If you’re wondering how to make soap, then I’ve got to start with saying that making soap at home is not as easy as it seems. You need more than some regular household ingredients to make the perfect soap that can wash off germs. There are various ways you can make soap. If you are a DIYer, you can take soap making art to the next level.
In this guide, we will discuss how to make soap. Here, we will briefly explain the steps of making soap with or without lye. It may seem complicated at first, but if you follow the steps correctly, you shouldn’t face any problems.
To make soap, first of all choose an oil. Then boil the oil until the temperature reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Then make a mixture of lye and water. Then, add the mixture with the oil slowly and blend them gently. After the mixture thickens, mix color and fragrance of your choice and put it in a mold. You can also add additives if you want.
If you want to master the soap making process, please read through the whole article. Because you need to know about the basic soap making supplies and tools to make your soap perfect. Some of the ingredients are difficult to handle. Also, some of them are dangerous. We will briefly explain everything related to the soap making process.
Making soap using lye
Making soap using lye is a bit dangerous and it can cause skin burn. So, the first thing you need to remember before making soap with lye is to be very careful and keep the children away. Always wear gloves and if possible, goggles. Keep every ingredient ready and then you can start the procedure. We will use a hot process method to make soap bars using lye.
Lye helps to cut the fat of the oil so that it could wash off the dirt. Without lye, it is just oil and water. High percentage of lye is beneficial if you are planning to wash clothes and other products with your home-made soap. Specially, lye is used on a high portion of dish washing soap. So, according to your need, you have to adjust the amount of lye mixed with water.
- Around 2 pounds of Fat (Try to get organic palm oil, lard or tallow).
- 10 ounces of pure and filtered water.
- Lye (Depending on the amount and type of fat, the amount of lye will differ. You can use the lye calculator to find the right amount of lye for your soap recipe)
Procedure of making soap with lye
The procedure of making soap with lye using hot process method is given below:
Step one: Measure the lye and water
Using a kitchen scale, measure water and lye very carefully. Always remember, flawed measurement of the water and lye will ruin the quality of the soap. Measure both water and lye separately, on different bowls.
Step two: Mix water and lye carefully
After measuring them, pour the lye on the bowl of water very slowly and carefully. Never pour water in the bowl of lye. This could lead to an unpleasant experience. Again, always wear gloves while performing this task. Never touch the lye when it was on the bowl and never touch the mixer as well. Remember, sodium hydroxide is extremely hazardous.
After pouring the lye in the water bowl, the mixture will get extremely hot. The bowl will get hot as well. Be wary of that. Handle the hot bowls very carefully.
Step three: Cool the mixture
Keep the mixture of water and lye under a vent to cool it down. You can also cool them at room temperature but a vent is way more efficient. Don’t even think about putting the mixture inside of a fridge. Whole thing could blast off and you wouldn’t want that to happen. While cooling the mixture, ready the oils and fats that will be used to make soap.
Step four: Melt the fat and oil
Just like water and lye, you will also have to measure the oils and fats. Be precise with the measurement and then, put it in a crooked style pot. Then, very slowly heat them until they completely melt. Never use high heat because it will make the oil of the upper lyre be evaporated. You won’t have to stir the oil or fat. Just let them melt slowly.
Step five: Mix lye and water mixture with oil
After the oil is completely melted, very slowly pour the mixture of water and lye in the bowl containing oil. Be very careful while pouring. The mixture is extremely hazardous. After pouring, stir the new mixture very carefully. Don’t rush it. Just gently move the whisk made of stainless steel around the bowl.
Then make a mixture of water, soap and vinegar. Clean everything that the mixture of lye and water touched with the new mixture. This is very important so don’t be lazy about it.
Step six: Blend the mixture
After properly stirring, give it a minute of two. Then you will need a blender with sticks. Blend the lye and oil mixture using the blender. The crook sized pot will help to keep the mixture in the pot. Mix them for at least 3 to 5 munities. If you see a consistency like thick pudding in the crook bowl, then you can stop. In higher amounts, it can take a while.
Step seven: Heat the mixture
After successfully mixing the oil and lye mixture, you have to heat it. Hit the mixture for at least an hour. You can use both a stove and microvan. If you will use a stove, never heat it on a full blast. Keep it on a low heat. If you will use a microwave oven, just set the timer to an hour. You won’t have to stir the mixture.
Step eight: Ready your mold
While heating the mixture, ready your mold. You will find various molds with different shapes on the market. Buy the molds with appropriate shape. If you don’t feel like spending money on molds, you can also use a pan but the shape and size of the soap may not be perfect. But molds and pans definitely won’t affect the quality of the soap. Carefully pour the mixture in the molds.
Step nine: Cool the mixture
Keep the mold at room temperature and cool it for at least 24 hours. Again, don’t use the refrigerator to cool the soap mixture. That will definitely affect the quality of the soap by lowering its density. Just keep it in your room for a day and that should do it.
Step ten: Cut the soap
After cooling it for a day, put the chunk of soap on a tray. Precisely cut the chunk of soap into small soap bars. Some of the molds come with unique shapes and sizes. In that case, just put in on a tray and give it some more time. Try to put the tray in an environment with good airflow. That should help the soap to get even harder.
In this way, you can make perfect home-made soap for washing your body, clothes or washing the dishes depending on the ratio of the lye. You may not get immediate success, but after a few trials and run, you should be able to make the soap that you desire.
Making soap without using lye
If you are planning to make soap at your home, then using lye (sodium hydroxide) is not an ideal option. Using lye at home isn’t safe at all and it can specially affect your children in a very bad way.
It is absolutely impossible to make soap without using lye. In soap, we either use oils or fats. Lye helps the oil to break and get mixed with other ingredients. Without it, the soap bar will only be a chunk of oil or fat. That will be absolutely useless against the germs and on top of that, it may put a permanent strain on your clothes.
When people say, they made home-made soap without lye, it means they used pre-mixed water and lye on the soap. You can find this sort of soap base on the market or online. If you are a first timer, try to use these pre-mixed soap bases to avoid accidents.
Procedure of making soap without lye
If you use soap making process called “melt and pour”, then not only is it safe, your children can also take part in the making process. The steps of making soap without lye are given below:
Step one: Buy a soap base
In melt and pour technique, the work of lye and oil is already done. So, there is no risk of skin burn from sodium hydroxide. To make the perfect soap, the first thing you need to do is to choose the fragrant of your liking and pick the perfect recipe according to your soap making supplies and tools.
But if you are new to soap making, the best option for you would be buying a base of the soap. The base is pre-mixed with soap ingredients like plant butter, glycerin and additives. Most of the soap bases also have some extracts which should help your skin to be germ free. Additives used in these bases make the soap bars opaque. Buying a base of soap will make your work a thousand times easier.
Step two: Ready your tools
For starting the procedure of making soap bars, you need to gather and ready the soap making supplies and tools. The following soap making tools are essential:
- First of all, you will need a heat-safe container to burn and melt the base of the soap. There are plenty of options in the market. The container is a pretty important part of the soap making process, so don’t buy a cheap container with poor quality.
- To stir the molten base, you will need a strong whisk. It is better to buy a whisk made of stainless-steel because it doesn’t burn with the molten material. Don’t buy a normal whisk or spoon. They will never work and it can lead to a drastic accident.
- If you are planning to add extras in the base of your soap, then you will need a mixer. For making a soap smell good and feel fresh, adding extras via a soap mixer is very important but definitely not a must. Adding powders for exfoliating, glitters for making the soap bar slippery and colors for decoration is pretty important.
- The last thing you will need to make soap is a mold. Try to buy a silicone mold because that works best on the soap you will make. There are molds with different sizes out there in the market. Just pick the one you like most. You need to ready the mold before you will start melting the base. That’s a pretty important security protocol.
Step three: Boil the base
Now, you will perform the main task of the soap making process. You have to carefully melt the base. Melting the soap base can be done in two ways. You can melt it in a microwave or you can do it on a stove with a double boiler. IF you don’t own a double boiler, you can make one pretty easily but don’t boil the base on a single boiler.
Just put the container on a pan and then put the pan on the stove you’ll use to melt the base of the soap. This simple technique will help the heat to evenly distribute on the soap base. Always remember to wear a heat resistant glove to avoid any sort of fire hazard.
Hitting the base on a microwave also works but I will recommend to boil it on a stove with a double boiler. Boiling the base on the soap gives you some advantages over the microwave. On a stove, you can see how much the base has molten and adjust the heat accordingly. So, you can prevent over boiling or under boiling. You will have much more control on the procedure.
But if you really want to use a microwave, never set the timer of it over a minute. After one minute, check the condition of the soap base. If it isn’t molten yet, again heat the base for 15 to 20 seconds. Every microwave has different power settings, so you will have to adjust the power according to the script of your microwave.
Never try to stir the base while it is boiling. This can affect the quantity of the soap base. Also, it can trap bubbles of air on the base which is even worse. Just let the base melt on its own and if some solid parts gather on the side of the container, gently take them using the whisk.
Step four: Add the extras
For beginners, the easiest thing to do is to follow a guide for avoiding any mishaps. But if you want to freely add extras, it may take some attempts before you can make the perfect soap for your daily use.
This part is a bit tricky. You will need a perfect temperature to keep the base molten, but keep the temperature low enough to avoid the base to be evaporated. If the heat gets too low, the molten base can be solidified within minutes.
If that happens, place the container on the stove again and very gently, heat it just to melt the base again. Do the same with a microwave oven but never put the timer over 15 seconds. This part is very tricky to handle so be very careful.
Now, gently add the extras on the molten base and very slowly stir the mixture with the whisk. Avoid air bubbles at any cost and make sure the extras get distributed evenly on the molten soap base.
Step five: Pouring the mold
After mixing the fragrance with the soap base, slowly pour the mixture into the molds until it is full. Be very careful while handling the mixture. It is extremely hot and you surely don’t want any accidents. Don’t be too slow otherwise the mixture might get solidified. If it happens, again put the container on the stove and gently boil the solid parts.
Step six: Unmold the base-mixture
After pouring it on the mold, let it cool at room temperature. Never put it inside the refrigerator otherwise the density of the soap may be affected. For a regular sized soap bar, it will at least take an hour to cool down. Bigger sized bars can take up to 24 hours or even more.
Never touch the mixture with a whisk before it gets cold. After it becomes hard enough, put it out and enjoy it.
Why would you want to make soap at home?
At emergency situations
So, we have discussed how easy it is to make soap at home. But is all of that effort worth it? I would say it is absolutely worth it. Many times, you may find your soap out of stock or just is not available in your region. In those times, making soap at home can come handy. You can add appropriate extras and additives to meet your needs at the time of emergency.
For health concerns
In addition, most of the commercial soaps aren’t exactly skin healthy. In soap commercials, soap is badly represented. Many of them won’t even use the word soap on those ads. These soaps have harmful chemical, synthetic agents and hardeners. Some of them are extremely bad for skins.
For ensuring safe ingredients
The oils used in those soaps are not organic. In fact, many of them are straight up bad for human skins. Some of them make our skin dry and itchy. On the other hand, homemade soap is typically made with organic oil or at least natural oil. These oils are perfect for washing off dirt and germs. Every way, this sort of oil is much more human friendly.
Use of Glycerin
One of the main components of the home-made soap is glycerin. Glycerin can catch moisture from the air which is really good for our skin. Most of the commercial soap does not have glycerin in it. This is one of the biggest advantages of using a home-made soap. This is also the reason why commercial soap makes our skins dry.
For using ingredients of your liking
In home-made soap, you can add additives and extras as you wish. Many people are allergic to some of the components used in commercial soap. But in home-made soap, you have the advantage of skipping those components or adding a component of your liking. You can add any fragrant you want. Versatility is a huge advantage of home-made soap.
Changeable lye percentage
Lastly, lye percentage is fixed in almost all the commercial soap. Many of those soap companies don’t even reveal the amount of lye added on the mix. But in homemade soap, you can add a perfect amount of lye with water to ensure the perfect quality of the soap. By adding different amounts of lye, you can make soap for washing your body, dish or clothes.
Is it worth it?
I think it makes perfect sense to use homemade soap on a regular basis. No commercial soap company will ensure your health and safety. Many of them won’t even call them soap bars. Many cases have found where people have found allergic effects from commercial soap.
It is undoubtedly a health hazard to use a soap without knowing all of its components. But if you use a home-made soap, you will put the appropriate components yourself and you can avoid any sort of health issues by using a soap.
The only downside of using a home-made soap is, it is pretty expensive compared to the commercial soap. But if considering all the benefits you will get, it is a perfect choice of washing yourself, your clothes and dishes. So, I will highly recommend you to make home-made soap and use them.
What are the necessary ingredients to make home-made soap?
- 2/3 cup of natural oil of your choice.
- ¼ cup of sodium hydroxide
- ¾ cup distilled water
- Quart jar
- Pint jar
- Soap molds
Can I use home-made soap for long?
One of the fascinating things about home-made soap is that it gets better with time. You won’t have to worry about it being ruined. But if you are going to make soap without lye, then some of the pre-mixed ingredients can act differently as normal components do with age.
Why are home-made soaps being creamy?
In most of the home-made soap, we use soybean oil. Soybean oils make soap creamy and a bit melty. This does not affect the quality of the soap in any way. But if you use soybean oil on home-made soap, it may not last as long as commercial soap.
Can home-made soap be covered with germs?
Germs can live on both home-made and commercial soap. But the main fact is, they cannot harm you in any way. When you will rub the soap against your skin, the oily cover of the virus will be destroyed and other germs will just wash off. So, this is definitely not a headache for using home-made soap.
If I want to make a hard soap, what oil should I use?
If you are planning to make a hard soap, avoid using soybean oil. Hard soap is a bit expensive to make. You have to use palm, tallow or Lard oil with a high percentage to make a soap harder than usual. Although these oils are pretty expensive and you need to use a lot of it, hard soap lasts much longer than creamy soap.
In this article, I briefly explain the steps of making perfect home-made soap. I talked about various tactics to make soap better. I also briefly talked about lye and its importance. Most of the commercial soaps that we use on a regular basis are not suitable for our skin. Home-made soap ensures the quality of its ingredients and it is far more effective than commercial soap.
In this guide “How to make soap”, I discussed two main ways you can make soap. If you are a beginner, don’t try to make soap with lye. Although lye is an absolute essential part of soap, using them as a beginner is dangerous and kind of pointless. A much safer option is to follow “melt and pour” technique. Even your kids can take part in making soap if you follow this technique.
But if you want to use lye in a different percentage for using soap to wash clothes and dishes, then you have to use the hot process method. But be very careful with every step that I explained. This is one of the most sensitive ways you will make soap. I hope you will make the perfect soap for yourself and your family.