Soapmaking

There’s something satisfying about using soap that you have made yourself.  You know what ingredients are in it and have customized it to your preferences.  Having your own little chemistry experiment in your kitchen that results in actual soap that really lathers!? Amazing!  That’s how I felt when using my first batch anyway!

Making soap seems daunting when you read about it online, there are so many different recipes!  Once you make your first batch though, you will see how easy and quick it is.  Here is how I make soap for my family and to sell in my shop.

This is my basic recipe but you can use this calculator to create your own!  Make sure that you don’t use more than 20-25% coconut or palm oil as they can be drying in larger quantities, but when used in these amounts result in a hard bar that lathers well.  Pictures of the process are below the instructions!

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces coconut oil
  • 8 ounces shortening (think unflavored crisco, it is just a combination of soy and cottonseed oils, is cheap and doesn’t go rancid easily)
  • 10 ounces of olive oil
  • 6-9 ounces of distilled water
  • 3.29-3.36 ounces of sodium hydroxide aka lye (very rarely you can find this in a hardware store in the plumbing section, I get mine from my local Ace, though most have stopped carrying it as it is an ingredient in making meth.  Your other option is online soapmaking shops)

Tools

  • enamel pot
  • silicon spatula
  • digital kitchen scale
  • candy thermometer
  • two glass containers; one about 2 cups in size, the other 4 cups
  • some sort of container for measuring oils in (tupperwear container would work)
  • immersion blender like this
  • molds; mine are wooden boxes made of 1x4s that is a little skinnier and longer than a bread loaf pan.  You can use any container as long as it is lined with freezer paper, or even the plastic or silicon molds from the craft shop work too
  • freezer paper, if using a wooden mold or other large container
  • ice cube trays
  • Rubber gloves and goggles
  • vinegar on hand in case of lye spill (this neutralizes the lye so that it doesn’t burn you when you wash it off)
  • somewhere safe to keep your soap as it cures and a blanket to wrap around it the first night for insulation

Directions

  • Start a day before you want to actually make your soap by measuring out your distilled water and freezing half of it in ice cube trays
  • When you’re ready to make your soap set your enamel pot on med-low and add all of your oils
  • While those are melting line your molds with freezer paper and measure out your lye into the smaller of your glass containers
  • Put the larger of your glass containers in your sink and add your water and ice
  • When your oils are melted and heated to around 110F add your lye to your water/ice mixture and stir with your spatula until the ice melts
  • When the temperature of the lye mixture is also around 110F (it will heat way up and then start to cool from the ice) add it to your oils and mix with your immersion blender
  • It will immediately start turning into soap! Keep mixing until it is thick like runny mashed potatoes and leaves a “trace” or a line following your blender when you move it around. (this is where you add any extra goodies like essential oils!)
  • Pour your gooey soap into your molds and wrap it up in your blanket (this is where a lid for your mold comes in handy but you can always just cover it with freezer paper then the blanket.
  • Put your molds somewhere safe where they won’t be disturbed overnight.
  • After 24 hours take your soap out of their molds and let them sit in open are for another day
  • When they have been sitting out for 24 hours, cut them into bars and sit them somewhere safe for a month to cure completely.
  • Mark your calendar and in 4 weeks enjoy your soap!

Variations

You can make awesome customized soap by adding in whatever you like!  Play around and have fun!

  • You can boil your distilled water with tea/coffee/herbs to infuse them, then strain before you freeze/use
  • Add 1/4 C fruit/vegetable puree such as canned pumpkin or smooshed avocado at the trace stage
  • Add an ounce of essential oils of your choice at the trace stage
See how the soap is thick enough to leave a mark where my spatula has been?

See how the soap is thick enough to leave a mark where my spatula has been?

Just put into my wooden molds that are lined with freezer paper, shiny side up!

Just put into my wooden molds that are lined with freezer paper, shiny side up!

Fresh from the molds and ready to sit 24 hours before cutting

Fresh from the molds and ready to sit 24 hours before cutting

Soap all cut up and curing for 4 weeks before use

Soap all cut up and curing for 4 weeks before use


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