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What is Patchouli Soap?

Tracey Parece
Tracey Parece

The patchouli plant is indigenous to some parts of Asia. It is used for its medicinal properties as well as for its characteristic scent. Patchouli has been used to treat everything from diarrhea to the common cold to snakebites. Patchouli soap is a product that contains patchouli essential oils in a soap base and is used for cleansing or washing the face, hands, and body. Alternatively, patchouli soap may contain patchouli bark. Known for its fresh woodsy scent, patchouli soap has a strong, distinctive smell, typically and ideal soap for men and women alike.

Because patchouli has conditioning properties, it is considered a non-drying soap ingredient. It is believed that patchouli can also serve as a natural insect repellent. The scent of patchouli has been used for centuries and enjoyed a burst of popularity in the late 20th century.

Patchouli essential oil may be yellow or amber in color.
Patchouli essential oil may be yellow or amber in color.

Many people choose to make their own patchouli soap at home. By adding patchouli essential oils or patchouli bark to a melted soap base, a wonderful homemade soap can be created. A large mold can be used to produce a soap loaf which can be cut into slices. The melted soap can be poured into smaller molds for individual sized bars instead. Goat's milk soap is commonly used as a base for patchouli soap. There are also vegan soap bases which are composed solely of plant-based materials.

Patchouli is associated with hippie culture.
Patchouli is associated with hippie culture.

Sometimes other essential oils are added to patchouli soap. Common scents which blend well with patchouli include sandalwood, bergamot, lavender, and vanilla. The lingering smell of patchouli can remain on the user's skin for hours after bathing, making it a good choice for a lasting woodsy scent.

In addition to soap and perfume, the scent of patchouli has found its way into body lotions, incense, candles, and sachets. It is believed to have a relaxing and calming effect, which makes it ideal for aromatherapy. Patchouli was also a favorite among the 1960s hippie generation.

Patchouli soap can be made at home relatively easily.
Patchouli soap can be made at home relatively easily.

Patchouli has been introduced in the Caribbean where it is cultivated for use in perfumes and soap. Because it flourishes in warm to tropical climates, patchouli is ideally suited to the Caribbean. It is a sturdy plant which thrives in hot weather. Patchouli can be grown from either seeds or cuttings.

Multiple online retailers and many health food stores sell patchouli soap. It normally is available in a variety of scent combinations and is usually inexpensive. A quick Internet search should reveal plenty of options from which to choose.

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Discussion Comments


Almost every day I use a soap that is a combination of patchouli and coconut soap. The smell is so rich and delicious. I feel like a dessert when I get out of the shower.


I once got a really good deal on some wholesale soap. My friend told me that I could get a ton of it really cheap. Unfortunately, they didn't know what kind of soap it was.

I had some money to burn at the time and I've always been kind of impulsive so I said sure, I'll buy it. I discovered once he delivered it that every single bar was very cheap and poor quality patchouli.

The bars crumbled easily, left an unpleasant film on the skin and had a scent that was so strong it could close a door. I used one bar two times and swore I would never use it again. So now all that soap is just sitting in my basement collecting dust. I have thought of trying to give it to some one but I don't want to inflict anyone I know with this terrible soap.


I have a friend who makes extra money by making various kind of soap supplies. She makes bar soap, bath liquid and all sorts of lotions.

I like a lot of what she makes but my favorite thing is her patchouli soap. Unlike a lot of soaps that smell like this, the fragrance is not overpowering. You get the nice scent when you are lathered up and showering, but only a hint of it remains after you have dried off.

This is great because I love the smell of patchouli but it is often so overpowering. Some people that use other patchouli soaps smell like hippies that have been at a festival for a month.


I find it interesting that patchouli is used as a natural insect repellent. I am always looking for products that will keep the bugs away without spraying on a bunch of chemicals.

I have had good results using grapefruit essential oil as a bug repellent. I just pour a few drops in a spray bottle with water and spray before going outside.

Sometimes you can see the bugs getting close, but as soon as they smell the grapefruit, they fly away and don't land.

I imagine the patchouli essential oil would work the same way. I might try a combination of both grapefruit and patchouli oil for something different.

Has anyone ever used patchouli as a natural insect repellent?


@sunshined - I had to laugh when I read your post. When I smell patchouli I am reminded of my grandma. Her favorite perfume was a patchouli scent, and anytime I gave her a hug, I could smell it.

I like the smell of it, but that is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear of a patchouli scent.

If she knew she could have bought some patchouli soap, I am sure she would have had some of that too. I think it is one of those scents that you either like right away or you don't.

I bought a body wash that has some patchouli and sandalwood combined. I find this to be an interesting combination as it is both invigorating and calming at the same time.


I just couldn't handle the smell of the patchouli soap I tried. Thankfully, I was able to get a good sniff of this before I bought it.

I found myself immediately putting it down with a sour look on my face. The scent reminded me of a musty closet. I ended up buying a lavender soap that was much more appealing to me.

I like to buy special soaps and find myself liking the scent of some a lot more than others. There are hundreds of scents out there to choose from, so I don't think I will be buying any patchouli scented soap. I will leave that for those who love the smell of patchouli.


I like to make my own organic soap and beauty products, and the patchouli scent is one of my favorites. I don't sell these products, but make them for myself and a few family members.

Most of the time I will combine the patchouli scent with something like jasmine or lavender. Patchouli is also known to be very beneficial for the skin.

Because of this, I will often add a few drops of patchouli essential oil to my toner and unscented hand or body wash. I have even added it to shampoo and conditioner products.

This is one essential oil that works well in just about any beauty product as long as you like the smell of it.

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    • Patchouli essential oil may be yellow or amber in color.
      By: viperagp
      Patchouli essential oil may be yellow or amber in color.
    • Patchouli is associated with hippie culture.
      By: Jason Stitt
      Patchouli is associated with hippie culture.
    • Patchouli soap can be made at home relatively easily.
      By: Stokaji
      Patchouli soap can be made at home relatively easily.
    • Patchouli soap can be used to wash the face, hands, and body.
      By: lightwavemedia
      Patchouli soap can be used to wash the face, hands, and body.