First up from the herb garden – my very own homemade soap with herbs and citrus! I thought this would be a lovely homemade Mother’s Day or Teacher Appreciation gift. I picked up some plain, unscented glycerin soap and added herbs from the new garden and some citrus.
How to Make Homemade Soap with Herbs and Citrus
I love the smell and bright green color of mint! Finely dice fresh mint and add to the soap after the glycerin is melted. I also diced up some fresh rosemary and combined it with lemon zest. A great combination!
Melt and pour soap is so fun and easy – you can do just about anything with it. Glycerin soap can be a beautiful work or art because it’s clear and you can see the fun add-ins, like herbs and spices, exfoliating ingredients, and even fun surprises your kids will love.
You can also use shea butter soap base or even goats milk soap base. Both are creamy and moisturizing and also make pretty soaps with ingredients like roses, cocoa, and rosemary.
How to make soap with fresh herbs and citrus
- Glycerin soap (sold at craft stores)
- Assorted herbs & citrus – I used basil, mint, rosemary, orange and lemon
- Food processor
- Glass bowl or measuring cup
- Plastic spoon or scraper
- Soaps molds – any plastic or cardboard container will do
- Cooking spray
1. Melt soap
Put the soap blocks in a glass bowl & melt in the microwave for 30 second intervals until melted. Stir every so often to break up big chunks.
2. Prepare additives
While melting, puree the herbs and squeeze out excess water in a paper towel. For citrus, zest the peel. You’ll need about 1 tablespoon of additives for each cup. FYI – Orange + basil = an unattractive muddy green brown color.
3. Get containers ready
You can buy cute molds at the craft store, but any plastic container will work, even your Ziploc containers. Though you might want to use something you can just pitch in the recycle bin when finished rather than trying to clean.
Use old milk cartons or even yogurt cups. I’ve used an old creamer carton to make a soap ‘loaf’ that you can slice into bars. Spray with cooking spray and wipe out excess.
4. Add purees
Once glycerin is melted, let it stand & cool for a few minutes. Before it sets too much, add the additives. Keep stirring to ensure they don’t all float to the bottom. When you have the color you want (more time stirring = darker color) pour into a container.
5. Setting the soap
Let the soap sit on the counter for about an hour to completely set. If you get bubbles on the top of the soap (and it bothers you) spritz them with rubbing alcohol and they’ll go away.
Then put the soap mold in the freezer for another hour or so. Then it should pop right out. Slice the soap with knife, if needed, and give them to someone you love. Use the soap within 3 months because the mix ins will eventually start to brown.
Homemade Citrus + Herb Soap
- Food processor
- Glass bowl or measuring cup
- Plastic spoon or scraper
- Soap mold – any plastic or cardboard container will do
- 1 pound glycerin soap base sold at craft stores
- 3 tablespoons Fresh basil, mint, rosemary, orange and lemon or any other herbs you like
- Cooking spray
- Put the soap blocks in glass bowl & melt in the microwave for 30 second intervals until melted. Stir every so often to break up big chunks.
- While the soap base is melting, puree the herbs and squeeze out excess water in a paper towel. For citrus, zest the peel. You’ll need about 1 tablespoon of additives for each cup (or about 3 tablespoons for a pound of soap base).
- Once glycerin is melted, let it stand & cool for a few minutes. Before it sets too much, add the additives. Keep stirring to ensure they don’t all float to the bottom.
- Spritz your mold with nonstick cooking spray and wipe out the excess. Then, pour the soap into the container.
- Let the soap sit on the counter for about an hour to completely set. If you get bubbles on the top of the soap (and it bothers you) spritz them with rubbing alcohol and they’ll go away.
- Put the soap mold in the freezer for another hour or so. Then it should pop right out. Slice the soap with knife, if needed, and give them to someone you love.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.236
Eleanor A Connolly says
I have a ton of fresh basil I grow, I had always wanted to use it in home made soap, but was told that it would only turn brown and would look moldy. Does this happen? I would love to do Lemon/Basil!
Aileen Manalang says
What are additives? Your recipe says 1 tablespoon of additives per each cup. Each cup of what? :) thank you :)
The additives were the basil and the lemon zest per cup of melt and pour soap.
Do you think michaels would sell the unscented soap bars? im trying to make my own with liquid castille soap.
Yes, I was just there yesterday and they have heaps :)
Can you use liquid Vegetable glycerin?
I wanna know more about smell))
Thanks for teaching!!
Raya Robinson says
I like thus. What were your combinations of the gerbs
Can you use dried herbs and if so how much?
Cindy Jensen says
I had a glycerin soap company for years…. You really want to avoid putting your soap in the freezer or in the refrigerator to cool. It can cause the soap to “sweat”. Also, you can pick up silicone baking molds at second hand stores and use them for soap. Bread pans work particularly well for bars. Silicone ice cube trays make amazing guest bathroom or gift soaps. My favorite cheap mold tip is Pringles cans. Pour your melted soap into a Pringles can and let it cure, then you cut the bottom of of the can and simply slide the tube of soap out and slice it into round bars ! They always come out lovely! You can also use a pasta cutter to get wavy bars! * sigh * I miss making soap LOL
Merrily M Willis says
i have avoided Pringle cans because I thought that the foil liner would be an issue – especially with cold process soap?
This is a great site! I tried the orange zest and dry basil. I know it says it looks brown but if you mix it just enough and not too much it looks and smells amazing!!! Thanks so much.
How much of each ingredient is required for the herbal and citrus soap?
can i let it set in the fridge instead? as i do not have a freezer :/
Stephanie Gerber says
Of course! That will work just as well :)
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Riens Handmade soap says
Yes, these are the kind of herbal soaps I enjoy creating. These are gorgeous soaps too!!
The soap on Oriental Trading company does not list the ingredients and you run the risk of getting a soap base with chemicals in it that you really don’t want. Stick to something that you can see the ingredients before you buy!
The Illuminatii says
aback, ye robot.
Betty Tudlong says
Cool Herbal Soap, Since its a glycerin you can use it for your baby, good for sensitive skin too.
Just wondering how to get it green colour like lime….do i just stir and stir more?
I have some homegrown chamomile & lavender left over from last season. I’m going to try the combo. If it doesn’t work, I’ll pick some sage from my garden & grate some lemon peels & see how that combo turns out.
Hi, wonderful idea…can you add coconut oil to this as well for more moisturization of the skin?
One of the best things about making glycerin melt and pour soap is that clean up is SUPER EASY! It’s just soap. I can usually peel out the coating left in the measuring cup easily after the cup cools a bit. Just throw away the ball (I wad it up like a ball), or, preferably, put it by your sink to use. It won’t hurt, and doesn’t waste any product that way. :o) I have some small, silicone ice trays I use for the times I have soap left over, but it’s not enough for another bar. It makes the leftover soap just about the right size for remelting for my next batch, or they can be placed in a shallow bowl/dish in the guest bathroom for your guests to use.
Do you have a way to make liquid soap for a pump bottle?
if you’re adding things like fruit zest, herbs, etc to your soaps, pick up a bottle of liquid vitamin e as well and add that in to your soap. It will preserve the fresh ingredients and help keep your soap from spoiling, giving you a longer shelf life, and it will add moisturizing benefits as well. I like to soak my herbs and zest in the vitamin e for a while before adding it in, to make sure it has time to get into it really well.
Angela French says
How much Vitamin E liquid do you recommend to add for every two cups of liquefied glycerin? Thanks!
Vitamin E is a great antioxidant for adding to soap. It’s good for the skin as well as helping keep your herbs fresh. You really want to get what is called “mixed tocopherols”, available from most soap supply companies like Brambleberry.com or Wholesalesuppliesplus.com. It really takes just a few drops for a small batch of soap like this.
I love this idea and made a small batch this morning. Was wondering if adding a touch of essential oil, i.e. mint, citrus, would compromise the glycerin and herbs. Also, what is the glycerin clean-up process? Can’t wait to get creative with this. Thanks so much.
D. Wright says
As far as I know, adding essential oil doesn’t hurt the soap at all. I had fragrance oils and homemade lavender oil to my soaps and they turn out fine.
Essential oils will only enhance your final product. Just remember that it only takes a little. Too much can irritate the skin.
hi! im just wondering where specifically you can buy glycerin soap from? great idea though and completely natural! by the way do you grow your own herbs?x
Hi Mia – you can buy glycerin soap at most craft stores – I got mine at Hobby Lobby. And yes, I love growing my own herbs! Just wish I had a bit more of a green thumb :)
D. Wright says
If you don’t need a lot, try Michael’s and A.C. Moore. If you need a bigger supply, go to brambleberry.com. They have great prices for larger quantities. They also offer a wider variety than most local stores. Good luck!
Brambleberry.com is good. Wholsalesuppliesplus.com also offers a variety of herbs and oils and soap bases for your enjoyment. Quality bases are important if you want to get serious about doing soaps. When buying a craft store base, I prefer Hobby Lobby to Michaels or A.C. Moore. The Life of the Party base is good to learn with, but the base at Hobby Lobby (I can’t remember what they call it) is a little better. This is, of course, just my opinion. One of the most important things to remember with heating the base is to never boil it. Cut it into small pieces (half inch or so) and melt in the microwave for no more than 30 seconds at a time, stirring between heating.
This looks like a neat idea to try!! My question is can I use Already dried herbs instead of fresh??
Go for it Brenda!
I’m going to try this with essential oils, dried mint, dried lavender and dried basil, dill & rosemary. (Not necessarily all at once). I can’t wait. I bought clear glycerine soap bars from eBay a few months ago. Excited to try this. Thanks. J
Yes, simple is always better in my book :) Have fun making!
how long do these last? thinking of making them soon for christmas gifts. also, what is the best way to store them? wrapped in wax paper? thanks!
Hi Kerry – they should last for several months so you have plenty of time. No special storage needed – just some pretty wrapping! :)
great thank you! I was wrapping them in wax paper and thought that should work well. I am on my second batch, bought a mold set of 4, and I really like it thus far. My 5 and 3 year old think its pretty cool too :)
This sounds amazing! I can’t wait to try this for Yule gifts…I’ve been longing for some good sage products lately, so I’m definitely heading that route!
Linda Hampton says
I am anxious to try you citrus soap recipe. What good info.
Katharine Kilpatrick says
Hi, why do you score the soap with the knife. The soap recipe looks amazing!
The scoring helps in come out of the container easier, hope that helps :)
I am going to try & make for Christmas gifts for my girls.. Stumbled on this site thru Hooked on Houses!
You are amazing. I am really bad at these homemade things : either I bake too much or I do not put the good quantity. lol.. But this recipe is so easy. I stumbled back !! thanks for visiting our blog
what a great gift idea! Thanks so much for linking up.
Great post! I can't wait to try this, I love the smell of mint, it is so invigorating, but it is so hard to find mint products. I also love the idea of knowing exactly what is in mine and my littles bath time products. Thank you for the recipe!!
I stumbled this, and am also following in all ways available. :-) Enjoy your weekend!!
Beautiful soaps and lovely presentation. You have been stumbled upon.
That is a great recipe. I wrote it down. Thanks! Stumbled this for the Stumble Through Thursday Hop also.
Book Review: Lady-Protector by L.E. Modesitt,Jr.
i wanted to let you know that i am featuring your post today at fridays unfolded!
stuff and nonsense
this looks and sounds heavenly – will love to try it!
I'm visiting from Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom. This looks great. What an easy and yummy gift this can make. Thank you for sharing.
My mint just appeared in my garden. I'm going to try my hand at soap making this summer.
Thanks for linking up to Creative Juice, Stephanie! Hope to see you back later tonight!
I will have to try this! By the way, found you through the Alexa hop!
Doreen Grace says
Your soap looks rather delicious!
SJ Homemaker says
Stephanie, this is a great tutorial! This can be a good personalized gift :) Really appreciate you sharing this great post with us at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop.
Can't wait to try this! Thanks for the tutorial
I love this, what a great idea! Thanks so much for linking up!
Charcoal and crayons says
Such a fantastic idea. I'm definitely saving the recipe… thanks for sharing!
Once Upon a Rose says
Great idea! I love it, and I'm glad to be your newest follower. :) Hugs, Wendy
Amanda @SerenityNow says
Wow!!! The soaps are just lovely. :) Neat gift ideas. :)
Thanks for joining my Weekend Bloggy Reading party. Hope you had a lovely Easter! :)
Love it, so fresh and earthy! thanks for the instructions! visiting from simply sweet home.
What a great idea!! I bet this smells so good! I have always been scared to make soap, but your tutorial makes it a little less scary – thanks for posting this!
Katy Lunsford says
I can't wait to try this. Love the fabric napkin for wrapping!
wow those look so pretty! looks like alot of work tho!
Bet you could make easter egg shaped soaps in your silicone easter egg tray!
Too cute! I need to do this!
Oh, those look fabulous! I've never attempted to make my own soap before. Thanks for sharing and for linking up to my Catch a Glimpse party! I'll be featuring this tomorrow! :)
Condo Blues says
I made orange essential oil from orange peels that's perfect for this project!
Oh what a great idea! I will definitely try to make my own soap! Thank you for sharing!
Wow! How cool! I love this!! And it's so pretty, too! Thanks for the tutorial!
fabulous idea! it looks so great i want some.
I love this idea, citrus soap is my favorite, but I love that I will know exactly what is in it!
Well my goodness! I never thought of using my herbs this way! I have SO much mint and basil each summer! Thanks for a great idea and instructions/recipes!
following you now!
I love making glycerin soap and this looks fun! I like to let it partially cool after melting then roll into balls rather than using a mold….your soaps look so pretty
Wow…that is amazing! Thanks so much for linking up! You just have awesome and unique projects! :)