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How To Make Soap At Home

There are three main methods for making soap at home. They are: Melt and pour: This involves buying a soap base, melting it down, and adding the ingredients you want. Cold process: This involves making soap from scratch using lye and fat. Hot process: This also involves making soap from scratch. The following is based on the cold process.

1. Ingredients And Equipment

-Coconut oil ⅔ cup (helps to produce lather)
-Olive oil ⅔ cup
-Other liquid oil ⅔ cup – like almond oil, grape seed, sunflower or safflower oil
-¼ cup lye – also called 100% sodium hydroxide
-¾ cup cool water (use distilled or purified)
-Quart canning jar
-Pint canning jar
-Soap molds
-Gloves and protective goggles

2. Cover your work area

Put your gloves and other protective wear on. Measure your water into the quart canning jar. Have a spoon ready. Measure your lye, making sure you have exactly ¼ cup. Slowly pour the lye into the water (never the water into lye) stirring as you go. Stand back while you stir to avoid the fumes. When the water starts to clear, you can allow it to sit while you move to the next step. It will generate heat as the chemical reaction occurs.

3. In the pint jar, add your three oils together

They should just make a pint. Heat in a microwave for about a minute, or place the jar of oils in a pan of water to heat. Check the temperature of your oils – it should be about 120°F or so. Although you can use a soap-maker thermometer, a regular meat thermometer will also work. Your lye should have come down by then to about 120°F. Wait for both to cool somewhere between 95°F and 105°F. Too low and it’ll come together quickly, but be coarse and crumbly.

4. When both the lye and oils are at the right temperature, pour the oils into a mixing bowl

Slowly add the lye, stirring until it’s all mixed. Stir by hand for a full 5 minutes with any spoon or spatula that is heat-resistant. It’s very important to get as much of the lye in contact with as much of the soap as possible. After about 5 minutes, you can keep stirring or you can use an immersion blender. The soap mixture will lighten in color and become thick. When it looks like vanilla pudding it’s ready.

5. Add your herbs, essential oils or other additions

Slowly add the lye, stirring until it’s all mixed. Stir by hand for a full 5 minutes with any spoon or spatula that is heat-resistant. It’s very important to get as much of the lye in contact with as much of the soap as possible. After about 5 minutes, you can keep stirring or you can use an immersion blender. The soap mixture will lighten in color and become thick. When it looks like vanilla pudding it’s ready.

6. After 24 hours, check your soap

If it’s still warm or soft, allow it to sit another 12 to 24 hours. When it’s cold and firm, turn it out onto a piece of parchment paper or baking rack. If using a loaf pan as your mold, cut into bars at this point. Allow soap to cure for 4 weeks or so. Be sure to turn it over once a week to expose all the sides to air, or put it on a backing rack to allow air to circulate.

7. When your soap is fully cured, wrap it in wax paper or keep it in an airtight container

Hand-made soap creates its own glycerin, which is a humectant, pulling moisture from the air. It should be wrapped to keep it from attracting dust and debris with the moisture. Clean your equipment that has been exposed to lye. You can neutralize the lye with white vinegar, then wash the equipment well as you normally would.

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