If you’re looking for a creative hobby, which will give you a lot of fun but which also has a practical aspect, making your own soap is an ideal alternative for you. It’s simple, it’s fun, and you will get natural soap for you and your family or friends.
You may wonder why to bother with making soap at home if there is such a wide range of soap in the stores. However, people who took this activity up claim that it’s highly addictive and once you make your first own soap bar, you simply can’t stop.
The fans of homemade soap say it’s a crime to compare it to soap which you buy in the shop or pharmacy. The one you make at home has this unique character, wonderful smell and feel. It makes every bath or shower a pleasant experience for your senses. You will never achieve this with manufactured soap.
If you have never tried it, you probably think that it’s very difficult to make soap at home on your own. Actually, when you get to know some basic rules, it turns out to be a very easy, yet fulfilling activity.
The Basics of Making Soap at Home
Before you start making your own soap, you need to understand what soap really is. In most cases soap is just a chemical combination of lye and oils or fats. That’s the base of every soap.
You can compare it to bread making. You actually need flour and water to make the most primitive bread. What you add to it makes it unique and tasty. The same is with your homemade soap.
By mixing fat and lye you will get the most basic soap, but only when you add there some beautiful fragrance, some moisturizing essential oil, or a subtle color, it will start to have this unique character that manufactured soap will never get.
Before you make your first soap, find out what ingredients and equipment you need, learn what available methods are and try some of the proven recipes. Once you become skillful in making your own soap, you can create your own, exceptional recipes.
What Equipment Do You Need
In order to make your own soap you need a few mixing bowls. However, don’t choose the ones you use for cooking because you can’t be 100% sure that you will perfectly clean them.
The best option are containers made of enamel, tempered glass, and stainless steel. Copper and aluminum bowls can react with the lye so they are not a good idea. Don’t use plastic bowls either as they can melt.
Pay attention to spoons as well. It’s recommended to use the ones which are made from silicone or styrene plastic. You will also need molds for your soap. You can get special molds for soap online or in local craft stores. However, silicone baking pans will work really well too.
Other necessary things are stainless steel thermometer, but it has to read to 200 degrees, old newspaper, an old towel, a pint as well as a quart canning jar, and of course all the additions you would like to add to your soap.
What Is Lye
Lye is essential if you want to make your own soap. It’s a chemical substance known as Sodium Hydroxide. Lye is a strong, caustic alkali, which if used unwisely, can burn your skin or eat holes in fabric.
Therefore, it’s very important to be really careful when you use lye. You should wear gloves and protect your eyes with glasses and your mouth with a mask. The most important rule that you always need to remember about is to add lye to water and not the other way round. Once you add it to water, you need to start stirring the mixture right away.
Don’t let it clump on the bottom as it can heat up really quickly and explode. It all may sound a little bit scary, but you shouldn’t be afraid of lye. It is true that working with this substance might be dangerous and you need to be extra careful. However, once it comes into a reaction with some oils in the soap, which is known as a saponification process, there won’t be any lye in the finished soap.
There are many substances in our everyday life which when used separately are dangerous, but when combined they become safe. Table salt is a good example as it consists of sodium and chloride, which are dangerous on they own, but when you mix them, you eat it.
It’s also extremely important to use a crystal form of pure Sodium Hydroxide. Don’t use any substitutes such as drain cleaners as they may contain some bits of metal, which can be harmful for your skin. It’s also difficult to measure them accurately.
What Can You Add to Your Soap
There are countless options, which you can add to your soap. Probably the more skillful you become, the more creative additives you will choose. However, at the beginning you may start with the most basic alternative.