I finally got around to making my own soap last year. I have been thinking about it and researching for quite some time, but I was rather nervous to try because I see so many warnings about the caustic elements of soap making. One day when the kids were off somewhere and the dog and I were home alone, I decided to try my hand at it. I set up shop out in our garage this summer and took my first run at it gearing up with all of the equipment the books suggested. These included gloves, long sleeved shirt, goggles, face mask,.... When I say everything I mean everything!
Some people might think I am crazy for doing this, after all isn't it just easier to go to the store and buy a few bars off the shelf? That's really not the point though. There are some very good reasons to make your own soap.
The reasons I wanted to try it though are the following:
1. I can control the quality of ingredients in my soap.
2. I know what ingredients went into my soap, nothing is missing from the label of ingredients.
3. Knowing what is in my soap allows me not to worry about toxic chemicals that I'm cleaning my family with.
4. I can provide my family high quality soap for a very low price.
5. Naturally occurring glycerin is kept in home made soaps, it is normally removed from commercial soaps. This is a natural emollient which makes the soap easier on your skin. (info from The Complete Soapmaker)
6. It is an enjoyable hobby that provides me another chance to take better care of my family.
I got my recipe from The Everything Soapmaking Book. It's a very simple recipe that makes castille soap. It was made with only three ingredients; lye, water, and olive oil via the cold process method. One of the problems though, is that home made soaps don't always turn out in the way you expected it to. The picture on the top shows that my first batch turned out crumbly and did not hold it's shape well. While paging through the trouble shooting section I found that problems may occur because of wide temperature variations, that's my guess for what went wrong with this batch. Luckily my soap could be rebatched though. This included shredding and melting the soap in a pot of water and then molding it into soap molds. This is called hand milling.
This batch of handmilled soap did not turn out. The soap would not harden, you can see where I pressed on the soaps to check for hardness. I will have to melt these again and try over again. The book I got from the clearance shelf at Goodwill told me that. (Making Potpourri, Colognes, and Soaps)I think it may have been the addition of coffee and/or green tea that contributed to the inability of this soap to set as I did not have a recipe and I just threw a few things into the batch. I guess there isn't a way to be completely sure.
This batch was made with essential oils that are supposed to help with symptoms of depression. The information on essential oils was found in The Everything Soapmaking Book as well. I followed a recipe from a library book that called for specific amounts of shredded soap, water, and castor oil and just went out on a limb with the addition of the essential oils which are added after saponification has taken place. I also like the silicon mold that I used for this, it made it very easy to remove the soaps from the mold. I hope that I will find some more of these on clearance sometime since they aren't cheap.
Once the soaps come out of the mold they are trimmed to make the surfaces even. The extra soap pieces will be used to make some laundry soap for the family in the (hopefully) not so distant future. It made my skin feel very soft when I tried it and I didn't even have to use any lotion or anything.
Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. Please leave me a message, I'd love to hear your thoughts!Cindy