No matter how easy they make it seem on YouTube, making a good, healthy soap in the comfort of your home requires a lot of care and skill. DIYing instead of buying is becoming more and more popular, and soaps are among the more popular things to make.
However, no matter how complex, everyone has to start somewhere, so today, we’re looking into the basics of homemade soap making. Read carefully!
How To Make Soap — The Basics
Supplies, ingredients and following the right recipe are crucial to your success in most hobbies you decide to undertake. So, this is precisely the thing we’ll cover first, and make sure to take notes!
Homemade soap kit tools and supplies
In order to make soap, you’ll need specific equipment. This may vary based on the complexity of your recipe, method, or your skills when it comes to soapmaking.
Regardless of the method, basic equipment involves a kitchen scale, silicone molds, and silicone spatulas. If you have a liking for precision, you can also get yourself a candy thermometer, so you can track the temperatures of your mix.
Once your method advances, you’ll need a slow cooker but also equipment intended for lye handling. This means you need to get containers or glasses made of stainless steel, glass, or heavy plastic.
Be very careful not to get aluminum equipment, as lye will burn through it with ease.
Make sure you stock up on safety equipment at the end (or the very beginning). Rubber/latex gloves and safety goggles are an absolute must. Apart from that, we recommend wearing an apron or a shirt with long sleeves to prevent burns from splashing.
Soap ingredients to get you started
Before you start making soap, you need to know your ingredients. A bar of soap is made out of three basic ingredients:
- Oil/fat — herbal or of animal origin (coconut oil, palm oil, beeswax);
- Lye — potassium or sodium hydroxide;
Lye is the key ingredient in bar soap, but it’s also the one you need to be the most careful about. Before turning into soap, lye is a chemical that can cause serious damage to people and the environment if not used properly.
When in its chemical form, lye can burn through the skin of people and animals, but it can also burn through aluminum. So you need to make sure you’re keeping it in a safe place and have your safety equipment when handling it.
However, you’ll also find many recipes for homemade soap without lye. Lye is actually sodium hydroxide — a chemical that irritates the skin, eyes, and even the respiratory system.
It’s important to note that no lye is actually present in the soap, given that the process is done properly. Heating and mixing start a chemical reaction that turns lye into soap, making it perfectly safe and healthy for further use.
Apart from these essential ingredients, many others can be added to achieve the desired color, scent, or texture of your soap bar. Sugar and salt are also popular additions as the first one increases lather while the latter increases hardness.
Coloring is mostly achieved by adding spices (turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, etc.), while essential oils are key to achieving a long-lasting scent. For texture and your skin type, you can use a variety of ingredients, from oatmeal to flower petals.
Key steps to making soap at home
As with everything, there’s no single best way to make a bar of soap. Methods vary based on personal preference, as well as the skill of the person making it. Generally speaking, there are four ways to make soap, but we will cover the two basic ones.
The so-called melt and pour method is considered the easiest one, which is why it’s the most popular among soap enthusiasts. It’s fairly inexpensive, the steps are easy to follow, and there’s no need to work directly with lye, which is a plus for inexperienced soap makers’ safety.
Following this method, making soap from scratch involves the following steps:
- Buy soap base. It’s basically an unscented soap with no color you can get in most craft stores.
- Melt the base. You can do it in a boiler or even in your microwave if you don’t own a boiler.
- Add coloring/scent. Once the base has melted completely, unleash your creativity.
- Pour the mix into molds. Craft stores are your best friend when it comes to finding shapes of your liking.
- Give it time to harden.
Using this method isn’t generally recommended for beginners, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try it if you feel confident enough. You do, however, need to make sure you do your homework properly when it comes to handling lye.
If you opt to make soap this way, these are the steps:
- Boil your oils/fat to 100 degrees Fahrenheit;
- Slowly add a lye-water mix, constantly stirring until a trace appears;
- Add coloring/scent;
- Pour into the mold and wait for it to harden.
However, what you should also know is that soaps made this way are not ready for use immediately after they harden. It takes a couple of weeks for the process to complete and for the soap to be safe for further use.
Today we tried to cover the basics of soapmaking and give you the knowledge to help you hop on the train of this increasingly popular hobby. As a result, you can now unleash your creativity in a whole new way, and give handmade, thoughtful gifts to your loved ones.
The Internet is filled with easy homemade soap recipes to get you started on what will surely be a creative, thrilling journey. Good luck!
What is soap made of?
Chemically, soaps, as we know them, are a product of a process called saponification, i. e. combining lye and oil/fat. So, while there may be other ingredients, there are the basic ones.
What are the 3 main ingredients in soap?
Lye (alkali), fat/oil, and water are the basic ingredients of every soap. There can also be other ingredients added for texture or scent.
How to make soap to sell?
Making soap to sell, apart from mastering the process, requires some thought to it like any other small business. You need to get the right equipment and ensure the quality of the ingredients before you start reaching out to potential customers.
How to make soap with essential oils?
Making soap with essential oils basically means adding a couple of drops (or as much as you’d like) of essential oil into a molten soap base. The more drops you add, the stronger the scent will be.