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How It's Made: Soap Edition

How is soap made at home? It really is quite simple! I was scared at first that it was this really hard process of getting ingredients and scary chemicals. But, most of the stuff you need to make soap, you have right at home!

Here is a list of supplies that I use every time I make soap:

  • Digital Scale

  • Gloves

  • Eye protection

  • Heat resistant bowls (Stainless steel, glass, or certain types of plastic)

  • Silicon Spatulas

  • Molds (can be loaf molds or individual)

  • Immersion Blender

Here is a picture of some of the supplies that I use:

Most generic recipes will use olive oil. I chose to use canola oil instead because it is lighter in color so it will be easier to color the soap. Here are the ingredients that I have been using:

  • Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)

  • Goat Milk (measured and then frozen)

  • Canola Oil

  • Coconut Oil

  • Palm Oil

  • Sunflower Seed Oil

  • Shea Oil

  • Castor Oil

  • Sodium Lactate

Once you have a base recipe down, you can add things like scents, colors, honey, or oatmeal. A lot of people used what is called mica for coloring or natural powders like paprika or cocoa powder. I have a small sample pack of micas and I also use kaolin clay to get a whiter color.

For scents, there are two options. You can either use essential oils or fragrance oils. Essential oils are more natural, but can be more expensive to use. They also have some aroma therapy benefits such as lavender, which has a relaxing effect to it. Fragrance oils are made in a lab to resemble the natural smells. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They are cheaper to make and you can get some very unique scents such as Hot Apple Pie!

Now it’s time to make some soap!!

First up: the lye mixture. I put my frozen milk ice cubes in a bowl and slowly add the lye. As I add it, it will heat up the ice and melt it until it is liquid. The reason I freeze the milk is so that the sugars do not burn when I add the lye. Once this is all mixed I will let it sit for about 15 minutes to cool off. I don’t want the oils and the lye to be drastically different in temperature when I mix them.

While that is cooling, I will measure out all the oils I will need. The palm and coconut oil are solid at room temperature, so they need to be heated up into a liquid form. These can be microwaved or heated up on the stove. Microwaving is much easier, and Bramble Berry sells their hard oils is microwave safe containers!

I will mix all the oils together in a large bowl with a few blends with the stick blender. If you are adding any powder to your soap, it is a good idea to take a small amount of oil and mix the powders in a separate bowl. These you will add back in later to the whole batch. This will prevent any clumps to appear in your soap.

Now I can pour the lye mixture into the oils. Using the immersion blender, I will blend for about 10-15 seconds and then stir with the stick for another 10-15 seconds, alternating until the mixture is at a thin trace. Trace is just a word used for the consistency of the soap batter. Now is when you will add your color or any scents you want in your soap.

Once they are at a consistency that I like and all the add-ons are in, it’s time to pour! There are so many options for swirling and layering in soap making there really are no rules! You can use any kind of silicon mold for your soap. There are many different shapes that you can use. I have a honey comb one that makes cute little soaps and a paw print one for my dog shampoo bars!

Now I will let it set in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours or until it is hard enough to cut or un-mold. You don’t want to wait too long our it will crumble. It has to sit for 4-6 weeks (sometimes longer) after cutting in an area with good air flow to cure. Then you can soap to your heart’s desire! Here are some soaps that I have made so far:


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