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Topic: So how much does it cost to make your own soap? Answered!  (Read 10911 times)
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MareMare
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« on: March 13, 2010 02:56:17 PM »

Hey guys, someone on the frugal-along asked me how much it costs to make a batch of soap, so I worked out a new spreadsheet with current costs (hadn't done one in probably five years) and thought I would stick it here. It's always interesting to see what people pay for specific products in various areas! (this was written for that thread, so it might be simplified a bit more than needed for the person who is already a soaper, not trying to talk down to anyone!)

*This is my simplest recipe, using 3 oils, lye, and water. For fragrance it's probably at least another $.50-$2  per lb of oils (so this 5 pound batch would be an additional $2.50-$10 for fragrance for the batch, depending on supplier and usage rate, and colorants and other additives would also be extra)

*I keep all my recipes in percentages so I can use any of my various sized molds for them, this batch is a simple one:

45% olive
30% coconut
25% vegetable shortening

*Also, I buy in bulk, and all of these ingredients are local for me, so I do will calls and do not pay shipping, shipping costs would have to be figured in to the final price if you have to order online.

Coconut oil (www.shayandcompany. com) -5 gallons/640 oz (approx) for $52 = $.08/ounce
Olive oil (Cash & Carry) - 1 gallon/128 ounces (approx) for $14 = $.11/ounce
Vegetable Shortening (Costco or Cash & Carry) - 6 pounds/96 ounces for $6.99 = $.07/ounce
Sodium Hydroxide (lye)(www.shayandcompany. com)- 9 lbs/144 oz for $22 = $.15/ounce


So a 5 lb oil batch will yield me 20 bars, each bar is about 4 - 4.5 ounces after cure (I don't count the weight of water in my calculations, so a 5 lb batch is 5 lbs of oil, the water and lye calculated for that batch is in addition to 5 lbs, but in the end most of the water is evaporated out)

5 lb batch

24 ounces coconut x $.08 = $1.92
36 ounces olive x $.11 = $3.96
30 ounces vegetable shortening x $.07 = $1.40
11.40 ounces lye (6% lye discount) x $.15 = $1.71
25 ounces filtered water = $0

Total = $8.99/20 bars = $.45 per bar

Not counting start up costs such as equipment, etc, but you can get things like stick blenders and pots from yard sales for cheap and use things like shoe boxes instead of buying molds.  

If anyone's interested in soap making, here are some getting started links (info, suppliers):

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=339471.0

And here's a soaping tutorial:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=267859.msg3015079#msg3015079


« Last Edit: March 14, 2010 11:23:40 AM by MareMare » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2010 03:37:27 PM »

I haven't done a breakdown in awhile either..I probably should since I buy in bigger bulk  sizes now..I should do mine and show from 2 different ends of the US
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will trade some soap for a superhero cape which will be used by the kid in my avatar ^^
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2010 03:38:45 PM »

Best. Post. Ever. Awesome, MareMare!! Cheesy

And wow is that a nice price on coconut oil, will have to add them to my list. Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2010 04:00:28 PM »

I used to buy lye in the bigger size (50 pounds) and it's only $60!! That's like less than half price, but I prefer the smaller bucket for ease of use, and I don't soap in the volume that I used to.

I don't know how much it would cost to get 5 gallons of coconut oil shipped though Sad

That would be cool to see your costs too Leona!

I used to get Olive Oil for $7 a gallon! Now it's $12 on sale if I'm lucky. I tried using some other oils for awhile (rice bran, sunflower) but always go back to the olive.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2010 04:04:40 PM by MareMare » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2010 04:21:42 PM »

I buy my olive oil at Costco; the HUGE jugs that are 2 or 3 gallons for around $20-something.
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« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2010 04:36:03 PM »

Oh that's good, they aren't that cheap here at Costco! It's that much for like 1 1/2 liters or something Sad
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2010 06:04:18 PM »

Oh that's good, they aren't that cheap here at Costco! It's that much for like 1 1/2 liters or something Sad

That's in the general cooking section, for EVOO, or at least that's what we also have. In the restaurant-supply area they have the 5 liter monstrosity of plain ol' olive oil. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2010 06:08:50 PM »

Hmm, maybe I've never looked in the restaurant supply section then! Thanks, I'll have to check it and see if it's a better price than Cash & Carry. I get pomace usually.
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2010 07:54:34 PM »

I wish we had those here! We don't even have dollar stores close by; apparently I live in the only city that doesn't want to save money! Grin
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2010 10:59:34 AM »

Daaaang!  I need to start buying in bulk!  (I can hear the BF sighing in the background.)  The price of vegetable shortening just jumped in my area--from $3 to $5 for a 3-lb. tub.  It makes me cry a little bit.
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English Major Soaps! on Etsy:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/englishmajorsoaps
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