Ways & How

How to Make Bath Soap at Home

How to Make Bath Soap at Home

Soap is the result of a chemical reaction between oils and lye, a process known as saponification. Glycerin, which is a natural moisturizer, is formed as a byproduct of this reaction. Commercial soap is widely available and is more or less reasonably priced. However, those who are looking for something better in quality than commercial soap would do well to learn how to make bath soap at home. For one thing, by making your own, you can eliminate a lot of the chemicals contained in the commercial versions, especially in harsh detergents, which can leave the skin dry and itchy. Do you know that glycerin is taken out of commercial soaps? That’s because soap manufacturers make greater profits by selling it to cosmetic manufacturers than they would if they left it in. Creating handmade natural soaps can be a great hobby; you can use those soaps in your own household and also give them away as party favors and gifts. With a little creative packaging, you should be able to come up with soaps similar to those sold in posh specialty shops and to do so on a considerably lower budget.

For detailed instructions on creating your own bars of handmade soap at home, here’s how:

  1. Before we begin, let us discuss the use of lye or caustic soda. Lye is a highly volatile irritant, which is why some of those new to soapmaking worry about it. There is really no way around it, though. Without lye, you can’t make soap. Lye is actually used to manufacture a long list of common bath and beauty products, including mouthwash, deodorant, toothpaste, and shampoo. As long as you take care when handling this caustic substance, you should be perfectly fine. Also, lye reacts with aluminum, so all of the equipment you will be using should be made only of plastic, stainless steel, or glass.

  2. To make soap, you will need the following equipment: two glass-covered thermometers, a large pot, a large mixing bowl, plastic containers for weighing separate ingredients, large, heavy-duty plastic spoons, soap molds, a stick blender, and a scale that weighs in ounces. Because lye is involved, protective gear such as an apron, safety goggles and gloves should be worn, and working surfaces should be covered in plastic.

  3. The ingredients for one batch of homemade soap are: 42 ounces of white, hydrogenated vegetable oil, 5 ounces of canola oil, 5 ounces of coconut oil, 5 ounces of castor oil, 6 ½ ounces of lye, 17 ounces of water, 1 ½ ounces of your preferred essential oil, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and coloring agents and herbs to add a special touch (optional).

  4. Place the white, hydrogenated fat in the large pot and melt it over low heat. Take some water out of the 17 ounces of water you have collected, and melt the sugar in it. Set it aside.

  5. Carefully pour the lye into the rest of the water and avoid causing any splashes. Make sure that you have adequate ventilation during this step. Cover your mouth and nose to avoid inhaling the fumes as you stir to dissolve the crystals.

  6. Add the canola, castor, and coconut oils to the fat melting on the stove.

  7. Let the melted fat and the diluted lye solution cool to 110 degrees F, then slowly pour the dissolved lye into the fat.

  8. Use the stick blender to mix the two together. Stop when you reach the trace stage, which is the stage when a spoon dragged through the mixture leaves a trail. By this time, you should have something similar in consistency to pudding.

  9. Add the essential oils and the coloring agents/herbs. Stir everything together.

  10. Grease the soap molds with olive oil and pour in the pudding-like mixture. Lay sheets of plastic wrap on top, then towels. Let the molds sit undisturbed for three days.

  11. After three days, remove the formed soap from the molds and slice into bars. Allow the soap to cure for 30 days on a well-ventilated rack. To determine when the curing is done, do the tongue test. (Hold your tongue against the side of the soap bar. If you don’t feel a buzzing sensation that means that the lye has been completely neutralized.)

If you opt not to put in any coloring agents, you will end up with white soap bars. But if you want to learn how to make bath soap at home that looks like that in natural beauty stores, use some coloring agents. Some suggestions are: turmeric (for a golden yellow/orange color), coffee (brown), cocoa (dark brown), cinnamon (red brown), and French clay (green). You can also throw in dried herbs or cereals like oatmeal, sage, lavender, thyme etc. to produce lovely, flecked soap bars.


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