Making your own soap! Part 3: Let's get to work

Making your own soap! Part 3: Let's get to work

IMPORTANT: Before moving forward, make sure you have read the first two parts of this article, which cover ingredients, tools, and utensils necessary to create your very own handmade soaps from home. It is recommended that you read this part and wait for next weeks final piece before actually attempting to make the soap. Give yourself some time to read this and fully understand the process. By the time the next part is released, you will be ready to make and finish your soap without any mistakes.

For the past two weeks, we here at KBotanicals have been helping you prepare for making your own soaps at home. Of course, we also make soaps, and offer them at our store and online for you to purchase, but we get very many questions from people asking how they can make their very own soaps at home. As much as we'd like for everyone to purchase our natual, handmade soaps, we also love teaching people to do things that help them become even more self-sufficient. So, please go back and use the last two articles as a checklist to make sure you have all of the ingredients and tools/utensils necessary to move forward, and let's put on our smocks and get dirty!

Please refer to the ingredient list (from part 1):

  • 18.5 ounces Olive oil / great natural oil used for moisturizing.
  • 12 ounces Coconut oil / popular and used for many things, including fantastic lather.
  • 13.5 ounces water / we use distilled water or spring water, but filtered or even tap water is fine.
  • 9 ounces Palm oil / great for making sure your soap is firm, even when wet!
  • 5.8 ounces Lye (sodium hydroxide) / necessary for saponification but does not remain in soap.
  • 4 ounces of Kratom (mitragyna speciosa) - for exfoliant (can be adjusted for better scrubbing).
  • 1 ounce Shea butter / provides extra moisturizing and texture.

First, get all of your ingredients together and laid out, and check to make sure everything is there, as mentioned above. Once you are sure you have everything you can begin by taking your wax/freezer paper and using it to line your mold or molds, making sure that the non-stick (shiny) side is facing up. 

Now, take your shea butter, palm oil, coconut oil and set them aside. Grab your main pot you will be using (stainless steel would be best). If you have never used a scale for measuring ingredients before, please read the next section carefully, if you have, you may skip it if you wish. DO NOT USE ANY OF YOUR LIQUID OILS YET, only the hard oils.

You must put a bowl (or the actual pot you will be using, if it will fit on your scale) that you use be using to measure out all of your ingredients on top of your scale. What you want to do is power on your scale, then place the bowl (or pot) onto the scale and press the TARE or ZERO button. What this does is negate the weight of whatever is currently on the scale, so the only thing being weighed is your current ingredient. So, what you will do is measure out 12 ounces of coconut oil. So, with your pot on the scale and set at zero, add the coconut oil in until the scale reads 12 ounces, and then hit the TARE or ZERO button again. The scale should read zero again. Next, add your palm oil until the scale reads 9 ounces. Once it does, hit TARE or ZERO again so the scale shows 0 once again. Repeat this process until you have all of your oils in the bowl or pot. If you have used a bowl, now is the time to transfer the ingredients from the bowl into the pot, for heating. 

Place the pot on the stove and set the flame to low heat. The solid oils should melt and everything should become liquid. Leave the flame on low, you will come back to it later.

Next, measure out 13.5 ounces of water into a stainless steel or tempered glass bowl (remember, even tap is fine). 

Carefully, with gloves and safety glasses (they should be used at all times, but using them for this step is EXTREMELY important), measure out the lye and add to the bowl of water (remember, stainless steel or high heat capable glass ONLY). 

Begin stirring the lye and water together, there will be a chemical reaction and some fumes (this is why you want to make sure the area is well ventilated, for large batches you may even put a fan directly in the window, blowing outward, making sure you are not standing directly in the path that the fumes would be vented). After a couple minutes of stirring, the mixture will again turn clear. Once it does, carefully pick up the bowl with insulated cooking gloves or oven pads and set it aside where it will be safe and not likely to be bumped or spilled. 

Next, you will work with your liquid oils. For our recipe, we are only using one, which is olive oil, although you can use any manner of liquid oil. Try experimenting with other oils, like argon oil, for instance. 

Check the temperature of your lye and water solution, you want it to be below 110 degrees. 

Check your pot on the stove, make sure that your oils are, in fact, melted. At this point, they should definitely be liquid, so you can go ahead and add the other liquid oils into the pot (in this case, olive oil, unless you decide to use others as well). Once added, you can check the temperature with your thermometer. Once it reaches at least 110 degrees, you can turn off the burner.

Carefully add your lye/water solution to your oils and use your stick blender to blend the mixture. Alternate between mixing with the blender on and mixing with the blender turned off. Take extra care that you do not spill any of the mixture outside of the pot, and try to avoid creating too many air bubbles within the mixture. You will mix and blend for about 5 minutes, with the mixture taking on a pancake like consistency. 

Once the mixture begins to reach that consistency and begins to leave a dull wax like coating on the mixer, now is the time to pour into the mold. Before pouring, now you will mix your kratom into the pot as well. Remember, it is not so much about the exact weight being used, as it is about the amount within the mixture that will give you a nice sandy exfoliant. The more kratom you add, the more scrub to the soap. Some people also add sea salts, etc. Also, if you were to be using any color or fragrances, you would add them now, but since this is going to be a beginners recipe, we are skipping this step. You can add anything you'd like in future batches.  

At this point, your mold should have the wax paper in it with the shiny side facing outward. Pour your mixture into the mold and try to keep it level (make sure the surface it will sit on while setting is level as well). Cover the mold with your cover (mentioned in part 2). 

Next, you will allow the soap to set and cure (which could take anywhere from 8-24 hours). Next part of this series will focus on the final steps including cutting the soap. Please wait for next issue before you attempt making your soap. Simply read and digest this article and be ready for next week.

Thanks for reading, see you next week!

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