On my travels I came across quite a few soap makers, if that is what you call them, who used natural local ingredients to make their soaps and then the majority used them for personal use and a small amount were sold locally. Once I returned from my travels I thought I’d give it and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Soap making is a passion of mine and today I will share with you how I make it. If I have a day with nothing planned and I am on my own, then I’ll simply make soap all day long.
Many years ago in the 1990’s I came across a book titled “Soap Making for Dummies” and thought that I’d give it a go. I listed all the ingredients that were required and planned out my first soap making trail. My first batch of soap turned out to be a success, and so did the next one, but that was swiftly followed by a fail. What went wrong I hear you ask?
Soap Making Basics
The making of soap can be simple or it can be complex depending on the steps and processes that you follow. One thing to note though, is that the beauty of making your own soap is that you can make it with only the ingredients that you want in it and the fragrances that you like. Adjustment and tweaks down the line and you’ll perfect a soap tailored to your likes. Almost all soap recipes that you can find will use ounces or grams and as such you should definitely weight your ingredients to produce accurate results.
Importance of Lye
If there is one thing that you take away from this post, I’d want it to be that you know not to substitute lye with any other version, such as liquid lye or drain cleaners! You need to use 100% sodium hydroxide or lye in crystal form. Like in all my products that I have started producing commercially they all contain lye and I would like if you want to take a closer look at my handmade soap UK company called Sabai Soaps. Using a variation of lye can cause inaccurate measurements or even have bits of metal in them! Both of which you’d want to avoid.
Remember that lye is caustic. This means that it can make holes in fabric and burn your skin. Be extremely careful when handling lye. Always always always use gloves and wear eye protection. When you mix lye with water, there is a chemical reaction that takes place and the mixture will heat up and fume for around a minute. Always add lye to water and not the other way around. Also, stir the mixture straight away – avoid it clumping together as this could heat up at once, causing an explosion.
Even though lye is caustic and can be dangerous to work with, after a reaction takes place with the oils in the soap through a process called saponification. The resultant product will not contain lye, after the reaction has taken place.