Me and a friend tried our hands at making soap. We started with the most basic, simple recipe ever just in case we totally sucked at it or hated the whole process entirely. We didn’t want to waste good ingredients.
By basic, I mean 3 ingredients: water, lye and lard.
Melting the lard was pretty easy.
Measuring out the lye wasn’t too bad.
Adding the lye to the water was the scary part. Nothing happened though. Okay, something happened. It got hot all by itself like it was supposed to. But there were no fireworks or exploding volcanoes.
See? No big deal.
By then the lard was all melted.
So we added it to the lye mixture.
And stirred it for half an hour (or more) so it cooled down evenly.
While it was cooling, we got the molds ready. 2 silicone muffin thingies and an orange juice container with one side cut off. We sprayed them with cooking spray.
Once the soap starts to cool, it gets thicker, and you have to work fast or it will be too hard to pour. We had about 5 minutes. First we filled one set of molds with plain soap. Then, to spice things up a bit, we mixed some poppy seeds and guessed at the amounts of some essential oils in the rest of the soap before filling the other molds. We made it.
The hard part was waiting for them to finish reacting and drying, which takes about 3 weeks. We put the molds outside to help speed up the process. The next day I was reading about soapmaking and found out you’re supposed to let them cool off slowly by wrapping a towel around them or the lye could separate (or something). Oops. I checked them and they were still quite soft, but it didn’t look like they were separating at all.
They stayed in the molds for a week. I was worried they might be too hard to cut into bars by then but they weren’t. It sliced like butter.
Then we had to wait ANOTHER 2 weeks. I put them on a shelf to harden and turned them every couple of days.
I could tell they weren’t finished ‘becoming soap’ cause just handling them briefly to flip them over made the skin on my fingertips wrinkly. Note to self: wear gloves to flip.
After 2 more weeks, I could handle them with out getting pruney so I assumed they were ready. I stacked them in a cupboard and kept forgetting to try using one for another 2 weeks.
I just tried using a bar for the first time this morning. It was creamy and smooth and had fine bubbles in the lather. It rinsed off easily and left my hands feeling squeaky clean but not dry. No stinging or rashes or itching so I’m assuming they worked. Yay! I think I’ll try one on the shower tonight. I really hope I can switch to this soap (until we make a better batch) cause I’m not fond of detergent soaps like Ivory, which I use normally but detest.
Now I can add Soap Snob to my list (which includes, but is not limited to: Chicken Snob, Bread Snob and Egg Snob). The Snob part just refers to my strong preference for eating/using better quality products, usually NOT from a store. I don’t eat store-bought bread anymore (ESPECIALLY if it has margarine on it! Ewww!). It’s nasty after eating homemade bread for the last 5 years.
Don’t judge me. I know you’re a snob about some things too! 🙂
Update: I used the soap in the shower and it was nice and creamy and left my skin feeling softer. Darryl used it and his skin was softer too. One use had a noticeable difference! I hope I never have to use Ivory again. Did you know all those store-bought soaps are actually detergents made from petroleum?