How To Make Lye Soap With Bacon Grease – A Step-By-Step Guide

Bacon grease is often seen as a waste product that gets thrown out after cooking. But did you know you can repurpose it to make lye soap? Lye soap made with bacon grease is an economical eco-friendly way to create a quality handmade soap with moisturizing and cleansing properties.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the entire process of making lye soap with bacon grease, from rendering the grease to molding the final product. We will also cover safety precautions, ingredients, and tips for customizing your bacon grease soap recipe. Let’s get started!

Why Make Soap With Bacon Grease?

Using bacon grease in soap making has several advantages:

  • Sustainable – Repurposes waste grease instead of throwing it out
  • Moisturizing – Bacon fat contains fatty acids that hydrate skin
  • Budget-friendly – Grease is free and makes soap costs low
  • Natural scent – Adds subtle bacon aroma to the soap
  • Easy cold process method – Just mix lye, oils and fragrance

Bacon grease works best when combined with other oils like coconut or olive oil to optimize the fatty acid profile. But on its own bacon fat can make a great artisanal bar soap.

Step 1: Render and Clean the Bacon Grease

The first step is collecting and cleaning the bacon fat. Here is how to render grease properly:

  • Cook bacon in a skillet and drain on paper towels to absorb excess grease
  • Pour hot grease through a strainer lined with cheesecloth into a heatproof container
  • Place in the refrigerator overnight to solidify the grease
  • Remove the solidified fat from the container and scrape off any impurities from the bottom
  • Cut the clean, white fat into small chunks

Next purify the chunks of fat by boiling them in water. Boil for 10-15 minutes until the fat melts into an oil and the water turns white. Allow to cool completely so the oil solidifies on top of the water. Scrape off any residue on the bottom then repeat the boil/cool process 2 more times until the oil is completely clean.

Step 2: Calculate the Lye and Oil Amounts

The two main ingredients in cold process soap making are lye and oils. To calculate the amounts needed:

  • Weigh the oils – In this case, the rendered bacon fat. Let’s say we have 18oz bacon grease.
  • Determine water amount – The standard is a 2:1 ratio of water to oils. So for 18oz oils, use 9oz water.
  • Use a lye calculator – To determine the lye amount, plug the oil and water weights into a lye calculator. For 18oz oils and 9oz water, the lye amount is 6.58oz.

The calculator helps formulate the recipe so the lye fully reacts with the oils to produce soap instead of excess lye leftover.

Step 3: Prepare the Lye Solution

Mixing lye and water produces an exothermic chemical reaction that heats the solution quickly. Follow these safety tips:

  • Work in a well-ventilated area – Open windows or use an exhaust fan
  • Wear safety goggles and gloves
  • Always add lye to water slowly and stir continuously
  • Keep children and pets away

To make the solution:

  • In a stainless steel or glass container, slowly sprinkle the lye into the water while stirring
  • Stir until fully dissolved, about 10 minutes
  • Allow to cool until it’s no longer hot, about 30-60 minutes

Step 4: Melt and Mix the Oils

While the lye solution cools, prepare the oils:

  • Melt the solid bacon fat chunks in a stainless steel pot on low heat
  • If adding other oils, melt them together with the bacon grease
  • Remove from heat once everything is melted
  • Allow to cool slightly so it’s no longer hot to touch

Step 5: Combine and Mix the Lye and Oils

Once both mixtures are no longer hot, you can combine them:

  • Slowly pour the lye solution into the oils while stirring continuously
  • Continue stirring for 2-3 minutes to fully incorporate
  • Mix using a whisk or stick blender if the oils start to solidify

At this stage, the chemical reaction between the lye and oils will start to occur. This is called saponification, which turns the ingredients into soap.

Step 6: Blend, Scent and Mold

After combining, the mixture will start to thicken. Here are the next steps:

  • Continue mixing for 5-10 minutes until trace occurs
    • Trace is when the batter thickens to a pudding-like consistency
  • Add any essential oils, herbs, or bacon bits for exfoliation
  • Mix again to fully incorporate any additives
  • Pour into silicone molds and tap the molds to release air bubbles

At this point, saponification continues and the soap will fully harden in the mold within 24 hours.

Step 7: Unmold, Cut and Cure

A day later, the soap is ready to be unmolded:

  • Gently remove from molds and cut into bars
  • Place bars on a wire rack in a dry, well ventilated area
  • Cure for 4-6 weeks to allow bars to harden and become milder
  • Turn bars over every few days to ensure even curing

After curing, the lye soap bars made with bacon grease are ready for use! Enjoy your homemade soap creation.

Tips for Making Bacon Grease Soap

  • Chill the molded soap for an hour before unmolding to make cutting easier
  • Line the molds with plastic wrap or use silicone molds for easy release
  • Use a knife warmed in hot water to slice cleanly through the bars
  • Cure the soap in a cardboard box to prevent light exposure and discoloration
  • Add essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint or tea tree for scent
  • If you want a 100% bacon fat soap, avoid adding other oils
  • Store cured soap in a cool, dry place. It will last for several months.

Safety Precautions When Making Lye Soap

Working with lye requires careful safety measures:

  • Always wear goggles, gloves, long sleeves and closed toe shoes
  • Work in a well-ventilated area without distractions
  • Avoid touching your face and wash hands immediately after handling lye
  • Never leave a lye mixture unattended or pour lye into hot oils
  • Mix and store lye away from children and pets
  • If lye comes into contact with skin, flush with water and use vinegar to neutralize it

With the proper precautions, you can safely make lovely lye soap bars using bacon grease. This simple cold process method recycles cooking fat into a handcrafted, rustic soap you’ll be proud to gift and use.

So next time you cook up a batch of bacon, hold on to that grease and turn it into soap! With this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to make your own economical and eco-friendly lye soap using bacon fat.

How to Make Soap From Bacon Grease


How do you make lye soap from scratch?

Stir lye into water until it is dissolved well. Then add the grease and stir it for 20 minutes. Let it sit and cool for about a half hour Then stir it well again, and pour it up into moulds. If you don’t have soap moulds, you can pour it into an enameled baking pan, and let it harden overnight.

Can you use bacon grease to make soap?

Instead of throwing away the grease, we decided to reuse the grease to make soap. First, it needed a little TLC. You can see the lard below. It still had a lot of bacon bits, and was quite smelly. This bacon grease can be used for soap, but it still has a lot of icky bacon bits inside. It needs to be cleaned up a little. =)

How do you make soap out of bacon fat?

To make soap out of the bacon fat it’s useful to understand a little bit about whats going on. To make soap you need just three ingredients – some kind of pure fat, water, and lye. The lye chemically turns the fat into soap through a process called saponification.

Can you make soap from Bacon?

How to Make Bacon Soap: Soap can be made from just about any kind of fat. Even though fat from bacon, called lard, isn’t the finest of fats to use for making soap, it somehow seemed to be the most exciting. Why? Because bacon is amazing. It has an almost mystical power…

How does Lye turn fat into soap?

The lye chemically turns the fat into soap through a process called saponification. Thats when the triglyceride molecules in the fat bond with the sodium hydroxide molecules (lye) and form 1 new soap molecule and a glycerin molecule. You can check out James Hershberger’s chemical explanation of saponification to learn more.

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