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How To Give Your Soap an Ultimate Citrus Boost

How To Give Your Soap an Ultimate Citrus Boost

Ever wondered how to boost citrus scents in soap? Try using citrus zest!

This citrusy soap is scented with orange and clove essential oils reminiscent of a holiday pomander.

It’s hard not to love fresh, uplifting citrus scents, but they can be a challenge to hold in cold process soap. Fresh zest helps lock in that elusive scent.

Another option is to anchor citrus with base notes scents. Combining Clove Leaf and Orange Essential Oils creates a scent reminiscent of the traditional holiday pomander – an orange studded with cloves. It smells so good! This soap would be a great soap to keep by the kitchen sink.

I’m using our individual 100% Handmade guest soap molds for this batch. These are small squares that are perfect for guests, gifts, or samples.

The recipe includes castor oil for nice lather and a humectant, which draws moisture to the skin. Palm Kernel and Soybean Oil contribute to a hard bar of soap that will stay light in color. Olive Oil is one of my usual and favorite soaping oils because of its creamy lather, low cost, and flexibility.

For a liquid, I’ll use distilled water. I zested one orange to add to the soap. Join me to make this soap; here’s what you’ll need:

Soybean Oil
Palm Kernel Oil
Olive Oil
Castor Oil
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Distilled Water
1 orange
Clove Leaf Essential Oil
Orange Essential Oil, 5 Fold
Microwave Safe Container
Stick Blender
Citrus zester or grater
Soap Molds

Zesty Orange Soap Recipe

OUNCES (makes 14 ounces)
5.25 ounces Soybean Oil
4.375 ounces Palm Kernel Oil
3.5 ounces Olive Oil
0.875 Castor Oil
0.28 ounce Clove Leaf Essential Oil
0.42 ounce Orange Essential Oil, 5 Fold
Fresh zest of one orange
37.5% Soybean Oil
31.25% Palm Kernel Oil
25% Olive Oil
6.25% Castor Oil
Q.S. Clove Leaf Essential Oil (please use Fragrance Calculator)
Q.S. Orange Essential Oil, 5 Fold (please use Fragrance Calculator)
Q.S. Lye (please use Lye Calculator)
Q.S. Water (please use Lye Calculator)

This Orange Zest Soap smells fantastic scented with a combination of orange and clove essential oils.


Before getting started, please prepare to soap safely! Long sleeves, gloves, eye protection, and close-toed shoes are a must. If you have never made cold process soap before, we’re glad you’re here! Please check out this blog post, which is the first in a series on beginning soapmaking. Zesty Orange Soap is a simple recipe that is suitable for all levels.

Weigh all the oils into a microwave-safe container; set aside.

Weigh the two essential oils into a small glass container; set aside.

Weigh the lye.

Measure the water.

Zesting an orange was the first step in creating this soap.

Pouring the lye solution through a strainer because there were a few flakes in it.

Slowly add the lye to the water, stirring. Do this in a well-ventilated area. Once the lye is completely dissolved, set the mixture aside to cool.

Pop the oils into the microwave to melt, using 30-second increments. Once they are completely liquid, set them aside to cool.

Once the oils and the lye mixture are within 10 degrees of each other and have cooled to about 100-120 degrees F, you’re ready to make soap.

Carefully pour the lye mixture into the oils. Stir, then pulse the stick blender several times to emulsify. Be careful not to overuse the stick blender, as it can make a batch become thick in a hurry!

Adding the fresh orange zest into the soap batter when it had reached trace.

Soap ready to pour with the orange zest mixed in.

Add essential oils and grated orange rind, stirring by hand to thoroughly combine.

Pour the soap batter into the mold, cover, and set in a warm place. When using small individual molds, it’s important to keep the soap warm so it does not stall. You can set the mold on a wire rack over an electric heating pad for a few hours or place the mold in a warm spot. I place a plastic tote over the mold to help hold the heat in.

The soap after being poured into the molds.


The first thing I decided I should have done differently was to chop the orange zest into smaller pieces to avoid long strings.

Also, I overfilled the molds. I should have scraped off the excess soap to make it more level, as the top will become the bottom of the finished soap.

Next time I make a soap with such large pieces of additives, I will choose a mold that does not have so much detail. The zest interfered a little with the soap being able to get into all the small corners of the lettering.

Overall, I like this soap very much. The blend of the two essential oils is such a great combination of scents, and the size of the bar is ideal. Have you ever tried using citrus zest in soap? Please share your experience!

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