How to Make Your Own Soap at Home
If you want to make your own soap at home, you’ve probable already heard about how rewarding and fun the experience can be. It is a great hobby that can quickly turn into a great business if you choosy to take that route. Anyone can get into this fascinating activity by simply finding information on the process, as well as several recipes for making soap which can be done easily as both are widely available online. Some of this information, however, is not very detailed, making the soap making process a bit difficult. Believe it or not, even the information from published authors can be difficult to follow.
It is for this reason that people, especially those who are new to making soap, sometimes encounter problems with the soap making process. Some make mistakes in getting the proper ratios for the ingredients, some also find difficulty in finding the right time to add the different ingredients, while others find it hard to get the soap solution to trace properly. In an attempt to make things easier for you, here are a few tips for success in learning how to make your own soap.
General Tips to Make Your Own Soap
1. Safety first. Never make cold or hot process soap with children around. Also, it is important to wear protective eyewear and gloves especially when working with the lye.
2. If you plan to use fragrance oils, make sure that the oil has been tested and works for soap making. Sometimes the synthetic ingredients in fragrance oils will cause havoc on your soap mixture. This can easily be avoided by using only soap making-safe fragrance oils or going the all-natural route of using essential oils for scenting your soap.
The added benefit of using essential oils is that many have health positive benefits that will be incorporated into your soap!
3. When you make your own soap, always use stainless steel, glass, rubber, and plastic equipment for soap making. Other types of metal can react with your soap mixture and make it unusable.
4. Before stirring your soap mixture, have your molds in ready. This will keep you from scrambling about when the soap mixture is ready to be poured.
5. Take notes when making your soap. This will not only help you to avoid mistakes in the future, but it will also help you recreate those “accidental” miracles that sometimes take place in soap making!
Make Your Own Soap – What are Saponification and “Trace”?
Saponification is the chemical process that occurs once lye and fat combine to create soap. This process may take days to complete for the cold process. It also has different stages, the most important one of which is the “trace”.
The tracing stage is when the soap mixture begins to thicken. This may be checked by letting the soap run off on your mixing spoon and letting it fall back into the mixture. If the falling soap does not blend back in with the rest of the mixture and instead stays on top, this means that the mixture has reached trace. You can also tell if the soap has started to trace by looking at its consistency. The thickness of the soap should be like that of a pudding right after it was cooked and right before it is set up.
You should pay close attention though because there is also the existence of “false trace”. This may occur especially if the fats used are solid at room temperature. If the temperature of the soap mixture goes below the melting temperature of the fat you used, the mixture will start to turn solid. When this happens, your soap may appear to thicken like it does during trace. To prevent this from happening when you make your own soap, make sure the temperature of your soap stays above the melting temperature of your fat.
Several variables affect the amount of time the soap gets to trace. One such variable is the heaviness of the fat or oil you used in the mixture. If you used light oil, your soap will take a longer time to trace. Soap made using vegetable oils generally take longer to trace as compared to animal fats.
Finally, trace will happen more quickly when using a stick blender versus mixing by hand. Keep this in mind when using a stick blender as it will mean that you need to be ready to pour your soap mixture at a moment’s notice. Hopefully, these tips will give you some success when you make your own soap.
If you are just starting out in learning how to make homemade soap, it is suggested that you start with either the cold process or melt & pour. The free Soap Making Fun Newsletter is full of recipes, tips, and articles for you to use. You can sign up and get a report on the “Dangers of Commercial Soaps”!
Sign up now to get started in your own soap making adventure!