Ways & How

how to make soap from scratch

how to make soap from scratch

Soap is a very essential part of our daily lives, as much for its hygienic and disease prevention properties as for the soothing and clean feeling it provides. While many different kinds of soaps are readily available everywhere, there are those of us who are concerned about the chemicals that touch our bodies. This is particularly necessary when we have children or family members who are sensitive to the harsh ingredients of most soaps sold on the market. We wonder how to make soap from scratch and how to go about making our own. As it turns out, making gentle, skin-friendly soap isn’t hard to do. Glycerin and soap bases are easy to buy at craft or specialty stores, or sourced online. Soap recipes also abound. The easiest way to start is to keep it simple and basic, just to get a feel for the process. Once you’ve tried it and want to try more, you can buy additional ingredients and equipment, and try different recipes.

  1. Prepare your workspace. You will need a clean countertop with an expanse of space to allow free movement, and all your necessary tools and ingredients in one place.

    ake sure the workspace and equipment you use are spotless. Dirt that gets into your soap will be difficult to remove and will defeat the purpose of using soap for cleaning up.

  2. Collect your materials: Glycerin or soap base, soap scraps, essential oil and soap color (both optional), cooking oil spray, and rubbing alcohol in a spritzer. You will also need a double boiler, stovetop, wooden spoon, and a soap mold. Molds specifically meant for soaps is more convenient to use and will result in more attractively shaped soaps, but using leftover plastic containers as molds is a good way to recycle them.

  3. Shave or cut up the glycerin or soap base. Shaving will melt the base faster and shorten the melting duration considerably, while chunks will take longer to melt. You can also add soap scraps left over from bars of soap that are almost used up.

  4. Fill the bottom of a double boiler half-full of water and let it simmer. Watch that the water does not boil over and that the steam doesn’t get into the soap.

  5. Put the shaved or cut-up glycerin or soap base on the top part of the boiling water and wait for it to melt. Stir only where necessary; as much as possible, avoid getting bubbles in the soap. Turn off the stove as soon as all the soap is melted, and then let it cool slightly before adding the essential oil and soap color. To add, stir very gently, again to avoid bubbles, as this will result in the soap becoming cloudy.

  6. Spray the molds with cooking oil to keep the soap from sticking to the sides. At this point, you could add dried flowers or herbs, or tiny plastic toys into the molds. It will show through the soap because glycerin dries clear.

  7. Slowly pour the soap into the molds. If bubbles appear, spray the top of the soap with rubbing alcohol. Allow the soap to cool and solidify completely in the mold. For regular-sized soap, this will usually take about three hours. With your finger, gently press on the back of the mold to remove your soap. If it won’t come out, tap the bottom against your palm. This soap does not need to be cured – that is, given time to become less harsh, which is necessary if lye is used as an ingredient. With glycerin, your soap is ready to use as soon as it’s off the mold.

With this instruction on how to make soap from scratch, you can start making your own soap and use a milder, safer, gentler soap that the whole family can enjoy.


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