How to make black soap: 15 steps (with pictures)

How to make black soap: 15 steps (with pictures)
How to make black soap: 15 steps (with pictures)

Black soap is a lye-free soap made from potash. People in West Africa have used it for centuries to gently cleanse and exfoliate their skin. This product may also help relieve skin problems like rash in some people. You can apply it on your body, face, hands and hair and it is suitable for both oily and dry skin.


Prepare the base with potash

  • 100 g bag of organic potash
  • 600 ml of lukewarm distilled water

Making the soap

  • 75 g of potash base
  • 200 ml of distilled water
  • 125 ml of castor oil
  • 125 ml of coconut oil


Part 1 of 3: prepare the potash base

Make Black Soap Step 1

Step 1. Buy potash

You can buy organic potash online. You may also be able to find some in a store specializing in African products, but there may not be one near you. Usually this product is sold in 100g sachets. Make sure it is food grade, or suitable for making soap.

  • Potash is ash obtained from different materials such as cocoa, plantains or clay. Any type can be used to make black soap, the only differences being the color and texture of the product obtained.
  • You can buy potash online, at a site selling soap-making equipment or African products.
Make Black Soap Step 2

Step 2. Mix the base ingredients

Pour 100 g of organic potash into a medium-sized stainless steel saucepan. Add 600 ml of lukewarm distilled water and mix the two ingredients.

  • Potash is less aggressive than soda, but can still attack the skin. Put on rubber, plastic, or vinyl gloves and do not remove them until you have finished making the soap.
  • Do not use tap or filtered water as it may contain minerals that can affect the soap.
  • If you don't have a stainless steel pot, you can use an iron one. Do not use aluminum because it will react with the potash.
Make Black Soap Step 3

Step 3. Boil the water

Heat the mixture on the stove and watch it, because when the potash heats up, the liquid may overflow from the pan. The water should only take 2-3 minutes to come to a boil. If it takes longer, be patient.

By boiling the potash, you will start the saponification process

Make Black Soap Step 4

Step 4. Lower the heat

Heat the mixture over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. When the potash begins to harden and become crumbly, like minced meat, it's ready. Usually it takes about 30 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pan frequently with a silicone spatula during cooking.

  • On heating, the potash will absorb water and harden. You can speed up the cooking by crushing the mixture against the bottom of the pan with the spatula.
  • Watch for bubbles. Do not let the liquid overflow. If this starts to happen, remove the pot from the stove for a few seconds and wait for the mixture to stop bubbling.
Make Black Soap Step 5

Step 5. Turn off the heat

When the potash begins to have a crumbly consistency, remove it from the stove. If it doesn't look like ground meat yet, cook it for a few more minutes. When it seems crumbly, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove. You should let the product cool slightly before using it.

  • You can take the cooked potash out of the pot and put it in a jar.
  • There will be a pasty, sticky residue inside the pot, but you can easily wash it off with a little water.

Part 2 of 3: making the soap

Make Black Soap Step 6

Step 1. Heat the oils

Pour 125 ml of castor oil and 125 ml of coconut oil in a deep saucepan. Put the container on the stove and put it on low. Heat the oils, stirring frequently, until the coconut oil melts and mixes with the castor oil.

  • Be sure to use a deep pot like what you would use for cooking pasta. This way the soap won't overflow when you make it.
  • As with the preparation of potash, use a saucepan that you will not use later for cooking food.
  • If you don't have castor oil, you can substitute palm oil for it.
Make Black Soap Step 7

Step 2. Dilute some potash

Combine 75g of cooked potash and 200ml of lukewarm distilled water. Weigh the potash with a kitchen scale. Put it in a bowl and add 200 ml of distilled water. Let the ingredients sit for a few minutes until the potash dissolves.

  • Use distilled water for the best results.
  • The time required for the potash to dissolve is variable. It can take between 5 and 10 min.
  • Store any remaining cooked potash in an airtight container. This is very important to prevent it from absorbing ambient moisture and becoming corrosive.
Make Black Soap Step 8

Step 3. Mix the ingredients

Pour the potash diluted in the lukewarm oil. Scrape the bottom and sides of the cul-de-poule with a silicone spatula to avoid wasting potash. Stir the ingredients to combine them.

Make Black Soap Step 9

Step 4. Heat the mixture

Heat it over high heat, stirring frequently until it thickens. Cooking will produce a lot of smoke. It is advisable to open a window and turn on the extractor hood above the stove. If you have a portable stove that you can put outside, that’s even better.

Don't wait too long. As soon as the mixture starts to thicken, go to the next step

Make Black Soap Step 10

Step 5. Turn off the heat

Remove the pot from the stove and wait for its contents to come to room temperature to finish making the soap. At this point, you can stir in some tincture or essential oil, although this is not usual for black soap. Most people use it as is, without adding another product.

Part 3 of 3: Introducing and Using Soap

Make Black Soap Step 11

Step 1. Form soaps

Pour the mixture into soap molds. A large, long, rectangular mold is best for this process. You will simply have to cut the black soap into individual bars before it finishes setting. You can also try using small, individual silicone molds.

  • Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan with a silicone spatula to avoid wasting soap.
  • You can also let the soap set in the pot and break it into smaller pieces later.
Make Black Soap Step 12

Step 2. Let the mixture harden

Wait 24 to 48 hours before unmolding and cutting the soap. After removing it from the mold, place it on a flat surface and cut it into rolls about 3 to 4 cm thick with a sharp knife with a non-serrated blade.

  • If you used individual molds, you don't need to cut out the soap. Simply unmold the small soaps on a flat surface, as if you were unmolding cakes.
  • If you left the mixture in the pan, break it into small pieces the size of marbles. You will get small single-use soaps that are perfect for washing your face and hands.
Make Black Soap Step 13

Step 3. Let the soaps set

Let them sit on a metal rack for 2 weeks. Its very important. Like soda-based soap, black soap should be given time to set properly, knowing that it will never be as harsh as regular bar soaps.

Turn the soaps over after a week so that they set evenly

Make Black Soap Step 14

Step 4. Save the soaps

When not in use, keep them in an airtight container. Wrap them in plastic wrap or put them in plastic zipper bags. If you've broken the mixture into small, individual pieces, you can keep them together in a jar or airtight plastic bag.

  • If you want to put the soap in a soap dish, make sure the object has holes or slits at the bottom so that the water can escape.
  • It is important to keep black soap away from moisture. If it gets wet it will start to melt.
  • After a while, a white film may form on the surface of the black soap. It's normal. This does not damage the product and does not prevent it from being effective.
Make Black Soap Step 15

Step 5. Lather the product

Make foam to apply to your skin. Black soap is very grainy and if you apply it to your skin you may irritate it. Lather the soap first and use the lather to wash yourself.

  • If you are using a small piece that you have broken off, roll it into a ball to avoid any hard, pointed parts.
  • The black soap may produce a slight stinging and burning sensation, but this is normal. However, if you have redness, stop using the product and consult a dermatologist.


  • Black soap does not spoil over time.
  • Potash is ash from different products. Therefore, if you cannot find a particular type, you may well be able to use a different one.
  • The color of potash depends on the material it comes from. Depending on the type used, the color of black soap can therefore range from very light brown to dark brown.


  • If you have a latex allergy, do not use plantain potash, palm oil, or coconut oil. Try another oil, such as olive or castor oil.
  • If you are allergic to chocolate (cocoa) or caffeine, do not use potash from cocoa pods.
  • If you have redness or dermatitis, stop using black soap and see a dermatologist.
  • Do not use an aluminum saucepan or utensil to make black soap, as this metal will react with the potash.

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