Gardener’s Hand Soap Recipe

Gardener's Hand Soap Recipe
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Gentle hand soap with shea butter and poppy seeds

Many handmade soap recipes focus on creating luxurious bars for the whole body but really what part of you do you wash the most? Hands! Especially if you’re a dedicated kitchen gardener. The trouble is, most bar soaps leave your hands feeling tight and uncomfortable after you wash so many of us opt for liquid soaps. That’s alright but making your own bars of all-natural gardener’s hand soap is better.

Bar soap lasts longer, is completely natural, and is very effective at cleaning dirty hands and nails without stripping your skin of moisture. Plus, you can use a bar of it  to make your own liquid hand soap if you’d like.

Gardener's Hand Soap Recipe

Natural Soapmaking for Beginners Series

1. Ingredients
2. Equipment & Safety
3. Basic Recipes and Formulating Your Own
4. The Soap Making Process: Make, Mould, and Cure

The batch is for one pound (454g) and is enough to fill one plastic take-away box, giving you five stubby bars, or a paper milk/juice carton, which will give you four decent sized square bars. I prefer the latter since the shape is both rustic and pleasing, making them ideal to use at home or to give as gifts. Use the instructions in the above links to make the recipe.

Recycled Mould Ideas

You can use practically any paper or plastic container as a soap mould though and I’ve seen others use margarine containers, yogurt dishes (for round soaps), and even cardboard boxes for larger batches. In fact, I know of a professional soaper who uses USPS boxes to make her soaps.

The positive thing about using recycled containers as moulds is that you spend less money on your handmade soap, you give a container that might have otherwise ended up in the landfill a second chance at usefulness, and lastly, you don’t have to worry about not destroying it getting your soap out.

Gardener's Hand Soap Recipe
Gardener's Hand Soap Recipe

Lavender & Rosemary Scrubby Hand Soap Recipe

1 lb batch (454g) and enough for 4-5 bars
Amounts of most of the ingredients are in weight – you’ll need a Kitchen Food Scale to make cold-process soap

4oz / 115g cold Water
2.1oz / 62g Sodium hydroxide (Lye)
7.9oz / 225g Olive oil (either virgin or Pomace is fine)
3.9oz / 112g Coconut oil
3.2oz / 90g Sunflower Seed Oil

Superfatting oils
0.77oz / 22g Cocoa Butter
0.18oz / 5g Shea butter

Natural Colour
1/8tsp Ultramarine violet mineral pigment powder (optional)

Fragrance
1 tsp / 6ml Rosemary Essential Oil
2 tsp / 10-12ml Lavender Essential Oil

Antioxidant
10 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract

Botanicals – Scrubby bits
1-1/2 tsp Poppy Seeds

Follow the soapmaking instructions in this post and don’t forget to also check out what equipment you’ll need to make soap. The temperature I mix oils and lye-water together for this recipe is 120 degrees F and once you’ve poured your soap into the moulds make sure to insulate them really well with towels or blankets for at least twenty-four hours. Also, cover the tops of your soap with plastic wrap if you think they might come into contact with fabric during the time they’re insulated.

After a day has passed, take the blocks of soap out of their moulds, slice them up with a knife, and leave them in an airy place away from direct light for four to six weeks to cure. You need to wait this length of time mainly for the excess water in the soap to evaporate out. It’s also to ensure that all the lye reacts with oil, turning into soap, so using the bars before they’re ready isn’t a good idea.

Gardener's Hand Soap Recipe

Curing your Soap

It’s hard waiting for the soap to cure, but try to forget about it and mark the ready-by date on your calendar. Use it to your heart’s content after this point and make sure to make enough to give to friends. I can guarantee that in the month between you pouring the soap and the time it’s ready that you’ll have a waiting list of friends and family wanting to try your handmade creation!

For those interested in this recipe but not able to make your own batch for a bit, I offer a Kitchen & Garden hand soap through my online shop. It’s similar to this recipe but uses pumice stone for the scrubby bits and combines Rosemary essential oil with citrusy Citronella. It’s very popular and helps remove dirt, grime, and strong scents such as onions and garlic. It’s also highly moisturising and strong enough to cleanse and condition the grubbiest of hands.

Gardener's Hand Soap Recipe

9 Discussion to this post

  1. Anonymous says:

    Rodemary and Lavendar I adore those two and I buy soaps of this kind when I got a little bit of money they are not cheap in Washington state, I ususally find mine in Seattle where the taxes take a big bite out of any purchase but they are worth it as in my tiny town they are not to be found..I use them after I garden and anytime I need to mini scrub my hands without taking the skin off and they smell so good! thanks for the recipe I will try to make them and give them to very special friends only. happy Passover and happy easter! ciao!

  2. acmoyer says:

    I have long wanted to learn soapmaking, but it seemed a little daunting. Your recipe and instructions make it sound doable. This particular soap looks gorgeous and I love scrubby soaps. Can't wait to try it! Beautiful photos, too.

  3. Tanya Walton says:

    Hi Tanya…I would really like to give this a try….is it possible to get small amounts of the ingredients needed so I only have enough to make this batch of soap?? Or maybe you sell them as a sort of 'have a go starter kit' on your site for people who would like to give it a go??

  4. Anne-Marie says:

    Your lavender and Rosemary hand soap turned out beautiful. Lavender is such a lovely scent =)

  5. Brittany says:

    Hi Tanya! I really would like to try this! I’m a little intimidated about using lye, can I use a “melt & pour” lieu of the lye? If so, would I still be able to add Shea & coconut oil, as well as the lavender essential oils? I have dried thyme & lavender that I grow, can I use that in the soap as an added botanical/ exfoliant? Please help! When I get a tad braver I will make the soap using lye

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  7. Maria says:

    Hi, thanks for the recipe. I just have one question can I use Lavender butter for this recipe? or for the other Lavender soap recipe you share with us in your post “Natural Soapmaking for Beginners – Basic Recipes and Formulating Your Own”. If I can, how do you sugest to integrate this new ingredient in the recipe?

  8. Lindsey Rose says:

    Thank you so much for the lovely recipes!!

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