How much does it cost to make soap?

The cost of making your own soap

How much it costs to make soap depends on the ingredients you are using and where you are purchasing those ingredients.

Handmade Soap

Beautiful Handmade Soap

A few years ago I spent the time to figure out how much my supplies were costing per gram.  I did this because most of my recipes I weigh by grams.  I have some oils I had figured out the price per ounce below you will find my list.  This was done a few years ago so the prices are probably a little higher now, but it will give you an idea.

Lets take a basic soap recipe and price it out

  • 850 Grams Olive Oil @ .006 per gram = 5.10
  • 250 Grams Coconut Oil @ .007 per gram = 1.75
  • 200 Grams Palm Oil @ .007 per gram = 1.40
  • 100 Grams Almond Oil @ .027 per gram = 2.70
  • 90 Grams Calendula Oil @ .056 per gram = 5.04
  • 25 Grams Grape seed Oil @ .02 per gram = .50
  • 215 Grams Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) @ .009 = 1.935
  • 2 – 2.25 cups (500 grams) Water

The total cost before adding scent to this batch of soap would be $18.42 and this batch will make approximately 15 bars

The cost to make a bar of soap using this recipe would be $1.22 per bar.  If this bar was scented with Lavender Essential Oil an additional $3.51 should be added which would raise the price of each bar of soap to $1.46

This is your cost before any overhead or labour, so keep that in mind when selling your soap.

Price of Oils

Here are prices on some of the oils you may use in soap making note they are all per gram unless otherwise noted:

  • Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) – .009
  • Coconut Oil – .007
  • Palm Oil – .007
  • Palm Kernal Oil – .007
  • Grapeseed Oil – .02
  • Castor Oil – .0168
  • Olive Oil – .006
  • Hemp Oil – .05
  • Shea Butter – .0368
  • Cocoa Butter – .0356

Prices on some essential oils – these prices were from a few years ago and these oils have gone up in price considerably the last few years so keep that in mind.  These prices are per ounce.

Essential Oils – price per ounce

  • Eucalyptus Globulu – 16.08
  • Ginger – 28.51
  • Rose Otto – 108.26
  • Rosewood – 65.28
  • Chamomile – Roman – 128.08
  • Chamomile – German – 69.68
  • Bergamot – 23.54
  • Cinnamon – 4.36
  • Spearmint – 9.35
  • Lavender – 3.51
  • Lemongrass – 3.67
  • Rosemary – 4.25
  • Orange – 6.89
  • Sandalwood – 89.96

This gives a general idea of the cost to make your own soap.  Some Essential oils are really expensive which is the reason most soap makers do use fragrance oils.  For comparison here are some of those prices

Fragrance Oils – price per ounce

  • English Rose – 3.76
  • Sage n Citrus – 3.58
  • Cranberry – 3.89
  • Patchouli – 3.54
  • Egyptian Musk – 5.22

The cost of your ingredients really depends on where you are buying them.  If you are buying your supplies from a soap supplier chances are the prices will be better, and of course the larger the quantity the cheaper the price.  With my most popular essential oils I buy them in 1 litre bottles which are expensive but in the long run save me a lot of money compared to buying them in 4 or 8 ounce bottles.

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18 Responses to How much does it cost to make soap?

  1. Michel says:

    One of my friends makes homemade organic soaps for a living, and I know it is pretty expensive to do. She has to charge more than what the average bar of soap would cost in the shop to make a profit.

    Nevertheless, her soaps are very special, and a lot of people buy them at the higher price for the health benefits that they offer, so it is always a case of weighing the one against the other I guess.

    • Tes says:

      Your right Michel, people that know what they are buying are willing to pay more for natural and organic soaps, which is great.  The cost of organic oils and other ingredients can be very expensive.

  2. Rodarrick says:

    How unimaginably small it is to invest into making of soap. Wow! I always think soap making is rather a very big venture to get involved in. This is rather minute to invest in and I’m sure that getting attached to this is way much more easier than I could have ever imagined. Thanks so Mich for this and for sharing out. Even if everything were to increase, it would still be considerable to get

    • Tes says:

      It does seem inexpensive, but it can be addicting for sure and as you want to try more scents and oils a person can end up with a large inventory if you don’t watch out.  

  3. C says:

    Thank you for this great article. I was wondering how you would make your own soap. It would be good because then you could be sure that the soap is all natural. I would like soap with essential oils because essential oils have lots of benefits and they also smell good. I did not know that you can make soap with lye. I have not heard very much about lye except for that scene in Fight Club. Thanks for your expertise on making your own soap and have a great day.

  4. AJ says:

    Wow. Great article! This is very informative. I can actually start a small business with this! I may need the instructions on how I can make this. I mean like the step by step process on how to make a soap. On how to mix all the ingredients etc. I hope you can help me with that or send me a link. Thank you. All the best. 

  5. Wendy says:

    Just like any business, it is important to figure out your cost in products as well as the value of your time. So I found this post very valuable as it helps me to know not only how much it costs to make soap but it gives me an idea of a retail price to sell my soap for so I can make a profit. 

    I am excited to try out your Beer soap recipe as I love microbrews. Thanks for another great post.

    • Tes says:

      Hi Wendy,

      That’s what I like to do for sure.  Know the cost of the product I’m making and take it from there, making sure I’m making a profit.  The Beer soap is amazing, I’m sure you will love it.

  6. Nuttanee says:

    Thank you for breaking down the price on making soaps. No wonder why handmade soap at the store sells at the higher margin. I want to start making my own soap since there are so many additives on the commercial soaps in the market. 

    I will try out the recipe and take it from there. 🙂

    • Tes says:

      I have always liked to figure out the cost per bar and then look at the competitions prices.  If you are selling at craft fairs etc, you don’t want to charge so much that you don’t sell any.  So always check the competition and make sure you price to that and make sure you are still making a profit.

  7. Antonio says:


    It is interesting to cost anything to the nearest cent and their are many, well known techniques to calculate costs. You can get a rough idea of cost using published data. The biggest problem is that there is more to cost than simple raw materials, as you need to include labour, operating costs, maintenance cost, taxes and many more costs. One rule of thumb is that the selling price should be  4 or 5 times the manufacturing cost, which includes raw cost, material costs, and operating costs. That will make things more costly but if you buy  things in bulk, you often get a discount, which will reduce prices.

    These figures will be useful for those looking for unit prices to cost soap. The more data you have the more accurate the information will be.

    Thank you


    • Tes says:

      You are correct about the costing, but I have found with making soap you would have to charge a lot more than the going price of soap if you took into account your labour, overhead etc.  Especially when it is a small home based business.  On a larger scale for sure as you would be buying in such large quantities that your costs on materials would be so much lower.

      The costing here is basically for figuring out the cost per bar not including any labour etc.

  8. Anthony Beatrice says:

    I learned something today from your post.  Soap and its included ingredients and its scents and oils are higher than I expected, especially since the prices were from a few years ago.  This post gave me an inside view on the bar soap industry at a basic level; the ingredients.  I would be interested on hearing more on this topic, and I would recommend this post to others.

    • Tes says:

      Yes Anthony depending on the oils a person wants to use in soap making it can be expensive.  That is why at markets you see soap ranging in prices from $5.00 a bar and up, but there is nothing like a great homemade soap.

  9. Sj says:

    I have never thought about selling or making homemade soap before. I like how you gave a break down of the price per gram and if you are selling this I’m sure you would have to figure in your costs for labor too. I would have no idea how to do any of that. However, I would love to give this a try just for my own use at home first. Especially since I’m so allergic to a lot of soaps. Homemade soap may be just what I need.

    • Tes says:

      I started making my own soap because I had skin allergies to everything else.  From there it just grew.  Enjoy soapmaking.

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