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Budget-Friendly Soap Making With Lard Soap

In traditional soap making, lard was our ancestors’ most common fat. To this day, it remains a very accessible and cheap soap-making ingredient. Make a batch for yourself and a friend too with this simple lard soap recipe.

lard soap recipe

Those who have tried my other soap recipes will know I always make them from plant-based oils. Over the years, I’ve made many soap recipes with ingredients like cocoa butter, rice bran oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, shea butter, and more.

But the truth is, these can get expensive. While I’ve made soaps with cheaper oils such as sunflower, I wanted to make an ultra-accessible soap. And lard is one of the cheapest ways to do so.

I also love how great it is for beginners. You can make mistakes and practice techniques without worrying about wasting plenty of expensive oils.

Lard soap is still quality soap. It creates a whiteish bar that’s very creamy and moisturizing. This recipe will still give you plenty of lather! Lard bars are always very hard and, therefore, long-lasting. You’ll get a lot out of just one bar.

Jump ahead to…

holding a bar of lard soap
I used a plastic soap mould for this recipe to get this unique sleeping woman design.

The Case for Lard Soap

I won’t deny that lard is a controversial soap ingredient. But it’s what our grandmothers and ancestors used before us. It’s taking it back to the basics.

Many people worry that it will be overly greasy. But really, it’s the opposite! Lard is closer to our skin’s natural oils than most plant oils. It’s very compatible with our skin cell’s structure and has a similar pH.

The soap is mild and moisturizing, so it’s really great for dry and sensitive skin. And whether you believe it or not, it won’t clog your pores.

As I said, lard is very cheap. It’s even cheaper than palm oil, which is probably the most inexpensive plant-based oil on the market. Buying lard also means using every bit of the animal that we can and aren’t being wasteful.

how to make lard soap
I chose to keep the colouring minimal and let the sleeping woman design take center stage.

Lard for Soap vs Cooking

Traditionally, lard is rendered pig fat, but you may also see other animal-derived fats labelled as lard. It’s typically used in cooking and has a very neutral and mild flavour. While it used to be a popular choice for baking and deep-frying, now we typically use butter or plant-based oils in its place.

Processed lard from the grocery store does make fine soap. But some of them contain BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene). These are synthetic antioxidants which act as preservatives to make the lard shelf stable.

While BHA and BHT won’t affect the soap, they aren’t something we necessarily want to add to our natural soaps. Health Canada lists BHA as a high human health priority, and studies have shown that it may cause cancer and affect hormone function. BHT is flagged as a moderate human health priority, and studies have shown it is toxic to mice and rats. So let’s avoid putting that on our skin.

If you’re buying from the grocery store, look for lard without BHA and BHT. If you find natural lard, remember that it may need to be kept in the fridge or freezer before using it and may have an expiration date.

You may also find it in tubs by the meat section or can buy it directly from the butcher. You can even make it yourself! I love this tutorial if you want to try it yourself, using leaf lard and rendering it.

For soap making, you want only to use rendered lard. Rendered lard has been heated, which at that point melts and separates from anything else that may be in the lard.

lard soap in a sleeping woman shape
You can use the same lard you would use for cooking or baking for soap making, as long as it is rendered.

Tallow vs Lard

You may also encounter tallow. Tallow and lard are both rendered types of fat. But the difference is the origin. Lzard is rendered pig fat, while tallow is rendered beef fat and occasionally other ruminants like sheep or goat).

Lard typically comes from either back fat or kidney fat. Leaf fat is the one that comes from the kidney area, and it tends to be higher in saturated fat. This makes it a bit stiffer and harder at room temperature, though any kind of lard will be softer and more compliant than tallow.

Tallow, meanwhile, most often comes from the kidney area. It’s going to solidify easily at room temperature and appear like cold butter, while lard will remain liquid-like after melting.

If you use tallow for this soap recipe, it may make a different consistency.

lard soap
I designed this recipe specifically to be used with lard, so it combines perfectly with the other ingredients.

How to Make Lard Soap

This lard soap recipe also includes coconut oil and mango butter to give it some extra cleansing properties, a good lather, and make it even more moisturizing. Even with these two additions, it’s still a very affordable soap!

Equipment

Ingredients

Scroll to the end of this post for the exact measurements in the recipe card.

Jump to Recipe
lard soap recipe
Adding essential oils to this recipe masks the slight fatty smell from the soap.

Make It!

If this is your first time making soap, refer to this post for more information on making cold-process soap. I’ll go over everything here, but with less detail.

Start by getting yourself dressed in your safety gear and ensure you’re in a well-ventilated area.

Measure out all your ingredients on a kitchen scale. When it comes to soap making, we want to be as accurate as possible, and weight will give us the closest measurements.

double boiler with oils for soap making
Gently heating your oils ensures you don’t burn them or get rid of any of their properties.

Once you have measured all your ingredients, you will want to combine the lard, mango butter, and coconut oil in a double boiler over low to medium heat. You want to melt the oils together gently.

Meanwhile, make your lye water by adding the lye to the water in a heat-proof container. Lean away while you stir the mixture, as the chemical reaction creates strong fumes you won’t want to breathe in. Once mixed, set it in an ice bath to cool down.

lye water
Lye and water create a strong chemical reaction that makes it heat up really fast and emit strong-smelling fumes.

When your oils and lye water have reached 115°F, you can combine them in a large mixing bowl. Use an immersion blender to blend your mixture together until it reaches a trace.

Add in your essential oils, then blend again.

immersion blender for soap making
You’ll know you’ve reached trace when the consistency is similar to pudding.

Once blended, pour your recipe into your soap mould. I used these sleeping woman moulds, but you can put them into any soap mould you like.

Let your soap sit somewhere warm for 48 hours. After this time, you can unmold the soap. Cut it if necessary at this stage.

Let the soap cure for six weeks before using it.

how to make lard soap
Take care to unmould your soap so you can use your soap mould again for future soaps.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lard Soap

Is lard soap good for your skin?

Lard is a natural ingredient, making it very safe for the skin. With a high oleic fatty content, it’s very moisturizing while providing gentle conditioning. Like our skin’s natural oils, it also won’t clog your pores despite its high-fat content. It also forms a protective barrier on the skin.

Lard contains vitamins A and D, which are great for the skin for reducing inflammation and protecting from free radicals and UV.

Does lard soap smell?

You will notice a slight fatty smell if you don’t add any smell to your lard soap recipe. Essential oils will cover up any smell, so adding some to any lard soap recipe is a good idea. For this recipe, I scented mine with bergamot and grapefruit essential oils.

lard soap in a sleeping woman shape

Enjoy your soap-making! As always, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able.

More Soap Recipes to Try

Lard Soap Recipe

This lard soap recipe is great for beginner soap makers or those who want to use affordable ingredients.

Equipment

Instructions

  • Get dressed in safety gear, and then measure all your ingredients using a kitchen scale.
  • Combine the lard, coconut oil, and mango butter in a double boiler over low to medium heat.
  • While oils melt, add lye to the distilled water in a well-ventilated area. Mix until fully dissolved, then let sit in an ice bath to cool.
  • When both the oils and the lye water have reached 115°F, add the lye water to the oil in a large mixing bowl. Use an immersion blender to mix them together until they reach a light trace.
  • Add in essential oils and blend again until trace.
  • Pour your soap into your soap mould. Let it sit somewhere warm for 48 hours.
  • After 48 hours, unmold your soap. Cut it if you used a loaf soap mould.
  • Let the soap cure for 6 weeks before using.

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