Gently Borne Midwifery Services Home
Mothers Milk Soap
The Most Precious Soap in the World!
by Casey Makela
originally published in Birth Gazette - Summer 1999
I love to make soap and I have been making it and teaching classes about it for almost as long as I've
been a midwife! My research into the process and success in making specialty milk soaps led me to write
a book about it entitled - "Milk-Based Soaps".
I had a great time writing "Milk-Based Soaps" which was published in 1997. I was able to share my techniques
for soap making and meet many wonderful people as a result. I now get letters and phone calls from folks around the world finally
having success making such unique soap. It is a bit more challenging to make than just regular soap.
I was not, however, able to include some of my more exotic soap recipes, including one of my favorites -
Mothers milk Soap. My editor and publisher felt some of them were just too radical! It was too bad but I
have them compiled into another manuscript getting ready for publication anyway...you know how we
midwives can be about being radical!!
For those of you who have ever considered making soap or if you make soap already, I thought I'd
share with you my recipe for Mothering Soap so you can enjoy it too, or pass it along to someone else.
The following recipe will make some of the most wonderful and precious soap you will ever use. And, it
will last a long, long time because it makes about 8 pounds, or 32 bars if you use the kind of molds I do.
This soap is for personal, not commercial use. I would like to caution you about the issue of bio-hazards
if you decide to work with someone else's breast milk for soap making. Please be responsible and use
precautions when handling raw, unpasteurized human milk.
Before you start this project, make sure you have enough milk!! It will take time to accumulate it all but
you can do it!!
You will need to pump and store your milk in the freezer until you have at least one cup or as much as 6
cups. Add a little beer to your diet, it might help production!
This milk does not have to be pasteurized...and its condition once thawed can be variable, don't worry
**Please do not use colostrum. Your baby needs it all, that is liquid gold so don't sell your babe short. A
good time to start collecting milk for this project would be about a month after you have established
breast feeding. Your important infant/mother bond comes first!!
Mothers Milk Soap Recipe
32 (4-ounce) bars
3 lbs. vegetable shortening
17 ounces dark olive oil
18 ounces Safflower oil
6 cups thawed breast milk
(you can use any amount of breast milk you like and substitute the rest,
make sure your total fluid volume reaches 6 cups).
12 ounces pure sodium hydroxide (lye - Red Devil brand works)
1 ounce Borax
2 TLBS honey
1 ounce Essential oil - optional
Stainless steel pans
Wooden or stainless steel spoons
Newspaper to cover counter tops
***Wear Gloves and protective eye-wear when making soap...lye burns!!
****Use only stainless steel pans for making soap - DO NOT use aluminum!!
Melt the veg. shortening in a sauce pan (about 8 quart size)and add the oils. Bring temp up slowly until
the shortening is all melted. Don't over heat or scorch the oils.
Plug your kitchen sink. Fill half way with water and add about 3 dozen ice cubes.
Put thawed cold breast milk in a sauce pan (about 3 quart size). Place the sauce pan into the water. You
*must* keep the milk cool when you add the lye to it or the lye will burn it and make it unusable, not to
mention real stinky!
Slowly stir in the sodium hydroxide (lye) stirring constantly and occasionally circulating the outer ice
water. The lye is going to heat the milk up as you stir it in. Avoid breathing the fumes by working in a
well ventilated area.
Adding the lye should take at least 5 minutes, any faster and you will burnout your milk. If you
accidentally splash any on yourself, rinse immediately!
Once combined, continue to stir the milk/lye mixture for just a few more minutes (3) and then remove
from the water bath and set aside. You will notice that the milk/lye mixture steadily becomes yellowish in
color. That is normal.
Add the honey and borax to your melted oil which should still be warm but not hot (115 degrees or so).
Now, slowly and carefully pour the milk/lye mixture into the pan of oil. Stir constantly until it is all mixed
This mixture must now be whipped in a blender (2/3's full at a time for safety sake). Run the blender (with the lid on) at
whip speed for 60 seconds each time. Pour off into a clean pan.
Repeat the blender process a second time. This is when you will add your essential oils.
Once the mixture has been blended twice, it will be ready to pour into a mold where it will saponify and
be ready to cut after 24 hours.
**Make sure to set a few bars secretly aside for that someday when it could make a touching "Treasured
Memory Gift" maybe when your child is all grown up. The soap will never go rancid (no matter what
you may have read elsewhere), it will only improve with age. Mothering Soap has the unique potential
of becoming something extra, special as the years roll by. But that's just this mothers
NOTE: The heavy duty molds I use for soap making are made of extruded vinyl. They are reusable and very easy to use - once it saponifies, you just slice the soap into bars, no fuss. These molds and many other soapmaking supplies are available at the Soap Shoppe page located at my Natural Soap Site -
Killmaster Soapworks Natural Soap Company
American College of Traditional Midwives
Sign the first petition ever launched to decriminalize birth!
Please sign it and pass it on!