It is very easy to do your own homemade lye soap. You do not really need special ingredients because everything that you need can be found at your nearest grocery store.
For your basic homemade lye soap, all you need is a combination of fat and lye with water for the catalyst. For a more luxurious soap, you can add aromatherapy or scented oils and dyes for cool colors. Some people use tap water while some use distilled or rainwater.
Always wear safety gear when making soap. Wear gloves at all times, especially when handling lye. If you splash lye or raw soap on yourself, do not let it stay as it may cause chemical burns. Immediately rinse with cold water.
Homemade soaps, lotions, oils and other bath and body products are not just fun to make but are great for gifting as well. It also makes for a rewarding and unique experience. The entire process of soap making, from start to finish, takes about 2 days which include mixing the raw materials, letting it cool down and molding the mixture to obtain the finished product. This activity requires handling of caustic products, so should either be done by adults or under adult supervision.
Lye (sodium hydroxide) is a chemical used in soaps that can cause skin burns so it is very important to be careful when using it. Before using it, be sure to read the instructions and then follow them carefully.
Never mix lye in hot water. It will cause the lye to erupt.
When making homemade lye soap, you may want to use a lye calculator to be sure that you are using the right amount of lye on your soap. The amount of lye that you will use depends on the type of fat or oil that you are going to use.
To begin with your homemade lye soap put the lye in a bowl of water. Take note: pour the water first and then lye and not vice versa. It is better if your water has ice in it. Continuously stir the soap mix and be aware of the reaction that will occur. Lye causes the water to boil. Stop stirring and wait for the simmering to stop. After the bubbling stops, let the soap base mix cool down under room temperature.
You can use whatever type of oil that can be used for making soap. Oils can come from plants, vegetables or from hydrogenated oils to animal fats. If you are going to use animal fat, just make sure that it is clean, fresh, contains no salt and has no solid and rough particles. The advantage of using animal fats (lard or tallow) is that is makes soap denser compared to plant oils. What is good about using plant oils from coconuts is that the soap will produce creamy lather while olive oil gives out silky, fine bubbles that are gentle to the skin.
The reaction between the animal fat and lye is called “saponification”. It may take more time to reach trace (the joining of lye and oils). Once it reaches trace you can now add both coloring and scented oils. Afterwards, pour the soap base mix in the mold and let it cool down until it solidifies. Let your homemade lye soap cure for two to three days and let it completely dry for best results.
Things You’ll Need
32 oz. water
11.2 oz. lye
3 lbs. lard
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Gather all the ingredients required for making soap.
Collect all the necessary equipments that you need.
Collect the safety gear.
Put on the apron and rubber gloves and wear the goggles. Remember, lye is dangerous and can cause severe burns.
Take the weighing scale and place a plastic container on the scale.
Add water in the container and carefully mix in lye in 1:3 ratios. For e.g. For 11 ounces of lye use nearly 33 ounces of water to mix it. Remember to add lye to water and not vice versa.
Let the lye cool down. This will take around two to three hours. Ideally, prepare the lye mixture one day in advance and leave it at room temperature.
Measure the lard and oils and pour them in a stainless steel or enameled container.
Put the container on the stove and heat it slowly till the fats melt and form a uniform mixture.
Stir gently and use the thermometer to check whether the mixture has reached the ideal temperature, which will be between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add the lye mixture to the fats carefully and slowly. Use a spoon to mix the solution while you are pouring lye.
Stir the mixture well using a stick blender and spoon alternately for short spans. For e.g. If you have used blender for 1 minute, follow it with mixing with spoon for nearly the same time. Do not use the blender continually for longer duration.
Note that the texture of this mixture will start changing in some time; say in about 5 minutes. It will become thicker and more opaque. This is soap in liquid form.
Measure out the fragrance and add it to this mixture and stir again with a spoon.
Add 1 oz. coloring dye if you want to add some color to the bland soap mixture. Use the blender to mix the color uniformly.
Pour the mixture into the plastic molds immediately and let it cool down.
Never use aluminum utensils to make soap as it reacts with lye.
Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 24 hours. You will know that the mixture has condensed if its temperature has dropped down to the roam temperature. It may be still a little warm to touch, which is fine.
Remove the soap bars from the molds. They should pop right off, but you may need to twist the tray a little so that they may come off.
Still struggling? Put the molds with the soap mixture in the freezer for 2 to three hours. Take it out and use a blow dryer on the back side of the mold for a few seconds to dislodge the soap. This will make the soap come off instantly.
Add 1-2 tsp. bitter almond fragrance oil (not essential oil) and 1 cup powdered oatmeal to create a gentle, scrubbing soap that feels great on your skin.
Keep vinegar or lemon juice handy to wash off any lye that splashes on your skin.
Run a pH test on your soap using a pH paper strip. Remember, lower the pH level, milder the soap.
How to Make a Homemade Lye Soap and all other articles can be found on my blog!