I have wanted to learn how to make soap for quite a number of years. There were actually quite a few reasons that I wanted to make my own soap. They were:
- I always enjoy being able to make something instead of buying it if I can.
- Whenever I have tried homemade soap it has been so much nicer than anything that I can buy at the store.
- I prefer to use bar soap over liquid soap so that I can avoid the Sodium Laurel Sulfate.
- If I did it the old fashioned way, I could use ingredients that were basically free and extra from meat processing. So I could save money with soap making too.
In my quest to make soap however I started to feel a little discouraged with learning how to actually make old fashioned soap. Soap making is a popular hobby now but pretty much all the information I could find on it, whether on blogs or in books, was using expensive oils like coconut oil, cocoa butter, almond oil and so forth. Not that I have any problem with soap made out of those oils - I have tried some that others have made and I really, really like them. My problem was with the expense of it and also because one of the reasons I wanted to make soap was so that we could cross one more thing off the list of things that I needed to buy.
I did however go over to a friends a couple of times while she was making soap (from purchased oils) and watched and helped her with that so I could get the general idea and then I found out another friend made soap and she made soap with things that I could easily get and which where basically free to me. Yea!!! She shared her recipe with me which I ended up tweaking slightly (after doing quite a bit of research) and so I will share that with you.
Goat Milk, Peppermint and Oatmeal Soap
~12 oz. lye flakes/powder (I bought mine from Amazon - it was labeled as a drain opener)
~ 3 pints goats milk (most of this should be frozen in ice cube trays or something so it can be made into a frozen slush)
~5 1/2 pounds of Animal fat/tallow (I used beef and goat tallow) This should be clarified and lukewarm (around 100 degrees)
~ 4 heaping teaspoons borax (optional)
~ 2 cups oatmeal either whole or finely ground (optional)
~ 2 cups dried peppermint leaves (optional)
~ Peppermint oil (optional)
7. At trace is when you start adding additional ingredients like oatmeal (which is good for your skin), peppermint (I love the smell of it and thought it looked kind of cool - but it didn't add as much scent as I had hoped.), and any essential oil. With my batch I did add around 10 drops of peppermint oil along with the dried peppermint but it didn't nearly have the peppermint scent that I had hoped for. A soap making friend told me later that when you add essential oils you need to add tablespoonsful not just drops if you really want to smell it. I don't know if I will ever do that or not as essential oils are expensive. The soap does smell nice anyway- I think everything combined made a nice smell just not a strong peppermint one.
9. Put all your molds in a rather insulated spot where they will stay warm and not harden to fast. I put all my molds in a cardboard box, wrapped in a towel out on our hot deck.
11. Let the soap ripen for 3 weeks or more in a moderately cool, dry and airy place.
I have now been using our soap for around a week and I like it quite well. We are using it in the shower/bath and I have also started using it for my dish soap. I hadn't thought of doing that before until I was reading in Carla Emery's book (The Encyclopedia of Country Living) and she mentioned that she used bar soap for dishes and then I realized that my friend who makes soap only had that available for dishes (at least that I could see) at her house too. Lye soap is supposed to cut grease well.
DISCLAIMER - this post contains information on how I made soap but I want to make sure you know that I am no authority on the subject. This was the first time I made it all by myself. Lye is a dangerous chemical and it does need to be treated with respect. If you want to make soap please do quite a bit of research and familiarize yourself with the process and the risks involved. If you make soap using these instructions you do it at your own risk.
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