The next time you buy a cleansing product or bar of soap from the store, take a look at its long list of ingredients. Now ask yourself, do you really want to be washing your body with all of that? If you don’t, then stop! Years and years ago, people always made their own soap–and you can too. If you want to create soap bars from scratch, the method described below, known as the cold process, is the best way to do it. Keep in mind, however, that it can be dangerous. As long as you’re careful, you’ll end up with a final product that’s pure and effective. So here’s how to make your own soap:
How to Make Your Own Soap – Ingredients
- 12oz of Lye
- 32oz of Purified Water
- 24oz of Coconut Oil
- 24oz of Olive Oil (not extra virgin)
- 38oz of Vegetable Oil Shortening
- 4oz of Essential Oil (your choice – for fragrance)
How to Make Your Own Soap – Instructions
1. Place water in a glass container, and very slowly pour in the lye, stirring as you pour with a wooden spoon (not metal). Do this step outside, and be very careful not to breathe in the fumes that are created as the lye heats the water. When mixed, set it aside and allow it to cool down.
2. Pour the coconut oil and vegetable oil shortening into a metal kettle, and heat them on the stove over low heat. When the oils have melted, remove them from the heat and add in the olive oil.
3. Using two different food thermometers, monitor the temperatures of the lye mixture and the oil mixture. When they are both the same temperature of 95 to 98 degrees Fahrenheit, slowly pour the lye into the oils.
4. Using a wooden spoon (not metal), stir the mixture. The stirring will take about 10-15 minutes. As you stir, you’re looking for the mixture to “trace.” As you stir, you’ll notice the spoon leaving a trail behind it, as if you were stirring pudding or dripping honey. It will seem like a thin cream.
5. Add the essential oils (whatever kind you want your soap to smell like) after the mixture is tracing, and stir well. Some essential oils will cause the soap to begin hardening quickly, so be ready to perform step six.
6. Scraping the sides of the pot with a spatula, pour the raw soap mixture into an old shoebox that’s lined with wax paper and a small amount of vaseline. Be very careful, because raw soap is dangerous and can burn your skin. Wrap the shoebox in several towels or blankets to keep the heat inside. Let it sit for 18 hours.
7. After sitting for 18 hours, uncover the soap and let it sit for another 12 hours. Once it’s hardened, turn the shoebox over and empty it. Use a sharp knife to cut your soap into bars.
8. Place your soap bars onto brown paper and store them in a cool, dry place. After two weeks, turn the bars over. Wait another two weeks until using your homemade soap.
Cayla Crenshaw is a beauty expert and a do-it-yourself fanatic who often creates her own cleaning products at home. She loves to write and can be found discussing anything from home improvement ideas to eco friendly beauty products. Photo credit: indulgy.com