Can You Make Goat Milk Soap Without Lye?

Black Raspberry goat milk soap

At Goat Milk Stuff, we specialize in creating all-natural varieties of Goat Milk Soap. Our soap is handmade from scratch here on the farm with real ingredients. Most of the ingredients are food grade with the exception of one ingredient - lye. Lye is also known as sodium hydroxide and is the catalyst that initiates the saponification (soapmaking) chemical reaction. No lye = no soap.

That's right, there is no such thing as true soap-making without lye. Other cleaning products, like detergent, can be made without lye. Even goat milk liquid soap uses potassium hydroxide (a form of lye) instead of the sodium hydroxide (lye) that is used to make bar-soap. However, to make any soap, lye is a necessary ingredient.

Black Raspberry Goat Milk Soap
"I love the smell of the Black Raspberry soap! As with all the others I’ve tried, my skin feels wonderful! I couldn’t imagine going back to regular soap, Goats Milk soap is far superior than any other soap I’ve tried for my allergy prone skin. I love it.!" - Sharon F.

Is Lye Safe to Use When Making Soap?

People often ask about lye because they are concerned that lye will burn their skin and cause injury. This is a valid concern because lye by itself is a very harsh chemical. Remember the pH scale from your science classes? The pH scale ranges from 0-14 with pure water being a 7 and considered neutral. A pH below 7 is considered an acid. The lower the number, the stronger the acid.

A pH above 7 is considered a base, with the higher the number being the stronger the base. Most people understand how caustic a strong acid can be, but it is important to realize that a strong base can be just as caustic.

A strong base can cause burns on your skin and do a lot of damage if not neutralized or washed off quickly. The pH of cold process soap is usually in the 9-10 range, which is safe for your skin. In contrast, lye is often reported to have a pH of 13 - 13.5 which is not safe for your skin. Lye needs to be handled very carefully. At Goat Milk Stuff, we take many safety precautions such as face masks, gloves, and proper ventilation when handling lye. When following proper safety guidelines, lye is safe to use when making soap.

Colter making goat milk soap

Is Lye Soap Bad for Your Skin?

There is nothing unhealthy about using lye in the soap making process. Lye is a naturally occurring compound that is a necessary ingredient in the soapmaking process. Properly made soap, like our Goat Milk Soap, will not have any lye leftover in the finished product. No lye leftover means no irritation for your skin.

In pioneering days, lye was made by running water through wood ashes. These early pioneers didn't have a way to gauge the strength of the lye. This is why the soap obtained a reputation as being very harsh on the skin. Today, we get our lye analyzed by a chemist so we know how strong it is. The results allow us to determine the exact amount of oil and fat we need to add to our soap formula. Adding the correct amount of oils and fats ensures that all of the lye is turned into a wonderful, safe, and natural soap.

Landon using Ocean Goat Milk Soap
"My family loves the Ocean goat milk soap. The scent is refreshing and it leaves our skin feeling healthy. My husband and son have trouble with their hands being dry and cracking but since using Goat Milk Stuff soaps and lotions, their hands have been so much better. Thank you for great products." - Cathy H.

Can I Make My Own Soap Without Lye?

There are a lot of people who want to make soap for their families. Some have concerns about lye and don't want to use it due to the possible dangers. But without lye, you can't make soap from scratch yourself. If you find yourself wanting to make your own goat milk soap, but don't wish to work with lye, there are two possible soap-making alternatives.

Rebatch Cold Processed Goat Milk Soap.

Rebatching is the process of using soap that has already been made, melting it down, and customizing it to your preference. You can add scents, colors, botanicals, or other additives. You can then pour the soap into mold shapes of your choice.

If you'd like to rebatch using our Goat Milk Soap, we recommend the following steps:

  • Purchase our unscented Purity Goat Milk Soap and shred or grate them as fine as possible.
  • Place the soap shreds in an oven-safe (non-aluminum) container.
  • For each pound of shredded soap, add 1/2 - 1 cup of liquid (water or goat milk) and stir until well combined.
  • Cover with a lid or tin foil and let it stand 12-18 hours. You can stir it periodically if it's separating, but that's not necessary.
  • Place in an oven for approximately 90 minutes at 200 degrees. The process may take a little longer than 90 minutes. You can stir periodically to help it melt evenly.
  • Once it is nicely melted, add any desired scent, color, or additives (e.g. oatmeal or botanicals).
  • Mix together well and then place into molds.
  • Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • Remove from molds (depending on your mold, freezing may help).
  • Let the soap cure for two to four weeks before using it.

You should be aware that this process won’t produce as smooth and “finished” looking soap as the original Purity Goat Milk Soap. If you shred or grate the soap as finely as possible and melt it thoroughly, you can get fairly close.

Kylie with Purity Goat Milk Soap
"I have been very satisfied with my Purity Goat Milk Soap. I love the way it cleans and moisturizes my skin and also how quick my orders are sent and delivered. Also I like using pure and healthy products on my skin, and I’m glad that I have found your products to be just that!" - Diane D.

One benefit of rebatching your soap is that you can add essential oils and botanicals that don't have to go through the saponification reaction. At Goat Milk Stuff, we've found that essential oils and botanicals survive saponification with the vast majority of their beneficial properties intact. If you prefer your botanicals as fresh as possible, rebatching is a good option. Rebatching is often called "hand-milling", but it isn't quite the same thing. Most hand-milled soaps use special machines to evenly shred the soap and lay down thin layers on top of one another. The machine then uses a large amount of pressure to create a new bar of soap. Most households don't have the necessary equipment to apply enough pressure to produce a bar of natural soap that is as hard as commercially hand-milled soaps.

Rosemary Mint Goat Milk Soap
"Rosemary Mint Goat Milk Soap has been really good to help my itchy skin, both on my head and also the rest of my body." - Debra S.

Purchase a Melt and Pour Goat Milk Soap Base

Your second option for making soap without the use of lye is by using a melt and pour soap base. It is important to realize that melt and pour soap is not considered by many people to be as natural as cold processed soaps. Melt and pour soap bases often use several chemicals to get their meltable consistency. Goat Milk Stuff does not make or offer a melt and pour soap base for sale because we are not comfortable with the chemicals required. There are several options available online or in craft stores with easy to follow instructions.

If you want to add additional goat milk to your melt and pour soap, you can add up to 1 Tbsp of milk (liquid, powdered, or condensed) per pound of melt and pour base. You shouldn’t add any more than 1 Tbsp because it can cause problems for your finished product, such as orange spots in your soap.

When you add in goat milk this way, it's not being turned into soap since it doesn't undergo the saponification process. In this case, the goat milk is merely an additive and can therefore spoil. Finding orange spots in your soap can be an indicator of milk spoilage.

One benefit of using a melt and pour soap base is that your finished soap will have a smoother consistency than rebatched soap. It’s important to remember that melt and pour soap bases are made using chemicals and preservatives that you won’t find in all-natural soap. Make sure your skin can tolerate the extra chemical ingredients used in the melt and pour base.

All-Natural Goat Milk Soap You Can Trust

These are alternatives to making soap without lye but neither one is actually making soap from scratch. Both options are actually processes of reforming soap to your liking. Rebatching results in a somewhat coarse finished product. Melt and pour soap may have ingredients you might not want to use on your skin.

Because both of these alternatives to making soap with lye have drawbacks, many people opt to purchase natural, cold process goat milk soap from a brand they can trust. Our Goat Milk Soaps are made from scratch with raw goat milk and all-natural, non-toxic ingredients. We take on the risk of using lye because we have the systems in place to use it safely.

Frankincense & Myrrh Goat Milk Soap
"We love your soaps!! The Frankincense & Myrrh has done wonders for my husband and he loved the scent. We are definitely repeat customers!" - Holly H.

If you’re set on making your own soap and don't want to use lye yourself, find a good quality cold processed soap or melt and pour soap base that is made with ingredients you approve of. Have fun testing and trying different molds, scents, and additives!

If you don’t want the hassle, try our farm-fresh Goat Milk Soap. Our customers think it’s a wonderful alternative to any commercially available soap. We’ve worked hard to create goat milk products that they can trust. We’d love for you to try our soap so you can experience its safe, all-natural, skin-balancing benefits!

3 Responses


I’m preparing to make my first batch of soap and I really appreciate how indepth your article is. It answered a lot of questions! Although, it wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge!

PJ Jonas

You’re very welcome, T.J.!

T. J. Taylor

This is an amazingly thorough, accurate, and thoughtful explanation of soap making. It gently lets “all things natural” folks know that lye is natural, and it is necessary for real soap. A good friend of mine made a special goats milk soap as a baby soap for her 8 children and now for her 12+ grandchildren, and she uses lye. The key is using it properly so the chemical process is completed, letting the soap age, and such. I look forward to receiving a bar of it at Christmas. It is so gentle and good for older skin too. Keep up the good work, Goat Milk Stuff. Thanks for what you do.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.