If you had told me two years ago that I would become obsessed with soap making, I would have said: Soap making? Seriously? I had zero interest. And now I say: Soap making. Seriously! It’s addictive. You can see all my other Home DIY Projects here.
- olive oil
- almond oil
- rice bran oil
- coconut oil
- jojoba oil
- castor oil
- shea butter
- coco butter
- vegetable shortening….
How To Make Soap
- digital kitchen scale (for measuring the oils and lye in ounces or grams)
- cooking thermometer/timer (to monitor the temperatures of the lye solution and oil mixture)
- 2 cup pyrex measuring cup (for mixing lye)
- 2-3 quart stainless steel cooking pot (for melting fats and oils and blending soap mixture)
- stainless steel stirring spoons
- silicone loaf pan or 12-cup silicone muffin pan to use as soap molds (or glass or wood containers lined with freezer paper or cling wrap)
- stick immersion hand blender (to combine the lye solution and oil mixture)
- silicone spatula (to remove the soap mixture from the pot into the molds)
- metal cooling racks (for curing the soaps, allowing air flow)
- 1 cup vinegar (lye is neutralized with vinegar)
- solid and liquid oils and fats (depends on recipe- see Resources below)
- lye (sodium hydroxide lye crystals)
- distilled water
- scents, colours, herbs, etc. -optional – I don’t use any
Prepare The Lye
- Protect eyes and wear gloves.
- Measure lye into distilled water in pyrex cup and gently stir to dissolve. Lye + water = heat and fumes. Do this outside or under range hood with fan running. This mixture may go as high as 200F. It takes about 30-45 minutes for the temperature to drop to the desired 100-110F.
- Place stir spoon and thermometer in vinegar cup between uses to neutralize any lye on them.
- Measure oils (hard and soft) into stainless steel cooking pot. A digital scale lets you measure one item, reset the scale to tare, and then continue measuring until you’ve got everything you need.
- On very low heat, gently warm the oils until the solids have melted. Don’t let the temperature get higher than 130F. This way it will cool to 110F around the same time the lye solution does.
- Remove from heat.
- Have your molds ready. Silicone containers don’t require any freezer paper or cling wrap.
- Have the stick blender ready. When the lye solution and oils are both around 110F, gently pour the lye solution into the pot of oils and start blending on low speed.
- Keep the tip of the blender against the bottom of the pot or it will splatter. The lye is still active (and will remain so for weeks) and will burn if it touches your skin
- Blend for a few seconds, stop and stir, blend again.
- The soap mixture will become opaque and reach trace, often within a minute or two. You know you have trace when you can stir the soap and it is just thick enough to sit on itself, without being as thick as pudding.
- Pour into molds and cover with a towel to slow the temperature drop.
- The soap pieces should be hard enough to cut into bars.
- Place cut bars on cooling racks to air dry for 4-6 weeks, allowing time for the lye to neutralize.
- MMS Lye Calculator | enter the oils you’re using and it tells you how much lye you will need
- Miller’s Homemade Soap Pages | tons of information and recipes
- CanWax | Canadian source for soap making supplies
- Soap Center | recipe ideas