Soap Making

I have been wanting to make homemade soap for several years but the plans just never did come together for it to happen. This past fall, I started reading on it again. I finally made my first batch in October and I love it. I have made several batches since then. soapmaking

Making soap is really easy but there are several safety precautions that needs to be followed. Accidents can happen. It is usually caused when someone gets comfortable in their routine and gets careless.

My advice for anyone who wants to learn to make soap is to research and read before the first batch is made. I did this for several months myself.

I have purchased a few books to keep on hand as reference.

These have helped me from the beginning and still find myself going back to these books. There are some websites that helped me along as well:

  • Soap Making Resource
  • Brambleberry
  • Soap Queen – great video tutorial for beginners. Watch the videos from beginning.
  • SoapCalc – lye calculator. This is little difficult in the beginning but I found a  video tutorial about understanding this calculator. Every recipe needs to be run through a soap calculator to make sure your lye is right amount for your recipe.

Soap can be made several different ways:

  1. Melt and Pour base soap – a base soap to melt and pour into molds. Fragrances and colors can be added to this without going through the process of making soap.
  2. Cold Process soap
  3. Hot Process soap

The difference between (CP) cold process soap and (HP) hot process soap is that the HP soap is heated and cooked for a period of time.

Cold process soap is the act of mixing oilssodium hydroxide (LYE) and water. The result is a chemical reaction called saponification. This is where the structure of the oil change with the help of the lye to create soap.  Soapmaking is basically a science experience.

There is certain supplies that is needed but once it is used for soap it cannot be used for any reason other than soap. I keep mine labeled and stored away until I am ready to make soap. Some of the items needed is a scale that weighs is ounces or grams, thermometer, heat-proof bowls and utensils, soap molds (can be wood, cardboard, plastic or silicone), goggles or safety glasses, gloves, colorants, fragrances, oils and anything else.
The first loaf did not go as well when it was time to remove it. i did not have it lined; I did not think I had to since it was an acrylic. It was hard to remove since I did not line the mold and I did not think I had to. Now, I will line any loaf mold with parchment paper or freezer paper. I found this video tutorial to line a soap loaf mold. This technique will keep from the corners leaking too.

I have used a basic recipe for the soaps I have made. The oils I used for them are coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil and palm oil. I have used some crushed lemon peel and ground oats to it as well. The oatmeal soap is a big hit among certain members of my family. It has lots of lather and I like a soap that lathers. Its also a creamy soap too. I am at the point of making my own recipe. The key to making a recipe is to learn the properties of the oils. Each oil will make a bar soap different depending on the amount used and the combination of oils will effect the outcome of the bar as well. The soap calculator will also help with the characteristics of the bar: cleansing, creamy, moisturizing, hardness, etc. The liquid (water) can be replaced with goat’s milk, tea, coffee, etc.

There is only one downfall about making soap – waiting 4-6 weeks for curing.