Making soap?

RJSchaefer

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
180
7
88
Rockford, IL
I know soap making is the new thing, but I'm not entirely content to do it using purchased ingredients. We're learning how to make lye this summer. I'm putting in a large patch of sunflowers so we can attempt sunflower seed oil.

First we need to figure out how to make the soap itself, though.

I want to make it in a crock pot (small, 1 quart, it was free and I don't care if it gets ruined). I'm also going to be using lard. I've found a bunch of recipes online but they're all for larger batches and seem to expect you to "know" what you need. [More than] A few questions for any soap makers who are inclined to answer!

  1. The local hardware store has 100% lye drain cleaner. I've read and been told this is the right stuff. Are the measurements the same?
  2. What equipment do I need? I often see recipes say to use a submersible blender. $$$! Would a stainless steel whisk get the job done?
  3. How long am I dedicating to this project? My daughter gets home from school at 3PM. Would we have enough time between then and lights out at 8PM?
  4. When they say "rubber gloves" do they mean the thick yellow gloves, or any gloves? I usually use the clear, powdered gloves for cleaning because I can buy them 500 at a time for cheap. Good 'nuff, not good 'nuff?
  5. When is it done?? The recipe I'm using says to put it to the side of your tongue. Really? Is that my option?
  6. I'm using lard (I have a ton of it). Is it going to smell like bacon-y lavendar?
  7. What do you use for a mold? Does it matter? I was planning on using a cutesy baking pan that ironically never works for baking.
  8. "Essential oils"? The bulk foods store in town sells food grade oils - essential, not baking. Same thing?
  9. Any tips that a newbie might need? Any extra utensils? I've got a crock pot, a stainless steel whisk (if that will work), a stainless steel ladle, that mold. I use the whisk and ladle for food, although I could designate them soap only.
  10. If the crock pot is a bad way to start, my only other option is an electric burner (stove's deceased). Could I use that with a double boiler? It's the like the Granite Ware canning pot, which is "stainless steel core".

Sorry if these questions seem stupid. I'm really just trying to quadruple-check my bases since my kids (10 and under) will be helping.
 

annewandering

Songster
7 Years
Apr 2, 2013
513
20
181
Idaho
I know soap making is the new thing, but I'm not entirely content to do it using purchased ingredients. We're learning how to make lye this summer. I'm putting in a large patch of sunflowers so we can attempt sunflower seed oil.

First we need to figure out how to make the soap itself, though.

I want to make it in a crock pot (small, 1 quart, it was free and I don't care if it gets ruined). I'm also going to be using lard. I've found a bunch of recipes online but they're all for larger batches and seem to expect you to "know" what you need. [More than] A few questions for any soap makers who are inclined to answer!

  1. The local hardware store has 100% lye drain cleaner. I've read and been told this is the right stuff. Are the measurements the same? What brand? It really does have to be 100%
  2. What equipment do I need? I often see recipes say to use a submersible blender. $$$! Would a stainless steel whisk get the job done? A whisk would work. So would a plain spoon. It will take a long time and you will get very tired before its done. I have done it this way however. A spoon would be better so you arent fluffing it up with lots of air.
  3. How long am I dedicating to this project? My daughter gets home from school at 3PM. Would we have enough time between then and lights out at 8PM? Yes it can be done pretty quickly. How old is your daughter? It is not a safe project for children. Seriously not safe.
  4. When they say "rubber gloves" do they mean the thick yellow gloves, or any gloves? I usually use the clear, powdered gloves for cleaning because I can buy them 500 at a time for cheap. Good 'nuff, not good 'nuff? Any plastic works. Make sure you have vinegar on hand for any splashes.
  5. When is it done?? The recipe I'm using says to put it to the side of your tongue. Really? Is that my option? That is referring to after its molded and hard. I would never do that. Take a small piece and wash your hands with it. Does it leave a slick icky feeling on your hands? Wash with vinegar and wait longer.
  6. I'm using lard (I have a ton of it). Is it going to smell like bacon-y lavendar? Not bacon. If you have a very sensitve nose it might have a slight odor. I do and I dont smell it. You need a harder oil than lard for at least part. Cooking down beef fat tallow is a good hard fat.
  7. What do you use for a mold? Does it matter? I was planning on using a cutesy baking pan that ironically never works for baking. Dont ever make it in metal cooking pans without using something like a plastic bag to line it. You will never get the soap out. I like to line pans with grocery bags making sure there are NO leaks in the plastic.
  8. "Essential oils"? The bulk foods store in town sells food grade oils - essential, not baking. Same thing? Essential oils are oil. Essential oils will lose their scent in all likely hood. The oils you use do not have to be food grade but they should be good quality. I dont know any one who eats shea butter yet that is nice in soap.
  9. Any tips that a newbie might need? Any extra utensils? I've got a crock pot, a stainless steel whisk (if that will work), a stainless steel ladle, that mold. I use the whisk and ladle for food, although I could designate them soap only.I like to use a fan to blow the fumes from the lye out the window.The fumes need to be ventilated. In fact many make their lye mix outside. That lye mix is deadly by the way and should never be around children. Even the soap setting is a bad idea around them. My granddaughter got in some and it made her scream. Use vinegar for any contact. Immediately.
  10. If the crock pot is a bad way to start, my only other option is an electric burner (stove's deceased). Could I use that with a double boiler? It's the like the Granite Ware canning pot, which is "stainless steel core". Cold method, which is easiest, does not use the stove except to heat and melt the oils. The mixing is done off the stove.
  11. Go online and find some soapmaking sites. http://thesage.com is excellent. They sell but they have information on how to make the soap safely and also has a lye calculator for how much of what to add. You need more information before you start. Its not hard to make but it is very important to do it properly for safety sake.

Sorry if these questions seem stupid. I'm really just trying to quadruple-check my bases since my kids (10 and under) will be helping.
With kids under 10 please dont make the soap with them. Prep for oils and getting out of the molds etc would be ok but not the making. It is dangerous.
lye is similar to an acid in that it burns on contact. You wouldnt have battery acid around kids for the same reason you dont want lye around them. In the soap it is changed and is no longer dangerous but before it does change it is.
 
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RJSchaefer

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
180
7
88
Rockford, IL
Thanks for the info! My youngest 4 will be around and watching, but my oldest (she's 10, just shy of 11) will be the ingredients hander, except for the lye.

I think the brand of the lye is Rooto. It was suggested by a friend who's been making soap. Dry pellets. I'm not really sure on it, so I'm doing more research right now.

Is this maybe a back porch or open garage project? I don't have very good ventilation in my kitchen, oddly enough, and didn't even think about that. I have plenty of power outlets for the crock pot outside, in the garage, etc.

I've also got coconut oil and olive oil. Not good nuff?

I've got a big jug of white vinegar. Things my generation learned from Fight Club...

I'm going to be following these instructions
http://thebackyardfarmwife.blogspot.com/2009/10/soap-step-by-step.html

With this recipe
http://thebackyardfarmwife.blogspot.com/2012/04/lard-crock-pot-soap.html

But I need to probably quarter it, since I'm using a small crock pot.

I'll look up the cold method. If it's easier, then, well, that might be the place to start. I've been reading up on it for the last few months, but am still having a hard time separating out all the different options - hot vs cold vs glycerin vs...I really just want to take the plunge, since I'm a hands-on type, and try one to really see what's going on.
 

cubbysan

Songster
9 Years
I am very, very new to making soap. I have taken one class, read tons and tons of books, and just recently bought some ingredients and recipe from an online source. The one thing that cannot be stressed enough is before starting, make sure all children and pets are not in the room. Lye is very dangerous. It is the same thing as Draino!

If you want the children to help, you might want to look into the melt and pour but it does not sound like that route would satisfy your reasons for making soap.

In my class, we did cold process, and used a whisk. It worked really well.

You will need a scale.

Have you looked at any of the Teachsoap dot com tutorials?
 

RJSchaefer

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
180
7
88
Rockford, IL
I haven't looked at Teachsoap. I'll go look that up right now.

I'm thinking after what's been said, I'll be doing this in the garage. But here's a concern, considering lye can be combustible...the Man has his shotgun reloading equipment out there. Ugh, too many explosives under one roof! That's not a problem, is it? The table I'd be using it on the other end (near the door) of the garage.
 

annewandering

Songster
7 Years
Apr 2, 2013
513
20
181
Idaho
I haven't looked at Teachsoap. I'll go look that up right now.

I'm thinking after what's been said, I'll be doing this in the garage. But here's a concern, considering lye can be combustible...the Man has his shotgun reloading equipment out there. Ugh, too many explosives under one roof! That's not a problem, is it? The table I'd be using it on the other end (near the door) of the garage.


I haven't looked at Teachsoap. I'll go look that up right now.

I'm thinking after what's been said, I'll be doing this in the garage. But here's a concern, considering lye can be combustible...the Man has his shotgun reloading equipment out there. Ugh, too many explosives under one roof! That's not a problem, is it? The table I'd be using it on the other end (near the door) of the garage.
The garage sounds like a good choice. With the door open. :D I have never had any flamable problems. Your recipe was run through thesage.com lye calculator so it is properly balanced.
I have tried to do a cooking style before but the cold or oven method work a lot better for me and are very easy. Whatever method you use it needs to be on a very low heat or it gets icky. Use a big pan for the lye mixture. The ones the first link uses seems awfully small. Oh and by the way you can often find the stir blenders at thrift stores. They work a lot better for soap than for anything else I suspect so they end up there fairly frequently. lol. Oh one more thing. Dont cool it in the refridgerator. It will naturally try to gel if you cover your mold and wrap it in a warm towel overnight. The gelling means it will be cured very quickly usually. Like immediately or a week or so. Cooling it in the fridge prevents it from gelling. On the other hand the gelling heats the mixture to hot and may dispel much of the scent. It seems to me that the gelling makes a better soap though. My own preference but may not be yours.
 

annewandering

Songster
7 Years
Apr 2, 2013
513
20
181
Idaho
Oh one more thing. lol just one I promise! If you can find someone who has made it before have them help you the first time. It will be less tense for you and really does help.
 

annewandering

Songster
7 Years
Apr 2, 2013
513
20
181
Idaho
I see it often said that you need to dedicate your bowls, spoons, etc to soap making. I prefer to wash them. :) I do a vinegar rinse with the extremely thorough washing. Rinse the hands and arms with the vinegar when you finish otherwise you are going to have spots start itching and burning, gloves or not.
 

RJSchaefer

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
180
7
88
Rockford, IL
Well, our first attempt is going horrifically. I'm really trying to tough it out and hope it works, but right now I have a pot of ricotta looking goo. It's been far longer than everything I can find say it should take. This is not looking up. =(
 

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