Sunday, October 23, 2011

Soap Making Part 2- Making the Soap

So today was soap making day finally. I started by going to the soap calculator and putting in the oils that I had available. I had read up on them and had an idea of the approximate percentages that I should use of each oil. I only like to make one pound of soap at a time, though eventually I may make more. Once I had my recipe I got all my ingredients and supplies assembled on the table. This included my soap molds which I greased lightly. I could not remember how many I would need so did a few extras. Any small plastic container can be a soap mold.

I also had my postal scale for weighing the oils, water and lye, my candy thermometer, fragrance and coloring. Then it was time to weigh out the oils. I used olive, coconut, soybean and Castor oil. I also had my gloves, long sleeved shirt and safety glasses (keep in mind all this stuff gets hot so make sure you can keep cool. It was fairly cool in our house this morning but I still had to turn the heater off before I was done.)
These I put in the microwave for about a minute and a half. Their temperature when they came out was about 150 F. 
I then weighed out the water, put it in the bowl, then weighed out the lye and added it to the water. Biggest rule in making soap: ALWAYS ADD THE LYE TO THE WATER NOT THE WATER TO THE LYE. 

The lye and water was about 175 F when first put together.
Both the oil and the lye have to be at about 100 F before you can put the two together. I put the lye bowl in to a bowl of cold water until it cooled to about 125 F then checked the oil and it hadn't cooled as much as I would have liked so the bowls got switched and I stirred the oil until it cooled down to almost 100 F by then the lye/water was almost to 100 F as well. I poured the oil into the lye/water.
Then comes the stirring and stirring and stirring ....and stirring. You are looking for soaponification. What is it? Well...your mixture should thicken up some and look creamy and combined. It is hard to explain and different oils tend to look different at soaponification. I have had it turn very thick but also had it stay very thin. This one I stirred for an hour and it never really got all that thick but it did look like soaponification had occurred- at least I hope so. 
I added fragrance--lavender vanilla and poured it into the molds. I then swirled in a little color. Covered it with plastic wrap and set it up on a high shelf where it is unlikely to be bothered for the next 24 hours.


  1. Amazing how simple some things are to make and you just never knew.

  2. I may have missed a step there - how was it that the water and lye started at 175 degrees? Did you heat them first?

  3. The lye itself becomes very hot when mixed with water. That is why it is often use as a drain opener.