Thursday, March 11, 2010

Soap making and websites!!

Well I've been away from my blog for a while but not because I've been idle!! I have spent the last couple of days setting up my new website:
 Finally it's finished and I'm happy with it . Here is the link so have a look and do let me know what you think.

I've also been busy making soap too, this is my 3rd batch and its come up rather well! I worked off a recipe I found on Rhonda Hertzel's blog Down---to---Earth.  Its very easy and quite quick. Rhonda provides me with a lot of where-with-all for a number of things I do and create. Sadly I don't have the time or the funds to live a totally simple life but am trying to do my bit. Rhonda's blog is here:
Have a look she has some wonderful ideas! 

Now to the soap making. 
Soap making is one of those tasks that should never be rushed. Take your time and do it when you are relaxed and not having to go any where. 
Soap making is the result of  a process called saponification a process where the combination of mixing oils and a strong alkali substance (lye) which results in the creation of soap and glycerin.

When you buy commercial soap often the manufacturer will take the glycerin out of the soap which causes it to be very drying; also commercial soap contains many synthetic substances which often cause allergies and are skin irritants. Pure soap is lovely to use can have just about any perfume you wish and is really!! "gentle on your skin".

Stainless steel saucepan
Wooden or plastic spoon
Scales - most soap ingredients are measured by weight, not volume
Jug - for holding oils
Measuring jug - for measuring water. It's ok to measure the water by volume
Thermometer - you can use either a milk or candy thermometer
Stick blender (optional)
Newspaper to cover your work area

DON'T use any aluminium pots or spoons as these will react with the caustic. You may use stainless steel or cast iron and your spoon may be of steel, wood or plastic.
About here you need to read a very sound warning about soap making. Lye is caustic soda, and if you spill it on surfaces, mix it with other chemicals or get it on your eyes or skin is very dangerous. If you're making this do not do it when small children or animals are around set time aside when you won't be disturbed as you don't want to have any accidents. Wear gloves and an apron and safety glasses and a mask if you wish. Keep all your ingredients back from the edge of the bench that way no accidents should happen. Always read the warnings on the container!
The types of oil may vary but the basic recipe remains the same Some recipes allow for use of animal fats instead of vegetable oils but i generally use olive, rice bran, coconut, peanut or sunflower oils. I don't condone the use of palm oil at all as this is contributing to the  destruction of  rain forest in Borneo which is the habitat for orangutans so please be mindful of this.

Olive Oil - 460 grams
Rice Bran Oil - 600 grams
Coconut Oil - 440 grams
Rain water - 570 mls
Lye (caustic soda) - 230 grams
Essential or fragrant oil (optional) I use Ylang Lang or Lavender or Orange. 
I use copha or coconut oil in my soap as this is basically refrigerated coconut oil, I also use veggie oil, and ricebran oil. If I have it  olive oil  is nicest but if not blended or sunflower or some other grain oil is fine. While this is  heating to 50degrees Celsius on the stove in a stainless steel saucepan,  I then mix the lye and water in a glass jug in the sink, this ensures that no accidents happen as lye or caustic is nasty stuff.  ALWAYS POUR THE LYE INTO THE WATER NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND AS IT CAN REACT VIOLENTLY IF DONE THE OTHER WAY AROUND. When you first mix these the temperature will rise to about 100c and you then have to let it cool down before adding to the oil.
Pour the lye mixture into the warmed oil and start mixing, I use a stick blender which takes a 2-3 minutes, if you stir by hand it can take up to 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it. As you blend the mixture will thicken and start to look like custard. As soon as it look like this:
 Stop mixing. This is called Trace now is when you can add fragrance and colour if you wish. I havent tried adding colour yet but do add fragrance . You can also add chopped up lavender. rose petals, rosemary and other herbs if you want. Basically you are only limited by your imagination. Once it has reached trace stop mixing as if you dont it will turn into something resembling instant mashed potatoe and is very hard to deal with. I have a tendency to do this but am learning to stop earlier each time.

Now quickly pour into molds and set aside for two days. I usually cover with a damp tea towel while it is drying out. 

 After a couple of days turn it out onto a rack and allow to dry out for about 3-4 weeks then it can be put away or wrapped in parcels for whenever it is needed!

There are heaps of websites on the net which talk about homemade soap, here are a couple:

Have a look there are some very cool sites. Remember ....comments are always more than welcome and give me incentive to write more!



  1. I am going to try this when summer gets here and I have some time.


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