Soap In The Making

“Homemade anything is better than store bought. Take time to learn something new. Take time period. Just take time. You’d be amazed at what you can learn by simply taking time. I call it ‘home soap’ and if you want to make it, the first ingredient you need is a little time.”

Silent Echo

 I would have to say that home-soap was a lot easier than I originally thought. Although, after having much practice since then, I have realized there is a quality to acquire through trial and error. I had a blast experimenting with my own recipes and formulas. The basic routine was pretty simple, yet dangerous and took me a little while to get comfortable enough to not stumble through the steps.

A lot of people have questioned my reasoning for making my own soap. The answer is simple… I will need to do it one day in my off grid journey so why not learn now? Secondly, it is a fun hobby and much healthier for my body. Of course, most people are hell-bent on the convenience of throwing soap in a cart with your other groceries and can’t comprehend who would have time to make soap. Technically, I don’t have the time to do it. There are tons of other things that I can clog my schedule with… friends, appointments, dinner dates, shopping, slumping on the couch for the weekend in front of the tube or even spring cleaning. However, I do not find any of those things appealing. I don’t find making my soap to be a chore. I find peace and accomplishment in the process. Not to mention…MY SOAP IS WAY BETTER THAN THEIRS.

Since my first few batches of soap, I have shared bars with co-workers and friends just as a gesture of kindness and friendship and also to settle the doubt of those who needed to see to believe. 🙂 It is still so funny to see people react to the thought of making something like that at home. They say, “How the heck do you make soap?” as if there is a secret method to our daily life that we could never replicate. I always reply… if they can do it, you can do it. The word “they” always implies the corporation.

Alright, I will get on with it. I first started making soap in a crockpot. It is so simple. I have only used extra virgin coconut oil as my soap base and really can’t say if anything else would work with the same method but I can’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t. The first thing to understand is how much liquid you can contain in your crockpot to fill it HALF-WAY. Seriously, this is important. I had a bit of an accident trying to over-achieve and make a huge batch. It foams a bit and…well…I had a mess. HALF-WAY!! Once you know how much you can fit comfortably, you need to then calculate the right amount of LYE to use in your batch. THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN BOILING OVER!! 

I highly recommend using the Lye Calculator found on TheSage. Reason being, they account for every oil base you can think of and give the best recommendations for amount of liquid. They also create an excel-styled, calculated recipe that you can save to your desktop for future batches. I did not use their instructions, but they provide those as well and I have read them over. Again, the idea and routine is almost identical. I suggest checking them out. Amazing site with tons of info!

THE LYE FACTOR

Basically, it is not a big deal. Well, I take that back. In the process of making the soap, it is imperative that you wear personal protective equipment when handling. ALWAYS ADD THE LYE TO THE LIQUID. NEVER EVER EVER ADD THE LIQUID TO THE LYE. I know how stupid that sounds but it’s a big deal. For you, not so scientific folk…you could blow up. Don’t do it.

Myth about lye: People hear you talk about homemade soap that is free of chemicals and better for your skin and then you tell them you are using lye and they freak out. Here is a super fun fact. All soap in bar form have one ingredient in common. Lye. You have to use lye to create the chemical reaction known as Saponification between a fat (coconut oil)  and sodium hydroxide(lye). The chemical free part comes during the curing process. The lye is then eliminated through this process. You can breathe now.

Here is another super fun fact. Most people don’t realize that the ingredient label on the back of almost every product they use, lists the ingredients in the order of which it contains the most. They also do not realize that just about every single one contains the main “filler” ingredient of mineral oil. Ok, so maybe after sitting on the toilet for too long they have read them out of boredom and noticed that label. Chances are, they saw mineral oil and thought…oh, that sounds good! Actually, mineral oil is gasoline. Think about that next time you lather yourself in smell good gas.

Soap Essentials 

My soap batches have been a little different each time. I have been trying new recipes and things that I like. However, the main ingredients stay the same for me.

  1. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  2. Liquid or Water
  3. Essential oils
  4. A little bit of time

I will occasionally add flowers, coffee grounds or cocoa powder. I also use a peppermint or raspberry tea as a substitute for the “liquid” and it comes out great. Of course I use pure sodium hydroxide during the making of the soap but it’s not in my final product. I also purchased PH test strips from LabRats on Amazon to make it easier to “test” for lye. I would rather not touch my tongue with a spoon of hot soap to test for a shock. I will get to a stage in life that I can do that…for now, I trust test strips. 🙂

Please feel free to share your tips and tricks in the comments or of course ask questions!

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