How To Make Your Own Soap At Home! April 17, 2023 13:30
Alright, buckle up folks, because we're about to embark on a sudsy adventure into the world of soap-making! Making soap from scratch may seem like a daunting task, but fear not, dear reader, because with a little know-how and some elbow grease, you'll be well on your way to crafting your own lather-filled masterpieces.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
First things first, let's talk about the ingredients you'll need. Soap-making requires just a few basic ingredients: oils or fats, lye, and water. Now, before you start getting all squeamish about the lye, let me assure you that it's safe as long as you follow some safety precautions. Lye is a caustic substance that can cause serious burns, so it's important to wear gloves and eye protection when handling it. You'll also want to mix the lye outside or in a well-ventilated area, because the fumes can be pretty potent.
MIXING LYE, BE CAREFUL!
READ CAREFULLY, EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!!!
When mixing lye, it's important to use a container that is made of a material that can withstand the caustic nature of the lye. You should never use aluminum, tin, or any other reactive metal container, as the lye will react with these metals and cause a dangerous chemical reaction.
Instead, you should use a container made of plastic, stainless steel, or heat-resistant glass, such as Pyrex. It's also a good idea to use a container with a lid or cover to prevent any accidental spills or splashes.
When choosing a container, make sure it's large enough to accommodate the amount of lye and water you'll be mixing, but not so large that the mixture will be too shallow. A container with a spout or pour spout can also be helpful for pouring the lye mixture into the oils. These are good for measuring https://amzn.to/3ULLiO3
Overall, safety should be the top priority when choosing a container for mixing lye, so be sure to use a container that is appropriate for this purpose and follow all safety precautions.
I recommend this lye for beginners.
OILS AND BUTTERS
Now, onto the oils and fats. You can use a variety of oils and fats to make soap, including olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and even bacon fat (yes, you read that right). Each oil and fat has its own unique properties that will affect the final product, so it's important to do a little research and choose the ones that will give you the desired result. For example, olive oil will give you a mild, moisturizing soap, while coconut oil will create a harder, more cleansing bar.
Here's a short list to get you started and thinking about what oils you might want to use:
- Olive oil: Creates a mild, moisturizing soap that's great for sensitive skin.
- Coconut oil: Produces a hard, cleansing bar with a fluffy lather.
- Palm oil: Adds firmness to the soap and creates a long-lasting bar.
- Castor oil: Boosts lather and moisturizes the skin.
- Shea butter: Provides extra moisture and nourishment to the skin.
- Cocoa butter: Adds firmness and a rich, creamy texture to the soap.
- Jojoba oil: Helps regulate oil production in the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Almond oil: Moisturizes and soothes dry or irritated skin.
- Avocado oil: Contains vitamins and minerals that nourish and hydrate the skin.
- Sunflower oil: Rich in vitamin E and helps create a mild, gentle soap.
The easiest way for a beginner to calculate how much lye you need in your recipe is to visit this website http://www.soapcalc.net/calc/SoapCalcWP.asp
Just put in the weight of each oil you're using and then press calculate, so easy!
Once you've got your ingredients assembled, it's time to get down to business. The first step in making soap is to measure out your oils and fats and melt them together in a large pot over low heat. You'll want to heat the oils until they're just melted, but not so hot that they start to smoke or burn. While the oils are melting, measure out your lye and water into separate containers. A great option for measuring is with this kitchen scale . It has zero out function which is really useful when you're using a measuring cup that's hefty. You want to be very accurate when measuring, no guessing here, or your soap with fail.
Now, here comes the tricky part: you need to mix the lye and water together. But remember what I said about safety precautions? This is where they really come into play. Slowly add the LYE to the WATER, NEVER ADD WATER TO LYE, IT CAN EXPLODE! While adding the lye to water stir constantly with a stainless steel spoon or silicone spatula, and be prepared for the mixture to get very hot and release some fumes. You'll want to do this in a sink or outside, and make sure you're wearing your gloves and eye protection.
Once the lye and water are mixed together, you'll want to wait about an hour for the lye/water mixture to cool down.
HOT OR COLD PROCESS SOAP? That is the question
At this point you need to decide whether you are going to use the Hot process for your soap or the cold process.
There are two main methods for making soap: the hot process and the cold process. Each method has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, and the choice between them will depend on personal preference and the desired outcome of the soap.
Here are some of the benefits of each method:
Hot Process Soap Making:
- Faster curing time: The hot process method can speed up the curing process by several weeks, as the soap is cooked and cured at the same time.
- More control over the final product: Because the soap is heated and cooked, there is more control over the texture and consistency of the final product.
- Produces a harder bar of soap: The hot process method typically produces a harder, longer-lasting bar of soap.
Cold Process Soap Making:
- More natural and gentle: The cold process method preserves the natural glycerin in the soap, which can make it more gentle and moisturizing for the skin.
- More creative control: The cold process method allows for more creative freedom in terms of design, color, and scent.
- More cost-effective: The cold process method can be more cost-effective, as it doesn't require additional heat sources or energy to make the soap.
Overall, both the hot process and cold process methods have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and the choice between them will depend on personal preference and the desired outcome of the soap. Some soap makers even use a combination of both methods to achieve the best of both worlds. I personally use hot process most of the time because I don't always want to wait a month to use my soap, but it really depends on the type of soap you're making and what you're looking to achieve. So it's up to you. The best method I've found for hot process soap is in a crockpot. You'll want to designate that crockpot for soap use only, don't use it for food ever again because you definitely don't want to accidentally eat soap. I've used this one for years and it's still kicking
SUPER IMPORTANT!!!! I cannot say this LOUD ENOUGH because it's so important, put your lye/water mixture somewhere out of reach of children and pets. If this mixture spills on someone or they were to drink it they would be severely damaged or they could die. So put it far out of reach and make sure not to spill it on yourself either always wear gloves when moving lye/water mixture around. I've had a lye burn when I was mixing the oils, it popped out of the crockpot I was using and hit my lip and instantly starting burning. I'm lucky it was a really small amount. Anyone who's ever had a burn from lye knows its a burn like none other.
The best temperature for mixing lye and oils in soap making is generally between 90 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit (32-43 Celsius). This temperature range helps the oils and lye to combine more easily and creates a smoother, more even soap mixture. Here's a good thermometer for getting accurate temps https://amzn.to/40hdEki
However, it's important to note that the temperatures of the oils and lye should be relatively similar when they are combined. If the oils are too cool and the lye is too hot, or vice versa, it can cause the mixture to seize or become lumpy, making it difficult to work with.
To ensure that the temperatures are consistent and within the desired range, many soap makers use a thermometer to monitor the temperatures of both the oils and the lye before mixing them together. This can help ensure that the soap making process goes smoothly and that the final product is of high quality.
Once your lye has cooled and your oil have cooled then it's time to add it to the melted oils. You'll want to pour the lye mixture into the oils slowly, (POUR LYE INTO OILS NOT THE OPPOSITE WAY) stirring constantly. Make sure you're using a pot big enough for your recipe because if you've used a container that's too small you may have a dangerous spill on your hands. This is where the magic happens: the lye and oils will start to react, and the mixture will begin to thicken and turn opaque. This is called "trace," and it's when you know your soap is on its way to becoming a solid bar. I always use an immersion blender like this one https://amzn.to/3GPrrIc to make sure it gets to trace and you don't have any issues. Again with the !!!!safety precautions!!!!! keep the immersion blender on the bottom of the pot and do not lift it up while mixing because doing so could cause lye to splatter everywhere. Therefore possibly injuring you or someone else. So hold it down firmly against the bottom of the pot, turn it on and mix slowly. NEVER TRY TO MAKE SOAP WITH CHILDREN, IT IS NOT A KID FRIENDLY ACTIVITY.
The oils and lye need to be mixed properly and completely in order to make soap.
Once your mixture has come to trace, if you're doing cold process you can mix in your essential oils you'd like to use. You can also add colorants, clays, charcoal or exfoliants like oatmeal or coffee grounds, if you'd like. Stir everything together until it's well combined, then pour the mixture into a mold. Cover with an old towel and put it in a place where it won't have to moved for at least 24 hours. I would give it a few days to cure in the mold and then unmold it, slice it, and spread them out to dry. Your soap will have to cure for about a month before you can use it. Unless you're doing hot process, read on for those instructions.
If you're going the hot process way, you can use a crockpot to essentially cook your soap. I like to leave it on low for 3-4 hours until the mixture is no longer shiny. Use your silicone spatula or long wooden spoon to mix it up a few times during those 3-4 hours. Once it's cooked, scoop it into the molds and you can leave it uncovered to cool. Leave it in a place where it doesn't have to be moved for 24 hours. You can un-mold it after 24-48 hours, start slicing it and then using it within the week!
TYPES OF MOLDS TO USE:
You can use anything from a fancy silicone mold to an old cardboard box lined with wax paper - it's up to you! My favorite molds to use are silicone. They're just so easy, the soap doesn't stick to them, they're easy to clean and you can get some really fun ones like these:
Or these https://amzn.to/3mH2IPo
Or if you want a soap loaf these are my tried and true go to
If you want to watch someone make soap here's a great video tutorial for beginners https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKZI7X-UIe8
You definitely want to do as much research as you need to, to be comfortable doing this for the first time. Watching other people make soap is one of the best ways to learn the ins and outs of this craft.
So there you have it, folks - your very own handmade soap! It may take a little bit of practice to get the hang of it, but once you do, you'll probably have bars and bars of soap hanging around for you and your family to enjoy!
A simple Soap Recipe to try:
This will make about 2 of those crafter's choice loafs.
Coconut Oil 76 deg- 20 ounces, or 566.99 grams
Olive Oil- 12 ounces or 340.19 grams
Castor Oil- 10 ounces or 283.50 grams
Shea Butter- 10 ounces or 283.50 grams
Water 19.76 ounces or 560.19 grams
Lye NaOH 7.46 ounces or 211.42 grams
Essential oils: your choice 1/2 ounce, I don't use fragrance oils, because they are harmful to the skin and can cause allergies, hives, reproductive harm, endocrine harm, etc. If you want more info you can visit this site https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredients/702512-FRAGRANCE/
If you want to add clay for color and more cleansing effects add approximately 1-2 TBSP
Soap weight before Cold or Hot Process cook 5.053lbs, or 80.84 ounces or 2,291.85 grams
If you put all that into the soap calc you'll be able to see all the qualities of the soap, such as, hardness, cleansing, conditioning, bubbly, creamy etc. This particular recipe is on the harder side, very conditioning, very cleansing and very bubbly.
And if all this sounds way too intense for you and you'd rather enjoy using soap someone else has made you can visit my shop