DIY Citrus Blend Liquid Soap

In my quest to reduce waste, I have come upon the Citrus fruits. Each fruit has there own specific alluring traits, but the Citrus fruits have drawn me in as of late. In my process to make natural cleaning products and bathing products, I have been able to utilize the entire Citrus fruit.

The peel (rind) of the fruit contains oils, which work well in nourishing wood products, but  the peel also contains Limonene that are used in cleaning products. The Limonene has been used to strip paint, remove oil from machine parts and as a botanical insecticide.

I have taken the rinds and infused them in Vinegar for 30 days. The Vinegar has a softer scent with a hint of Orange, Lemon, Lime and Grapefruit. I then take the rind and place it into a solution of Alcohol, Glycerin Tincture to extract the remaining oils. The tincture I can utilize later in Soap, Shampoo, Body Spray or Cleaning Products.

The entire fruit inside (including the seeds) is used as an ingredient to make liquid soap. The acidic fruit adds a balance to basic potash.
Liquid Citrus Soap Instructions – Video to follow soon…..

  • Safety 1st and fore most!
    • Safety Googles
    • Chemical resistant gloves (up to your elbows)
      • Local hardware store will have these items
    • Crockpot
    • Plastic Spatula’s (2)
      • Soap Solution scraping around the crockpot during the soap making process
    • Plastic Mixing Spoon (2)
      • Oils
      • Water Solution
    • Scale
    • Measuring cups
    • Measuring Spoons
    • Stainless steel Pot (2 qt)
      • Heating Oils
    • Stainless Steel Bowl (3 qt)
      • Water and Potash (Sodium Hydroxide) solution
    • Hand mixer
      • Whisk attachment
      • Blender attachment
        • These two items are ideal, but not required to make soap. The soap could be whisked and beaten by hand.
    • Time: 4 hours


  • Blended Citrus Fruit (Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Grapefruit) = 21oz
  • Olive Oil = 11oz
  • Coconut Oil = 10o
  • Castor Oil = 7oz
  • Almond Oil = 4oz
  • Potassium Hydroxide (potash) = 7.7oz
  • Raw Honey = 0.125cup
  • Salt = 3-7oz
    • Salt thickens the soap to the desired viscosity. I add 3% salt water after the cooking process. The salt water concentration may vary from 3% – 7%.
  • Deionized Water – 84oz


  • Put on Safety Equipment! – Safety gear is extremely important when handling hot oils & potassium hydroxide. These are not forgiving when they come in contact with you!
    • Safety goggles
    • Chemical resistant gloves
  • Part One = Oils
    • Measure the oils (Olive, Coconut, Castor & Almond) into the 2qt. stainless steel pot.
    • Gently heat the oils on your stove, until you have a homogenous mixture & the solid oils have melted. This takes approximately 2-3 minutes.
  • Part Two = Citrus Fruit & Potassium Hydroxide (Lye Solution)
    • In a well-ventilated room, perform the following:
    • In the 3qt stainless steel bowl add:
      • Blended Citrus Fruit
        • The blended fruit to should a fine solution that does not contain any chunks
      • Sodium Hydroxide – SLOWLY
    • Stir solution by hand with a plastic spoon, until potash has dissolved. DO NOT use a blender to stir this solution.

Always add the potassium hydroxide 2nd to the primary solution, whether that be another fruit or water. Add the potassium hydroxide SLOWLY to the fruit. The potassium hydroxide WILL react with the fruit or water, giving off heat and gas, ensure you are in a well-ventilated room when performing this piece.
DO NOT pour the Potassium Hydroxide in quickly at one time, as it will bulb over, giving off great heat, with gas and causing a dangerous caustic mess!
I cannot stress enough how important it is to take this piece slow, steady and cautious.

  • Set Crockpot for 4 hours on High (160°F)
  • Pour the Oils into the crockpot
  • SLOWLY pour the Citrus fruit & Potassium Hydroxide (Lye Solution) into the crockpot

There is a reaction that immediately occurs between the oils and the lye solution. This reaction may cause the combined solution to bulb over, if the caustic solution is poured in too quickly.
Safety 1st, TAKE YOUR TIME, pour in the lye solution SLOWLY!

  • Blend the liquids, the mixture will begin to thicken.
  • Continue stirring until it reaches “Trace”
    • “Trace” – pudding like – perhaps more like a blend of pudding and applesauce – with the characteristic “traces” and/or ridges when you dribble the soap back into the pot or stir. You can’t really stir it too much, so it’s best to make sure you’ve got a good solid trace before moving to the next step.
    • Depending on your mixture of oils, it will take a long time to get to trace. Sometimes as much as 30 minutes.
  • Cook the paste.
    • Continue cooking the mixture on high for about four hours,
  •  Check and Mix every 30 minutes

During the 1st hour the solution will begin to change and start to rise like bread. During this time, use a whisk to mix the solution aggressively. If the solution is not agitated enough it will foam over the sides of the crock pot and create a soapy mess!

  • Soap Stages:
    • In 4 hours the soap will transform and go through several “stages.” Don’t worry if you don’t see one, sometimes a stage will be brief and you’ll miss it. The “stages” I usually see are:
      • Thick applesauce  – Trace
      • Rising Bread  – 1st hour
      • Creamy mashed potatoes  – 2nd hour
      • Thick mashed potatoes  – 3rd hour
        • Add Honey at the 3rd hour
      • Chunky/creamy Vaseline –  3rd – 4th hour
      • Translucent Vaseline – 4th hour
  • Check and Mix every 30 minutes.
    • It will be difficult (near impossible) to stir through the thick mash potatoes stage, do the best you can. Then, just when you think it’s never going to finish, it will start to get creamy and move into the Vaseline stage, getting more translucent.
  • 3rd hour, Add Honey
  • Dilute the soap paste
    • In a large pan,
      • Add 84oz Deionized Water
      • Add 3-7oz Salt
      • Heat solution to a boil & salt has dissolved
    • Add solution to the paste
    • Whisk slowly until soap chunks have dissolved into solution
  • Unplug the crockpot
  • Allow to Cool for 24 hours
  • Add Fragrance and Color.
    • Quantity of fragrance added is based on desired scent strength. I add one – two tablespoons of scent to get a subtle scent (trial and error method).
    • Scent addition is also based on type of scent you are adding and its natural properties. Each scent has a profile (light, soft notes, middle notes, and heavy notes) and density, which will dictate addition required to meet desired results. I would refer to, for scent addition to your soap.
  • Store the soap.
    • Pour the soap into jars you can seal, since you’ll have a lot more than you can use at one time. Pour the soap you want to use into a soap bottle with a pump dispenser.
  • Cure Soap
    • The soap can be used immediately, however, for the best soap results allow the soap to cure for 4-6 weeks.