The Basics of Making Homemade Soap

Have you ever considered making homemade soap? Natural handmade soap is not only a smart plan for emergency preparedness... but also for your body & skins health and pleasure.  Once you've tried it – you will love it!

When you think about it, soap is something that most of us take for granted. What if your personal supply ran out and you couldn’t buy any more? It wouldn’t take long for you to wish for any kind of soap to have a good scrub with.

What's In The Soaps You Use Every Day?

We use soaps a lot more than we realize... face soap, hand soap, bath soap, dish soap, laundry soap, shampoo soap, tooth paste soap, yes, toothpaste is a soap... they all have a long list of ingredients that can make you ill just trying to read the labels.

Making Homemade Soap

Most commercial soaps are not even real soap, they are detergents made from petroleum by-products that dry out your skin making it necessary to use lotion right after you scrub.

The added chemicals in soaps and everything else you put on your skin absorb into your body and will eventually have bad effects on your health. That alone is reason enough to go back to using the ‘real thing’... good old homemade soap.

Basically... What Is Soap?

Soap is basically made by mixing lye with water to activate it and then adding the hot mix to oils which then go through a process called saponification.

There is no lye left when this process is done correctly, all the lye has chemically changed to make soap. So for those that don’t like the thoughts of lye in soap... you can’t make soap without lye... No Lye - No Soap!

The naturally occurring glycerin that is produced as a by-product of saponification stays in the soap as a bonus to help moisturize your skin. In the commercial soap business, this beneficial glycerin is extracted and sold separately for more profit.

Making Homemade Soap In The Early Days -

In the early days of making homemade soap, lye was made by pouring rain water through hardwood ashes and filtering out the ash to leave behind the very caustic alkaline lye. The acidic fats from animals were melted down in big pots over an open fire, mainly because of the terrible smell, and then the fat was scraped off the top after cooling and hardening. The fat and lye were then combined, poured into molds and left to go through saponification.

After the soap cooled and hardened, it was then cut into pieces and left to cure. The amounts of fat to lye used were not always precise and often heavy on the lye, as most old timers remember the use of lye soap being harsh on their skin, so it was mostly used as laundry soap.

Today we have precise scales and the internet with specialized charts and lye calculators to determine the correct proportions of ingredients to use ending up with a mild soap that is kind to your skin.

What Are The Benefits Of Making Your Own Soap?

Today’s homemade soaps use mostly refined and natural vegetable oils, each with their own properties making the soap soft, hard, creamy or sudsy. They are carefully combined to produce a mild, soothing soap that has long-lasting creamy lather and leaves your skin and hair feeling clean, soft, silky and healthy. When you bath or shower with natural homemade soap you will find yourself smiling.

Below Are a Few Soap Making Tips, Also An Example of The Many Uses Of Just One Homemade Bar of Soap:

The creamy lathering shampoo bars can be used as an all-in-one cleaning & conditioning bar:

  • shampoo and hair conditioner in one,
  • body soap,
  • shaving soap,
  • camping, traveling, business trips, and the gym, to name a few.

No need to pack little bottles of soap, shampoo and conditioner. One shampoo bar can do it all. Just place the shampoo bar into a plastic zip bag or travel soap dish--no extra bottles to carry, leak, break, or pollute our environment!

Is Making Homemade Soap Easy?

Learning to make your own soap is not hard but it does take some skill in the kitchen using precise measurements and careful watching as you make it.

There are basically 3 different processes used in making homemade soap:

  1. Most people use a cold process,
  2. Some use hot processing and,
  3. Others like a melt and pour process, using a pre-made soap base that has already been saponified, an easier way if you don’t want to mess with the lye.

There are unlimited possibilities of scents and colorants that you can add to make your homemade soap attractive and unique.

There are so many formulas and how-to descriptions for the various methods of making your own soap that it would take an entire page or more to teach soap making.

You can find the simplest recipes using just one or two oils to start with, or numerous combinations of oils that will make some of the best soaps you will ever use. Take some time to research it and then decide if you would want to try it for yourself.

Add Basic Soap Making To Your Emergency Preparedness Plan -

If you want to be more prepared for basic soap making in the event that you are faced with an emergency situation, I would recommend that you find a source for lye (sodium hydroxide) online and buy a few bottles to store away. It used to be sold as Red Devil drain cleaner but it has other additives in it now since the pure form is used in street drugs.

You can then stock up on a few bottles of olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil and Crisco, which is usually a blend of hydrogenated soy and palm oils. Lard is also available in buckets or blocks in the dairy section but it has to be kept chilled and won’t keep more than a few months without molding.

The oils mentioned are all good oils that you can find at your local grocery, Big Box store and, of course, online.  Make use of online calculators to re-size a batch to fit your mold, which could be a bread loaf pan or a cardboard box lined with freezer paper.

Get a good book on making homemade soap or print up a few recipes and instructions from the internet.

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