Friday, September 3, 2010


I figured out how to make soap! Early this summer I had bought some homemade goats milk soap when we were in PA. I loved how it made my skin feel. Warren said why don't you try to make some? Hmmm...I had no clue, but I like to try new things, so I researched online, got several books at the library, read through them and also talked with someone who makes soap. I used what is called the cold process method. I used these oils...olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil. You need a good recipe and a digital kitchen scale. You have to measure out all the oils, lye and water very precisely. I was a little scared of the lye (sodium hydroxide) because of my lungs, but I was very careful not to inhale any fumes. I poured the lye granules into the water(measured in a pitcher) outside and I had on a mask and goggles. I stood as far away as I could while I poured and stirred it and then went inside. The lye makes the water very hot, so you need to wait for it to cool down. While that was cooling, I melted the oils with a little bit of beeswax to help make a hard bar, the olive oil was added last since it doesn't need to melt.

The oils are melting while the lye and water are cooling.

When the lye and water mixture and the oils are both at around 100 degrees, I added the lye part to the oils. There were no fumes at all by the time I brought the lye/water inside. I started stirring for a bit, then used an immersion blender. You have to blend, then stop, blend and stop, or the blender gets too hot. It probably takes about 15 minutes of blending till it starts to get thicker.

This is how it looks when you start blending...

...and this is how it looks after about 15 minutes. Sort of pudding like. It's getting to the stage that is called "trace".

Note the goggle get up, gloves and long sleeves. See, I was being VERY very careful!

Now for the fun part. I added some honey, some lavendar essential oil and some ground up oatmeal.

I poured into two plastic velveeta storage containers that I got at Save and Serve thrift shop for 25 cents each. They are lined with parchment paper and sprayed with Pam. I laid saran wrap on top of the soap, put on the lids and then wrapped them in towels for 24 hours, because it has to cool slowly.

After 24 hours, I put my gloves back on, took the "logs" out of the mold and cut them, it sliced kind of like cheese. Then the hardest part, waiting a whole month for them to cure or saponify. The lye and oils react together and turn into SOAP! Ta da...lavendar honey oatmeal soap.

These bars looks really big and well, they really are. The recipe made eight large square bars. See the little oatmeal flecks in them?? They are about ready to use now, it's been 4 weeks. I've been using the small end pieces that I cut off and it works really nice. Kind of a feeling of satisfaction to know I made it! I made my second batch last week. Stephanie helped me. This batch we tried goats milk soap...yes, we used the goats milk from the goats I milked. It's a little trickier because the milk has to be slushy frozen so the lye doesn't curdle it because it gets so hot. Stephanie did the lye part and the blender mixing. She thought it was great fun! I now have 16 nice size bars of soap. Now she found a recipe for chocolate soap and wants to try that next. And on Dr. Oz this morning, there was a lady on who had made soap using breast milk. Oh, the possibilities!!! But we decided we'll probably stick to the goats milk...


Keetha Denise Broyles said...

How do you make sure all the lye is neutralized so it isn't harsh? Our kids participated in soap making for Pioneer Days at school - - - but it was always very harsh.

I vote for lots of really moisturizing additives - - - shea or cocoa butter for example.

PS - - - may I borrow your photo from "my" post for a post over at MY place? I'll give you a "shout out."

Aspiemom said...

I am so impressed, Marcia! That sounds like a lot of work! (I agree the hardest part would be waiting at the end to use it!) I've made candles before, but never soap. That first batch with the oats, lavendar & honey sound like it would be my favorite. You could sell on Etsy!

Judy said...

Good job Marcia! You always seem to have so much fun with your new endeavors...using all that talent you have! I wish I lived closer so that I could get in on some of the fun. Anyway, I'm proud of your accomplishments!

Barb said...

Can't wait to see what I can do once I'm not working! You inspire me!

Colleen said...

I love crafts! Looks like you had a lot of fun.

Debby said...

Stopping over from Keetha's Blog. That soap looks amazing. Wow I am impressed. Nice to meet you.

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

You're so brave. I've always been afraid because of the lye. I'd love to try this kind of soap though. I'm going to have to keep my eyes open for some.

My mom tells me that this is how they always made their soap when she was growing up. They did it outside in an old kettle. She said it always made everything feel so clean. We just had a conversation about this a few weeks ago.