Cold process is the most authentic method used to make homemade soap. Once I got the hang of it I quickly realized that the total cost to make several months worth of bars was far cheaper than buying the chemical-cocktails from the store.
And lets not forget that because you have total control over what goes into them, you can avoid using any ingredients that do not suit your skin. The live cultures and stimulating enzymes in the recipes below also makes them unbeatable for bringing life and vitality to your skin, for a fraction of the cost!
Lets take a look at cold process soapmaking...
Cold process soap making seems complicated at first, but it's actually very easy and not much harder than baking a cake. In fact I have found it to be extremely addictive, and a wonderfully rewarding hobby.
To begin with, here's a quick list of what's required to make homemade soap. The full run down of items that I recommend can be found here Wholesale Soap Supplies and Equipment. Some of them you will have already, some you can make and some you will need to purchase. These items are not very expensive, so your setup costs will not break the bank!
A lot of folks express concern around the dangers of working with Lye, and yes you do want to take some precautions whenever you handle it. Having said that, all that is required is a bit of common-sense. Which you already have otherwise you would not be reading through these safety tips!
So, always protect the eyes and skin by putting on safety glasses and rubber gloves. Should you get some on your skin rinse with vinegar before washing it off using water.
Once you add the water to your Lye some choking fumes will rise from your bowl. Keep your face away from these fumes while you stir the mixture and try to not breath them in. You could use a mask here if you want. I wrap a scarf around my nose and mouth and that's probably sufficient, as the fumes only last a few moments.
When cleaning your soap making pot, allow the mixture to solidify and scrape it into a bag to be sealed and disposed of. Keep your gloves on when cleaning and add some vinegar to your washing up water to help thoroughly clean your utensils.
If you don't have a specific soap mold, then any good size container will do. Sturdy plastic containers that still have enough give to ease the soap out make the best containers because you don't have to line them.
A quick grease round with a little solid oil from the recipe, and they're good to go. Glass, wood, ceramic or cardboard all lined with freezer/butcher paper will also make suitable molds. Avoid using any metal molds unless you can be sure they are stainless steel.
To get a good idea of the size of mold needed add together the oils and water in the recipe and then fill a mold with that amount of water.
The best way to line your mold when using the freezer/butcher paper is to cut two strips, one to go across the width of your box and the other going across the length. Leave enough on the paper to fold over the edges and secure with tape.
Using a stick blender:
Begin carefully stirring your mixture with a stick blender for several minutes, slowly at first without switching the blender on. Then give your mixture a few short 3 second bursts, stirring between each burst until the mixture thickens slightly and looks a little like thick custard. This is called "trace" and it's a sign that your soap is turning out well.
Mixing by hand:
This will take a little longer, maybe up to an hour longer but with consistent slow even stirring with a hand whisk you will eventually reach the trace stage. I've also noticed that soap recipes containing bees wax usually reach the trace stage after about 15 minutes, so they're worth looking out for.
Although a hand whisk can be used to reach the trace stage it can be quite time consuming sometimes taking up to an hour to reach the trace stage. A stick blender can do the same task in just a few minutes. Whether you are thinking of making soap for gifts, or just for personal use I am fairly confidant once you start using your homemade soap, the store bought stuff will be a thing of the past so a cheap stick blender will be well worth the investment.
By dipping your spatula or spoon into the mixture and dribbling a small amount back into the mix. It should leave a light "trace" behind (like a small mound of soap that takes a few seconds to blend back within the mixture.) This is when you know you've reached the "trace" stage. And now is the time to add any extras like fragrance oils, colors or textures into your soap recipe.
If your soap does not harden or just hasn't turned out quite as well as you expected it to, or maybe you forgot to add something. Then you may be able to rebatch it by melting it down and adding any missing, or miss calculated ingredients.
If your batch is to lye heavy, making it very brittle and crumbly or if your lye and oils have separated (you will notice a layer of liquid on the top or underneath the soap) I would encourage you to discard it.
We hope you enjoyed learning how to make homemade soap. Now, let's take a detailed look at what homemade soap supplies and equipment is required. And show how to make or where to buy them.
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Going to use these ideas for teaching next year...thank so much guys!
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I love these great ideas! Thank you for sharing with us.
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Great ideas, I am going to use two of these recipes tomorrow! The boys will luv them!
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