How to Make Salt Soap Bars

  • 01 of 06

    How to Make Salt Bars

    salt soap bars
    A variety of salt soap bars. David Fisher

    If you're looking for a way to combine the cleansing, exfoliating, and detoxifying qualities of a salt bath with handmade natural soap, look no further than a "salt bar."

    Salt soap bars, or salt bars, combine the best of both natural soap and a sea salt bath. The final bar is super hard and produces a "lotion-like" creamy lather.

    Make them like any other cold processed soap with three big exceptions:

    1. Adjust the recipe so that it contains at least 70 to 80 percent coconut oil....MORE The salt counteracts the lather of the soap, so the high coconut amount is needed to make lather.
    2. Add salt at trace, even though it will seem like a lot of salt. There are three general models when it comes to the amount of salt used in salt bars:​
      1. 100 percent of the soap amount. If your recipe makes 2 pounds of soap, you add in 2 pounds of salt
      2. 100 percent of the oils in the recipe. If your recipe has 24 ounces of oil in it, add in 24 ounces of salt
      3. Some lesser amount of salt. Some soap makers who will do 50 to 70 percent of the total oils and are happy with their bars.
    3. Unmold and cut the soap as very soon as it sets up, often in as little as 2 hours after pouring.
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  • 02 of 06

    Create Your Salt Bar Soap Recipe

    mixed soap ready for the salt to be added
    David Fisher

    The first thing to do is create the recipe you're going to use for the soap. For these bars to lather at all, you need to use a lot of coconut oil. So a basic recipe like this:

    • 30 percent coconut
    • 30 percent palm
    • 35 percent olive
    • 5 percent castor

    should be modified to:

    • 75 percent coconut
    • 10 percent palm
    • 10 percent olive
    • 5 percent castor

    Some simple recipes are just 80 percent coconut and 20 percent olive. Some soap makers feel more complex combinations of oils make better lather. Feel free to use your...MORE own mix of oils. As always, when you adjust or change an ingredient in your recipe, be sure to run the new recipe through a lye calculator. Mix your lye solution, measure and melt your oils, and blend the lye and the oils just like you would in any other cold process soap batch.

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  • 03 of 06

    Add the Salt to Your Salt Soap Bar Batch

    adding the salt to the soap batch
    David Fisher

    Once the soap has reached a really light trace, and you've added your fragrance or essential oil, it's time to add the salt.

    There are a few schools of thought when it comes to how much salt to add:

    1. 100 percent of the entire soap batch amount
    2. 100 percent of the oils in the recipe
    3. Some lesser amount of salt, often 50 to 70 percent of the total oils in the recipe

    The three methods tend to yield different results. Method #1 is the hardest and saltiest but has the lowest lather. Method #3 has the...MORE least salt but is the most like normal soap. Method #2 is a good balance of salt and lathering ability. There's no special technique necessary to add the salt, just dump it into your soap pot and start stirring vigorously.

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  • 04 of 06

    Pour the Soap

    scooping the salt bar soap into the mold
    David Fisher

    Pour or scoop the soap into your mold. It will be a lot thicker than your normal batches of soap. After you've poured the soap, it also helps to tap/thump/slam the mold onto the counter to help dislodge any air that may have gotten trapped under the soap.

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  • 05 of 06

    Cut the Soap Sooner Rather Than Later

    salt soap bars
    David Fisher

    The salt soap will start to harden almost immediately! If you're using a log mold, you'll want to cut the soap as very soon as possible. Cut it as soon as it's firm enough. The soap will still be warm even as it's going through the saponification process. If you wait too long, the soap will be super hard and really hard to cut and result in crumbly bars.

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  • 06 of 06

    Using Divider Molds or Single Cavity Molds

    salt bar batch using slab divider mold
    David Fisher

    Another option for salt soap bars is divided slab molds or even single cavity molds where each mold holds one bar of soap. With the slab divider mold, be sure to line the bottom of the mold with freezer paper. The dividers will come out fairly easily, but if you don't line the bottom of the mold with freezer paper, you'll have a very hard time getting the bars separated from the bottom of the mold. With single cavity molds, you don't have to rush. Just let the bars set and cool...MORE overnight. They should pop right out of the molds quite easily.

    A few more tips:

    • Use regular, fine grain sea salt for salt bars. You do not want to use Epsom salts. The magnesium in the bars makes them gooey, sweaty messes.
    • You can use pink, Himalayan or other unique soaps as long as they don't have high "other" mineral content, like dead sea salt.
    • You can add colorants and additives to salt bars just like other soap. You don't have a lot of time to manipulate the soap and it' going to thicken quickly.
    • Some folks find that the salt seems to lessen the fragrance oil effectiveness.

    Enjoy this exotic and fun soap variety!