Making natural soap is amazing, and making your own soap is fun and easy to learn. What’s great about it is that homemade soap is all natural; there are no nasty chemicals in it.
Soap that you buy in the shop is classed as a “synthetic detergent”, its not real soap it’s derived from chemicals and is mass produced.
Before you begin making natural soap it’s essential that you understand the basics involved in making soap.
To get started you are going to need:
- Basic soap making equipment
- Various oils
- Sodium or potassium hydroxide (depending on what kind of soap you are making)
- A recipe
You may also want to add essential oils and/or fragrance oils to the recipe as well.
Basic Natural Soap Making Equipment
The equipment required for natural soap making doesn’t vary much depending on what type of soap you are making and you will generally require the following:
- Digital scales that will be used for measuring ingredients
- mixing bowl or pot – glass or plastic or stainless steel
- stirrers and mixers – again plastic or stainless steel
- goggles and gloves – very important
- a mould for the soap bars
- wax lined paper (greaseproof is fine)
- a container for mixing lye into water
Homemade natural soap is made from oil or a combination of oils that are selected and blended together depending on what qualities you want your soap to have. The oils provide body, lather (bubbles) and skin conditioning depending on what oils you use. Generally soap is made from cheaper base oils which form the base of the soap, and then more expensive oils are used for adding additional luxurious qualities to the soap.
Sodium and Potassium Hydroxide (Lye)
This is the dangerous bit, lye is highly caustic and erosive and you must be very careful at all times when you are storing it, handling it and using it in for making soap.
The lye has a reaction with the fatty acids in the oil and then saponification happens which is the reaction that creates the soap.
A Natural Soap Recipe
You can’t make natural soap without a recipe. The recipe is where you decided what oils to combine depending on what qualities you want the soap to have. You have to decide on elements like cleansing ability, lather, body, moisturizing and then combine oils that will give you these qualities.
Once you have your oils decided you run your recipe through a soap calculator which will tell you how much water to use and how much lye to use. You combine the lye water with the oils, blend until mixed (called trace) and then pour into a mould and wait 6 weeks until it’s ready to use.
So now you have the basics of making natural soap and as you can see it’s easier that you think, with some planning and basic equipment you can easily start making natural soap quickly, so why not give it a try today!
In out next post we’ll be looking closer at the equipment required for making natural soap.