Sweet Orange Soap Recipe + Soap Making Instructions
All-natural sweet orange soap recipe that makes approximately six standard-sized bars. Includes cold process soap making instructions, and a superfatting step for adding the mango butter after trace. Technical information: 17.6oz / 500g batch -- 5% superfat -- 35.7% water discount
14g10x Orange Essential Oil*3 tsp / This is a concentrated form of orange essential oil
1/2tspOrange zestfreshly grated
Prepare your workstation with your tools and equipment. Put on rubber gloves, eye protection, and an apron. Carefully pre-measure the ingredients. The solid oils into the pan, the liquid oils into a jug, the second portion of mango butter (for adding after trace) in a small saucepan or microwaveable dish, the water into a heat-proof jug, and the lye in another container. Keep the bottle of essential oil ready to measure from, and if it comes with a built-in dropper, carefully remove it. I use a butter knife to lever it out from the outer edge.
Zest a small orange with a small zesting tool or grater. Measure the amount and place it in a small bowl or ramekin.
Mix the Lye Solution
In an airy place, outdoors is best, pour the lye crystals into the distilled water and stir well. There will be a lot of heat and steam so be careful. Try not to breathe it in. Leave outside in a safe place, or in a shallow basin of water to cool. You're aiming for the final temperature of the lye solution to be bout 100-110°F / 38-43°C.
Melt the Solid Oils
Melt the solid oils in a stainless steel pan on very low heat. When melted, remove from the heat and set on a potholder. Stir the liquid oils together in the jug and pour into the pan of melted oils. Castor oil is pretty sticky and it's easier to pour when mixed with a lighter oil.
Measure the temperatures of the lye-water and the oils. You should aim to cool them both to be about 100-110°F / 38-43°C.
While the oils and lye solution are cooling, you need to melt the mango butter to a fully liquid consistency. You can do this easily by microwaving for short bursts and stirring. My preferred method is to put it into a small saucepan, then float this saucepan in another pan of hot water. It's a gentler way to melt it, but either way, make sure the mango butter is fully melted before moving to the next step.
Make Sweet Orange Soap
Now it's time to make your fragrant sweet orange soap. You begin by adding the orange zest. Adding it early in the process means it will get pulsed by the next step and that the long curls of zest get chopped into small pieces.
Next, pour the lye solution into the pan of oils. I recommend pouring the liquid through a sieve to catch any potential undissolved lye.
Dip your immersion blender into the pan and with it turned off, stir the mixture. Next, bring it to the center of the pan, and with both your hands, hold it on the bottom of the pan and blitz it for just a couple of seconds. Turn it off and stir the soap batter, using the blender as a spoon. Repeat until the mixture thickens up to 'Trace'. This is when the batter leaves a distinguishable trail on the surface. The consistency will be like thin custard.
Next, pour the melted mango butter in and stir thoroughly.
Pour in the essential oil and stir it quickly but gently.
Molding and Curing
Working quickly, pour the soap into the mold. Give it a jiggle to settle it in the cavities.
Next step, option 1: For a light-colored soap, cover the exposed soap in the mold with cling film and place the soap in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, take the soap out of the fridge and set someplace to rest for another day. Once 48 hours have passed, you can take the soap out of the molds. Doing this will ensure the base soap stays pale and makes the orange zest specks stand out.
Next step, option 2: leave the mold on a kitchen countertop to cool and harden, and depending on the room temperature, it may turn out a slightly creamier color. Leave for 48 hours before taking the soap out of the molds.
Cure it for 28 days. Curing means leaving the bars spaced out on a protected surface out of direct sunlight and in an airy place. This allows the extra water content to fully evaporate out. Here are full instructions on how to cure soap.
Once made, your soap will have a shelf-life of the closest best-by date of the specific ingredients you used.
*Other soapmaking sites recommend up to 1 oz (28 g or approx. 6 tsp) of 10x orange essential oil per pound of soapmaking oils. Though this will definitely make the soap more fragrant, it will also be more expensive. The finished soap may also not adhere to European Union cosmetic regulations.