8-12 quart enamel or stainless steel pot with lid (the "soap-making pot")
3 quart suacepan
2-3 quart heat-resistant glass bowl or pitcher
2-3 heavy-duty rubber or silicone spatulas
Molds (1 wooden tray 25.5"x13.5"x4"- for a 12 lb batch)
Heavy-duty waxed paper for lining trays
Sharp, thin paring knife
Safety goggles and gloves
|Some of my soap making equipment|
I used a recipe for Oatmeal Honey Soap from Cavitch's book. I used her "soap essentials bar" as a base. This recipe makes 40 bars, but I cut everything in 1/4 to make10 bars for my first try. Also, I have no idea what I would do with 40 bars of the same type of soap... I guess I would have some very clean friends!
Soap Essentials Bar
3 pounds cold distilled water
473 grams sodium hydroxide
4 pounds olive oil
2 pounds 8 oz coconut oil
1 pound 8 oz palm oil
30 grams grapeseed extract (natural preservative)- optional
40-50 grams pure essential oil- optional
1/2-1 cup finely ground oatmeal
4 tbsp honey, slightly warmed
45 grams essential oil- optional
I found a great resource for ingredients, Alabama Soap Works. They have a great selection and shipped quickly.
|Ingredients from Alabama Soap Works, plus my essential (and fashionable) safety goggles and gloves|
|The black sludge from my first attempt at mixing a lye solution|
So, after neutralization and proper disposal of the first batch of lye (and the ruined container), I was determined to give it another try. I bought an 8 cup pyrex measuring cup and started the process again. Pouring the sodium hydroxide into the water produced fumes, but nothing like the first try. The solution became a little cloudy, but quickly cleared and heated up to about 200 degrees F. Perfect!
|The clear lye solution- brought inside when the temperature dropped below 100 degrees F|
|Melted fats and oils|
|Adding the lye solution to the melted fats and oils|
I made a small mold out of cardboard lined with thick wax paper. It measured 12"x7.5"x4".
|Soap in the mold|
Peeling the wax paper off and cutting the bars was a messy (yet clean!) job. There is a layer of soda ash on top of the bars that also must be cut off. Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is formed with the sodium hydroxide reacts with carbon dioxide in the air. It is drying and irritating to the skin. It was very hard to cut straight because I was using a small paring knife, so next time I'll use a larger knife. After cutting, the bars were placed on a brown paper bag and must dry for 4-6 weeks, so I'll report back in a month. In all, I'm very excited about my first attempt at making soap!
|Gruide lines drawn on bars just about to be cut with a layer of soda ash still on top|
|Cut bars... a little crooked, but they look like soap!|