Learn how to make a DIY cold-process Super Scrub Gardener’s Soap recipe. These bars are loaded full of natural exfoliants to scrub clean even the most stubborn of messes. It’s perfect for the gardener, mechanic, or other hard-working hands.
I hate wearing gloves in the garden. I hate the heat, I hate the restriction, I hate the tan lines. And, I’ll admit it, I’m a freak and my hands are small. Too short to fit into the smallest adult gloves and too wide to fit into the largest of the children’s sizes. So when I wear gloves I have an inch or two of floppy fingertips that are always getting in the way.
So unless I’m weeding thistle (like today in the strawberry patch), I go gloveless. Which means that my hands can get pretty rough and caked with dirt. Sometimes so crusted that it takes days for the cracks to come fully clean. (Let’s not even talk about nails, ok?) Sure, I’ve had nailbrushes, but the bristles are usually too soft or it gets lost for days on end. I tried using a toothbrush but it turned out that when my littler kids misplaced theirs, instead of looking for it, they used my “nailbrush.” Yeah. Gross. These people don’t belong to me. Not sure where they came from.
This year, I figured since I know how to make my own soap and all I would try making a super scrubby Gardener’s Soap. One that would clear away my garden filth and condition my skin at the same time so they didn’t feel quite so much like sandpaper.
This recipe for Gardener’s Soap is loaded with natural exfoliants like shredded loofah, orange peel, cornmeal, black walnut hull, and poppyseed. The oils are well balanced to make a moisturized bar that won’t dry out your hands. But it is also is a nice hard bar and lasts a long time.
And though gardening season has come to a close for many of us, I’m sharing the recipe with you now because I know many of you love to give gifts with a personal, handmade touch and if you hurry, there is still enough time to cure this soap for your gardening friends and family before Christmas!
(Or I’d be happy to make it for you! Order your bars of farmstead soap in our Etsy shop!)
Super Scrub Cold-Process Gardener’s Soap Recipe
Super Scrub Cold-Process Gardener's Soap Recipe
- 16 ounces purified tallow (Learn to purify tallow here)
- 9 ounces coconut oil (Don't waste your virgin coconut oil on soap, buy refined coconut oil here)
- 7 ounces dandelion infused sunflower oil (Learn to infuse oils here)
- 12.16 ounces dandelion tea (or water)
- 4.6 ounces sodium hydroxide (Buy lye here)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons shredded loofah
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seed
- 1 Tablespoon cornmeal
- ½ Tablespoon black walnut hull powder
- 1 Tablespoon orange peel powder
- .3 ounces lemongrass essential oil
- .2 ounces sweet orange essential oil
- (Exfoliants & essentials oils can be bought here.)
- Measure out the essential oils into a cup and the loofah, poppy seed, cornmeal, black walnut hull powder, and orange peel powder into another cup. Set them aside.
- Using a digital scale, measure out the rest of the ingredients.
- Combine the coconut oil and tallow and melt them in a double boiler.
- Meanwhile, carefully stir the lye into the tea (or water) until it has fully dissolved. (Follow all safety precautions as outlined in this book. Do not add water to the lye bowl. Add the lye to the water bowl.)
- Stir the sunflower oil into the melted coconut oil and tallow.
- Once both the oil mixture and the lye mixture have cooled to a temperature where they will be about 105-110* degrees once combined*, carefully pour the oil into the lye mixture and stir it with a silicone spatula very well.
- Hold your thermometer in the mixture while you are slowly stirring so you can get a baseline of the current temperature.
- Using an immersion blender, mix the mixture until it begins to trace (you can see a picture of trace HERE.). You can verify trace with a thermometer: I continue to mix until the temperature of my soap rises 3 degrees from my baseline.
- Add in the essential oils and all of the scrubby ingredients and give it a quick, final mixing with the immersion blender until they are throughly combined.
- Pour the soap into your mold*, cover it with plastic wrap to protect it from anything getting in while it sets up, put it in a safe place, and then cover it with a blanket for about 24 hours until it is hard enough to take out of the mold.
- Allow it to cure for 1 month before using it.
- *Tallow soaps harden when the cool so it can create both the appearance of a false trace and a soap that is difficult to work with.
- *For example if the oils are 120 degrees and the lye mixture is 100 degrees, they'll be about 110 once combined.
- *Note: I use individual silicone molds like these. Due to the nature of tallow soap being hard, it doesn't always cut smoothly without breaking when using a loaf mold. If you try this recipe in a loaf mold, try cutting it as soon as it will come out of the mold.
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(If your soap happens to develop soda ash- which is perfectly normal and purely cosmetic- check out my tips for removing soda ash from homemade soap. )