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What Are Some Simple Soap Making Options, Lye Or Lye free  RSS feed

 
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I would like to make some of my own soap, I was wondering what simple types of soap to make, and what hold up the best.

Is Lye the best to use, or is there something better?
 
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For what purpose? laundry? hands? body? all of the above?

All you need is lye, water, and some kind of oil (could be lard, tallow, vegetable of any kind). Google "soap lye calculator" to get the right quantities. Too much lye is DANGEROUS!!! respect it.

Basic tallow is great for laundry or getting heavy dirt or oil off your hands, but can be too harsh for using in the bath.

There is an alchemy to mixing oils and superfatting (putting in more oil than the lye can convert so it stays as a moisturizer in the soap). Some science, some art but mostly personal preference.

 
Robert James
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R Scott wrote:For what purpose? laundry? hands? body? all of the above?

All you need is lye, water, and some kind of oil (could be lard, tallow, vegetable of any kind). Google "soap lye calculator" to get the right quantities. Too much lye is DANGEROUS!!! respect it.

Basic tallow is great for laundry or getting heavy dirt or oil off your hands, but can be too harsh for using in the bath.

There is an alchemy to mixing oils and superfatting (putting in more oil than the lye can convert so it stays as a moisturizer in the soap). Some science, some art but mostly personal preference.



Thanks Scott, I am looking to make any and all soaps, right now I want to make some bar soap, thanks for the "soap lye calculator" info.



 
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Soap making is easy and fun once you know what you're doing. I would highly recommend getting a book, although online resources can help. You can make supermarket soap from olive oil, lard and coconut oil, then get the lye at a hardware store. It has to be 100 percent sodium hydroxide. I think there is still a formula for unclogging sink drains that is still 100 percent. RESPECT the lye and inform yourself on lye safety through literature. Use the lye calculator to make your own recipe. Castille is super easy, just olive oil an lye. It doesn't lather much, but it's super mild. You have to let it age 6 months though. Can't go wrong with 50 percent lard, 20 percent coconut oil, and 30 percent olive oil. Coconut oil can be drying in a recipe, so go easy on it, but it adds bubbles and lather to your soap. You could also make a 100 percent lard soap just like granny did.
 
Robert James
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I will skip on the lard, I am guessing granny used pork fat :-p !

Coconut oil can be drying


But that is one of the things that I have read to use for dry skin?

You have to let it age 6 months though.


Is that for all soaps? " I am sure I will find out once I go hunting for recipes"


 
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Lard will make a bar of soap much harder and it will last far longer if used as a base, what I usually do is make the soap with lard, get it to the false trace stage then superfat with olive oil or what ever oil you would like. if you go straight olive oil you will have a bar of soap that leaves your skin silky smooth and only lasts a few washes.
 
R Scott
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Coconut oil makes the soap lather really well, and makes one of the hardest soap of any veggie oil. But too much makes it too good of a cleaner and it removes too much natural oils.

The perfect soap would remove any dirt and external oils but leave the natural oils that are on the skin. Nothing in this world is perfect, though, and no two people have the same natural oils--so you get as close as you can.
 
Robert James
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R Scott wrote:Coconut oil makes the soap lather really well, and makes one of the hardest soap of any veggie oil. But too much makes it too good of a cleaner and it removes too much natural oils.

The perfect soap would remove any dirt and external oils but leave the natural oils that are on the skin. Nothing in this world is perfect, though, and no two people have the same natural oils--so you get as close as you can.


Thank you that's good to know, I do have trouble with dry skin, I am sure I can come up with a good formula.
 
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A really good DVD for novices is Homestead Blessings' "The art of soap making", 2009 by Franklin Springs Family Media, featuring the West family. http://www.homestead-blessings.com/. They'll show you how to make soap from scratch, and also how to recycle your used soap bits into fancy new soap balls. No special equipment required. They use a stick blender and olive oil cans.

We also enjoyed simple recipes from Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen in Making It, 2011 by Rodale Books, ISBN-13: 978-1605294629. http://www.rootsimple.com/category/publications/

Voyageur Soap & Candle Company has excellent recipes and cheap soap-making supplies. https://www.voyageursoapandcandle.com/



 
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Just a quick comment. Making soap is easy and rewarding. My wife and I made about a year's supply of soap using about a half pound of lye, total. Some we made using saved fats from cooking and some we made with an olive oil base. Both came out great and are effective at cleaning and feel good. Cost of home made soap, probably one tenth or less of store bought mass produced brands.

It really is no more challenging than cooking a nice dinner.
 
pollinator
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A really simple option for things like dishes, especially in a camp or outdoor situation, is wood ashes! Just make a paste of ash and water and leave it for a while on the nastiest pots, etc. The ash reacts with the grease to form soap on site, and also acts as an abrasive for scrubbing. A handful of grass or moss for the initial scouring will keep most of the ash out of a washcloth or sponge. I have resurrected many a pot with burnt-on food residue with this, sometimes in repeated latherings.....
 
Robert James
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Alder Burns wrote:A really simple option for things like dishes, especially in a camp or outdoor situation, is wood ashes!


For the camping option, if you want something antibacterial, use pine needles and make a tea.
 
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Miller Soap either says or links to pretty much everything that can be said about making soap. I've been making my own soap for about 15 years, and I learned it all there.

BTW, you cannot make soap without some kind of lye. When the soap is properly made, there will be no lye left in the soap. The fats and the lye consume each other until all you have is soap.
 
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Here's a link to a post with my recipe for hard-ish bars of soap made from olive oil - burra's soap recipe
 
pollinator
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Here is a list of saponin producing plants that can be used as natural soaps.
 
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