Posted on

How Is Soap Made? This Guide is Unsurpassed

How is Soap Made?
Spread the love

How is soap made ? Handcrafted soap can be made from scratch, by either hot or cold process, or created from a ready-made base.

How is Soap Made?
How is Soap Made?

How Is Soap Made?

There’s many different kinds of ways to make soap. These may include: hot process, cold process, from scratch, from pre-made base, and even mixing different methods. The methods chosen by a soapmaker are based on personal preference and the desired end result. In some cases, a final product may contain both soap from scratch and ready-made base.

How is Soap Made: Key Points

  • There’s many different kinds of ways to make soap. These may include: hot process, cold process, from scratch, from pre-made base, and even mixing different methods.
  • Handcrafted soaps made from scratch require three ingredients: oil (animal or vegetable oil, not petroleum-based oil), water and lye.
  • An accurate recipe is necessary. Using the right amount of lye for a specific oil is crucial. Use a lye calculator to calculate the right amount of lye.
  • Cold Process is a form of making soap without any heat. Hot Process is a form of soapmaking with the use of outside heat sources.
  • See Also: Hot Process Soap for Beginners – How To Make Soap at Home

Soap Made From Scratch

Handcrafted soaps made from scratch require three ingredients: oil (animal or vegetable oil, not petroleum-based oil), water and lye. These three ingredients, mixed together in correct proportions, combine and chemically change into soap – a process called “saponification”. They may include other ingredients to provide additional benefits. For instance, to color or scent. These are not part of the chemical process that results in basic soap.

An accurate recipe is necessary. Using the right amount of lye for a specific oil is crucial. Use a lye calculator to calculate the right amount of lye. Although you can also calculate this by basing it on the type and quantity of oils in use.

We then mix the solid lye with water to dissolve it. The amount of water depends on the particular recipe, but is usually 2 to 3 times the amount of lye, based on weight. When lye and water mix they generate a chemical reaction and heat. It is important to remember that lye is highly caustic and can cause severe burns if it comes in contact with skin for more than a few seconds. Be sure to use proper protective gear, including at least gloves and goggles, when handling lye or incomplete soap.

Read More From Us: How to make soap you love: the easiest ways in the world

Cold Process Soap Making

Cold Process is a form of making soap without any heat.

Before we can add the oils we first bring the lye solution to room temperature. We then heat the oils as necessary to melt any solid fats or butters and generally cooled to between 80° – 110° F, depending on the recipe formulation.

Next, we bring the lye solution and oils to temp. We then combine them together slowly and mix. As mixing continues, the mixture will gradually thicken. It will also get warmer, sometimes quite hot, depending on the starting temperature and the formulation. This is the chemical reaction of the oils and lye becoming soap.

Once the mixture reaches “trace” (the point at which mixture dribbles from a spoon will leave a brief trace on the surface), we can add any other ingredients (scent, color, herbs, clays, etc) to the mixture and thoroughly incorporate.

At that point, makers can pour the base into molds. Makers then pour the entire batch into one mold. Once it has finished hardening, the makers can cut it up. Or, soapmakers can pour the batch into individual molds, depending on the preference of the soapmaker and the formulation. Makers then leave it to cool and finish the saponification process. Often we insulate the mold to slow the cooling process and increase the saponification time. This increases the richness of the soap.

Cold Process Continued

Once the product is completely cool and solid, it can be we can remove the mold. If you use only one big mold this is the time to cut it into smaller bars. The soap will be solid, but should be soft enough to cut. If you wait to long, then it will be too hard to cut.

The final stage is curing for 3 – 8 weeks to allow the excess water to evaporate out. The length of time will depend on the amount of water used in the batch as well as the temperature, relative humidity and air circulation where they are located. You can use it at this point, but it will still be relatively soft. The longer the water evaporates out of the soap and it dries, the harder it will be.

Hot Process Soapmaking

Ingredients for Soapmaking
Ingredients for Soapmaking

Hot Process is a form of soapmaking with the use of outside heat sources.

With hot process soap, makers use an outside heat source to heat the lye solution and oils and then mix them up. Adding extra heat reduces the time soapmakers need to ensure the chemical process (saponification) is complete.

After heating and mixing, it is still in liquid form because of the higher temperatures (essentially, it is soap in a “melted” form). After saponifying, soapmakers pour into molds in the same manner as cold process soap, and cut as needed when cooled and hardened.

Because hot process is fully saponified when poured into the molds, no additional time is needed in the molds to complete the process. Hot process bases may still cure to allow additional water evaporation to harden the bars. Although makers generally need less curing time, if any, in this case.

Once the bars, whether made by cold or hot process are sufficiently cured and hardened, they can be packaged as desired and, of course, used!

Read More From Us: You Will Love Our All Natural Soap: The Best Soap In The World

Ready-Made Pour and Mold Base

Ready-Made base is more or less already soap. This eliminates many of the steps of actually making it. The soapmaker’s concentration can remain on the artistic, aesthetic and beneficial aspects of the soap.

Also referred to as “melt and pour” or “MP”, ready-made base comes in a solid block. Following the manufacturer’s directions, we then heat up the base in order to melt it into a liquid state. At this point, we can add colors, scents and other ingredients to the base. We can then incorporate additives into the soap. Finally, we pour and allow to cool. Once hardened, it can be unmolded and is ready for packaging and/or use.

Ready-Made base is available as both clear or opaque bases. It is especially useful for specialty shaping soaps for which a wide variety of individual molds are available. With the versatility of ready-made base, soapmakers have a wide range of creative possibilities, including placing colorful embeds in your recipe or even toys or producing soaps that look like food or other items.

How is Soap Made: DIY Takeaways

  • There’s many different kinds of ways to make soap. These may include: hot process, cold process, from scratch, from pre-made base, and even mixing different methods.
  • The style of soap making is the preference of the soap maker.
  • Handcrafted soaps made from scratch require three ingredients: oil (animal or vegetable oil, not petroleum-based oil), water and lye.
  • An accurate recipe is necessary. Using the right amount of lye for a specific oil is crucial. Use a lye calculator to calculate the right amount of lye.
  • Cold Process is a form of making soap without any heat. Hot Process is a form of soapmaking with the use of outside heat sources.
  • See Also: Hot Process Soap for Beginners – How To Make Soap at Home

At Capulet Soaps USA we pride ourselves on bringing you the best in Beauty, Soap, and DIY content. Check out our Blog that we update weekly for more fresh content.

If you enjoyed this piece please support us by picking up one of our All-Natural bars of handmade soap over at our Shop. Thank you for reading.

After you fall in love with our soap, the only thing we ask, is that you refer us to your friends! That’s how our business really grows. Sound fair enough? Shop now!