I finally got around to making another batch of soap. I made many batches of soap back in Lexington, but I sold most of my equipment when we moved out west. It just wasn’t among the important stuff for our confined space.
So I’ve got some extra time, so I wanted to make soap, but everywhere you look for recipes on the web, it says that you need a scale and MUST weigh all of your oils and lye. Now I certainly understand that mass is the only way to really make a relationship between oils and lye to make create a soap that doesn’t have extra lye or oil. Extra oil would mean a mushy soap and it wouldn’t be as soap like as people wanted. Extra lye would create a product that could burn your skin and be dangerous for you to use. So it is important to get the ratio of oil to lye correct and each oil acts a little differently.
So with the help of a lye calculator, I looked up the densities of all of the oils I used and the lye so I could use volumes (cups and tablespoons) to get exact weights of my ingredients into the pot. So I’m going to give you the recipe that I used. I’m going to give a couple of key warnings here. First, the soap isn’t done curing, so I’m not sure if it worked or not. Second, my calculations were very specific for the oils and lye that I used. So if you use this EXACT recipe it may or may not turn out. If you change the recipe at all without knowing what you are doing, it won’t turn out. If you have questions about oil densities or the math that I did, shoot me an email and we can talk.
So here is the recipe that I used:
2 cups olive oil = 434 g
2 cups vegetable oil = 433 g
2 Tbs castor oil = 28.7 g
4 Tbs coconut oil = 54.7 g
4 Tbs + 2 tsp lye = 133 g
1 cup water
First, I put the oils into a large container and stuck it in the microwave for a couple minutes. Then, I mixed the lye into the water (always add the lye to the water, never the other way around or it explodes or something). When the oil was about the same temperature as the lye water (I felt the outside of the containers and they felt about the same temperature, a more precise measure could have helped a little), I added the lye to the oil.
Then I sat there with my immersion blender and blended while my kids prepared the stuff I added at trace. I added honey, pineapple ginger tea, and sweet orange scent. We can call it a sweet citrus ginger soap. I didn’t measure any of that stuff. It just looked like a good amount (but it all fit easily into a 1/2 cup measuring cup).
Then I kept mixing with my immersion blender until the mixture reached trace. Trace is fancy soap making term for the point when you can trace a design into the surface and it stays for a moment. Trace looks exactly like you would expect it to, so don’t question yourself.
When the mixture reached trace, I added the honey and stuff. Then it was no longer at trace (that happens for some reason). So I kept mixing… until my immersion blender broke. When the blender broke, I gave up and poured it into my mold (I used a PVC pipe with a piece of wax paper taped over the bottom).
Now it is curing. Which means that it is just sitting there getting harder and turning to soap. I’ll take it out of the mold in a couple of days, cut it into pieces and let it completely dry out for several weeks before I use it. If all goes well, I’ll remember to post how the soap turns out.