Looking for a natural, handmade tallow soap recipe? Look no further! This simple cold-process (lye) recipe uses basic ingredients and makes a nice hard bar of soap with the perfect creamy lather you want in a cleansing soap!
Once upon a time (last year) I was afraid to make soap.
Don’t laugh! Surely, I’m not the only one. My fear was based on whether my children would have an accident at some point in the process. Proving, yet again, how little faith I have in the listening skills I’ve imparted to them over the last decade and a half, give or take.
I finally recognized my irrationality, bit the bullet, read a cheap e-book (UPDATE: It’s now only available in paperback) that gave me enough confidence to learn, and cringing with that first push of a button on my stick blender, became a soap maker.
And I am hooked! Excited to have a new homesteading skill under my belt, I’ve had such fun playing with soap-making and experimenting with different recipes.
I knew what I wanted was to make my own tallow soap, which I had decided was the ultimate homesteader’s soap. Not only does tallow have some amazing benefits for our skin, but it also is a product I produce right here on our homestead. Converting the recipe into a milk soap using our wonderful Jersey milk would make it even better!
We already talked about all the benefits of tallow to your skin. It really is amazing, isn’t it?
But in and of itself, tallow is not very cleansing.
Using such a hard fat like tallow indeed makes it a little trickier to work with than many soap recipes. You need to purify it. When the fats begin to cool, they cool quickly and start to harden up. (This happens even faster when using milk instead of water in the recipe.) I learned that using an instant read-out thermometer to help me keep an eye on it and starting to stir the water/lye mixture in with the liquid fats before it cools all the way- like at about 110 degrees instead of 90-100 gives me a greater window of opportunity to saponify the mixture and get it into a mold.
I’m going to assume that you either already know how to make soap. All the particulars of the subject are beyond the scope of this post and when I said the ebook I recommend is cheap (UPDATE: It’s no longer available as an ebook, only in a paperback version here), I meant it. It’s less than a buck. Money well spent that you’ll easily make up in savings after you make your first batch of soap. She covers everything you need to know from basic safety all the way up to more technical subjects complete with an FAQ and a ton of recipes to try out. But the most valuable part of it is the encouragement to just try making soap whether your fear is safety related, or because you’re nervous about failing, or whatever your hold up.
If I can do it, you can do it! You can also make some alterations to it like infusing it with flowers.
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.
How To Make Tallow Soap
Homesteader’s Tallow Soap
- *Be sure to use all standard safety cautions when using lye.*
- Set up your mold. You’ll need to work quickly at the end to prevent the soap from hardening before you get it in the molds.
- Weigh and measure out your solid fats- tallow & coconut oil into a bowl and set it to melt in a double boiler.
- Measure out the sweet almond oil and set it aside.
- In your Mixing Container, measure out the water. (I use this one because it pours easily.)
- In a small bowl weigh out the lye.
- Once the fat is melted, remove it from the heat.
- Fill a roasting pan with ice water and set your Mixing Container with water in it inside.
- Slowly, sprinkle in the lye, stirring, until it’s all dissolved in the water.
- To the melted tallow & coconut oil, stir in the sweet almond oil. (Use a different utensil than you used with the lye.)
- Once the temperatures of the liquid fats and lye water are such that they will be about 105-110 degrees when mixed, combine them and stir them together. Check the temperature with the thermometer. If it’s too hot, slowly stir while you allow it to cool to the target range.
- Using an immersion blender, mix the solution until it saponifies. Either look for trace or monitor the temperature with a thermometer to see the temperature rise 2-3 degrees indicating that the reaction has taken place.
- Quickly, pour or spoon your soap into the molds. If it begins to harden up, bang the mold off the counter. (Like you would a cake pan while trying to get air bubbles from the batter before baking.)
- Cover it in plastic wrap and set it in a safe place to harden up for 24 hours before cutting. (If using a silicone mold, I pop it in the fridge for a few hours first, just to be sure I don’t misshape it while removing it.)
- Allow the soap to cure for about 3-4 weeks before using.
Suggested Read: Easy Natural Cradle Cap Treatment
Not a soapmaker? You can still get your hands on this awesome bar of soap! You can try Super Scrub Cold-Process Gardener’s Soap.
Purely White is my basic tallow soap and is available for sale in my Etsy shop. (Along with many other wonderful farmsteads herbal and milk soaps!)