This post may contain affiliate links, to learn more about them, check out our Disclosure.

The great thing about soap making is that there are so many different things you can add to your recipes! One of my favorite things to add to my cleaning soaps is citric acid. There are a number of reasons you may want to explore adding citric acid to a soap recipe as well.

  1. Adjusting pH: Citric acid helps balance the pH of the soap. When dissolved in water and combined with sodium hydroxide (for bar soap) or potassium hydroxide (for liquid soap), it becomes sodium citrate. This helps maintain the soap’s pH level.
  2. Water Softening: Citric acid acts as a chelating agent, which means it binds to metal ions in water. By preventing these ions from interfering with the soap, it reduces soap scum and improves lather.
  3. Enhancing Lather: Adding citric acid can lead to a soap with better lathering properties. It contributes to a bubbly and creamy lather, making your soap more enjoyable to use.

I love adding citric acid to my dish bars for these very reasons!

How To Use Citric Acid in Soap

Because the citric acid does essentially eat away at your sodium hydroxide, you do need to make some adjustments to your recipe calculations. It’s not hard, it is just a bit of math.

You want to usually use 1-2% of your oil weight. Every 1g of Citric Acid consumes 0.624g of lye, so you will need to add the extra lye back into your recipe in order to keep your super fat the same.

As an example: If you are using 1000g total oils in your recipe and want to add 2% citric acid (1000 x 0.02) = 20g citric acid. Therefore, 20g citric acid (2% of oils). 20g x 0.624 = 12.48g of extra sodium hydroxide is needed.

An easy rule of thumb is:

  • 10g citric acid neutralizes 8g of KOH
  • 10g citric acid neutralized 6g of NaOH

When adding citric acid into your soap recipe, you will want to dissolve it into your distilled water FIRST, then add your sodium hydroxide after it has been completely dissolved.

Once you have your basic calculations, you are ready to get started with adding citric Acid to your soaps! Want to see how we make our DIY Dish Soap Bars? Check out our YouTube Channel!