Multipurpose Soap Bar

This recipe is great if you have never made soap before. It is the same difficulty level as my basic soap bar for beginners, the only difference is that this soap bar has been formulated to be very hard, bubbly and cleansing. It’s perfect for household cleaning.

My other recipe is better suited for skincare – it is still bubbly, but it is softer and more moisturising. Whereas, this super cleansing and fragrance-free soap can be used for everything from washing dishes, laundry to bathing. Although I’ve recommended using my beginner soap bar recipe for your skincare, this soap bar is still perfectly safe to use on your skin – drying but safe.

If you’re not confident enough, you can always enrol in my soap-making course. Alternatively, you can sign-up to be notified when I host a soap-making workshop in your area. Before we lather up, let me deal with a few FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Soap Bar Recipe: Step-by-Step

This makes just over one litre of soap, which is roughly 10 bars. That’s enough to last one person six months or more!

This recipe has been formulated to be used for household cleaning purposes. It is a hard & bubbly bar of soap that will leave no greasy residue on dishes, clothes etc. In other words, it is not moisturising at all. However, it is technically safe to use for skincare, but it may be drying. If you are looking for a bubbly soap bar that is a bit softer and moisturising for your skin, I recommend using my basic soap bar recipe instead.

Cost & Shelf Life

Cost price: R6.97 per 100g soap bar.
Lasted me about: 1 month using every day for dishes (one bar).
Shelf life: 2 years if stored away from direct sunlight.

*Costs accurate at the time of writing, and based on the best retail prices I’ve found.


Long curing time: One week is not necessarily a long time, but when you’ve just made your first batch of soap, you will obviously be eager to try it out, so one week may seem like forever. This recipe uses the room temperature/ cold process method (CP), but if you’d like to cut the curing time substantially, then you may want to consider the hot process method (HP). This method requires you to be much more precise with temperatures, you need a crock pot/ slow cooker and the method is much longer (2 hours to the mould step), but the curing stage is much shorter. Whereas, the cold process method is quick (30 minutes to the mould step), but the curing stage is longer.

Cherry on top

  • Customisable: You can completely customize this soap recipe. You add essential oils/ scents, colouring and textures according to your preferences.
  • Cost-effective: You can make organic soap in bulk, and save the cost of purchasing it all the time.
  • Many uses: This soap bar can be used as dish washing soap, laundry soap and as part of a laundry powder recipe. You can also melt it down to make a basic liquid soap.  Alternatively, you can learn how to make liquid soap from scratch.
  • Eco-friendly: this recipe contains only what you need, and is biodegradeable.

Recommended Retail Option

I highly recommend the multi-purpose soap bar made by The Bear Necessities, if you don’t have the time or interest in making soap. I have personally reviewed and approved their formula, and I can confidently say that their multi-purpose soap bar is the best retail substitute for my recipe. It is a pure coconut oil soap bar. I also support The Bear Necessities, because they make every effort to reduce waste, and their handmade products contain safe and simple ingredients.

I‘d love to know what you use this multi-purpose soap bar for and how it works for you? Please share in the comments below.


11 thoughts on “Multipurpose Soap Bar”

    • Lemon juice is known to make soap seize, and if you add too much, the acidic nature of lemon juice will cause the soap reaction to occur backwards, because lemon juice will neutralise the lye and make it ineffective. In other words, your soap will turn back into oil. Even if it did technically work, you would still lose the beneficial properties and the natural fragrance of the lemons. Rather add dried lemon zest or lemon essential oil, but again, not too much. I recommend adding about 5ml lemon oil to every 1kg soap. Also, lemon essential oil’s fragrance has a reputation for fading. If you like the fresh fragrance, it would perhaps be better to use a fragrance oil (which is not natural), or an essential oil that has a similar fragrance profile like lemongrass or lemon verbena.

  1. I see you say you melt down this bar to make the liquid soap. But how is that done because in the recipe it calls for KOH instead of NaOH. I love your blog. Thank you

    • Hi Laura. Yes, to make a true liquid soap, you require KOH. When I suggest melting it down, that is to make a product that isn’t a true liquid soap, but functions as one. You can grate / chop soap bars and melt them over a low heat and then add an equal part (or less) of distilled water. The soap bar will dissolve, and you will be left with a diluted soap bar essentially, which works as a liquid soap for personal use for those who are not ready to tackle KOH yet. I have written more about this in another blog post: “How to make liquid soap from a soap bar”.

  2. I really appreciate your post it’s simple and understandable,I would like to ask if making soap for commercial purpose how long can one leave the soap to cure before sale when one has to meet up the demand

    • Hello Stella
      Thank you for your encouraging feedback about my posts. The minimum amount of time for a 100g soap bar is one week (for safety reasons), but the ideal amount of time in terms of soap quality (hardness and lather) is 6 weeks. Depending on the soap recipe, you can often get the hardness and lather quality sooner than that. For example, this multipurpose soap bar will be perfectly hard, bubbly and safe in 2 weeks, because it’s coconut oil based. Whereas, my beginner soap bar would need the full 6 weeks for best quality, because of the sunflower oil. And an olive oil soap would need 6 months for best quality! So it really depends on the recipe. All these soaps will be safe after 1 week, but not necessarily at an ideal quality. If you package too soon, they will be too soft and have poor lather. I hope that helps you.

        • That’s a good question, thank you for asking 🙂 . To answer, no, you cannot just substitute oils in soap recipes, because each oil has a different saponification value. If you want to use palm kernel oil instead, you must change the quantities of the recipe to the following:

        • 317g Water
        • 158g Caustic soda
        • 900g Palm oil
        • Reply
          • Hi Christina,

            What can I substitute caustic soda for? As I struggle with terrible sensitivity.. I think it must be the caustic soda in soaps causing the problems perhaps. TiA

          • Hello Morgain,

            Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for caustic soda when it comes to making soap bars. It’s impossible to make soap without the chemical reaction between oils and caustic soda. So, every soap bar out there has been made with it. However, when soap is made correctly, there is no caustic soda present in the final product. All of it reacts to form soap, salt and glycerine. Therefore, I don’t think it’s caustic soda that’s causing your reactions.

            But it’s very likely the pH of soap that is causing problems for you. Natural soap is between pH 8-10 (alkaline), and human skin is actually acidic between pH 5-5.5. This pH difference is fine with most skin types for rinse-off products. But it’s obviously not suitable for your very sensitive skin. You probably need a pH-balanced product. Soap cannot be pH balanced, because it will seize to be soap. But you can make a solid cleansing bar – it’s just like soap, except it’s pH balanced and doesn’t contain caustic soda either. Here is my recipe for my beginner-friendly solid cleansing bar. I hope that helps you. Let me know how it goes.


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