Making Soap!

Making soap is something that I’ve wanted to try for a long time. I’ve read, and read, and researched and researched, but it has taken me a good years time to take the plunge. Mainly because I was deathly afraid I would horribly disfigure myself with Lye, or that I would breathe in toxic fumes and get a black lung or something. Well, let me just say – it’s NOT that bad. Not bad at all. Yes, you do have to be careful, but that can be said for lots of cooking/household activities. Bleach is toxic, but I clean with it regularly. Just be careful – and DO IT!  I also need to add – I’m not an expert!  Do some research and gain some confidence.  You will be able to do this!

What you need:

Safety Stuff: gloves, goggles, long-sleeved shirt

Get a mixing bowl, a measuring cup and a spoon (No aluminum) that you will only use for soap making. I went to the dollar tree and got everything I needed. I store all my soap making “stuff” away from my cooking supplies.

Stick Blender (Immersion Blender). I found one on Amazon for $12 You will be stirring for HOURS by hand!

Kitchen food scale or postal scale. Mine is a cheapie from Wal-Mart, but it worked fine. You will be measuring in ounces, not cups, so you really need a scale.

Soap mold. You can use orange juice cartons, clean yogurt cups. I chose to buy a simple wooden mold from Etsy since I plan to make more soap and will use it frequently. Mine was about $20. Again – use what you have. You don’t have to go fancy.

Candy thermometer

Recipes. There are recipes all over the web. If you want to make your own, you will need to run your ingredients through a lye calculator to make sure you have everything in the correct amounts.

Here’s my recipe – from TeachSoap. Check out this website to learn a lot more about soap making!

Makes 4.5 pounds of soap.

16 oz. Canola oil

16. oz Coconut Oil

16 oz Palm Oil (I had to order this from Amazon)

6.9 oz Lye

15.8 oz distilled water

I found my Lye at my local I.G.A. Grocery store. It’s drain opener – so look in the cleaning isle. As long as it says it’s 100% lye – you can use it.

Instructions:

  1. Get your safety gear on. I recommend doing this when your kids are sleeping! Lye is serious stuff and you wouldn’t want your kids (or pets) to get into it accidentally.
  2. Add the Lye to the Water. NEVER add water to lye. This is when the lye smells strongest. I do this part outside in my screened in porch. Let the mixture cool while you mix oils.
  3. Add oils together and melt.
  4. Now you add your lye/water mixture to your oils. You want the lye/water and the oils to be within 10 degrees of one another. If your oils are not hot enough, microwave them in thirty second intervals until you get them within 10 degrees of the lye temp. My lye/water and my oils were about 130-135 degrees when I mixed them.
  5. Stir vigorously – use your stick blender. You want to get everything mixed well, to a “trace.” Trace looks like a thin pudding and you can see little trails of the “pudding” across the surface when you lift out your blender and move across the surface. Go to You Tube and watch some videos. This is easier to see than to explain!!

Line your soap mold if you’re using wood with freezer paper. I would spray a little oil in a carton or yogurt cup. Pour in your soap!

Let you soap sit for at least 24 hours – it will start a process called “saponification.” Basically, it turns into soap! Put some plastic wrap over your soap and cover it with towels during this 24 hours. It needs to be insulated and kept warm.

After you pop it out of your molds, it will need to cure for 4-6 weeks. The longer it cures, the milder (and harder) the bars will become. It will last longer in your shower. Just let it sit – it will be worth the wait.

I only know the very basics. There are scents and colors and a million different things to do with soap!  I plan on giving lots of homemade soap for Christmas gifts this year and can’t wait to make more.    Let me know if you give it a try!  I’d love to have some soap buddies!

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4 responses to “Making Soap!

  1. This is something I’ve always found fascinating but thought was so hard! LOL Did you heat the water before adding the lye or did the lye heat it?

  2. I just heated the oils to get closer to the temp of the lye. This is cold “cold process” soap making. When I first mixed the lye into the water the temp was 178 degrees– HOT! It took about 45 minutes to cool to 135.

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