Thursday, February 25, 2010

Make Soap! Easy soap making with your kids...

How to Make Homemade Soap

We all use soap. In the old days, most people made their own. Today, we are much more likely to buy it from the store. There are lots of brands to choose from, and each brand has various formulations and scents.

But making your own soap has some definite advantages. One of the most significant is the price. We can make soap much cheaper than we can buy it. Making it ourselves also gives us complete control over the ingredients, so we can create a soap that's perfect for our skin type in a scent of our choosing.

Making soap is much easier than you might think. It is, however, important to take certain safety precautions. Here's a basic recipe:

Ingredients

* 12 cups lye crystals
* 5 cups softened water
* 6 pounds lard

Instructions

1. Put water in a glass or plastic bowl. Carefully pour lye into water, stirring constantly with a plastic or wooden spoon. This should be done outdoors or in a well-ventilated area, because it produces caustic fumes.
2. Mixing lye and water produces heat. When the lye is completely dissolved, set the mixture aside to cool.
3. Place lard in a stainless steel or enamel pan. Melt over low heat.
4. Allow both the lye solution and the lard to cool to room temperature.
5. Slowly pour the lye solution into the lard, stirring slowly and constantly with the plastic or wooden spoon.
6. Continue stirring after all of the lye solution has been added. Drizzle a small amount of the mixture into the pot periodically. When the soap keeps its shape for a moment before sinking into the mixture, you can add scent, color and herbs.
7. Pour the soap into a mold greased with Crisco. Wrap in a towel, and let set for about 18 hours or until completely cooled. Uncover and let set for 12 more hours.
8. The soap may now be unmolded and cut into bars. Let the bars cure for 3 to 4 weeks before using.

Customizing Your Soap

There are lots of different ways you can customize your soap. To make the best soap for your skin type, you may want to use different oils. Some that are commonly used include olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter and shea butter. The correct amount varies depending on which oil you use, so look for recipes online or in books until you get the hang of it.

Essential oils have therapeutic properties and add fragrance. Oatmeal, cornmeal and other grains can be added as exfoliants. And skin-safe colorants may be used to produce the desired color. These ingredients should be mixed together and added to a cup of the soap mixture, then stirred into the rest of the soap mixture immediately before pouring into the mold.

Making your own soap is easy, and it can be lots of fun. Coming up with the perfect concoction for your skin is rewarding, and sweetly scented homemade soaps make wonderful gifts for any occasion.


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2 comments:

Small Footprints said...

Thank you ... I've been wondering if there was an easy way to make soap. If one didn't want to use lard but rather make a vegan soap, do you happen to know what we'd substitute for the lard?

Thanks, again ... this was very interesting!

Small Footprints
http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com

Mommy Tyme said...

You can use a vegetable shortening. There are several vegan recipes out there. I personally opt for the goats milk pre made base or the olive oil premade base. I do not like the idea of lye in my house while I still have a toddler. However, if you want to make a fun soap, that has just as much work and effort- you can rebatch. It allows you to start with a premade soap, but then combine ingredients, oils, etc. of your choice, melt it down, add some H2O and then hand mold. This would be great for you- you are actually taking one bar of soap and turning it into 5 or 6- They are harder and last longer than regular soaps. I can list some recipes if you are interested.

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