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How to make charcoal and coffee soap scrub bars

25 minutes
6 square bars

This tough soap bar doesn't mess around. It's loaded with exfoliating ingredients including oatmeal, activated charcoal, and coffee grounds that will leave your skin feeling refreshingly clean and invigorated. Moisturizing shea butter in the soap base ensures the perfect balance between a tough scrub and skin-nourishing bar. 

EO Notes: You can also use soap-safe essential oils for this project. When using essential oils, be sure to check your essential oil's recommended usage percentage and IFRA Certificate. How to Make Melt and Pour Soap with Essential Oils.

Additional Items Needed:

Note: Equipment should not be re-used for food prep.

  • Activated charcoal
  • Coffee grounds
  • Cutting board
  • Small bowl for mixing
  • Knife
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • Latex gloves
  • Measuring spoons


Note: This soap bar is very exfoliating. For less exfoliation, you can choose a different soap base or decrease the amount of activated charcoal and coffee grounds.

Step 1: Prepare your supplies and workspace

Wash your equipment, soap molds, and utensils in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly. Don’t forget your workspace! Avoid any cross-contamination by spraying the area with rubbing alcohol or a 5% bleach solution, then wipe dry with a clean paper towel.

Step 2: Cut and weigh soap base

Remove the Oatmeal Shea Base from the container and cut the block into 1” (2.5 cm) cubes. Weigh out 22 oz. (624 g) of the cubed soap base. Using the Funnel Pouring Pitcher or another microwave-safe container, melt the soap cubes in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Stir and melt in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the soap is fully melted.

Step 3: Prepare the activated charcoal

Measure out 3/4 Tbsp. (3.75 mL) activated charcoal and add to a small bowl.

Note: We recommend about ½ Tbsp. (7.5 mL) of activated charcoal to 1 lb. (454 g) of soap base, but you can adjust up or down depending on your preference. Too much activated charcoal can leave black residue in your sink, shower, or tub. Activated charcoal is a fine powder and can make a big mess so be careful when opening packaging.

Add about 3-4 teaspoons (15-20 mL) of Isopropyl alcohol, 1 tsp. (5 ml) at a time, to the activated charcoal and slowly stir until it is fully mixed together. This will help prevent the activated charcoal from clumping when it is added to the soap base.

Step 4: Weigh out and add fragrance oil

On your soap scale weigh out 0.65 oz. (18 g), about 3%, of the Cedarwood Blanc fragrance oil. Pour into the melted soap base and stir until it is completely mixed in.

Step 5: Add the coffee grounds

Measure a heaping tablespoon of your coffee grounds, approximately 1 1/4 Tbsp (18.75 mL). Add into the soap base and mix in well.

Note: Be sure to stir constantly and slowly to keep the coffee grounds mixed in otherwise they'll sink to the bottom of the soap base. When you pour your soap into the mold, pour at a low temp to keep the grounds suspended while the soap cools.

Step 6: Add the activated charcoal

It's time to add the activated charcoal to the soap base. Be sure to stir gently making sure it's fully incorporated with the other ingredients.

Step 7: Pour soap into the mold

Carefully pour your soap into the Large Square Silicone Soap Mold filling 6 cavities. Let your soap completely cool, for about 3 hours until it is no longer warm.

Step 8: Unmold soap bars and finish

Unmold your soaps and add your finishing touches!

We created our custom 1.5" (3.8 cm) square label printed on white matte paper with Avery. Create your own custom label or find a template with Avery WePrint—avery.com/candlescience to get started designing your own and take 10% off your label order!

Did you make it?

Did you make it? Show off your Charcoal and Coffee Soap Scrub Bars, and all your handmade creations, with the CandleScience community by tagging us @CandleScience and using the #CandleScientist hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We may feature you in our Stories or on our website!