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How to Make Soap You Will Love Right at Home

How To Make Soap Beauty Products About Capulet Soaps Vegan Handmade Bar Soap
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Homemade soap is an artisan craft that’s still simple to make at home. It requires few supplies. We show you how to make soap here.

Capulet Soaps Vegan Handmade Bar Soap - how to make soap
Capulet Soaps Vegan Handmade Bar Soap – How To Make Soap

How to Make Soap

This guide will walk you through four methods of how to make soap at home.

Time Required: 2-4 hours Difficulty: Intermediate

How to Make Soap: Key Points

  • Anyone can make simple artisan craft soap at home.
  • Making soap at home only requires a few tools and supplies you can buy online or a local hardware store.
  • It’s important to carefully follow the proper steps to ensure you use the right amounts of ingredients.
  • There’s four different methods for making soap at home.
  • See Also: Cold Process Soap: Best Benefits of Making Soap at Home

Tools

  • measuring cups & spoons
  • cutting boards
  • chef’s knives
  • spray bottles
  • whisks
  • safety glasses & sunglasses
  • rubber gloves
  • infrared thermometer
  • kitchen scales
  • stock pots
  • mixing bowls
  • spatulas
  • paint buckets & lids
  • immersion blenders
  • slow cookers

Materials

  • molds
  • sodium hydroxide
  • distilled water

1 What is Soap?

Commercial soaps are often made with chemical detergents, hardeners and synthetic lathering agents. True soap is a cleansing agent created by the chemical reaction of a fatty acid with an alkali metal hydroxide; the reaction is called saponification. The fats used can be vegetable- or animal-based. The hydroxide is typically lye, or sodium hydroxide. Together, along with water and sometimes fragrances or an essential oil, they produce glycerol and a fatty acid salt we know as soap.


2 Soapmaking Safety

Before you begin, make sure you have researched a tested recipe. For cold and hot process soaps, you will need to work with 100 percent lye. Lye is a caustic chemical that can cause serious burns. Select a work area that is open, well-ventilated and free of clutter. You will need access to a heat source, a sink and a flat tabletop that is not sensitive to caustic materials like stainless steel. Make sure small children or animals are kept away from the area while you are making soap.

Warning: All tools used in soapmaking can not be used for food afterwards. Clearly mark any tools and containers as not food safe before you start making soap.

3 How to Make Soap: Four Methods

How to Make Soap
How to Make Soap

There are four basic methods:

  • melt and pour
  • cold process
  • hot process
  • re-batch

Read More From Us: Why Vegan Soap is Best: The Truth About Soap Now

4 How to Make Soap: Melt and Pour

Pouring Homemade Melt and Pour Soap
Pouring Homemade Melt and Pour Soap

Select a base. There are several options to choose from, but clear or white bases are a good place to start.

  • Select a fragrance. You can use fragrance oils or if you rather essential oils. A basic usage rate is about 0.3 oz. of scent per pound.
  • Cut the base into small cubes.
  • Weigh the base cubes. This will help you determine if you have enough soap base for your soap mold.
  • Once you have the proper measurement, put the soap base into a microwave proof glass bowl.
  • Cover the container with plastic wrap.
  • Heat the base in the microwave in one-minute intervals to be sure it doesn’t burn. After the first minute, remove the soap and stir. Repeat heating the base until the soap is completely melted.
  • Measure out the correct ratio of fragrance for the amount of soap base you are melting in a separate small container.
  • Slowly add the fragrance to the melted soap base and then gently stir.
  • Add safe colorants, if using. Stir until the color is completely blended into the mixture.
  • If you notice bubbles, lightly spritz of rubbing alcohol from a spray bottle to eliminate them.
  • Finally, Pour it into a mold and let it completely harden. Once it has completely cooled, pop the soaps out of the molds. Melt and pour base is already cured, so you can use the soap right away.

5 Cold-Process vs. Hot-Process

The fundamental difference between hot process and cold process in soapmaking is the use of external heat. Hot-process soapmaking uses an external heat source to bring the soap to gel phase. Cold process uses the heat that is internally generated during saponification; the soap may or may not go into gel phase.

Both soapmaking processes have their pros and cons. Hot-process soaps have a more rustic look, and it’s more difficult to add intricate designs to them. However, hot-process soaps have a shorter cure time and can be used the next day. Cold-process soaps look more shiny and polished, and they give you more flexibility to do swirls, embeds and designs within the soap batter before you pour into the mold. However, cold-process soaps take longer to cure.

See Also: Hot Process Soap for Beginners – How To Make Soap at Home

6 How to Make Cold Process

Cold process is the most common methods of doing this at home. This soapmaking method uses oils and lye. There are many recipes available for cold process soapmaking. You will need to research and make sure you use a tested, reliable recipe. If altering a recipe in any way, be sure to double check the amount of lye needed with an online lye calculator.

See Also: Cold Process Soap: Best Benefits of Making Soap at Home

7 Make Lye Water

  • Put on goggles, apron and gloves.

Notice: In order for lye to mix with the oils, it must be dissolved in water first.

  • Place a heavy-duty plastic container on the scale and zero out the weight. Add distilled water to the pitcher up to the weight called for in the recipe. Put the container aside.
  • Place another heavy-duty plastic container onto the scale and zero it out. Add the amount of lye called for in the recipe.
  • Slowly add the lye to the water. Always add the lye to the water, and never the other way around. This will minimize splashing.
  • Gently stir the mixture until the lye is dissolved.
  • The mixture will start to heat up; this is normal. Set it aside to cool in a safe place away from children and pets.
  • Immediately rinse the mixing tool.

Safety notes:

  • Label the container used to measure the lye with a permanent marker. Do not use it for anything else.
  • Be careful of any flakes of lye that may stick to clothes. If you get lye on your skin, flush with cool water immediately.

8 Prepare the Other Ingredients

Measuring Soap Ingredients
Measuring Soap Ingredients

While the lye solution is cooling, prepare your other ingredients and materials.

  • Choose the fragrance or color additives, if using and set aside so they’re ready.
  • Get out your mold. If you using a silicone mold, there is no need to prepare it. Additionally, If you are using a wood, metal or paper mold, line the mold with freezer paper.

9 How To Make soap: Weigh, Melt and Heat the Oils

Note: If using solid oils like coconut, palm or cocoa butter, weigh them in a separate container from the liquid oils.

  • Place a heavy-duty plastic container on the scale and zero out the weight.
  • Weigh the oils one by one into the container, according to the recipe. Zero out the weight after each measurement of oil.
  • Place the solid oils (if using) in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat. Slowly melt the oils, monitoring the temperature. When the oils reach 110 degrees F, turn off the heat. The oils need to cool down to between 95 degrees and 105 degrees F.
  • Add the room temperature liquid oils to the pot with the solid oils. This will bring down the temperature more quickly.

10 Measure the Other Ingredients

  • If not using fragrance, color or other additives, skip this step.
  • Use a small container like a ramekin to measure out the other ingredients. For each fragrance or color, put the container on the scale, weigh the substance, then zero it out.
  • Place the fragrance or additive into the container until you reach the desired amount.
  • Lastly, set aside the container.

NOTE: As a general rule, don’t use more than about 0.6 ounces of fragrance per 1 pound of oil or fat in the recipe.

11 How To Make soap: Add the Lye Water

Adding the lye to the water
Adding the lye to the water
  • Check the temperature of the lye water and ensure it is within 10 degrees of the oil mixture.
  • Plug in the immersion blender but don’t turn it on.
  • Place the stick blender into the oils. Gently tap the blender on the bottom of the bowl several times to release any bubbles that got trapped by the stick blender head.
  • Once the bubbles no longer rise to the surface of the oils, add the lye water.
  • Gently pour the cooled lye water down the shaft of the stick blender and into the oils. The oils will immediately turn cloudy.
  • Finally, leave the stick blender off, and use it to gently stir the mixture to incorporate the lye water with the oils.

Read More From Us: Proper Hand Washing Techniques: 7 Simple Steps

12 Saponification

Immersion blending the mixture
Immersion blending the mixture
  • Turn on the blender and blend the mixture in short bursts, about three to five seconds at a time.
  • Turn the blender off and stir. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula to be sure no undermixed lye or oil remains.
  • Repeat the process and keep blending in short bursts until the oils and lye water are comply blended.
  • After about 30 seconds, test for emulsification. The mixture should be evenly mixed and distributed with no visible streaks of oil or lye water mixture.
  • The solution will start to thicken as it saponifies. As it thickens, it’s time to test for trace. Trace is when the mixture has reached proper saponification.
  • To test that it has reached trace, dip a spoon into the mixture and let it dribble back into the pot. It should still be thin enough to slide off the spoon but thick enough to leave a visible line of soap on top of the mixture. It’s similar to the consistency of cake batter.
  • Once it reaches trace, add any fragrance, color or other additives, using a whisk or stick blender to incorporate fully.
  • Pour the soap into a prepared mold.
  • Lightly tap the mold on the work surface to release any trapped air. Wrap or cover the mold with a towel to contain the heat and allow it to rest. The saponification process will continue as it cures. It will get quite warm and then cool down.
  • Let it cure for 12 to 24 hours. Once it is fully cooled, you can unmold it.
  • Finally, hand wash and dry all the tools used in your process making with warm water and soap.

13 Cut and Cure

Freshly cut Homemade Bars
Freshly cut Homemade Bars

Depending on your oils and water content, it may be soft when unmolded. If this is the case, allow it to rest until hardened; it may take up three days. Cut the soap if you used a square or rectangular mold. Continue to let the soap cure in a cool area four to six weeks until the bars are fully hardened and cured.

14 How to Make Soap: Hot-Process

Hot-process soapmaking is a variation of the cold-process method. However, this is where the soap is actually cooked in a slow cooker. Only use a slow cooker crock that will not be used for food.

15 Measure and Prepare Ingredients

Measuring Soap Ingredients
Measuring Soap Ingredients

Measure ingredients and prepare the soap mold. Measure the oils (both solid and liquid, separately), lye, water, fragrance and colorants.

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

16 Weigh, Melt and Mix Oils

  • Set the slow cooker on low.
  • Also, add in the solid oils and let them melt.
  • Meanwhile, mix your lye water (see Make Lye Water).
  • Check the solid oils in the slow cooker. Once the solid oils are melted, add in the liquid oils if your recipe calls for it.
  • Let the oils heat to between 120 degrees and 130 degrees F.
  • Finally, check the temperature of the lye water; it needs to be in in the same temperature range.

17 Mix

Immersion blending the soap mixture
Immersion blending the soap mixture
  • Lay the stick blender against the side of the slow cooker; slowly pour the lye water down the shaft of the stick blender.
  • Stir for a few moments with the bell of the stick blender to incorporate the lye water into the oils. Pulse the stick blender on low and slowly circle around the pot until the bubbles come out. Keep the bell of the blender immersed in the mixture to be sure to eliminate air bubbles.
  • Periodically, hold the stick blender upright and while the bell is flat on the bottom of the crock and tap it up and down to get rid of unwanted bubbles.
  • Alternate between pulsing the blender and using it to stir for about 10 to 15 minutes until you reach trace.
  • Lastly, if there are visible ridges left on top of the mixture as you pull the stick blender in and out you have reached trace.

See also: Weird Uses for Soap: How Far The Bar of Soap Can Go!

18 Cook

Now it’s time to cook the soap mixture through its gel phase.

  • Allow soap to cook until bubbles rise, then stir it down gently.
  • Be sure to scrape the sides of the crock while the soap is still in the cooking process.
  • The mixture will start to resemble petroleum jelly, thereafter it will have a glossy, almost iridescent appearance and will be wax-like to the touch. Additionally, depending on the recipe, this can take anywhere from a half hour to an hour.
  • Once the soap reaches this consistency, turn off the heat.
  • If adding fragrance or colorants, let the mixture cool to 180 degrees F, then add and mix well.

19 How To Make soap: Using the Mold

  • Pour the soap into a prepared mold.
  • Use a spatula to smooth it out or until glossy, if needed.
  • Once the mold is filled, pick it up and tap it a few times on the counter to release any air bubbles.

Read More From Us: Why Vegan Soap is Best: The Truth About Soap Now

20 Finishing

Most hot-process soap is fully cooled, unmolded and finally cut in about 24 hours. The longer it sits, the harder and therefore better it will be. It’s best to let it cure for at least a week for a longer-lasting, higher-quality bars.

21 How To Make soap: Re-batching or Hand Milling

Re-batching is a no-lye soapmaking method of grinding up bars of soap, adding milk or water, then re-blending them into a new soap. It’s also a way to fix cold- or hot-process soaps that did not turn out correctly.

  • Chop or grate soap into small chunks.
  • Place the pieces into the crock of a slow cooker.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water or milk per pound of soap.
  • Turn slow cooker on high to get it heated up, then lower the temperature to medium to melt and cook the soap.
  • Stir occasionally as the base melts.
  • When it looks translucent turn off the heat. You can add any extra ingredients such as fragrance or colorants at this point.
  • Pour the re-batched soap into a mold.
  • Cover the molds and place them in a warm place for 48 hours until the soap hardens.
  • Unmold and cut, if necessary.
  • Finally, allow it to cure for 3 weeks.

If you’re not interested in making your own soaps because you’re worried about the mess, process, cost or time you can head over to our Shop and pick up a bar today.

How to Make Soap: DIY Takeaways

  • Anyone can make simple artisan craft soap at home.
  • Making soap at home only requires a few tools and supplies you can buy online or a local hardware store.
  • It’s important to carefully follow the proper steps to ensure you use the right amounts of ingredients.
  • Finally, there’s four different methods for making soap at home.
  • See Also: Hot Process Soap for Beginners – How To Make Soap at Home

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