Monday, July 11, 2011

Making Soap Step 1: Gather Ingredients

I promised to demonstrate basic soapmaking several months ago and I have finally gotten around to it.  This is going to be a simple soap using commonly found ingredients.  The only thing that may be tricky is buying the lye.  Red Devil Lye used to be commonly used by soap makers, but was taken off the market when the manufacturer discovered that it was being purchased by meth labs to make drugs.

One available product is at Ace Hardware and is their brand of drain cleaner.  You need to make sure that you are purchasing pure lye (sodium hydroxide), not lye with fillers.  I mail ordered mine from Essential Depot.  They sell lye to soap makers and people that make bio-diesel.

The other supplies for this batch of soap will be 3 lbs. of solid vegetable shortening, soft water, an enamel or stainless steel pan (no aluminum), a wooden spoon dedicated to soap making and measuring cups dedicated to soap making.  Also, a plastic, glass or wood form to pour the soap into for hardening and petroleum jelly for coating the form.  I use a pyrex casserole or old food containers.


Label Your Soap Making Tools

You never want to work with lye around small or extremely curious older children.  Lye can burn badly and you don't want to take any chances.  You should have cold water nearby should you get splashed, rubber gloves and safety glasses.  Wear old clothing.

I like to use a recipe that uses weight instead of cup measures.  Different lyes have different textures and density.  You will have better results weighing your ingredients.

Soap made commercially has the glycerin formed by the soap making process removed.  The glycerine is then packaged and sold separately.  You homemade soap will still have the glycerine in it, so it will be very good for your skin.  Homemade soap is not harsh as many people believe.

God bless,
Pam

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