Wednesday, June 10, 2009
My First Batch of Homemade Soap!!
I finally did it! I made soap! I have been wanting to do this for months, planning for many weeks, and procrastinating for a few days:-) I was very nervous to do it the first time! I have watched a DVD about making soap, read MANY websites about it, subscribe to a newsletter about it, and finally.....I have made my own soap.
I don't get nervous very often about anything, but even my husband realized how nervous I was about making soap the first time. He kept checking on me and asking how it was going. He is very dear!
I have been using natural, homemade shampoo and body bars for quite a while and it is pretty costly. I LOVE the difference they make on your hair and your skin, so I just knew I had to try to make my own. I found a recipe for Luxury Soap that uses all the best oils that I love, but they are pretty expensive. So I used money I earned via Mystery Shopping over the last couple months to buy the items/oils I needed. I have enough of most of them to make several more batches of soap. I also needed to get the necessary equipment (stainless steel pot, wooden spoon, scale, rubber gloves, etc.) which I acquired from friends and yard sales over the past several months. The last item I needed to find was the lye - it is hard to find 100% lye! But, thanks to some recommendations on soapmaking forums, I found it at Ace Hardware right around the corner from my house.
So then the day came that I was determined to make soap. I actually made shampoo bars because I added Castor Oil to the recipe (and used a soap calculator to figure the proper amounts of everything) because these we can use for hair and body. I had already decided not to add any scent, and I am happy that I made that decision. These soap bars smell so clean and fresh!
I mixed the lye with the water and set it aside. Then I began heating the oils and mixing them all together, including the shea butter and palm kernel flakes. When this was all melted, I checked the temperatures on the lye solution and the oils - both were way too hot to mix! So I let them sit....and sit....and sit....and finally a couple hours later, they were close to 95 degrees so I mixed them together. I used my stick mixer and it only took about 5-8 minutes to "come to trace" (which means it is ready to pour into the mold). I used a Rubbermaid container for the mold and purposely made the bars a little thicker than normal. Then I wrapped the mold up in many towels to keep the heat in so it would cool slowly.
Later that evening, I peeked and saw that the middle had turned a brown color. Fortunately, I had read about that - it is the gel phase! And it is an important phase that the soap should go through, so I was happy. The next morning, I unwrapped my soap and it had a slight tinge of brown still in the center and was a little soft, so I waited until later in the day to unmold it and cut it. It was nice and soft to cut and I was so please with the creamy white color! I cut 8 large bars and then some smaller pieces for samples for many of my friends who want to try it.
Now it is sitting on a rack drying and I have to be patient for 3 more weeks!! The soap/shampoo bars must cure for 3 weeks before the saponfication process is complete and it is mild enough to use. I am just happy to look at my wonderful bars of soap and anticipate the pleasure of washing my hair and body with them! I know, that sounds really weird! But there are some simple pleasures in life that make me happy - like baking bread for my family! I guess that makes me a little "old-fashioned", but I have lived the busy, career life and wouldn't trade my simple life now for any amount of money!!
For more frugal fun, check out the Festival of Frugality over at Stupid Cents.