How to Make an All-Natural Elderflower Soap Recipe
Natural cold-process elderflower soap recipe and instructions featuring an elderflower infusion, rich cocoa butter, and a lavender and herb essential oil blend.
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This natural elderflower soap recipe features elderflowers, an old-fashioned home remedy for softer skin, along with lavender essential oil for a relaxing scent. Before you make this recipe, you’ll first need to make elderflower tea. To do so, place about ½ cup fresh elderflowers (or 2 tbsp dried) in a heat-proof cup or container. Cover with 9.5 oz (269 g) simmering hot water. Let steep for around 30 minutes, strain, and cool completely. Weigh out 9 oz (255 g) for the recipe, adding extra distilled water if needed to ensure the correct weight.
Elderflower Soap Recipe
This elderflower soap recipe is made with all-natural ingredients including a homemade elderflower infusion. The scent comes from a blend of essential oils that smells fresh and herbal but not of elderflowers themselves. There isn’t a natural elderflower fragrance available — only fragrance oils. Makes 7 to 8 bars (2.5 lbs/1.13 kg)
3.95 oz (112 g) Sodium hydroxide (also called lye or caustic soda)
9 oz (255 g) cooled Elderflower tea, in a heat-proof jug
8 oz (227 g) Coconut oil
3.5 oz (99 g) Refined cocoa butter
10.5 oz (298 g) Olive oil
4.5 oz (128 g) Sunflower oil
1.5 oz (43 g) Castor oil
Add at Trace
22 g Lavender essential oil
10 g Bergamot essential oil (optional)
4 g Rosemary essential oil (optional)
silicone loaf mold
digital kitchen scale
stick (immersion) blender
Notes & Substitution Ideas
- Cocoa butter helps add hardness to palm-free soap recipes like this one; if you don’t have any, try using kokum butter, tallow, or lard for a similar effect. Shea butter could also work well.
- If you wish to replace the sunflower oil, try using sweet almond or rice bran oil instead.
- If you don’t have bergamot and rosemary essential oil to create the suggested scent blend, try using 35 grams of lavender essential oil instead.
Step 1: Make the Lye Solution
Wearing protective gloves and eye-wear, carefully stir the lye (sodium hydroxide) into the cool elderflower tea until dissolved. Work in an area with good ventilation and be careful not to breathe in the fumes. Set the lye solution aside to cool for about 30 or 40 minutes or until the temperature drops to around 100 to 110°F (38 to 43°C).
Step 2: Prepare the Oils
Gently heat the coconut oil and cocoa butter on low heat until melted. When the solid oils are melted, take the pan off the heat and pour in the liquid oils. This helps cool down the melted oils while warming up the room temperature oils.
Step 3: Mixing
Pour the cooled lye solution into the warmed oils. Using a combination of hand stirring and an immersion blender (stick blender), stir the soap batter until it thickens and reaches trace.
Step 4: Add the Essential Oil
When the soap batter has thickened to the consistency of warm custard, stir in the essential oil(s) for scent.
Step 5: Pour in Mold
Pour the soap batter into your soap mold. Cover lightly with wax or freezer paper, then a towel or light blanket. Peek at the soap every so often; if it starts developing a crack, uncover and move to a cooler location.
Step 6: Cut & Cure
Keep the soap in the mold for 1 to 2 days, or until it’s easy to remove, then slice it into bars when it’s firm enough not to stick to your cutting tool. Cure on coated cooling racks or sheets of wax paper for about 4 weeks before using. The soap is safe to touch 48 hours after making it but it needs the extra time to allow the excess moisture to evaporate out. For full instructions on how to cure handmade soap head over here
More Soap Making Inspiration
Jan Berry is the author of 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home, and this recipe features in her second book Simple & Natural Soap Making.
If you enjoyed this elderflower soap recipe, check out these other elderflower ideas and there are plenty more soap making recipes to explore too.
Hi can I replace the castor oil with extra of one of the other oils? Thanks
The castor oil is an important ingredient in this recipe since it helps to sustain the lather. Here’s more on changing and customizing a soap recipe.
Can I add color in powder (purple) to this recipe?
Of course and I suspect that you mean Ultramarine Violet (a mineral pigment)? If so, you’re welcome to use the usage rate found in this recipe.
I make goat milk soap, but I want to use the elderflowers, is that possible? Can I make a tea out of the goat milk?
Just to be clear about the elderflowers in this recipe — they will not scent the soap. You could infuse them into your goat milk beforehand if you wish to use them though.
Hello. I followed the recipe, but even after three days in the mold my soap was quite soft. I managed to cut it, but it had this brie cheese texture, which felt wrong. It was getting stuck to the knife all the time. What could it be due? Thank you.
Hi Dina, I expect that you didn’t bring the soap to a full trace before pouring it into the mold. Mix it a little longer next time so that the oils and lye get enough time to interact before pouring. Good luck :)
Hey any replacement of elderflower tea? Because I didn’t get it in my areas..
kindly reply me if any replacement is available..
If you wanted to, you can skip the elderflower tea and use an equal amount of distilled water instead.
Is the amount listed for essential oils correct? It seams to be a lot.
It is correct. You need quite a lot of essential oil to make scented soap — generally, 3% of the recipe but some soapmakers use a little more.
I just wanted to say I am really enjoying your website and all the inspiring information and beautiful pictures! I am looking forward to trying the elderflower soap but will have to wait a while as we are opposite your seasons here in New Zealand!
Thanks for sharing!
How do I make the elderflower tea please ?
Hi Irene, the instructions are in the first paragraph :)
can the water be replaced with frozen goats milk in ALL your recipes? wish you had a “print” button for your website recipes.