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Sea Mud Soap Recipe

Affiliate Disclosure | in DIY Beauty | by | with 57 Comments


“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea”

~ Baroness Karen Blixen

I love the sea like some people love chocolate. Nothing stills my soul like the sound of waves lapping away every last worry as the salty breeze kisses my skin. When I’m feeling a little ragged – which, uh, happens from time to time while parenting, right? – I crave what Daddypotamus and I call “beach therapy.” Unfortunately with three little ones and a homestead, we can’t just pick up anytime and head to the shore. So when I can’t go to the beach, I make beach therapy in a bar.

While it’s just as easy as my three-ingredient pure coconut oil soap, it’s got a personality of it’s own. The lather is so luxurious I can’t help but feel like I’m at a spa when I work it through my hands, and I love the way my skin drinks in its moisture. And of course it contains one of the greatest gifts of the sea – mud!

Why Sea Mud?

Sea mud – also known as French green clay – is often called majestic clay . . . and for good reason. It contains montmorillonite, decomposed plant material such as kelp and seaweed, magnesium, calcium, potassium, dolomite, silica, manganese, phosporous, silicon, copper, selenium,  and up to nine mineral oxides. These elements work synergistically to nourish and gently detoxify skin, while the olive oil moisturizes and softens. Though sea clay is recommended for all skin types, it is thought to be especially helpful for individuals suffering from acne, eczema and psoriasis (What is the REAL cause of acne?). Are you ready to get started?


Sea Mud Spa Soap

All amounts are by weight:


  • 20 oz. olive oil
  • 10 oz. coconut oil (where to buy coconut oil) *
  • 11.4 oz water (preferably distilled)
  • 4.2 oz lye (where to buy lye) **
  • 2-4 level tablespoons sea mud, also known as French green clay. Use two for a more moisturizing bar and and four for a more deep cleansing/detoxifying bar. (where to buy french green clay)
  • 1/2 ounce essential oils (I like rosemary for this recipe, but cedarwood, lavender and tea tree are also good options)

* For soap making purposes there are several types of coconut oil. The stuff I buy has a melting point of 76 degrees. This is the most commonly available kind and the preferred type for soap making. There is also a coconut oil that has a melting point of 92 degrees and another that is “fractionated,” meaning that the long chain triglycerides have been removed, leaving only saturated fats. I have not tested this recipe with either the 92 degree or fractionated oils, but it works well with the 76 degree type. ** You can often find 100% lye in the drain cleaner section of a mom n’ pop hardware store. Lye is a naturally occurring substance that can be made by burning hardwoods and boiling the ashes, but it’s much easier to just buy. If you don’t see it, ask a sales clerk for help. They may be keeping it behind the counter because it has multiple uses. Be prepared to explain that you want to make soap, not meth. :)


Photo Tutorial:

Step 1: Weigh all your ingredients.


Step 2: Add coconut oil and olive oil to the slow cooker. When they are almost fully melted move on to step 3.

sea-mud-soap-recipe sea mud soap recipe 2

Step 3: Add your water to a medium-sized glass or ceramic bowl and take it outside along with the lye and long-handled spoon.

While wearing your protective gear and taking care not to breathe the vapors, slowly add the lye to the water while mixing gently. Order is important here, so make sure it is the lye you’re pouring into the water.


The mixture will get very hot so be careful! Let it transition from cloudy to clear, then bring it inside. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Add lye to crockpot (being careful not to splash) and stir a few times.


Step 5: Using the stick blender begin mixing toward “trace.” You’ll know trace is achieved when the mixture has the texture and thickness of a light pudding.


Step 6: Cover and let cook on low. During this process the oils should rise up the sides like a wave and then fold back into the mixture.

Mine usually takes 45 minutes – 1 hour but the cooking time will vary depending on how hot your crock pot is. Check on it often.

Step 7: After the soap has been cooking for about 20 minutes add the sea clay and mix thoroughly.

Some people prefer to add the clay at the end so that it doesn’t go through the cooking process, but I prefer to add it at this point because otherwise I end up with white clumps of untinted soap mixed in the the final bar. In my opinion the therapeutic properties of the clay remain intact when added at this point.


Step 8: When the soap is ready it should look a little like semi-translucent vaseline with no oil puddles in the middle.

In the photo below there is a small oil puddle – this batch is not yet ready.


The batch below has no oil puddles, and you can also see how it has risen up on the sides and then folded back into itself. It’s ready to test.


There are two ways to test and see if it’s done. First, dip a PH test strip and wait several minutes for it to fully change color. It should be between 7-10. If it is higher than 10 it’s not done. For a slightly less scientific approach, take a little of the soap and rub it between your fingers. It should feel a bit waxy. Now touch it to your tongue. If it ‘zaps’ you, it’s not done.

Note: It is really important to make sure all the lye is converted – otherwise the finished soap can burn skin.

Step 9: If you’re adding essential oils, wait until the mixture cools a little and then add them, otherwise they will lose their fragrance.

(I added rosemary and peppermint but forgot to take a photo.)

Step 10: Spoon mixture into your mold and let cool. If you want to speed up this process put it in the fridge


Step 11: Cut bars after 24 hours.

Step 12: In an area with good air flow, place bars on a rack/tray with about an inch of space between them.

Allow them to dry out and harden for another few days. Though you can try your first bar right away, it’s best to let them sit for 2-3 weeks to let the conditioning properties fully develop.

sea-mud-soap-3f Shelf Life About 1 year when stored in a cool, dry place.

Looking For More Recipes?

DIY Organic Beauty Recipes4-001

My ebook, DIY Organic Beauty Recipes, is a 198 page guide that will show you how ridiculously easy it is to make your own beauty products, like:

  • Quick yet luxurious gifts for friends and baby showers
  • Fabulous shampoos and conditioners
  • Tooth whitener
  • Lotion
  • Body sprays
  • Deodorants and more.

Check it out here

Disclaimer: Sodium Hydroxide is highly caustic and should be handled carefully and knowledgeably. It is the soap makers responsibility to research safety procedures for soap making.

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57 Responses to Sea Mud Soap Recipe

  1. Allison says:

    Can’t wait to try this! Would Bentonite clay work here also?

    • Amy says:

      I’d love to know that too. Just purchased a container of bentonite clay.

      • Heather says:

        I have not tried it with bentonite, but I believe it would work.

      • Claude says:

        Heather, any reason you are not using coconut milk with the lye like for the other recipe, the bar soap??thank you

        • Heather says:

          I found that it makes the instructions easier to follow. In order for beginning soapmakers to know the lye is ready they need to be able to see when it goes from cloudy to clear, and the coconut milk interferes with that.

  2. Michelle Cathey says:

    I tried to send you an email regarding my purchase of you Organic Beauty recipes but not sure if I sent correctly or where I found an email address. Would you mind posting a way to contact you please? Thanks!!

  3. Sara Carlson says:

    I was just wondering how long these bars last. i have read that a mostly coconut oil soap tends to be a softer soap. I also know that the longer you let them “cure” the harder they would be.

    Any thoughts?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Sarah, did you mean mostly olive oil soap? Yes, it does tend to be softer but some of that is balanced by the addition of coconut oil to this recipe. I’d say that if they’re dried well they should last at least a year. I’m not 100% on that, though, because we always use ours up before then :)

  4. Cait says:

    I hope to make several batches of soap for Christmas gifts, and this will definitely be one of them! Your coconut oil soap was my first (and favorite so far). I haven’t actually used a crockpot at all though. I’ve just reached trace and kept it on the stovetop on low for awhile, and let it cure well. Do you know of any reason not to do it this way, if it seems to work? We haven’t had any issues with lye remaining, as far as I know, and since there is also cold process soap I wonder if it’s fine and more about being mixed well and curing for a bit.

  5. Laura Allison says:

    I was wondering if you had utensils just for soap making or if you just clean them well enough. I new to soap making and am excited about this recipe!

  6. Lisa says:

    Do you use a crockpot that is dedicated to soap making? Can I use my everyday one and wash it out and still use it for cooking?

  7. Erin says:

    Radiantly You sells Dead Sea Mud soap and Dead Sea Whipped Face Wash. Mommypotamus you should check them out :)

  8. Karen Wood says:

    Thank you for the tutorial. I haven’t made soap yet but I recently purchased almost everything I need for it. Just need to get some litmus test papers. I have the clay so am going to make this first.

  9. Debbie says:

    The French green clay the you use has aluminum in it (14%), isn’t this a concern for you?

  10. Sea Mud Soap Recipe | All Natural Home and Beauty says:

    […] I love the quote by Baroness Karen Blixen about the cure for anything being salt water, sweat, tears, or the sea. Anytime I see the sea I get so excited. I don’t know why I live in the middle of a dessert when I love the ocean so much. So instead I try to find little ways to bring the sea to me… and one of those is this awesome sea mud soap recipe. […]

  11. Sheena says:

    Hello! I just made the sea mud soap recipe and I did everything to the T but it seems as if the clay dried my oil infusion out. Did you mean to add teaspoons or is the tablespoons in the recipe correct? I made one batch with the 4 tablespoons and another with 2 tablespoons and the same outcome came for both batches. In the picture above it shows you having oil in the middle of the batch after the clay was added but mine didn’t do that with either batch I’ve made. Should I decrease the clay from tablespoons to teaspoons or add a luxury oil in with my eo’s? Help!?!?!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Sheena, I used four tablespoons. Did you measure everything by weight?

      • sheena says:

        Hi Heather!! Yes, everything was measured by weight. This was my first time using clay though. I measured out the tablespoons and put them into a container and weighed them as well to write everything down in my book by weight. I am going to try a different tablespoon my next batch to see if maybe the tablespoon I have is incorrect. I absolutely love your 100% coconut oil soap!! I’ve made tons of it and everyone that has tried it has fallen in love! Your blog is wonderful and I’m so happy I’ve found it!

  12. Katy says:

    Is this pH a good option for dog shampoo?


  13. Carla says:

    My first ever at trying homemade soap and this one really appealed to me. So I made it and it turned out perfect! Absolutely beautiful! I’ve been a long time follower of yours. I trusted and felt very comfortable and confident with this recipe. Trust me, I’ve truly researched soap making because lye scared me! That all that was holding me back. I read this recipe out of at least 50 and am so very thankful for you and all your work. You share and educate at the same time, which made it very welcoming. Again, thank you <3
    Carla :-)

    • Heather ~ Mommypotamus says:

      Woohoo! I’m so glad it worked well for you, Carla!

      • Carla says:

        Hi ma’am, I just am so happy! These projects I’m doing for the holiday season. My daughter is pregnant and loves the liquid soap recipe I made her from your site too. Makes her feel pampered ;-). Love your site and am always sharing. I’m very comfortable using your recipes, you’re honest and a lot of the other recipes I see out there aren’t always tried and true. But with yours, you always have the added touch of adding something special, whether it be a extra ingredient to make you feel special, which we all should to your antidotes to short stories. Again, I cannot say thank you enough. You’ve made this girl all giggady to make things again :-)

  14. Carla says:

    Loving this recipe so much I want to play a bit with it. I want to add hemp or goats milk. I understand I replace the distilled water for theilks but would it work in this recipe being a crock pot method?

    • Carla says:

      Just a recap on my playing with this recipe, I’ve added coconut milk, goats milk, argan oil, other EO’s I’ve even made a gardener scrub with this recipe. Again, they all turned out beautiful and sudsy most of all the perfect moisturizing bar of soap. Again, thank you for this recipe… And the best part, they’ll all be ready for the holidays. My pumpkin soap smells amazing 😉

  15. Rachel says:

    Can I use a mixer instead of stick blender?

    • Heather ~ Mommypotamus says:

      I would not use a mixer due to the risk of splashing, but a stainless steel or plastic spoon will work. It will just take longer to reach trace.

  16. Rebekah says:

    this may be a silly, but can you use this recipe for cold process soap making? Wasn’t sure if the ingredients need to be adjusted for a different method?

    Thanks :)

  17. bobbi jenkins says:

    this is my 3rd soap recipe of yours that i have made.
    i love how helpful you are and the photos that you post are super helpful as well.

    does this soap melt quickly when it is used? i observed that the coconut soap melted quickly once i used it; i have not let it cure more than a few days though.

    thanks and God bless!!!

  18. Trisha Lucas says:

    Hi, I have this recipe in the crock pot as I speak. This was my first time making soap and in the process of measuring out my oils I realized I didn’t have enough coconut oil on had to make it so I decided to half it…..not sure if the lye/water ratio is okay if i just half everything. Since I already had some EVOO measured out i just used that which was 11 oz and then made up the rest with coconut oil which was 4 oz. I thought as long as I have 15 oz of oil I’m good, does it matter what type of oil or can it just be a combination of oils to make up 15 oz? Then i heated the oils in a sauce pan on the stove on low and went out side to make my lye/water mixture. I came back in and the pan with the oil was popping….like it got too hot. I turned it as low as possible and added the lye mixture (after waiting approx 5 mins). It started to foam and bubble up to the top of the pan and sounded like a deep fryer after only adding like a TBSP or two. So I thought maybe the lye was still too hot, it was clear. Then I decided to pour the oil into a crockpot to see if that would work better. My crockpot was not warmed up so I was hoping it would cool the oils down. When pouring the oil mixture I noticed setiment on the bottom of the oil pan, like little clumps. I’m hoping this is not an issue. So now I turn the crockpot to low and add the lye and that went fine, no reaction at all from the liquid. Now I’m waiting patiently for it to cook and fold over and it is but only a tiny bit. It’s still at barely more than a trace. A very little bit foaming. Please help,,, if anything can I re use this batch in another attempt or is it a goner?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Trisha, unfortunately it does matter what kind of oil is used. Different oils have different saponification values, and the amount of lye used has to be precisely calculated. I’m sure it must be very disappointing for your first attempt, but I’m afraid this batch is a goner.

  19. Kayla Herman says:

    I have only made cp soap, so this makes me want to try hp!

  20. riens handmade soap says:

    Oh wow, I’ve gotta try this. I always wanted to make green clay cleasing and detox soap but I have yet to do it. I’d do cold process of course.

  21. Rachel says:

    Hi Heather,
    For sea mud soap, can you use coconut oil to replace olive oil? Thanks.

  22. kristen says:

    Made this last night. Of course I forgot to add my EOs 0_o I wanted to add rosemary and ylang ylang…oh well I’ll just have to make another batch Thursday :)

  23. kristen says:

    I have a soapy q: after the oils/water traced I let the soap cook for 30 minutes. At about 20 minutes, I noticed that it appeared as if the oils and water had separated. Why did that happen? After another 1 hour, they recombined; however it took about 2.5 hours total for my soap to fully cook. Is this normal?

  24. Edward Hutcheson says:

    Helio Heather,
    I have a question . .. can I use a cold press method for the recipes?

  25. Rachel says:

    Can I use sea mud soap on face?

  26. Maria says:

    Hi, did you use wet french green clay?

  27. Tori says:

    Could I use a 6 quart crock pot for this or is it essential to use an 8 quart?

  28. Tori says:

    Would a roaster work to replace a crock pot! I am having difficulty finding an 8 quart one, or could I do two batches?

  29. Tori says:

    Can I use a roaster instead of a crock pot? If not can I use two 4 quart crock pots

  30. Natural Hair Care & Body Wash: Recipes & Recommendations - MommypotamusMommypotamus | says:

    […] Two other options are this luxurious pure coconut oil soap that can be made in a crockpot (again, only three ingredients!) and this nourishing sea mud soap. […]

  31. Carol says:

    Hi, I live in Brazil and I don’t find Lye in here. Could I replace it with glycerin? Would it work?

  32. Leah says:

    Maybe a silly question, but when using the bread loaf pan as your mold, how do you cut the soap to make it look best?

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