is NO, that is if you want to actually make your soap. This does not include projects where you buy a pre-made soap, melt it down, add fragrance and color, and pour it into a mold. That isn’t making soap. That is taking already made soap and making a project. This is the type of soap you’ll find at the local craft store like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. When we say you can not make soap without lye, we are talking about actually blending the ingredients to make soap from scratch.

… it’s a fallacy to think you can make soap without it (or some other caustic base substance to turn the fat molecules into soap compounds). Correctly made and cured homemade soap is milder than anything you can buy… even those fancy clear glycerin bars. Don’t let the lye thing put you off. I think some of the marketers our there who claim their soap has no lye have confused the public. They are being misleading when stating that. It just means they didn’t use lye in their portion of the manufacture… but in the beginning, it was used to saponify the fats.

Why do some bars of soap have lye on the label and others don’t?

Sometime the manufacturer will list the ingredients before saponification, while others will list the ingredients after the lye has bonded with the fats. Notice on the soap labels that word, “saponify” … or “sodium tallowate”… “sodium cocoate”, etc.? That means tallow or coconut oil that have been made into soap with the use of sodium hydroxide (lye)… that’s the sodium part.

Where are we getting our Lye now?

The short answer is Amazon. Since 2020 retail prices seem to have forever changed. There are still some ‘tried and true’ lye suppliers who have managed to keep their prices down and maintain their quality, but fighting the even increasing shipping prices can be a monster all of its own. Right now is the brand and supplier I am using. The price is bare bottom compared to anyone else. The lye is clean and fresh, and it ships free with Amazon Prime….. so this is it. Duda Energy is not an unknown name for soap crafters and in the last two years more and more soap makers and homesteaders recognize this brand.

The Best Soap Making Lye for the Lowest Price Online

Don’t be afraid of using Lye in your formula.

First Time Fears for Soap Makers


” I’ve been reading the dangers about lye, and how I should wear safety goggles and gloves. To be honest it’s scaring me into not wanting to do it. If all precautions are taken how dangerous is this actually…Are there other ways of getting around the lye while making a batch of soaps?? “


Handling dangerous chemical inside and outside your home isn’t new. In fact, you’ve probably worked with a high concentration of lye before, and you probably weren’t afraid of it. If you’ve ever used an industrial strength drain cleaner you are working with an amount of lye solution that would warn for caution. It is true that you should never cut corners with your safety practices when making soap inside your home. Lye water is nothing to get lazy about. The consequences could be fatal, but so can handling your oven or electrical outlets. Certainly we understand just how dangerous it is have electrical appliances near running water, but we arent typically afraid of the toaster. Your curling iron is extremely dangerous if a child grabs the wrong end, but we aren’t living in fear over it. Lye is the same.

One way to become comfortable and get a handle on any anxiety one may have about working with a caustic chemical is to arm yourself with all the information you need to know what you’re working with, how to prevent accidents, and how to correctly and swiftly act in the case of contact.

Click the Full Tutorial Above to Get Started

Can I substitute another ingredient for the Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) in my soap formula?

Nope. Soap is made with oil, lye, and water, and the water is only needed to dissolve and carry the lye. Every other ingredient you see in a formula is just to enhance the formula. There is nothing that can take the place of the NaOH/Lye in a solid bar of soap no matter how many random suggestions you see on facebook posts. (There is a lot of bad advise out there on soap making.)

Then why are there so many soap products on the shelves at Walmart that don’t say anything about oil or lye?

Remember, we’re talking about soap. Not everything that is sold on the store shelves that is marketed to make you think that it is soap, ……. is actually soap. Many wash on / wash off products are actually chemical detergents. There are many formulas out there that are soap-like that you make like that require a combination of cosmetic grade chemicals. None of these things are a hard bar of soap.

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