I’m so totally over ice cream atm! I’ll continue with My Fun Summer Ice Cream Challenge over the next day or so.
I’ve not posted for a few days, between my daughter being sick and having spent the better part of Sunday at the hospital with her, follow up pediatric appointments, her being on shortened strange school hours due to it being the last week of school and my own projects, I have barely had time to stop still and take a breath.
Once upon a time I would have said one of the main benefits of making your own soap is that it’s more economical than buying it; however these days, with all the generic brands available, I’m not sure that argument would still wash (no pun intended).
Having said that, the fact that you have full knowledge of and complete control over what ingredients you choose to use is a HUGE plus for making your own if you have the free time and space available for doing so.
Making soap is not a difficult task, however there are certain safety aspects that need to be taken into account. Mixing lye and water together produces caustic fumes so be sure to do this outside or in a very well ventilated area. Mixing lye and water together also produces heat, so be careful of the temperature of any containers you are using before you pick them up and be sure to wear good quality rubber gloves to prevent any of the ingredients coming in contact with your skin before the soap is made and ready for safe use.
Recipe for basic soap
- 13.4oz lye crystals
- 31.3oz softened water
- 96oz lard
- Make sure you are outside or in a well ventilated room
- Place the water into a large heat proof container (it will heat up!).
- Add the lye crystals and stir constantly with a plastic or wooden spoon until the crystals have completely dissolved.
- This will cause the lye/water mixture to heat; set it aside to allow it to cool.
- In a large enamel or stainless steel saucepan, melt the lard over a low heat.
- Set the melted lard aside letting that and the lye mixture cool to room temperature.
- When cooled, slowly pour the lye mixture into the lard whilst stirring constantly with the plastic or wooden spoon.
- Once all the lye mixture has been added, continue to stir the mixture, whilst testing it occasionally by drizzling small amounts of the mix from the spoon back into the pot.
- The soap is ready for adding color, herbs and scents when it keeps it’s shape for a little bit before collapsing back into the mixture as you drizzle it from the spoon.
- Pour the soap into a mould that has been prepared by greasing it with vegetable shortening.
- Let it sit for approx 24hrs covered with a towel to allow it to completely cool.
- Unwrap it and allow it to set for a further 12 hours
- You can now unmold the soap and cut it into bars.
- Allow the bars of soap to ‘cure’ for a further 3-4 weeks before use.
Ideas for customizing your soaps
- Use a variety of oils such as coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, castor oil, olive oil. Find what is suited to your skin type. Look for recipes online or in books at your local library as the required amount varies depending on the oil being used.
- Grains such as oatmeal and cornmeal can be added for an exfoliating effect. You can also purchase grain products to add such as cranberry, strawberry and raspberry seeds along with ground loofah and seed meals such as apricot, walnut and jojoba.
- Add fragrance by adding essential oils. These can also give the additional benefit of having therapeutic properties as well (please check with your qualified health practitioner if you have any allergies, and/or are pregnant and/or suffer from any medical conditions before using any essential oils).
Making your own soap can be a fun and rewarding experience. Homemade soap also makes a wonderful gift. Simply stack a couple of bars in a lovely piece of organza fabric and tie with some wide, wire edged ribbon; or alternatively, place a few bars in a small cane basket and add some homemade bath bombs in various flavors as a personal and special treat for a relative or friend.