|My first batch of homemade soap, still curing after being unmolded.|
I made a very simple, unscented all-purpose soap using the instructions in Little House in the Suburbs by Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskins. (An excellent book, by the way.) I did modify their recipe slightly but I followed their instructions to the letter. I used :
36 ounces olive oil
6 ounces coconut oil
3 ounces palm oil (their recipe called for 3 ounces of castor oil here)
6 ounces lye
12 ounces water
|The oils used in my soap: olive, coconut, and palm oil.|
If you haven't made soap before it is an astonishingly simple formula.
Fat + (Lye + Water) = Soap
I measured the lye with a kitchen scale and then sprinkled the lye crystals into the water and stirred. It heated up like crazy (as it should) so I let it cool down a bit. I wore kitchen gloves and my crazy swim goggles to protect from possible burns from the lye. I even put on long sleeves and jeans, which felt terrible in my 80-degree kitchen. I didn't spill or splash any lye, though, so all went well.
|The water and lye solution|
|Melting the oils together|
|Pouring the soap into the molds after mixing the lye solution with the oils.|
1) a small cardboard shoebox lined with parchment paper
2) a flimsy plastic tray nested inside a cardboard box (that had held a dozen pears from Costco)
I made the soap early in the afternoon and by evening it was hard enough to remove from the molds (and cut into bars in the case of the shoebox soap). I set the bars on cardboard and will let them sit and cure for a few more days. After that I will wrap them loosely with wax paper and allow to finish curing for about 3-4 weeks. Then I'm going to take a really long bath with my first bar of homemade soap! (Who am I kidding? If I'm lucky I'll get five minutes in the shower but it will be glorious.)
Note: You really shouldn't substitute different oils the way I did in this recipe. Different oils require different amounts of lye to saponify them. If you want to substitute one oil for another, just use a lye calculator such as this one to see how much lye you need to use. After I made my soap I ran my revised recipe through the lye calculator and, luckily, my lye amount was fine. Whew! So you can feel free to use my revised recipe above.