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Making Soap from Scratch

7 Comments

 

The essential ingredient for making soap from scratch is lye, but personally, I found this very hard to find. I had several people at DIY stores regard me suspiciously when asking how to find lye.

Lye, such as the popular brand Red Devil, is no longer sold in supermarkets, but you can find lye online at various places, including Camden-Grey and Lehman’s.

  • Lye is extremely irritating to skin and can do damage to eye. Always wear protective gloves and goggles when handling lye, and keep lye WELL away from children. If you DO get lye on skin, immediately apply lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Never use metal pans or utensils when making soap from scratch. The lye mixture will degrade the metal (except for stainless steel) and deposit small bits of metal in your soap! Heavy plastic, ceramic, and glass are good materials for making soap. A shoe box, lined with several layers of plastic wrap, and greased with shortening can even be used as a cheap mold!
  • Always add lye slowly to cold water, as the water will heat up due to the chemical reaction. You then put this mixture into the fat.

 

The recipe for making soap is generally oil or lard, olive oil works especially well, lye, and water. Here is a great video for making soap in a slow cooker. Of course, you wouldn’t ever want to use the same basin for cooking food. There are many different processes for making soap, including cold process and hot process. Here are a few great resources to answer all your questions, Miller’s Homemade Soap and Teach Soap.

 

Easy Shortcut for Making Soap

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Reviews More Reviews

Jan 18, 2013

I need to learn how to make soap without lard for my dad, because he does not want lard in his soap because he has sensitive skin. also he like the goats milk soap , the only soap I have made was in a kit, and it looked like shreeded cheese, I just put the ingredents in it that was called for , making it home made I have never done. thank you for your help in this it is appreciated .

 

Feb 19, 2012

crazycatlady Feb 26, 2010 said: "If lye is "extremely irritating to skin" - why do we put it in soap???" - End quote. Would you rather have more toxic items that they have in today's soaps and shampoos: ingredients that'll damage your liver in the long long because your liver is the toxic waste dump of your body and after many years of that will cause liver damage? And anyhow, lye, (sodium hydroxide, caustic soda) is rendered totally inert by the saponification process. What did you think the folks in the old days did? The used lye leached from wood ashes. I'd rather use homemade soap than ANY bar, hand wash, body wash or shampoo at the market. Why I even use it to shanpoo my hip length hair and grate the soap scraps to add to borax to wash my clothes.

 

7 Ratings

Jan 15, 2011

Saponification happens when the lye and fats do their thing. The lye is no longer lye and the fat is no longer fat but combined they both make a wonderful new thing SOAP. You can only improve on it by adding extra oils at the end of the stage called trace that is called super fatting. Adding oatmeal or some of the other like ingredients increases the benefits that they produce to the soap. There is nothing more enjoyable than using and sharing your very own hand made soap. driftawayangel, I've never used a calculator but have paid close attention to the amounts of my recipe. Making the small batch I do allows me to keep it doable with out the calculator. Those makeing a large recipe should follow your advise.

 

Jan 4, 2011

"Rated on: Feb 26, 2010 by crazycatlady If lye is "extremely irritating to skin" - why do we put it in soap???... MORE If lye is "extremely irritating to skin" - why do we put it in soap???" I know its an old question but for others coming along I wanted to give an answer. Lye in an alkali and when mixed with the oils, a chemical reastion (saponification) happens which creates the soap. Once soap is fully done and cured (4-6 weeks) there is no "lye" left in the soap. It has turned into a totally different creature. Most handmade soap is actually ready to use a few days after making however, it all depends on the qty of oils to lye and whether it is superfatted or not. This will depend on your recipe. On another note, don't make soap from any recipe without running it through a lye calculator to check your percentages. HTH

 

May 1, 2010

I started making my own goat milk soap in 1992. I still make it and now make a little wine soap also. Lye can be found in most hardware stores but you have to ask for it. (thanks to meth makers) Once the signification has happened the lye is no more lye but made the fat into soap. I make a small recipe from the library that makes about 3 cups. If you would like to talk to me just email me priviatly hughlened@yahoo.com

 

Feb 26, 2010

If lye is "extremely irritating to skin" - why do we put it in soap???

 

Jan 15, 2010

extremely helpful it answers many questions that i have had about making soap now I'm not so afraid to try it thank-you thank-you

 

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