This is my first try at making soap. It was kind of scary to me. Why? I guess using a chemical that you should wear goggles and gloves while using is the first and foremost reason. I even hesitated ordering lye when reading all the conditions to purchase from The Soap Dish. After reading many blogger sites I decided to dive right in.Please note that after the chemical reaction between the lye and other ingredients has taken place it is no longer in the form of lye.
Why make soap in the first place? I wanted to use ingredients I could pronounce and know what is in the soap I used. I also wanted to spend less on a good quality soap. I am not sure I achieved that, read below on my cost breakdown. I have only used baking soda and water for my hair the past two weeks (Cleaning Hair with Baking Soda), however, I wanted something to use once in a while or when I do crazy things like try coconut oil in my hair and it doesn’t come out. This soap can also be used as a body bar and hopefully my husband will start using it.
There are two types of soap making, cold process and hot process. I chose to make the hot process first as this method speeds up the end product. Cold process soap needs to cure for about 4 weeks before use.
In my search for making soap I discovered the lye calculator which shows you how much lye to use based on the amount of your other products. I decided to use a recipe that had already been proven but, most blogs will tell you to check the lye calculator just to double-check the amount of lye you should use . Here is the recipe that I used from Frugally Sustainable Shampoo Bar Soap Recipe.
My Soap Making Experience
I measured out the lye and mixed everything outside then left it to cool while I measured and melted my other ingredients.
My crock pot and stick blender ready for use.
I believe I left the lye mixture outside too long as it had begun to solidify but worked fine when I put it into the warm oils. Next time I will measure all my oils (this took a while) and then mix my lye outside. I put the oils and the lye into the crock pot and I mixed the soap until trace was achieved. I then cooked the soap for 1 hour. The recipe says it will be translucent. That does not mean it will be clear but it won’t look like pudding anymore. Mine did not “fold in on itself” so I cooked it a little longer. It never did achieve that stage, maybe because I used a larger crock pot. I then spooned it into my mold to set. I used a bread pan with waxed paper.
After 24 hours I took the soap out of the mold and sliced it into 10 bars. They are aprox. 4.5 oz each. That comes out to $2.50 a bar with the cost I paid for supplies (see below).
After making the soap I sat down to figure out my costs. I was surprised when my batch of soap came to more than $25. Some sites quote the cost of a batch of soap around $10. I am not sure if they are figuring the shipping costs but I did. If you buy in bulk it will also be less expensive. I did not purchase in large quantities as I was not sure I would be doing a lot of soap making. Guess I will be buying bulk in the future. Below are my cost break downs (I broke my shipping cost down by the ounce. The Vitamin Shoppe does not charge shipping if you purchase more than $25). I did not figure the cost of coconut milk into this as I didn’t have a cost on that yet.
- Castor oil $2.30 The Soap Dish
- Sodium Hydroxide $1.32 The Soap Dish
- Shea Butter $1.24 The Soap Dish
- Coconut Oil $5.04 Vitamin Shoppe
- Cocoa Butter $2.84 Mountain Rose Herbs
- Jojoba Oil $9.21 Vitamin Shoppe
- Bees Wax $1.54 Frugally Sustainable
- Olive Oil $1.62 Local grocery
The Jojoba oil was less expensive at The Soap Dish but it was on backorder. A soap without this would be much less expensive.
I now understand why making soap can become addictive. After seeing my first bars I am ready to try some more!
RESULTS: After using this soap I have decided it is my new face bar. It has too many oils in it for my hair. I have friends who have tried it and really like it for their hair.
Here is a list of most of the things you will use when using the crock pot method:
- Cookware — stainless steel pot for melting oils
- Crockpot — older models don’t heat as hot, which is a benefit (I used a newer one that had a “warm” setting and it worked great.)
- Digital scale – I purchased mine at Wal-Mart. One that resets to O after putting a bowl on it is a must.
- Stick blender – I purchased my at Kohl’s on sale but you can purchase one on-line at Amazon.com
- Glass measuring cups
- Small glass bowls (for smaller measurements)
- Long-handled plastic spoon (if you use plastic or wood it can not be used for food)
- Rubber spatula
- Pitcher filled with soapy vinegar mixture (I filled my sink). Vinegar will neutralize lye.
- Protective clothing (I didn’t use but a heavy apron could be used)
- Plastic gloves
- Long-sleeve Shirt (my gloves were long)
- Safety glasses or face shield (I found my goggles in the paint section at Wal-Mart)
These are the websites I found my ingredients. PLEASE shop around and get the best price. Shipping can be too high if you are just ordering a few ingredients from one place.
I have found many helpful websites that you can read before you journey to soap making.
- Crock Pot Soap
- Beginner’s Guide To Soap Making
- 4 Steps To Making Homemade Soap
- The recommended precautions
- Lye calculator
Here are some books that you can also check out.