|I used tissue paper and old blank labels I had on hand in my craft 'junk' to wrap my soap. Pure optional.|
Let's make soap. The information, products, tutorials, blogs, video's, books, availability of product both locally and online makes making soap easy, less intimidating, and my goodness, everywhere you look people are making and buying and selling homemade soap. Finally, it's become acceptable to go back to making soap like our great grandmothers did! Not to mention healthier for your skin... and fun!!!
The first thing everyone on the internet seems to have to do is put a disclaimer down. You can't make soap without lye. Lye is Sodium Hydroxide and from the late 1800's through about 1950 it was a general staple in most households. It's used in everything from softening the water to do laundry, to disinfecting and cleaning, treating mange, to make pretzels and lutefisk, making soap, killing weeds, flushing out radiators, removing paint... it was a farm and household product you would never be without. Lye, like many other chemicals we use in life, can be caustic if you handle it stupidly or aren't careful. Just like bleach and other items. Just be smart. Lye reacts to water and moisture and if you get it on your skin it can cause a burn. Be smart. Go slow, don't get in a hurry and splash it all over. Place all your utensils that have come in contact with lye solution into a special container or rinse them in fresh water right away so you don't 'forget' and use them for something else. Wear rubber gloves and safety goggles if you are so inclined. Mix your lye solution outside because when it reacts with the water it will form a gas that can be strong but dissipates quickly. Also, have vinegar or lemon juice on hand next to you so if you accidentally get some on your skin you can pour or spritz it. These two products neutralize lye. Keep your pets and small children out of the way when you make soap because you wouldn't want them to knock over anything or accidentally grab the water/lye solution and drink it. So... I think I've covered the disclaimer with using lye. But remember; for over 100 years our Grandparents used (and still use) it and it's nothing to be scared of. In countries other than the USA, it's STILL a daily household product people have on hand. It's a great product! I LOVE it for clearing our bathroom drains!!! Just take your time using it and mixing it and be smart.
The main product you need is your lye. I feel safest using food grade lye. If you read my disclaimer above, then you know lye is used in things like making lutefisk (fish) and pretzels. I like to know the quality of my lye is so pure that it can be used for cooking as well in the soap my family will be using. I found mine online; Food Grade Sodium Hydroxide but you can purchase it wherever you wish.
My recipe today is for a vegetable based soap. You need fats and oils mixed with lye to get the saponification process that turns the fats into soap. You cannot make a tallow, lard or animal fat based soap with this particular recipe. Your soap won't get hard. This recipe is a good one to start with though as it uses products you can easily find either online or in the store and perhaps move on to tallow based soap next. The recipe I started out with as a 'base' is a recipe many people love and trust known simply as "Marsha's Soap". I originally chose her recipe because frankly? I like her. She is just a good common sense based person that I would love to be friends with in real life. She talks like me, thinks like me and her recipes are exactly as I would present them too! I will put the link to her video at the bottom of this post. Please watch it as she makes it easy to learn how to make soap. *Note that I make a half batch* of her recipe. This was the perfect amount for the box I used as my mold and for the amount of products I had on hand.
Since this is a 'budget' minded site (I just don't have extra money to spend on things I can get creative with and do cheaper) I do not own a soap mold. You can purchase one, you can use things like plastic containers in the shapes you wish, use a cheap plastic kitty litter tray from the dollar store, or make your own out of wood. I used a box that I taped the corners of to make more sturdy and then lined with a garbage bag. It was easy to work with, cheap, I had it all on hand and I was able to lift my soap out easily for cutting.
Watch the video at the end of this post and be sure to follow Marsha's directions and instructions. She's been making this soap for years and years!
Goat Milk Soap
1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) water
8.5 oz. lye
3 lbs fats; (1 lb. Crisco shortening,1 lb. coconut oil, 1 lb. Canola oil) (part olive, palm, grapeseed)
1 oz. stearic acid
1.33 oz. (1/6 cup) powdered goats milk
1/2 oz. sweet almond oil
1 oz. tea tree oil
1 c lemon juice
1 oz. vitamin E oil
lavender, ground almonds, oatmeal, etc optional
Fragrance, optional - oil based, not alcohol based
In a large non-reactive pot, outside and away from small children and pets, place the water.
Add the dry lye slowly, stirring, and keeping your face away from the release of gas it will briefly produce.
It will start to get hot immediately.
Add the coconut oil in small chunks. The heat of the lye solution will melt your fats so you don't have to melt them beforehand. Stirring slowly, continue with the Crisco. Stir or whisk gently until melted smooth. If it turns a bit pink, that is ok, that will go away. Add the Canola oil slowly and stir with your wooden spoon or non-reactive spoon.
Add the lemon juice slowly - do not shock it.
Whisk in the stearic acid and powdered goats milk.
When smooth, add the tea tree oil and vitamin E oil as well as any fragrance you might want to add or bits of lavender. Stir a little but not too much. Let it set, come back and stir more. It will start to saponify and turn to soap. It will start to get thick. Stir a little more and watch it. When it gets to really thick honey stage, or a thick pudding, that is called 'trace' and it's ready to be poured into your mold.
Pour into your prepared mold. Let it set about 3 hours and score the tops into bars or the shapes you want. Place in an out of the way spot to let set for 24 hours. After 24 hours, unmold the soap and cut into bars. Now, place on newspapers, crates, paper bags or anything where it can have air circulate and 'dry'. They will now set and cure for 4 weeks. I put mine on the floor of my closet and forgot about them. You can't use them earlier than 3-4 weeks because the lye is still too strong. I tested mine at 3 weeks just the way our Grandmothers did - with my tongue. If there is a slight tingle there, then it's not ready. I tested at 3 weeks because they looked ready, they were hard and dry. But that little tingle told me they needed another week. A week later all I tasted was smooth, creamy soap. LOL. At this point I went through my house and found some old, saved tissue paper and blank labels. I didn't have to wrap them as they were just for my family, but I wanted them to look 'finished' so I did. You don't have to.
That's it. That's how I did it!
UPDATE: Note that I first used a garbage bag lined box because I had nothing else and it worked just fine. I now have a box I cut the sides down and I have it lined with some leftover silicone style plastic pieces I've recycled to use in my soap making. The photos below are from my original "what do I have on hand I can use?" phase.
|My box of 'stuff' I keep to make soap|
|Pulling them all out at once|
|Beautiful! Now to let dry.|
If you like any of the ideas on my page, please consider using my affiliate link to make any purchases you have planned through Amazon. (Even if it's something not related to this page). Thanks! Budget at Amazon
You might also be interested in products use to make Goat's Milk Soap;
Related products available through Amazon;
Food Grade Sodium Hydroxide Lye Micro Beads, 2 Lbs.
Stearic Acid 1lb cosmetic Grade
Stearic Acid 1lb cosmetic Grade