I've always wanted to make my own soaps. Have any of you made your own soap before? It doesn't It doesn't seem like a very difficulty process, but I didn't realize the has to cure for a couple of weeks. I'd just assumed you could whip up a batch in a day. I'm excited to try this though!
Soap basic ingredients
- Lye - (sodium hydroxide)
- fat - lard, tallow, coconut oil, olive oil, etc
- additives (not required) that enhance the color, fragrance, etc.
About the ingredients
Soap is super basic. All you need are fat and lye. When mixed, the lye reacts with the fatty acids in a chemical. That process is called saponification. After a period of 24-48 hours, the saponification process is pretty much complete and you have soap. It just needs to further cure for another few weeks so that it hardens fully. I think it's so interesting. How did people originally figure this out?
Lye- basically drain cleaner (sodium hydroxide). On it's own, lye is very caustic. It will burn your skin and eat holes in fabrics. You want to by pure lye in crystal form. You should be able to by lye from Walmart or Home Depot. I ordered mine from Amazon (this one)
Fat- traditionally either lard (pork fat) or tallow (beef fat), but you can use vegetable fats like coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil - plus you can mix them. The type of fat used will affect the texture and hardness of the soap. Lard will make a hard soap. Coconut oil will produce softer soap that lathers easier. I think I'll use coconut oil and olive oil for my first batch. I don't want a super hard bar of soap that is difficult to lather.
I did by a 3 pound brick of lard the other day. I bought the lard because I'm going to use it to make an old-fashioned, creamy shaving soap. The kind that comes in a puck and that you use a brush to lathe. I've been reading about how moisturizing and smooth real shaving soap is compared to store bought cans. People say that the blade glides over the skin - no razor burn. It also leaves the skin healthy and moisturized. So i'm going to be making that as well.
How To Make Home Made Soap
I got this recipe from an article by Debra Maslowski (Learn How to Make Natural Soap For Face and Body)
Debra is a master soap maker. She teaches it and also sells her products at state fairs and farmer's markets. I don't want to plagiarize what Debra wrote, so I'll just list the ingredients and use my own wording.
- coconut oil ⅔ cup
- olive oil ⅔ cup
- other liquid oil ⅔ cup – like almond oil, grapeseed, sunflower or safflower oil
- ¼ cup lye – 100% sodium hydroxide
- ¾ cup water – distilled or purified
just go here for complete instructions. I Have never done it before and I don't want anyone to get hurt or to pretend that I know what I'm doing. Lye is caustic and can hurt you.
I will tell you the basic process.
*Use only stainless steel, glass or ceramic mixing containers. Other metals will react with the lye. Plastics may melt.*
- cover the work area in newspaper, wear gloves and protect your skin and eyes.
- SLOWLY stir the lye to the water (quart mason jar is suggested) . Be careful! Stand back and do not put too much in at once. NEVER add water to lye- it can erupt suddenly and burn you. * the lye will make the water hot as is reacts*
- mix the oils in a separate jar (pt mason jar suggested) and heat in the microwave for a few seconds. Check the temperature. It should around 120 degrees. *the lye/water remix should be cooling down by now*
- Wait for both mixtures to cool to between 95° and 105°. It has to be within that range . If it's too cool, the soap will form too fast and crumble easily.
- Pour oil mixture into a mixing bowl and slowly add the lye mixture. Stir by hand for 5 minutes to make sure the lye is well blended. After 5 minutes you can use an immersion blender (like this) . You can also keep hand stirring until the mixture becomes thicker - like a pudding consistency.
- you can now add things like herbs, colors and essential oils, etc. This is optional.
- pour the mixture into molds and cover with plastic wrap and then an old towel over that. Wait 12-24 hours until it's cool and firm, then turn it out onto a baking rack or parchment paper. If your mold is a single piece, like a loaf pan, you should cut the soap into the bars at this time- unless you just want a giant bar of soap. lol.
- The soap needs to cure in open air for about tree weeks. If you're using parchment paper instead of a baking rack, you need to turn the soap every week to make sure all sides are exposed to air.
- After the soap has cured, it needs to be wrapped in wax paper or placed in an airtight container. Natural soap wicks moisture from the air, so it needs to be warped or sealed.
Like I said, I have not done this before. Please read more about it before you make your own so that you can decide how you'd like to make it.
I'll update this thread when I start to make my first batch!