Make Shampoo and Soap Using Soapwort

Soapwort (soapwart - Saponaria officinalis) is an herb that's actually fairly easy to grow, and contains saponins which slightly lathers when agitated. It is very gentle on the skin, so it can even be used on babies. Here's a way to make shampoo, body soap, laundry soap, and face or hand cleanser that suitable for all hair types:

You'll Need:

  • 2 cups distilled water (boiled water is fine)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried soapwort root, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons dried lemon verbena (for fragrance)

  • 2 teaspoons dried catnip (to promote healthy hair growth - for shampoo)
Boil the water in a medium-sized pan you keep for just such projects. Add the soapwort and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the herbs, and allow the mixture to cool. Strain the herbs using cheesecloth or a coffee filter, pouring just the liquid into a bottle.

Makes enough for 6-7 shampoos or 20+ hand washings (more if used sparingly). Massage into skin before adding warm water. Note that it doesn't lather up quite like store-bought soap and shampoo. Use within a week or so. Store in a cool, dark place.

Use the same bottle of soap to add to your laundry's wash water.

Note: Since the herbs are dried, all year long you can make a fresh batch weekly. Change up the scent - instead of using lemon verbena, try peppermint or rose petals.


Homemade Shampoo said...

With that catnip, you must be very popular with the local cats :-)

Great recipe. I've got to give it a go. Thanks.

ThrtnWmsFam said...

Prefer dogs and rabbits over cats!!! Vikki

Vanessa said...

What does the soapwort soap smell like without the extras? Im super curious about making a non lye based cleanser.

Vee and the Kid said...

That's exactly why I found and am working with this recipe. Didn't want lye. But soapwort doesn't have much a smell, not that you'd recognize. Just kinda of earthy (my opinion).

Vanessa said...

Thanks for the reply! I've read so many horror stories of lye burns. I don't want anything that harsh near my family. We're working towards some land and building our own house ourselves. I'm new to the whole make-your-own movement. It's amazing!

How does your hair feel after a soapwort shampooing?

Vee and the Kid said...

I'll admit that the texture afterwards take some getting used to. We're Americans think hair is supposed to feel squeaky clean, when that's actually damaging. Try it and see.