Saturday, March 3, 2012

Frugal Living- How To Make Your Own Soap

Most soap recipes make about 15 bars of soap. But to start out, think small. Here’s a recipe for one bar of soap:

17.9 grams of lye (.5 ounces)
45.4 grams of distilled water (1.5 ounces)
42.2 grams of olive oil (1.4 ounces)
36.2 grams of coconut oil (1.2 ounces)
42.2 grams palm oil (1.4 ounces)
¼ teaspoon of essential oil

Both coconut and palm oil are usually ordered from soap making or chemical firms. In a pinch, you may substitute Crisco shortening. Again, the advantage to taking a course is that you will have all the appropriate ingredients for your first bar of soap.

Measure the distilled water. Measure the lye. Take both outside to a safe place and pour the lye into the water. Never pour water into lye; it’s highly dangerous. Next, it will heat up—to 175 degrees. Leave it alone to cool in a place where it will not be touched by anyone or, if safer, place in a sink.

Measure the oils and pour them into an enamel pan. Warm the oils to 90 degrees. Wait until the lye cools to 90 degrees. Pour the lye slowly into the oils and begin stirring. Here’s where a mixer becomes handy. But for this one bar, mixing by hand will be fine. Mix until a trace is formed. Add your essential oil and stir well. Pour into a mold, like a yogurt cup. Insulate with an old blanket for 24 hours. Then you may remove the bar and allow it to cure for two weeks.


Soap contains lye. With that comes a caution: lye will burn your skin and blind you if it splashes in your eyes. Vinegar is an antidote, but it cannot undo the damage of spilled lye. In soap making, few accidents happen because soap makers are cautioned extensively to wear goggles, long sleeves, long pants and rubber gloves. Never use lye around children or pets. Once this basic lesson is taught, the rest of soap is easy.


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