10 Step Process to Handmade Soap At Home [DIY]
The weather is changing and you are looking for something fresh and rejuvenating that lifts your spirits and mind. Handmade soaps are a way to do that. If you are sensitive to chemicals or synthetic soaps or are allergic to strong fragrances or simply bored of all of them and want to try something interesting and fun, read on.
Basics of Making Soap At Home
Making a handmade soap at home can be very simple and fun. Or if you want you can make it as complicated as you choose. The best part about making your own soap at home is that you can add your favorite ingredients into it including your preferred scrubs and fragrances. Homemade soaps recipes make adjustments possible and with some practice you can have ounces or grams of all your ingredients on your tips. Learn how to weigh them for good results in the beginning with the help of cups and portions of cups.
What Is Lye?
Lye is something that you just can’t substitute in your homemade soap recipe. It is advised to always use 100% sodium hydroxide which is commonly called lye in crystal form. Do not substitute liquid lye or any detergents or drain cleaners. These may contain bits of metal in them and often cause inaccurate measurements. Remember, lye is caustic and it can burn your skin and eat holes into your clothing, so always be extra careful while handling or using it. Lye will heat up and fume for a minute or so when you mix it with water and may also cause choking sensation. Don’t worry though because it is not permanent and always remember to add lye to water and not water to lye and stir right away. It should not be allowed to clump on the bottom as it would heat up and cause an explosion.
More DIY: 5 Step Guide to Handmade Mask at Home
Equipment That You’ll Need
When making handmade soap at home, you need to use equipment that you will not or do not use for cooking. Obviously you can clean everything up really well after the whole process but why take chances? You can use stainless steel utensils or the ones with tempered glass and/or enamel coating as mixing bowls. Metals like copper or aluminum are relatively unstable so they will react with sodium hydroxide as you must recall from your chemistry classes as a kid, so avoid using them in all circumstances. Plastics are again an unsafe option as they may melt, so no. You can use steel or wooden ladles or spoons made out of styrene plastic or silicone. When it comes to molding your soap, molds, and cases are easily available at your local craft store. Go for silicone molds or symmetrical baking pans. You may also need:
· A pint
· A quart canning jar
· A stainless steel thermometer that can read between 90° and 200°
· An old towel
Let your imagination run wild because here the sky is the limit. Additives can be anything that you like such as mint, lavender, clove powder, nutmeg, ginger, dried fenugreek leaves, chamomile, green tea leaves, lemongrass, and what not! If you are in love with fragrances, natural and essential oils are for you. You can opt for olive oil, almond oil, lavender, orange peel oil, rose oil and Shea butter, etc. Natural colors are easy to add as they can be found in cinnamon, turmeric, or cocoa powder, powdered chlorophyll, and beetroot, etc. Other additives such as aloe vera gel, oats, dry milk powder, soft clay, cornmeal, ground coffee, and sea salt can also be used. Following is a little DIY soap project that explains the soap making process in 10 easy steps:
Green Mint Soap
This recipe calls for the following ingredients:
• About 4 ounces or 113 grams of Avocado Oil
• Close to 24 ounces or 700 grams of Coconut Oil
• Around 28 ounces or 800 grams of Olive Oil
• You can also add about 2 ounces or 60 grams or Shea or Mango Butter
• 255 grams of lye (sodium hydroxide)
• More than 500 grams of fresh mint paste or you can use min-infused water or mint tea
1. Cover the work area with newspaper. Put on gloves and measure the water according to the lye and the quantity of soap you choose to make. Ideally keep the ratio of water to lye as 2:1 and you are sorted.
2. Slowly pour the lye into the water, and keep on stirring while standing back to avoid fumes. Allow the lye to sit down after the water starts to clear, and move on to the next step.
3. Add your oils together in the pint jar and heat them in a microwave for about a minute or till their temperature is about 120°.
4. Now, wait for both lye and oils to cool somewhere between 95° and 105°. Pour the oils into a mixing bowl and then slowly add the lye, while stirring it to mix it well.
5. Stir by hand until the soap mixture lightens in color and becomes thick.
6. The moment it starts to look like vanilla pudding it is said to be at “trace” and now you can add your herbs and other additions.
7. Stir thoroughly until combined and pour the mixture into mold(s).
8. Now cover the mold with a plastic wrap and set it in an old towel and wrap it up nicely so that the saponification process kicks in to convert the base ingredients into soap.
9. Let it rest for about 24 to 48 hours and after that when it’s completely solidified, take it out of the mold and cut it out in pieces.
10. Allow the soap to cure for about 4 weeks and then you can use it like you would any other soap.