How To Give Your Soap an Ultimate Citrus Boost 6

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!

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

About Denise

I'm a crazy goat lady who got into making my own soap with goat milk, found MMS to order supplies, and now I get to combine my love of creating skin care products with a job to pay the feed bill. I live in Alaska and greatly enjoy the unique aspects of my northern home - summer days when it never gets dark and the Northern Lights dancing above in winter. Favorite scents include Wild Mint and Ivy, Rhubarb & Sugar Cane, and Eucalyptus Spearmint.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

6 thoughts on “How To Give Your Soap an Ultimate Citrus Boost

  • Eleanor T

    Oh, my goodness! Orange and clove sounds divine! I am totally going to try that combo this season! Thanks for the great ideas! 🙂

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  • becky

    I have made plain old ( I call it pioneer) soap for years, but have a friend who wants to try some lemon rind in soap.
    How did your’s end up? did you like the texture when you used the soap, or was it weird?
    Did you get enough scent from the essential oils, or do you think adding some fragrance oil would be good too?
    Was the zest from one orange enough or would you have used more? I’m just using a plain mold, so the lettering isn’t an issue.

    Thanks for being the guinea pig for me!!

    VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    • Denise Post author

      Hi Becky! I liked the slightly scrubby texture the orange rind added to the soap. The zest from one orange was plenty for the batch size I made, but if you are making a larger batch, you may want to increase the amount of citrus rind. The more you add, the more abrasive the actual soap will turn out to be. The scent from essential oils – particularly citrus oils – can be fleeting in cold process soap. If that is a concern, by all means, find a fragrance oil you love and use it! One of my favorite lemon fragrance oils is Lemon Sugar. Give it a try and see if you love it as much as I do!

      VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  • Patti

    I made Orange, Cederwood, Patchouli soap and didn’t use enough fragrance. I like the orange zest idea. I have a planer (rasp type zester) so I will have little pieces in my soap. This will be my next batch I will make this week!

    VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)