Soap Making 101

Today I need to make soap. My skin is very sensitive to  soaps you find at the market. A friend of mine gave me a bar of lye soap many years and my face cleared up. I used to take special trips via scenic highway 7 toward Harrison in the Ozarks just to buy lye soap. One time while buying soap the store owner told me I should try the recipe in one of her Ozark cookbooks. I bought the book, all of her soap and headed home. While searching for supplies online I came across a recipe for soap made in a blender. I’ve been making soap for the past20 years.

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I start by measuring distilled water into a tempered glass container. You should only use glass or stainless steel when working with lye. Never ever put the water into lye. Always measure your water and add lye to the water while slowly stirring.

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I always mix in the kitchen sink. Use a long handle spoon. It’s a good idea to use protective gloves and mask. The lye water is very caustic at this point. Avoid any splashing, stir gently until lye has melted. The lye water will be extremely hot at this point. Leave it to cool down.

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Next it’s time to measure oils. I use Olive oil, coconut oil and vegetable shortening. I also use nothing but essential oils and finely ground herbs. This time I’ll be making Patchouli with dried Calendula petals finely ground. I use a coffee grinder to grind the dried herbs.

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I use coconut oil for the wonderful lather it gives. This time I’ll be using vegetable shortening that contains soybean oil and Palm mental oil. Always make sure which oils are in your shortening so you get the exact amount of lye to fat ratio.  I usually figure the oils in shortening are 1/2 of each oil if two oils are in the shortening. The shortening and coconut oil will need melting you can use pan and stove top or microwave. Which ever you choose is just fine. Please watch carefully heat slowly. We don’t want a grease fire. This website http://www.thesage.com has a calculator that’s easy to use.

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When the oils are melted add the rest of melted oil to the blender. I also add 1 1/2 teaspoons essential oil and 1 teaspoon dried herb. Next you want to have your molds ready.

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This recipe usually make nine 3 oz. bars of soap. Now it’s time to pour the lye water into the blender. Cover with lid and blend on high until it’s the consistency of runny pudding.

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Pour into molds. Be careful not to splash the mixture as its still very caustic at this point.

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At this point I allow to harden a bit then cover with towel and allow to set for 24 hours. After that I put in freezer and allow to freeze for another 24 hours. At this point you can pop the soap out of the molds. Make sure they are popped onto glass, stainless steal or wood. Cover with towel and turn over every few days. They will be completely cured by 2 weeks. When you can touch your tongue to a bar and there is no tingle or burning sensation, your soap is ready.

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This is the recipe I use. You can find this on the website above. I use 9 oz. water, 3.6 oz. lye, 6 oz. Coconut oil, 6 oz. Olive oil, 12 oz. oil in Crisco or other vegetable shortening.

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Author: Cedar Creek Adventures

I began my study of plants as a child from my Grandmother, Rosa Leatherman and have continued the study of native plants. I have attended classes at Tom Brown Jr. Tracker School, Earth Walk Northwest by Karen Sherwood and the Herbal Healer Academy by Dr. Marijah McCain. I am a member of the Arkansas Native Plant Society and served as Secretary for 4 years. I have been co-owner of Cedar Creek Nature Studies and taught many classes on wild edible and medicinal plants. I make my own soaps and lotions share would love to share my knowledge with you.

3 thoughts on “Soap Making 101”

  1. Very easy to read and follow directions – thanks! I used to make it when I had goats, but that was more than a decade ago now. Were you able to order the lye online? Back when I made it I worked for a lab so had ready access to it when I needed. Not so lucky nowadays, but luckier in other ways that I’m not working shift work or long hours anymore, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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