How to Make Soap
If you want to know how to make soap, the cold process soap making is one of the easier methods to use when you are learning how to make soap from scratch.
Although the various ingredients in your soap are much easier to obtain these days – we no longer have to save and process the ashes from our wood fires to make lye or render our own animal fats, we just make a quick trip to the local supermarket – the method for actually making the soap is basically the same as that used by our ancestors.
Soap is made by combining fats and oils with lye (caustic soda or sodium hydroxide), your soap is created as the lye reacts with the fats and oils in a chemical process known as saponification.
Soap Making Methods
There are four basic soap making methods, although died in the wool soap makers think of a couple of them as cheating and as a result, do not count them!
Serious soap makers will use either the cold process or hot process for making their soap but melt and pour and rebatching are viable alternatives for beginners.
I started with the cold process method and it is the method I would recommend that you start with if you want to really understand the soap making process.
If you just want to make your own pretty soaps and don’t really want to do the ‘start from scratch’ thing, please feel free to use the melt and pour method. It is just as much fun, does take as long and is less likely to fail!
Soap Making Equipment
If you are going to start making your own soap, you are going to need to do a bit of research on the necessary equipment for soap making. Some of it you will already have in your kitchen, but bear in mind that once you have used the equipment for making soap, they will no longer be food safe.
Basic Soap Recipes
The beauty of good basic homemade soap recipes is that you can change your soap very easily by varying the fragrance and color or by adding additional ingredients after trace to change the texture of your soap. But before you can modify your recipe to ‘individualize’ your soap, you are going to need a basic recipe for your soap.
On this page, you will find three recipes for basic white soap, one with a lard base, one with beef tallow, and one with a shortening or solid vegetable oil base.
Homemade Laundry Soap
Making homemade laundry soap is not only cost-effective, but it can also be a lot of fun!
Most of the recipes you will find on the web for laundry soap will tell you to use bar soap as the primary ingredient. Now you can go out and buy commercial soap bars or a soap base from a soap supplies store to use in your homemade laundry soap, but if you are a true ‘soaper’ you will want to use your own!
Soap Making Troubleshooting
One of the nice things about making soap is that a disaster does not have to stay that way! With a little bit of soap making troubleshooting, just about any ‘bad’ batch can be saved or re-invented by re-batching your soap.