Basic Cold Pressed Soap Making Directions:
You will need the following items.
- Kitchen scales to accurately measure your ingredients
- Soap pot. This should be made of un chipped enamel or stainless steel. This should be large enough to hold your batch of soap and also allow for stirring and mixing without splashing.
- Plastic jugs for mixing your caustic soda solution. As the solution heats up significantly when water caustic soda is added to the water, the jugs should be microwave sale to handle this heat.
- Long handled wooden or plastic spoon for stirring, or alternatively a hand held or stand-alone mixer can be used.
- Two kitchen thermometers that will allow you to measure in the range of 34 to 38 degrees.
- Safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes whenever you are handling soap making ingredients.
- Rubber gloves to protect your hands whenever soap making ingredients
- A ladle to transfer you soap from your soap pot or mixing bowl to your soap mould(s)
- A sharp knife for slicing bars of soap
- Soap moulds or a large plastic container to use as a soap mould. An empty cardboard milk carton can make a good soap mould if you do not have something suitable
- Old blanket or towels for wrapping your soap once in the mould(s)
- Plastic needle point screen, sushi mats, or something similar to place your soaps on to cure.
Caustic soda when added to water increases in temperature significantly. It is also a strong alkaline solution and will burn when it comes in contact with your skin. You must be very careful not to spill or splash any on you at any time during the soap making process. If you do get any on your skin, you must immediately rinse it off in cold running water.
Always put on your safety glasses or goggles and your rubber gloves before handling caustic soda. Always add the caustic soda to the water and not the water to the caustic soda. Even after you have mixed the caustic soda solution in with your oils and have a soap, this soap mixture can still burn you as the saponification is not complete until the soap is cured and the soap mixture is till very alkaline and can still burn you.
Basic soap making steps:
- Gather all your equipment and ingredients
- Weigh the caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and the fats and or oils you will be using
- Mix your caustic soda solution
- Melt your fats and/or oils
- Equalise the temperature of the caustic soda solution and the fats and/or oils at 34 to 38 degrees
- While stirring/mixing slowly pour your caustic soda solution into your fats and/or oils.
- Once your mixture is ready, pour your warm soap into your mould(s)
- Wrap you mould(s) in insulating material such as a blanket or some towels
- Allow to dry
- Remove your soap from the mould(s) and allow to cure
Detailed soap making instructions:
Gather all your equipment and ingredients.
Before you start your soap making, gather all the equipment you will need and all your ingredients. There is nothing worse than being part way through a soap recipe and discovering you do not have something you need. As soap making is a time and temperature sensitive process, you will not be able to stop what you are doing and pop out to the store to pick up what you do not have.
Weigh the caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and the fats and or oils you will be using.
Put on your rubber gloves and your safety goggles. Using accurate kitchen scales, carefully weight out all of your ingredients. I measure my caustic soda first, then pace it into a small dry bowl. Then measure you distilled water and place it into you plastic jug. Measure each of your oils and place them all together into your soap pot or stainless steel bowl.
Mix your caustic soda solution.
Add your caustic soda to your water. DO NOT ADD YOUR WATER TO YOUR CAUSTIC SODA. The chemical reaction can cause significant heat production, fizzing and splattering. Always add the caustic soda to the water for safety reasons. Use your wooden spoon to mix the caustic soda into the water. If possible, it is best to do this outside or in a well-ventilated room. You do not want to breathe in any of the fumes that can be created during this initial chemical reaction. Your caustic soda solution will become quite hot and will need to cool down before it can be added to your oil. Once I have my caustic soda solution mixed up, I carefully place one of my thermometers into the jug so that I can monitor the temperature as it cools.
Melt your fats and/or oils.
Using your soap pot or you stainless steel bowl, heat your oils to melt them. If using a soap hot you can do this on your stove. If using a stainless steel bowl, you can do this by placing it into a sink of hot water. Place your second thermometer into the bowl of oil so that you can monitor the oil’s temperature.
Equalise the temperature of the caustic soda solution and the fats and/or oils at 34 to 38 degrees.
Once you have you caustic soda solution made up, and your oils melted, you will need to equalise their temperature until they are the same, somewhere in the range of 34 to 38 degree. To do this use hot and/or cold water in the sink and place the jug and/or bowl into the appropriate water. I have a double sink in my kitchen so I usually cool the caustic soda solution in a cold water kink while I heat my oils in a hot water sink. When they reach the same temperature, you are ready to mix them together. This may take a little practice, but once you have made a few batches, it becomes quite easy as you get used to how long caustic soda solution takes to cool down from its initial heat reaction and how long it takes for the oils to heat up.
While stirring/mixing slowly pour your caustic soda solution into your fats and/or oils.
Once the oils and the caustic coda solution reach the same temperate you are ready to pour your caustic soda solution into your oil.
Wearing rubber gloves and your safety glasses slowly drizzle the caustic soda solution into your oils, stirring as quickly as possible by hand. If you are going to use a free standing or hand mixer it should be set at its lowest speed. I recommend using a free standing mixer which allows you to move away when the mixing, to avoid getting any small splashes on you. If you are using a hand held mixer, be sure you have on long sleeves and rubber gloves and that the bowl is big enough so that you can work without getting splashed. If you are mixing by hand, continue to stir briskly keeping as much of the mixture in continuous motion as possible.
Keep stirring in a swift, forceful manner until the soap mixture starts to thicken. As the mixture starts to thicken you need to test for “tracing’ To test for tracing, use your spoon and pick up a small amount of the soap mixture and drizzle it across the top of the remaining soap mixture. If it is not ready, the drizzle will immediately sink back into the soap mixture without leaving a trace. However, as it thickens, and you test the mixture again, a small amount of the soap mixture, drizzled onto the remaining soap mixture, will leave a faint pattern before sinking back into the mixture. This is called tracing. You do not want to wait until the trace is thick enough for the pattern to remain on the surface as this will them be too thick to pour.
Once your soap has reached trace, you are ready to mix in your fragrance and any other additives such as soap colouring. Mix these in and them immediately pour your soap.
Once your mixture is ready, pour your warm soap into your mould(s).
You are now ready to pour your soap into your soap mould(s). Place the silicone soap mould(s) that was provided with your kit onto a tray, such as a baking tray. Carefully pour your soap into the mould(s). You can use a spatula to get every last bit of soap out. Do not over fill them. As you are going to have to wrap them to keep them warm, you will need to cover them with another tray. If you overfill your moulds, the top tray will come into contact with soap and ruin your nice smooth surface.
Wrap you mould(s) in insulating material such as a blanket or some towels.
Once your moulds have been filled, and you have covered them with another tray or a piece of cardboard, wrap your soaps in an old blanket, or some old towels, to keep them warm. Place them in a war location. I usually use my kitchen, as this is the warmest room in my house.
Allow to dry.
Allow your soap to set, undisturbed, for eighteen to twenty-four hours.
Remove your soap from the mould(s) and allow to cure.
After eighteen hours, check your soap for firmness. It should be firm to the touch but not rock hard. If it is still too soft to remove from the mould(s) without damaging the shape of the soap, leave it longer. Once it is firm to the touch, simply pop the soap out of the mould. Place your soaps on a plastic needle point screen, sushi mats or something similar to air dry. You want something that will allow air to circulate around the soap. Turn your soap over once a week. Allow to cure for three to four weeks before using your soap. This allows for the saponification to be completed
Low Allergy Soap (for laundry and household use)
This is a hard dry soap ideal for grating into ‘flakes’.
Follow the above soap making directions.
- 500 grams of caustic soda.
- 1 ½ litres of rain water (or distilled water).
- 3 kg rendered animal fat.