Castile Soap gets its name from a region in Spain that means “Land of Castles” where they have been making soap from Olive Oil for many centuries, or so I’ve heard. Castile soap is technically and traditionally made with 100% Olive Oil as the fat. These soaps are well loved because they are gentle and mild, cleansing and nourishing to the skin.
Currently the definition has broadened, and now it is more commonly used to refer to soap made from vegetable oils (especially olive oil) instead of animal fat. Soaps that contain mostly olive oil with a blend of other vegetable oils are also considered or named Castile soap.
Olive oil has been treasured for centuries for the many uses and benefits it provides. When used as an oil in soap, it is very conditioning and makes a very gentle bar of soap that can be used on most skin types. It can even be used on sensitive and delicate skin types, even babies. Plus you get the added benefit of not having the harsh chemicals and additives most retail soaps contain.
If you are using 100% Olive Oil, it generally takes much longer for the soap mixture to reach trace than with other recipes. You can unmold the soap after 3 to 4 days or you can place your mold in the freezer overnight and it should firm up the soap enough to be removed and cut. You can also add 1 tsp uniodized salt per pound of soap (total weight), which makes the soap firm up a bit sooner, making it easier to unmold and cut. Add 1 tsp to the water before adding the lye, and you should be able to unmold and slice your bars within about 24 hours. Olive oil recipes will create a very soft bar that will have to cure longer than normal, about 8 to 12 weeks to become dry and firm.
With experience in making soap, some soapers slightly reduce the amount of water in castile recipes so the bars are firmer faster. The great thing about these kind of soaps is that the recipes are simple and straight forward. You will only need olive oil, distilled water, and lye. Always use a soap calculator so you know your recipe has the right amount of lye.
Castile soap can be made into bars using the Cold Process method and sodium hydroxide lye, and it can also be made into liquid soap using the Hot Process method and potassium hydroxide lye. For detailed information on how to make Cold Process soap, explore the pages in this site and sign up for your completely free guide that gives all the details and step by step instructions on how to make soap from scratch.