Saturday, September 14, 2013

My First Batch of Homemade Soap

My utility room smells SO good right now! This is especially surprising because the utility room contains the kitchen trash can and the cat litter box. But my very first batch of homemade soap is curing in there right now and it smells so beautiful.

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

That's it.

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
Meanwhile I measured the oils together in a stainless steel soup pot and heated it a bit to melt the palm oil, which was solid at room temperature. (Coconut oil is also solid at cooler room temperatures- under 76 degrees.) Then I poured the lye solution into the pot of oil and mixed everything together with a handheld blender (also called an immersion blender). The mixture became opaque and thicker. When I could see "trace" (when you dribble a bit of the mix across the liquid's surface and it leaves a visible trail) I poured the soap into the molds.

Melting the oils together

Pouring the soap into the molds after mixing the lye solution with the oils.
For the molds I used two things:

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.

16 comments:

  1. So cool! Gonna have some clean kids!!

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  2. Well. This is how it starts. You make the one batch and then become hopelessly addicted. That's what happened with me!

    Let them cure in the air for about 4 weeks and then you can wrap them if you want. The olive oil will harden and last longer the more your let them air cure. Olive oil is, in my soaping opinion, one of the best oils to use in soap - nourishing, easy to work with, forgiving in recipes, and makes the final bar very satisfyingly hard when left to cure for a while.

    Next step? Scents. And colors. And oatmeal. YAY, you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you- I won't wrap until 4 weeks. They are hanging out in the spare room. I hope the cats don't eat them. I'm thinking of adding oatmeal to the next batch. (Possibly tomorrow!)

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  3. Where did you get the lye? I have only gotten strange stares when I've asked about it in local stores. I know you can get it online but I'd prefer to get it locally if I can.

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    Replies
    1. I couldn't find any locally either. I finally ordered some on Amazon, which was really easy. I read somewhere that lye is used in the production of meth so it is no longer as available as it used to be. (I don't know how true that is, though.)

      Delete
    2. Totally true! People up in my neck of the woods actually were cooking and mixing meth in the corners of the hardware stores so now it's behind lock and key.

      I have always had great luck finding it at the smaller mom and pop hardware stores. And if they don't have it, they always order it for you! In seattle, it's about 5.99 for a small bottle which is good for 3-4 batches of soap.

      Dude! Go to brambleberry.com and use their lye calculator. I use it all the time and it's SO stinking handy.

      I'm going to shut up now. Really. I just start geeking out when soap making is mentioned. :-)
      (Also Wholesale Supplies Plus has KILLER deals and free shipping for everything and anything soap related.)

      No, I'm really going now.

      Delete
  4. Wonderful!!! I really want to try this! Curious...have you run the numbers to determine if it is less expensive to make vs. buy soap? I understand there are all sort of other reasons to do so but am curious... Love having found your blog!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. I haven't run the numbers but I plan to! I'm sure that it costs less than real, natural soap from the farmer's market or Whole Foods or wherever. I'm sure it is more expensive than Ivory and all those cheapies. But the quality seems like it will be on par with the farmer's market soap.

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    2. Thanks Karen!! Would really like to try making soap for ourselves as well as for gifts!

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  5. I totally and completely want to do this. Thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't tell you how easy it was. It's a very simple process. Try it!

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    ReplyDelete
  7. اليك خدمات منزلية متقدمة تساعدنا علي الارتقاء بشركة ركن البيت في مدينة الدمام من خلال اعمالها المتميزة التي تقدمها في مجال النظافة والقضاء علي الحشرات فخدماتنا متنوعة مثل شركة تنظيف بالدمام التي تكون متخصصة في اعمال النظافة العامة التي تتمثل في المنشأت الكبيرة والصغيرة بجميع انواع واليك خدمة متميزة ايضا وهي شركة تنظيف فلل بالدمام التي تكون لديها كل الامكانيات المثالية التي تساعدنا في تنفيذ خدمات نظافة الفلل المستعملة والمفروشة بواسطة فريق فني لديه كل الامكانيات التي تساعده في تقديم ذلك ولديك خدمة ايضا نظافة الشقق بواسطة شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام وعمل التنظيف اللازم لها بواسطة فريق لديه اعمال التميز والتنفيذ في تقديم الخدمات المخصصة في اعمال النظافة واليك خدمة مثالية نقدمها في القضاء علي الحشرات الصغيرة بواسطة مبيدات طبيعة تساعدنا في ذلك فتعاملك مع شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام لديها امكانيات متميزة تساعدك علي ان تخلصك من الحشرات لان تجد كل ذلك الا من خلال ركن البيت التي لديها كل الامكانيات في البحث عن شركة رش مبيدات بالدمام التي تقوم بالرش بواسطة فني مختص معه الادوات اللازمة للقيام بذلك وعطائك الضمانات اللازمة علي ذلك واليك خدمة نقل اثاث منزلية تساعدك في الوصول الي مكانك الجديد بواسطة شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام التي لديها كل الامكانيات والسيارات التي تساعدك علي تحقيق ذلك

    ReplyDelete
  8. يمكنكم الآن من خلال شركة تسليك مجارى بالدمام الحصول علي خدمات تسليك مجاري بأوفر الأسعار حيث تعتبر أبراج دبي واحدة من أهم و أرخص الشركات علي مستوي جميع أنحاء السعودية .

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    ReplyDelete
  9. تمتعوا الآن بأفضل العروض التي تقدمها صيانة ال جي
    بجميع أنحاء المحافظات حيث يمتلك توكيل صيانة ال جي
    أفضل فريق صيانات يمكنكم الحصول علي خدماتهم عبر رقم ال جي
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    للتواصل الآن يمكنكم عبر :-

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    ReplyDelete
  10. تمتعوا الآن بأفضل مستوي خدمات مكافحة حشرات من خلال أقوي شركة ابادة حشرات بجميع أنحاء المحافظات حيث تعتبر الشركة الفرنسية أهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بمصر و التي تقدم لكم أرخص اسعار شركات مكافحة حشرات بمصر
    و بجميع أنحاء المحافظات .

    للتواصل الآن عن طريق :-

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    ReplyDelete

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