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I will be watching this area closely. I really enjoy rich, handmade soaps and I'm ready to give it a try. Has anyone made olive oil soaps or used shea butter? Do you use lye when making these soaps, too? Fun, fun, fun!!
Yes, you use lye. I don't know if you can make soap without lye, unless you can somehow do it with some of the natural plants that have soap properties in them. I've only made the old fashion kind using lard or tallow.
I've been making soaps, lotions, bath bombs and candles for about 10 years.
I just came upon lye being discontinued though, from the shelves here. Seems as though the meth makers are buying it and Red Devil has pulled it off the market. At least that is what I'm hearing who has made the change. I asked my grocery store manager where it was and he told me the sheriff came in and viewed tapes of people buying 3 and 4 at a time. I said, "Uhhhhh, I would have been one of them, but I'm a soapmaker." They are selling it on Ebay for lots more than what it cost in the store, I don't know where they are getting it, unless their "town" hasn't pulled it off the market yet. I managed to run about the stores and gather up about 24 bottles and that will last me for awhile. I make pretty much soap for me, my family and friends.
I make soap with oils of Olive, Coconut, Almond, Jojoba, Palm and Castor. I've been told it works very well for excema, from a girl that buys it from me.
NO LYE! I don't make lye soap... but the Arthur Illinois Amish do! So I simply take advantage of that source available to me and buy it from them. I love the way it makes my white shirt collars white again !
cjolene, do you have a recipe for making this soap with glycerine cubes? Our neighborhood has adopted a troop in Iraq and they need travel sized, unscented soaps. I thought, since the inscented is hard to find I might make some.
Where would I buy these cubes?
Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks
Hobby Lobby or Michael's have them. Any craft store in your area should. They would be in the soap making section and they're just called glycerine cubes. No recipe- just heat them, add whatever color/fragrance if you want, pour them into molds, and let cool. The cubes are probably travel sized just the way they are, though. You could probably get away with sending them as is. ; )
First off, You can still buy the red devil lye in some of the smaller grocery stores here, it's locked up and 3 's the limit, which is ok by me.
I have made hot process and cold process soaps for about 7 years now. I use to sell it, now I've slacked off and only make it for the family. (for those not familiar to soap making) cold process and hot process are just a couple of ways t o make the soaps. Hot process cooks all the chemicals out of the lye so you can use the soap with in 24 to 48 hours, cold process gives you a hard bar of soap, it colors nicely, but it has to sit up for anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, sometimes longer.
I've always make my own recipes, looking up the lye calculator on line to see how much liquid and lye I need in my recipe. and I've always stuck to the golden rules for how much of each oil is allowed in your recipe so it won't turn out too soft, too hard, too harsh etc... I got that info on line too.
I've never used lard, but have used palm kernal oils, until recently reading that it's not very good for your skin. I'm thinking of using another oil to make the bar hard. I use the good oils, such as olive oils, shea butter, cocoa butter, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, etc... And have alwys used goatmilk as the liquid. I've made bath bombs, bath salts, bath melts, still make lotions, body creams, I love this peppermint foot cream I make, and I make a healing skin cream, but I am getting out of making the lotions as well, just don't have the time, and when all the soaps are gone, I'm considering not making any more soaps too LOL, guess i'll buy them from the health food store, cause I'm not going back to the stuff on the shelves.
PLEASE HELP: I daughter has acne. My mother gave her some lye soap to try. I was afraid that it might be too harsh for her skin. The first 3 days she used it, her skin looked beautiful but said that her face was beginning to "burn" a little. I told her that she might want to skip a night or two from using the lye soap. Well, she used it a 4th time and this morning her face was all broken out; looks as though that the "pimples" are coming to the top. Could this be what it is? HELP!!!!Thanks!!
I really don't have alot of experience with plain lye soap, I do know that plain lye soap made with lard, lye and water, is VERY bad for your skin, It will block the pours, therefore causing pimples, it sort of blocks up what ever is in the pour and keeps it there , therefore the dirt /whatever can't get out and the body's defenses kick in and causes the little pimples around the dirt.
NEVER USE Plain Lard/lye /water soap on your face. It's very harsh.
I'm not sure whta you can do about your problem other than scrubbing your skin with say an exfolient type of scrub, salt scrub, sugar scrub, opening up the pours again. So all can get out. Don't let her use the lye soap on her face any more. Granted all soap is made with lye, but it's the lard that's bad for your skin stopping up your pours.
Another soaper. Glad to see there's a community of us. I'm on hiatus right now but had a thriving business for 4 years selling veggie soaps, shea butter and herbal teas.
I want to echo that soap cannot be made without lye (sodium hydroxide). I go crazy when I see places selling no-lye soaps!
I think washing your face with soap is purely an individual preference. I have extremely sensitive combo skin and I use nothing *but* CP soap on my face. My oils are high in olive oil, with some palm, coconut, hempseed, and soy. I also use skin-friendly essential oils and exfoliants ranging from calendula to pumice depending on the situation or preference.
Just be sure that whatever "lye soap" (that term makes me cringe, it's so old fashioned!!) you use, be sure it's a skin-safe soap. I know many people still make lye-heavy soaps that are PURELY for non-skin washing, like laundry. Be sure your soap contains superfat (some of the oil never makes it to soap and thus leaves your skin not feeling like it just had a chemical peel.) and is made with only cosmetic grade ingredients. I heard of a woman making soap with Glade room fragrance oils - soooo not safe!!!
I started making my own soap some years ago just for fun. Then my friends and family tried it and loved it, so thats all they use now. The only other "commercial" soap thats in my house is some gifts I'll get with some "gel" in it. I will use it, so I don't waste it, but I still like mine better. I never thought I could revert back to a hard bar of soap over the soft soap, now I can't imagine going back to the soft soap for good.
My skin is much softer with the home made soaps becaues I over fat them, making them very mild. Its just more fun than anything, making soap and seeing how it turns out with different colored swirls and scents.
I haven't tried it yet but I did buy some supplies from Pinetree Garden Seeds for soapmaking..They have a variety of bases and molds & stuff, so if you need a source, they even have kits, you can try them...I don't think they sell lye though..Hope it helps someone who wants to start.
PGV, I beg to differ about using lye soap on the face. My daughter and I have used it for years on the face and it has done a great job for us. Granted, my soap is a mild soap, safe enough to use on a baby's behind. In fact I had one customer that claimed it was the only thing that would clear up the diaper rash on their baby. I remember having one person tell me years ago that it would either burn or break out their face, which I had not heard before or since til now. We rub the soap on bad spots and leave it on overnight, the next morning when you wash your face, your skin will be so soft. But it is very important that the soap not be too harsh, cause yes it could burn. I do use beef fat instead of lard, but even when I did use lard, it didn't seem to be a problem for us. To each his own.
My daughter is a member here and makes Lye soap. I love it and it lasts so long. It sure is a lot prettier than when my grandmother used to make it out of necessity. I'm sure Lori would be happy to chat with anyone needing help with soap making. You can find her here: http://davesgarden.com/members/Soyforthesoul/ Feel free to send her Dmail, but I'm sure she won't reply until DG sends her an email saying she has mail. She is doing some remodeling in her spare time.
Alright, I am probably the only male here but I am on a quest to simplify my life. Now making my own soap does not sound like it is simplifying it but hopefully someone understands. I want to try to make some this summer. Want to go all natural without artificial addictives.
Anyone have a suggestion for a book?
And in looking at the lye link, I see the prices seem to vary so much, anyone know why?
Any how much lye should you use? I saw something like 5 lbs makes 50 pounds of soap (or something like that). I am just trying to figure out how much lye to buy.
tucker, my daughter lives in Lakewood. I'm sure she would help if you need advice during the soapmaking process. I love her soap, but I can't tell you what is in it. I do know that having one of the electric stick mixers helps a lot.
My favorite book is "The Complete Soapmaker" By Norma Coney. Very concise, clear, with great pictures. Tons of recipes and resources.
I've actually found that 1 lb. of soap goes a ways. That's like 6 bars. So 1 pound of lye will last a long while, unless you plan on large scale production. But I wouldn't try that untill you have a really good idea of what you are doing!
I use Red Devil lye and I found it in the plumbing department at the hardware store for like $4 for about 12 oz.
Do lots of reading and have a very clear idea of what you need, what you will be doing before you start though. I messed up my first batch, but after that, it became easier and easier! Start simple (like a basic lard/lye recipe) and small.
I usually make 1 huge batch in the fall at about canning time and that lasts me all year. Since homemade soap doesn't have so much fillers and air and it cures longer, it lasts longer.
I understand what you are saying!! I really feel that getting in touch with my ability to care for myself and be self-reliant really makes my life simpler. It helps me see what is really important and focus on that. It's ironic that independance, not commercial dependance actually makes life simpler.
I'm trying to get a batch of homemade vinegar started as well.
I am a soap and candle maker. i have to say calling the soap I make lye soap would be very wrong. the science of combing lye and oils is call saponification. once the alkali and the oils are combined the end result is a salt. making cp/hp soap is not throwing lye and oils together. You need to measure everything after putting the ingredients through a calculator to get the exact amounts.
Several very good books were mentioned. I also suggest checking out kathy millers site. Just google her name. I would suggest joining a soaping forum. the soapdish is a very informative forum for those who wish to learn about soap making.
Melt and pour soaps is not actual soap making. It is buying a manufactured base that you cut up and add additives then melt and pour into molds. You can make some very pretty mp soaps using that method.
i would love to share with folks soap making recipes. However i would ask that you would research and understand the process and safety guidelines first.
I also make lotions, body butter, bath salts, and lots of other goodies.
My next step is to begin using herbs to enhance my soaps and such.
No worries, I don't think you can overstudy a topic like this. If not only for safety sake! Lye burns are painful! There are very few things so disapointing as time and effort invested in a failed soap batch. I heartily recommend a digital scale (or some kind of accurate scale!). . . Precise measurements can only truly be derived by weight as opposed to volume.
In that book I recommended there are a few recipes for making soap transparent using vodka and the like. Also a few for making liquid or gel soaps (like shampoo). I'd love to try that! I also found a method for making soap in the blender (using only liquid fats like olive oil).
Thanks for the encouragement renwings. I am a homesteader-wannbe I guess. I have learned to do so many things over the last few years...building arbors, etc. This summer, soap and beer making (but not at the same time!).
Do you have a booked called "The Country Living Almanac"? An excellent resource in my opinion, for any budding homesteader. I get a lot of use out of it. I can't recall the author's name, but it is all based on her lifelong experience and others who have done the same. Actually lived the lifestyle and made it work.
I have read Rural Renaissance (liked), Homesteading in the City (good but too "earthy" for me), one buy Vivian (written in 1974)...and ordered Nearing's Good Life. I also have some Foxfire books but have not read them. Some of these have great hints...others are just for inspiration for me.
I got rid of TV and like to read before bed...so books are good for me!
I don't think we've had a TV signal in our home for 5 years now. I don't miss it at all. We still rent movies every once and a while. Every time I see the TV on in some elses home, I'm just shocked at how awfull it is and how we let ourselves get used to things like that. A balanced media diet is just as important as a the other kind!
I'll have to take a look at those other books you listed, I haven't read any of those!
Hi All! I have been making cold process, transparent (not glycerine), liquid and cream soaps for 20+ years now. I have my own business which is an entire line of bodycare that does both wholesale and retail.
Hot proces is simply cold process soap that has been cooked over a double broiler, and then poured into the molds. Basically, you are forcing the soap into a prolonged gel state which burns off the alkalinity of the sodium hydroxide and makes it harden quicker for immediate use. Although a good hot processed soap is still allowed to cure to fully extract as much water as possible to make for a longer lasting bar of soap, just as cold process is. A properly made bar of cold process soap can be used immediately, as the gel stage is what burns off the alkalinity.
It used to be said that you had to wait to use cold process soaps, because older versions and formulas were too lye heavy. If your lye is proper proportion to your oils, you should get a good gel in your soaps, and the soap is safe to use. However, you should allow it to cure, in order to remove water and make the bar harder and last longer. Air does not oxidize lye and make it skin safe. The curing process is meant to make for a more quality bar that lasts longer in the show because there is no excess water in the bar to speed up its "breakdown" under daily use.
If you have a lye heavy bar of soap the day you take it out of the mold, you will have a lye heavy bar of soap 3 or 4 months from now as the lye crystalizes in soap bars when it is in excess in the formula, those are what we call lye "pocket", little holes in the soap if you cut up a bar of cp soap, and that soap will burn.
kanita - who makes nearly 1000 lbs of soap per month!
I wanted to say that cold processed soap made correctly should not have lye in it once it is fully cured. Therefore lye cannot really be listed in the ingredients because there should be none in there. Any soap that still have lye in it should be rebatched and if lye is still present, thrown away. I have always used my soap on my face and never had any problems. Also, a good soap for the face needs to have a synergy of good oils.
This may sound like a silly question...but I'm going to ask it anyway.
Has anyone tried making soap with calcium hydroxide (pickling lime) instead of sodium hydroxide (lye)?
Is the sodium the needed element or the hydroxide part?
Soap can only be made usign either potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. Because potassium is less alkali than sodium, it is only abel to make liquid soaps. Calcium hydroxide is not a saponifying alkali, which is what is needed to make soaps.
Thanks kanita. I am new to soapmaking and was ever hopeful that maybe the calcium hydroxide would work.
Meth labs are upsetting enough in the product they produce and the danger to the neighborhood. They are even more upsetting when we can't get basic household supplies (lye)!
I do not make soap myself, but my sister-in-law does. She makes all unscented very mild soap (bar) with lye and natural oils. (no animal fat) It is so wonderful, I just love it. Also the local Amish make wonderful soaps. One local makes a scented spearmint soap (bar) that is great!
My question is...we have a lot of wild wintergreen growing here. Is it possible to use dried wintergreen in soap for scent and texture? I think wintergreen may have something in it that could be harsh. I know it has asprin like qualities too. What do you think. I would like my sister-in-law to try it, but not ruin a whole batch of soap.
You can use the wintergreen dried and powdered, however, it will not have that same strong scent as the saponifying breaks down the fragrance of the herbs, you might want to reinforce that with some wintergreen essential oil added right before you pour intothe molds.
I make soap too,and lots of other body care items. I've been doing it since 1999 and boy have I learned much in those few years! I find it very gratifying, and the fact that I haven't purchased any body products in several years just makes me smile. It is nice to be able to formulate your own recipes for whatever "ailment" that you are trying to improve. I have found that even my worst bar of soap is better than the "best" store bought beauty bar. Plus, I can make them with additives, herbs, fragranced or plain, just whatever I want. I also make my own laundry soap which cleans better than any I have ever found. I trade my products to a local friend who gives me tallow and lard and I give him soaps, lotions, etc. for his family. He asked me what I put in my laundry soap. He said that his wife usually has to wash their son's athletic clothes 2-3 times before the stink is gone. She said that they were so clean and smelled wonderful just washing them once with my soap. Now that is wonderful! How rewarding it is to be self sufficient and make your own products. I applaud anyone who does it. Not only a great pastime, but self satisfying also. A win-win situation I believe. Cindy
I am new to makinging soap, and I messed up, could any of you please tell me what I did wrong and if my soap is useless?
I think I heated everything at too high a temputure, or I let it get too hot. my soap ended up as deformed, shirived, discolored, brittle blobs.
Ryanne_Lore, lots of people like your method. It's called rebatching when you use premade soap. Melt and Pour is when you use "glycerin" (a weird term) or Melt and Pour soap. Hot Process is a method that involves cooking raw soap to achieve complete saponification over a shorter period of time than cold process.
If you add too much water, the soap shrivels as it dries. Can you post pics?
If you buy a soap base that is designed for rebatching you get better results.
kyjoy, anther member asked this question on this forum and I posted some easy instructions for rebatching here: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/743711/
You'll have to forgive my laziness in sending you to another thread!!
I've been making lye soap for about 5 yrs. now, that's the only thing my family uses now. I got repeat customers that swear by, wouldn't use anything else. I go to craft shows with my soaps, bath salts, and body washes. People seem to have a fascination with the lye soap. They says it reminds them of their grandma.
On a previous post it was mention that lye soap was used on plants, HOW? Would like to know how this works.
I named by soap products SOAP GARDENS
Below is a picture of my aloe soap.
What do you put in the aloe soap? I love the look of it. It looks like strawberry ice cream.
I need to get a batch or two of soap made so it will be ready for Christmas gifts. I have only made a couple batches but they both turned out great and I am inspired to make more. I had a hard time getting lye but my mom was able to buy it near her so she stocked me up. I just have to keep her in homemade soap. Great tradeoff!
I just did that way, I have sensitive skin and knew this way would be better for me. I have people swear by it for use on acne.
I get my aloe juice at W*****T, it really cheap.
What ever amount of water your recipe calls for, just replace it with the aloe, I haven't had any problems yet.
Yes, you do have to sign your life away, I use Camden-Grey in Miami. We drive from Tampa to get out supplies and Camden's customer service is outstanding.
I find their prices good also for most everything.