Friday, October 5, 2012

Make Your Own Soap, Part IV

This is the last post in the series, Make Your Own Soap. In this post I will share some of my soap recipes and suppliers that I have successfully used for the last 20 years. If you want to read the posts in order from the beginning, click here.

In the last post, we combined the lye water and oils, mixed until it traced and then set the soap up in the mold. It sat undisturbed for about 24 hours. Check the soap before you unmold it to be sure it is completely cooled.  If it is still warm, let it sit a bit longer.

Once the newspaper feels completely cool to the touch, unwrap the soap, remove the saran wrap and remove it from the mold. You can wear rubber gloves if you would like. I do not wear gloves at this point, there isn't any more lye in this batch - it is all pure soap now and is not dangerous.

I usually turn mine out onto freezer paper. I cut 5 lb soap blocks with an old broken cheese slicer. It cuts the soap into exactly 1 inch slices. I then cut the slices into individual bars. I don't use this knife for anything but soapmaking. I make my bars 1 x 2 x 3. It is a nice size bar to hold in your hand.

I usually take the leftover end pieces and make soap balls. When cutting the soap, it is very soft at this point in the process. It feels like Swiss cheese. You can easily squeeze the left over pieces into shapes to make soap balls. 

When cutting the 8 lb block, I usually use these wooden cutters I purchased about 15 years ago. The cutting edge is a piece of thin metal wire - just like a cheese slicer. 

In order to have hard soap, the bars must dry for a few weeks. I dry mine on a portable cart lined with some paper towels. What I like best about this cart is I can wheel it out of the way when I need to. At Christmas time I tend to have a lot of soap drying and having the carts on wheels is a big help. They can be wheeled in and out of the laundry room quickly to keep them out of the way.

Here are some of my favorite recipes. I use these two recipes more than any other I have. If you substitute a different base oil for any of the ones I have listed here, you are going to have to recalculate how much lye you will need for that specific recipe. Please be sure to consult a book on soapmaking before you make your first batch of soap.

Bath Soap
22 oz. palm oil
26 oz. coconut oil
22 oz. canola oil
10 oz. olive oil
4 oz. cocoa butter
24 oz. water
12 oz. lye
3 - 5 TBS sweet almond oil (to superfat the soap)
2 oz - 5 oz scented oil (based on preference - you could also completely omit the scent as well)
coloring (optional - follow the directions on the package of coloring you purchase to determine how much to use)

Laundry Soap
50 oz. canola oil
10 oz. palm oil
10 oz. coconut oil
19 oz. water
9.5 oz lye

To make laundry soap, the first step is to make the bar soap using the recipe above. The bar soap is then grated and mixed with borax and washing soda to make the laundry soap. Stay tuned, I will create a post on how to make laundry soap soon!

I have been purchasing my supplies mostly from two suppliers for the past 20 years. These companies are honest and ethical. You can get just about everything you need from these two companies and you can trust them. (I don't get any form of compensation from these companies, just a satisfied customer for 20 years):

I get most of my base oils from the discount club stores. However I do purchase palm and coconut oils in 5 gallon buckets and I get mine from here.  Search the Internet and you can find other suppliers as well.

I got all of my pots, spoons, containers and most other tools from the big box stores. Once you have the tools, you shouldn't need to purchase them again unless you drop something and break it. I got my scale to weigh everything from an office supply store.
If you think you would be interested in making your own soap and have questions - email me. I will be happy to help!

And there you have it! Soap you made yourself!

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I wished I'd seen it a couple of weeks ago when I made my first batch of soap! I will use this recipe from now on! Blessings from Bama!


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