Traditional Castile Soap Recipe

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Learn how to make a simple 100% olive oil, traditional Castile soap recipe that’s scented with natural essential oils.

This traditional Castile soap recipe is made using 100% olive oil and is scented with natural basil, lemongrass and rosemary essential oils.

This traditional Castile soap recipe is scented for spring with natural basil, lemongrass and rosemary essential oils. Unlike my Castile soap recipe with bee pollen powder I shared recently, this traditional Castile soap recipe is made using 100% olive oil. However, as 100% olive oil soaps tend to be a softer soap that takes months to harden, I added a small amount of sodium lactate to this traditional Castile soap recipe. I also used a steeper water discount than normal. This allows you to unmold this Castile soap after a day and cut it into bars within 24-48 hours. You can, however, omit the sodium lactate. Just keep in mind it may take a bit longer to harden up.

This traditional Castile soap recipe is made using 100% olive oil and is scented with natural basil, lemongrass and rosemary essential oils.

Traditional Castile Soap Recipe

© Rebecca D. Dillon


36 oz. pomace olive oil

4.5 oz. lye/sodium hydroxide
11 fluid oz. distilled water

.5 oz. sodium lactate (60% solution)
.35 oz. basil essential oil
.35 oz. rosemary essential oil
.35 oz. lemongrass essential oil

Soap Notes:

water as % of oils = 30.5%
6% superfat
+/- .5 oz. essential oil per pound of oils

This cold process Castile soap recipe yields 10-12 bars of soap that will weigh around 4 oz. each depending on how they are cut and fits inside my DIY wooden loaf soap mold.


You’ll need to follow my basic cold process soapmaking instructions for this traditional Castile soap recipe. You can substitute virgin olive oil for the pomace olive, however keep in mind it’s likely to take longer to reach trace.

(If you’ve never made cold process soap before here’s another good, inexpensive beginner’s cold process soap recipe.) Be sure to take all proper safety precautions when working with lye including goggles and gloves.

Begin by measuring out the distilled water in fluid ounces. Pour into a heat safe pitcher. Next, using a digital scale weigh out the lye. Slowly pour the lye into the water in a well ventilated area and stir until all the lye has dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Now weigh out the olive oil using a digital scale and combine in a stainless steel pot. Heat to about 90°-95°F then remove from heat. Prepare you essential oils by weighing them out into a glass Pyrex measuring cup and set aside.

When the lye-water has cooled to around 90°-95°F – you want the olive oil and lye-water to be about the same temperature – you’re ready to make soap.

Weigh out the sodium lactate and stir into the cooled lye-water. Now slowly pour the lye-water into the olive oil. Mix with a stick blender until you reach a light trace. Add the essential oils and combine with the stick blender until you reach a full trace.

Pour the soap into your prepared mold.

Level the top of the poured soap with needed. Leave uncovered so the soap doesn’t overheat. Set aside for 24 hours.

After 24 hours your can unmold your Castile soap loaf. If it’s hard enough, cut it into bars when you unmold it. If it’s still a bit soft, wait an additional day then cut into bars. Allow bars to cure anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months before use. The longer the cure the better the bar. Typically soaps created using a traditional Castile soap recipe are cured for 4 to 6 months for best results.

This traditional Castile soap recipe is made using 100% olive oil and is scented with natural basil, lemongrass and rosemary essential oils.

Once your Castile soaps have cured, wrap and label as desired. I added butterfly stickers to mine and simply printed them onto blank sticker paper.

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Silicone Soapmaking Molds – Giving DIY Shape and Form

I may receive compensation from links on this site. See my disclosure policy.

With spring around the corner and fresh starts being made, I’m a little stoked about trying a lot of new things. This includes crafting up some homemade soaps in new shapes. And of course there will be a lot of new homemade soap recipes.

I will of course share all of those new homemade soap recipes right here on Soap Deli News blog, but in the meantime I wanted to share a few of my favorite silicone soapmaking molds that have me rather inspired.

Whether you are sticking to making melt and pour soap with your favorite glycerin soap base or giving cold process soaps a whirl, these nifty silicone soap molds are perfect for your spring and summer bath and beauty projects.

Silicone Soapmaking Molds - Fabulous and Fun Soap Molds for Spring and Summer - Perfect for crafting DIY Homemade Wedding Favors and Mother's Day Gifts

Silicone Soapmaking Molds for Homemade Soaps

1. Clear Silicone Soap Pop Mold (How to make them.) / 2. Rose Decoration Heart Silicone Soap Mold (Perfect for homemade wedding favors and Mother’s Day gifts.) / 3. Dragonfly Silicone Soap Mold (Reminiscent of spring and summer memories.) / 4. Kotobukiya Star Wars Darth Vader Silicone Tray Soap Mold (After all, Mark Hamill is in talks to to reprise his role as Jedi knight in proposed new trilogy of Star Wars films.) / 5. Silicone Butterfly Mold (I can’t wait to see these dancing around gardens again.)

Now that we’ve got the molds covered, it’s time to start thinking about scents! Be sure to check out this Fruit Fragrance Oil Sampler Kit or a line of certified organic essential oils.