How to Make Homemade Goat's Milk Soap

Goat's milk soap
Rachel Strohm/Flickr CC 2.0
  • 01 of 08

    Make Goat's Milk Soap

    The materials for making soap with goat's milk
    David Fisher

    Goat's milk soap is one of the most popular homemade soap recipes...and rightly so. Goat's milk makes a lovely, creamy, moisturizing soap. From Nature With Love says "Goat’s milk is a natural emollient that helps soothe and moisturize the skin. It contains vitamins A, B6, B12 and E. Goat’s milk has 3 times more beta-casein than cow’s milk. Caseins are easily absorbed into the skin and allow for quick hydration of dry skin. The content of triglycerides, capric, caprylic and caproic acid helps balance the skin’s natural pH and promotes natural exfoliation of dry skin." 

    Making soap with goat's milk takes a bit more preparation and time, but is definitely worth the trouble.

    There are basically three forms of milk you can incorporate into your soaps:

    1. Fresh goat's milk
    2. Powdered goat's milk
    3. Canned (evaporated) goat's milk

    Each requires a slightly different technique.

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Using Fresh Goat's Milk in Soap

    Ice Bath for Lye Solution
    David Fisher

    The main challenge using fresh goat's milk in place of water in your lye solution is that as the lye heats up, it caramelizes the sugars in the milk, turning it a bright orange color. The soap ends up being a light orange-amber color. Most people prefer a whiter soap, so they go through a few steps to minimize the orange color.

    The main way is to keep the lye solution cool as you're mixing it. Start by putting your lye pitcher into a large bowl of ice water. This ice bath will help keep the solution cool as you're mixing it.

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Use Frozen Goat's Milk and Add Lye Slowly

    Slushy Goat's Milk
    David Fisher

    Start out measuring enough goat's milk to equal the amount of water in your recipe. Put it in ice cube trays or a Ziploc bag and freeze it to at least a slushy consistency. Break up the frozen milk and put it in your pitcher. Stir until it's slightly slushy and then start adding your lye, bit by bit, very slowly.

    Wait several minutes between adding more lye.

    You don't want the temperature to get much over 90 F.  Keep adding tiny bits of lye to the mixture until it's all mixed. For a normal batch of lye-milk, this will take me 10 to 15 minutes.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Fresh Goat's Milk Lye Solution

    Finished Lye-Milk Solution
    David Fisher

    Even keeping the lye solution cool, you'll still get a bit of orange color. Part of this comes from the goat's milk itself...and part of this comes from the lye heating things up. What we're trying to do with the ice bath is keep it cool and minimize the color shift.

    Once the lye is mixed with the milk, make your soap like you normally would, using the milk-lye solution in place of your water-lye solution.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Using Powdered Goat's Milk in Soap Recipes

    Powdered Goat's Milk and Oil
    David Fisher

    Another way to make goat's milk soap is to use powdered goat's milk. Many people swear that fresh goat's milk is by far the best, but in its absence using a high-quality powdered goat's milk should work just fine. Since it's a lot easier, many people prefer it!

    Check with the vendor of the milk you're buying to find out the concentration. Basically, you want to add in enough powdered goat's milk to make it the same amount of milk as if you were using fresh goat's milk. The powdered goat's milk we use is pretty concentrated. This recipe uses about 1 oz. (by weight) of powdered milk for every 8 oz. of water.

    As you are measuring out your oils, separate two or three ounces of oil and mix the milk into it with a whisk. Stir briskly to get out all the lumps. Set it aside to add at trace.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Add Goat's Milk Solution at Trace

    Adding Goat's Milk at Trace
    David Fisher

    Make your soap like you normally would, except at a very light trace, add in the goat's milk/oil mixture.

    Stir well and pour as you normally would.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Using Evaporated Goat's Milk

    Frozen Evaporated Goat's Milk
    David Fisher

    Many canned goat's milks are evaporated. To make regular strength goat's milk, you add an equal amount of water. Using evaporated goat's milk in your soap is sort of a combination of using the fresh and powdered:

    1. Make your lye solution using half of the water called for in the recipe. For example, if your recipe calls for 8 oz. of water, make it with four. Be careful with this solution, for it will be very strong. If the lye doesn't dissolve completely, you can add a few more tablespoons of water, a bit at a time, until it's all dissolved.
    2. Use goat's milk for the other half of the liquid called for in the recipe. So, if your recipe called for 8 oz. of water, use 4 oz. of water to make the lye solution, and set aside 4 oz. of evaporated goat's milk to use later.
    3. Prepare to mix your soap like you normally would, but when it comes time to add the lye solution to the oils, add the liquid goat's milk first. Stir it well.
    4. Then the double-strength lye solution to the mixture and mix until it reaches trace.

    You may get a little bit of orange color shift using this method (some of it from the color of the goat's milk itself)...but not too much.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Difference in Goat's Milk Soap Colors

    Goat's Milk Soap
    David Fisher

    The color differences between the methods are small. The batch on the left used liquid goat's milk in an ice bath. The batch on the right used powdered goat's milk. Part of the orange color is from the actual color differences in the milks: goat farmers say that the color can even change depending on the season. Using powdered milk does pretty much eliminate the orange shift.