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Soap Making


Making soap from scratch is a very precise and potentially dangerous process. Have fun, but be cautious especially when handling lye. If you are making soap for the first time, we highly suggest taking a workshop or doing it with an experienced person - do NOT learn off Youtube! This recipe serves as a starting point and general guideline, as we recommend searching online for particular soap recipes (ie. shampoo bar, easy on skin) and following them exactly until comfortable.


You'll Need:


safety goggles, respirator, dishwashing gloves, apron, close-toed shoes, long sleeves

silicone rubber spatula

whisk, egg beater or hand blender

small bowls, large stainless steel bowl

large pyrex measuring cup, measuring spoons

ziplock bag & plastic spoon

electronic scale

2 thermometers

soap container/mold (wax, silicone, plastic)


filtered water

lye crystals

various oils (ex. palm, olive, coconut)

essential oils (non-fragrance/containing alcohol), beeswax


Let's go:


1. Look up a soap recipe and research soap oil properties for information on why to choose certain oils.


2. Using the recipe's ratios, or %, or absolute amounts of oils, plug that information into an online lye calculator to see how much lye and water to use. Lye and water amounts vary on the type and amount of oils you use, so make sure to do a lye calculation each time you try a different recipe. Essential oils do not figure into your calculations.


3. Put on safety equipment and clothes. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated space and wear a respirator especially when handling the lye. If you don't have one you can do this outside, but note that the heated oils will cool faster. 


4. Measure all the materials you will use with the electronic scale, with the exception of essential oils (use measuring spoons). To use the scale, put a bowl or container on top and press 'tare' to zero out the weight, then slowly add ingredient. Use all the same units as possible (ex. grams, ounces). For the lye, measure it out in a ziplock bag using a plastic spoon. Be careful it doesn't touch your skin. 


5. Once measured, heat up the oils on the stove slowly until it reaches 160 degrees. Use a thermometer. Transfer to stainless steel bowl and keep warm.


6. Turn on fan and make sure you have goggles and (optional) respirator on for this step. Add LYE to WATER in large pyrex glass container (don't reuse oil container). Do not use metal objects with lye. Stir with silicone spatula and watch the exothermic reaction happen! Measure temperature with second thermometer to 150 degrees.


7. Once both oil mixture and lye water have reached 150 degrees, carefully add lye water to oil mixture and stir. Stir mixture with whisk or egg beater until you see trace, which looks like egg whites when they start to stiffen.


8. Add essential oils, beeswax etc. (don't add anything you don't want going down your bathroom drain). Stir. 


9. Pour into container. Avoid ones that are lined with metal or stiff and difficult to remove later. After a couple days remove from mold and let the soap dry and harden in a well-circulated and dark place. Let it cure for 1-3 months.


10. Wash and save equipment for the next soap making. Don't reuse equipment for cooking!


Soap Tips:


-No matter what size batch you make, keep ratios the same, ex. make a tiny batch with 1 oz. coconut oil, 1 oz palm oil, 2 oz olive oil, or a huge batch with 40 oz coconut, 40 oz palm, 80 oz olive oil

-The ratio/amount of a particular essential oil you add varies by size of recipe and what essential oil it is. Check out this list of oils (base notes are 'stronger' than top notes so add less)

-Here are some additional how-to instructions:

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