Can I use baking soda in soap making?

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about whether you can use baking soda in soap making. Some people swear by it, but others say it will ruin your batch and give you nothing but a big mess to clean up.  

Baking soda can be used in soap. It’s mainly used as a replacement for Lye in cold process soap. A soap made with baking soda has the following benefits: It exfoliates the skin, helps with yeast infections, is a natural “detoxifier,” and lastly, can reduce the pain and itching caused by sunburn.

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There are a lot of recipes out there for homemade soap that use baking soda instead of Lye, promising to give you the same luxurious and expensive-looking bar like the ones you buy in stores. But does it really work? And what’s wrong with using baking soda? Is this just another DIY scam, or is there some truth behind these claims?

Can I use baking soda in soap making?

Baking soda is a product used in multiple industries and activities, including baking (as the name suggests) and the beauty market. However, it can also be used in bath fizzies and other products within this industry, such as soap and scrubs, due to its subtle exfoliation properties. 

Although it’s possible to use baking soda in soap making, please note that it requires a very specific process and a well-thought recipe for it to be used. Otherwise, it will be impossible for your soap to harden and have the right consistency actually to turn into soap. Plus, you’ll have to wait for a long while until the soap hardens and becomes utilizable.

We’ll explain throughout the article the dos and don’ts of the usage of baking soda in the soap-making process. Overall, it’s a great option you can choose if you’d like to take advantage of all the health benefits that come with it and any disadvantage its use may have in the long term.

Can baking soda replace lye?

Baking soda is an excellent alternative to Lye. Lye is an ingredient that DIY soap enthusiasts. Lye is, for many, considered a double-edged sword, as it can help moisturize the skin, but too much of it can actually be damaging for you. It gets even worse if you have sensitive skin; therefore, it’s better to use safer alternatives.

In the cosmetic industry, Lye is diluted, so it doesn’t have any harsh effects. However, things are different with homemade soaps. If the lye solution has not entirely gone through the saponification process, you’ll end up with very irritated skin.

If you’ve chosen to use baking soda in your soaps, please note that you need to be extremely careful with it to avoid it from having harmful effects on your body.

As an extra note, when you replace Lye for baking soda, you’ll need to use a milder alternative to this ingredient as well – such as an essential oil. Still, utilizing baking soda in your soaps means that you’ll have to wait for a longer period for it to dry, but the results will be as good as regular homemade soap. Later in the article, we’ll explain how you can make soap by utilizing baking soda instead of Lye. 

Common Questions about Using Baking Soda in Soap-making:

  • Can baking soda replace lye in soap-making?
    No, baking soda cannot replace lye in soap-making. Lye is essential for the saponification process, turning oils and fats into soap. Baking soda can complement the process but not replace lye.
  • Will baking soda affect the color of my soap?
    Baking soda can sometimes cause a slight change in the color of the soap, especially if used in large quantities. It’s always best to do a small batch test first.
  • Can I use baking soda in melt and pour soap?
    Yes, baking soda can be added to melt and pour soap bases. However, it’s essential to mix it well to avoid clumps and ensure even distribution.

Why would you want to use baking soda in soap?

Baking soda is excellent for your skin as it acts as an exfoliant, which is the main reason why it’s so used in the beauty industry. Furthermore, it’s associated with other health benefits, which include finding relief for itching, irritation, and other surface-level conditions that may have affected your skin from time to time.

To give an example, baking soda is helpful for yeast infections. Suppose you choose to add baking soda to your bath water or include it as an ingredient in your soap recipe. In that case, you’ll be contributing to eliminating the candida cells responsible for the yeast infection.

There are certain contraindications for utilizing baking soda, but overall, we can say that taking a “baking soda bath” can be extremely helpful for your skin. Sometimes, people even use them as a “detoxifier” to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Is baking soda soap good for the skin?

Using baking soda instead of Lye can be an excellent option. Besides the skin-related benefits we mentioned above, there are many other benefits that baking soda brings to the table.

  1. It’s excellent for treating skin infections.

Apart from exfoliating your skin, baking soda is excellent for treating skin conditions, regardless of whether you choose to add some to the bathwater or if you’ve decided to use it in your soap recipe. It’s helpful if you suffer from fungal infections, psoriasis, and many skin-related problems. Thanks to its properties, many soap makers prefer utilizing it instead of Lye.

2. It’s healthier for your skin.

If your skin becomes in contact with an increased amount of Lye, you’re likely to suffer harsh effects on your skin. That’s the reason why soap makers tend to avoid this ingredient. Baking soda is one of the best alternatives you can choose for this purpose due to all the effects mentioned above and the fact that it acts as an excellent exfoliant.

What does baking soda do in soap making?

Baking soda has a similar effect to vinegar and citric acid when mixed. It’s used in cold process soap to revert the saponification process that happens during the making procedure. Therefore, there can be two results: a soft soap that will never get hard enough to be usable or basically a failed soap batch.

Even though this may sound depressing and totally not convincing to switch over to baking soda, I might have some good news!

Some recipes allow you to use baking soda and get all of its benefits along with a good soap bar. These processes are often quite specific, but the adjustments you’ll need to make are good enough for you to be able to make a good soap bar. For instance, some cold process soap recipes include reducing the superfat included to 0.

Plus, following specific safety measurements is essential if you’re using baking soda in soap making. Remember that we’re using sodium bicarbonate, not baking powder. It’s also different from washing soda.

So, you’re dealing with sodium bicarbonate in its purest form. At the same time, baking soda includes cream of tartar, and washing soda is nothing but the salt of carbonic acid, which happens to be an excellent cleaner.

How much baking soda do I add to soap?

The amount of baking soda you’ll need for your soap recipe depends on how much soap you intend to make. Most recipes you’ll find will advise you to use about 2 ounces of baking soda, although you can increase or decrease this quantity based on the total weight of the recipe or the amount you’d like to have by the end of the process.

You can calculate the total amount of baking soda based on the rest of the ingredients you’ll use. Most recipes will require you to use enough ingredients to create about 4-5 soap bars approximately. Although we’ll give you exact measurements for each ingredient, please note that you’re allowed to play around with them if you want fewer or more soap bars in the end.

Please note that if you do this, you’ll need to change how much baking soda you’ll use – although most recipes stick to the same amount, which is two ounces.

So, we can say that the amount of baking soda to use in soap making can vary from a recipe to another. Jump to the following sections if you’d like to learn more about making soap while utilizing baking soda.

How do you mix soap and baking soda?

Mixing soap and baking soda is only possible if you’re making your own handmade soap – if we’re talking about “combining” them as separate products, not for use. However, you can still use baking soda and soap altogether while taking a bath if you haven’t made your recipe yet.

Since baking soda is associated with many skin benefits, it’s only natural to incorporate it into your bathing routine – especially if you suffer from a skin condition like psoriasis.

With that being said, all you need to do is prepare a lukewarm bath and then pour one or two cups of baking soda. Then, you can continue with your usual bath routine. Still, it’s recommended to stay in the water for about 20 minutes three times a day every day to help you find relief to certain conditions, such as genital irritation or infections, eczema, and even nail infections.

On the other hand, the first step for the recipe implies pouring the baking soda into a container, then adding the water to create a paste. Then, you add the rest of the ingredients and stir them all together until you create a solid form.

Are there any benefits of using baking soda in soap?

Utilizing baking soda in your soap can help you enjoy all the benefits associated with the former. Here we’ll describe some of the benefits that you’ll enjoy not in your skin but also for your health in general.

  1. Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties

Baking soda has exceptional alkaline properties that you can take advantage of to feel relieving with all the itching, irritation, and swelling that skin rashes cause. Including baking soda in your baths – not only in the soap form – can help you find some relief if you suffer from a condition with similar symptoms.

  1. It can reduce the pain and itching caused by sunburn.

Let’s be honest here, we all get a sunburn once in a while, but we never have a proper treatment for it. However, baking soda soap at home can help you find some relief as it also has a cooling effect. Emphasizing the affected areas can help you feel better, too.

  1. Baking soda is a natural cleanser.

As mentioned above, baking soda is often used as a detoxifier. It helps you clear all the sebum accumulated in your skin, especially in your face. Furthermore, thanks to its exfoliating properties, you will be able to open and clean your pores easily while getting rid of all the excess oil simultaneously.

4. Harder soaps tend to last longer.

Harder soaps tend to last longer, provide a richer lather, and often have a more luxurious feel on the skin. Moreover, they are less likely to become mushy or dissolve quickly in water, ensuring that you get the most out of every bar.

Are there any disadvantages of using baking soda in soap?

We’ve been telling you a lot of benefits associated with the usage of baking soda soap. However, it cannot all benefit, just can it? There are certain disadvantages to using baking soda soap, especially in the long term, and if you’ll mainly use it for your face.

  1. It can cause irritation.

Baking soda should be used with extra care if you have sensitive skin. Not everyone knows that their skin is vulnerable to baking soda until they’ve applied to some part of their body. It’s associated with armpit rashes, skin redness, and even burning in some cases when people use it as an ingredient for homemade care products. It’s recommended to use very little to see if your skin reacts to it.

  1. It can be overly exfoliating.

We’ve talked about how well baking soda is at exfoliating your skin and getting rid of all the excess oil. However, please note that too much of it can actually be harmful to your skin.

When you over-exfoliate, you may cause burning, redness, and even dry skin. Experts recommend giving your skin a break between exfoliation treatments so you can avoid harmful side effects – especially if your skin is sensitive.

  1. It can make your skin more vulnerable.

Using baking soda to wash off your body on a daily basis can be counterproductive. It’s true that dermatologists use it to treat certain conditions as it’s helpful for acid neutralization. It’s not as beneficial as you may think it’s when used daily.

When you apply baking soda to your skin too frequently, it’s likely to remove the protective oil barrier. Furthermore, it can even alter your pH and even harm the natural bacteria found in the superficial layers of the skin, which often protect it against infections and conditions like acne.

Baking soda contraindications

Although baking soda is associated with tons of health benefits, please note that frequent use of it can be harmful to your health, especially in your skin, in the long term. Besides what’s mentioned above, baking soda use is contraindicated in very specific cases:

  • If you have a larger infection, please visit a professional to get proper treatment. Applying baking soda soap to the affected areas can be harmful.
  • Please note that baking soda soap won’t be as helpful as you may think in open wounds.
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, are pregnant or lactating or are vulnerable to faints, please avoid utilizing baking soda as it penetrates through your skin and can cause some of these conditions to worsen or harm your baby.
  • Baking soda is known to alter your skin’s pH. When used too frequently, it can lead to metabolic alkalosis, especially in babies, as it is often used as a treatment for diaper rash. However, please note that this is not recommendable, and you should look out for alternatives.

How should you use baking soda soap in your skin, and how often

We already know applying baking soda to your skin frequently can lead to more problems than it solves. So it’s highly recommended not to make your daily soap but rather use it in very specific situations that include the conditions mentioned above.

Overusing baking soda soap can lead to multiple health problems, but if you’d like it to use as an exfoliant now and then, try to give your skin a break not to alter its pH levels, harm it, or damage its oil layer. Traditionally, it is recommended to exfoliate your skin once per week.

Can you put baking soda in melt and pour soap?

Baking soda can certainly be used in melt soap and baking soda soap bars. Hence, you have plenty of recipes at your disposal if you’d like to make baking soda-based soap. 

Again, please take the necessary safety measurements if you’ll use baking soda in your soap recipe. Furthermore, try not to use it in your skin – especially in your face too often if you’d like to avoid worsening its state in the long term. Occasional use is the best way of enjoying its many benefits.

Achieving the perfect hardness in homemade soap ensures not only a long-lasting bar but also a luxurious bathing experience. By understanding the intricacies of the soap-making process and leveraging techniques like salt addition, sodium lactate incorporation, and water discounting, soap makers can craft artisanal soaps that stand out in the market.


Baking soda, a versatile ingredient, offers multiple benefits when used in soap-making, from acting as a gentle exfoliant to enhancing the soap’s lather. However, it’s crucial to use it in the right quantities and be aware of its interactions with other ingredients. Whether you’re a seasoned soap-maker or a beginner, understanding the role of baking soda can help you create soaps that are both effective and skin-friendly.

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