Making Pine Tar Soap… Should I Do It?

Making Pine Tar Soap

In the vastness of the internet, there can be a lot to learn. From recipes to sewing patterns to building a house out of mud, the internet makes it seem like you can do just about anything.

Believe us when we say we believe in you. You probably could do just about anything… but that doesn’t mean you should.

With so many influencers looking to detoxify their life and move to a chemical-free lifestyle, many posts are out there about making just about everything yourself, including soap. When it comes to pine tar soap, you should leave it to the experts.

Just so you don’t think this is a move for you to buy our soap, we wanted to show what the soap-making process involves so you understand the difficulty and hazards of the creation process of an incredible natural soap.

Pine Tar

Used for thousands of years, pine tar soap has its earliest recorded uses in ancient Greece. From medicinal uses to shipbuilding, roofing to baseball, pine tar is a real utility player. For us, though, it has been the perfect ingredient for a natural, effective soap for over a century.

Made from, you guessed it, pine trees, the process of getting the tar itself is pretty intense. Burning pines at a very high heat with very little oxygen creates two beneficial byproducts: charcoal, a well-known fuel beloved by grilling enthusiasts everywhere, and our personal favorite, pine tar.

The process can leave the tar with some impurities and, if done wrong, can include creosote. This chemical is dangerous to your health and is even included in resources by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. It is a thick, dark oil that effectively kills critters when used as a pesticide and in preserving wood. However, creosote has some lasting health risks.

Continued contact with creosote, including its presence in unpurified pine tar soap, can cause your skin to peel, blister, become an irritated shade of red, and even become more sensitive to sunlight. Exposure to creosote vapors can cause lung irritation, and contact with your eyes can also cause damage.

If the pine tar sourced at home is not creosote-free, it can irritate sensitive skin. When purified, pine tar soap can be a natural relief for eczema and psoriasis or a natural shampoo for dandruff. If you make your own soap intending to find relief for these skin conditions, you may actually worsen them.

That is why do-it-yourself pine tar is a risky game. Through over a hundred years of perfecting our soap, we are able to create genuinely creosote-free pine tar soap that is safe for your skin and doesn’t pose a risk to your health. Other pine tar soaps, particularly homemade ones, cannot promise the same.


A prevalent ingredient in soap making is lye. While almost all soap has the chemical somewhere in its makeup, many homemade recipes call for the ingredient in its purest form.

While it has been used for hundreds of years, handling the ingredient can be quite dangerous. If you have ever seen the movie Fight Club, you probably know what we’re talking about.

Pure lye in a heavy concentration is very corrosive and is capable of breaking down metal, plastic, and skin. It can cause significant burns, permanent skin damage, blindness, and can be fatal if swallowed.

Now you may be wondering, if it is so dangerous, why is it used to make soap? Well, the chemical process that converts oil to soap, called saponification, involves the use of lye. This creates a solid soap rather than a liquid cleaning detergent, resulting in different chemical properties. When produced correctly, the soap itself does not have any lye in it and, therefore, won’t harm you. The lye is used up in the chemical reaction, leaving you with harmless soap.

If you choose to make your soap from scratch at home, you will most likely have to come into contact with lye. While it is possible to successfully handle the ingredient without injury, it is still a risky business.

Hot Process Soap Making

Creating pine tar soap involves heating oils and other ingredients with lye, putting it in the hot process soap category. These take time and require exposure to lye and heat and quite a bit of patience.

As we said earlier, there are, of course, recipes out there for homemade pine tar soap. It is more than possible to make it on your own; however, they may be unable to make good on the promise of the amazing benefits of natural pine tar soap.

On the other hand, our pine tar soap can promise a safe, creosote-free, lye-free soap. It is a fantastic natural alternative to the harsh chemicals in many store-bought soaps and shampoos. Packer’s Pine has perfected the pine tar soap game for decades, and we would love to show you how our years of wisdom in the industry can help your skin.