Makin’ Soap/Savin’ money

So, the other day I had the opportunity to watch my friend make soap from scratch using the cold-process method.  This means that she takes fats (i.e. coconut oil, palm oil, vegetable oil), combines them with lye/water mixture, and saponification (the process by which soap is made) occurs.  Fascinated by the process, but not brave enough to work with lye, I looked at different ways to make homemade soap.

One method, which I can’t wait to try, is called hand-milled soap.  You buy a plain white bar of soap (and it MUST say soap on the package, otherwise it’s actually detergent!), you grate it up, mix it with a little water, add your own ingredients such as essential oils, etc., and then pour it into molds.  It is ready to use pretty much as soon as it cools, unlike cold-process soap which takes several weeks to properly cure.  Plus, you don’t have to deal with lye.  I mean, after all, I am a person who frequently falls down stairs and trips over her own feet.  Handling a caustic chemical probably isn’t the best decision for me!

Anyway, the other method I looked into was how to make your own liquid soap.  Since I had everything I needed to make this (soap and water), I decided to go with that.  So, here’s what you do:

How to make Liquid Soap

Now, I did not want to funk up my blender with soap bits, so I put the soap/water mix into a big Pyrex bowl, which I had set in a larger pot 1/2 filled with water on the stove (homemade double boiler).  To mix it up, I used the drink mixer attachment on my hand mixer.  You don’t want to try and do this with a spoon because it will take FOREVER for the soap to dissolve.  The only downside to using the mixer is that the soap mixture does get pretty sudsy, though this resolves a bit after it cools and rests.  My only mistake was not using a spatula to clean the sides of the bowl while I was mixing, thus, little annoying unmelted soap bits remained, so I seriously doubt it would work well in a pump!  BUT, that’s operator error.  Another thing you can do is grate the soap, then mix it with a cup or two of water and let it sit overnight to soften the soap really well so it will blend better.

Here’s my pictorial for y’all:

First, gather thy ingredients and supplies.  The soap is in the little plastic bowl.  I used 5 drops of tea tree and about 8 drops of tangerine oil, added at the last stage of the process, when the soap is completely dissolved and all water has been added.

Get your double boiler readyI used low heat.

Here is the soap after I have blended it just a bit.  You can see that it is still not well-dissolved, so back to the mixer for me.

The end product.  It will have the consistency of yogurt/pudding.  You don’t want it so thick it won’t work in the pump though.  After I stuck my hand in it, I realized there was still more clumps.  Boo hoo!

So there you go, yet another way to save some money!

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