All the information you need to get started!
by Susan Dahlem
What is Saponification???
**Saponification - a reaction in which an ester is heated with
such as sodium hydroxide, producing a free alcohol and an acid
especially alkaline hydrolysis from a fat or an oil to make soap.
When an acid (fats, oils) and a base (sodium hydroxide) react
neutralize into salt, the product is called soap. The method
you will learn
about in this tutorial is cold process soapmaking. It is a very
to accomplish something magnificent!! There are many other ways
to make soap
but non has called to me like this old fashioned method. So
read on and
soon you will be ready to make soap too!!
What do I need to make soap?
Gather all equipment and ingredients ahead of time. READ
BEFORE BEGINNING. If you have any questions feel free to email
Enamelware pot or stainless steel pot. - NEVER USE ALUMINUM
A good quality scale that measures in tenths of ounces -
I use a digital
postal scale that measures up to 10#
One wide mouth glass measuring cup or pitcher
At least two spoons - stainless or high heat plastic
Small stainless or glass container for measuring sodium
One small stainless steel wire whisk.
Quick read thermometer that registers 80-200degrees
a pair of well fitting rubber gloves
a mold suitable for your size batch of soap - can be plastic,
glass or wood
- lined with freezer paper or greased with shortening
Basic Soap Recipe Ingredients
- this is a good recipe to start with...simple ingredients,
good quick trace
8 ounces palm kernel oil
4 ounces coconut oil
6 ounces olive oil
2.7 ounces of sodium hydroxide dissolved in 6 ounces of distilled
You may scent this size batch with up to 1 ounces essential
or fragrance oil
Now you have all your supplies you are ready to MAKE SOAP!!!
Allow yourself 1 1/2 hours for making a batch of soap - and
caution! Sodium Hydroxide is a very dangerous substance AND so
is your raw
Prepare your mold ahead of time. Spread out an old towel.
You will wrap
your soap in the towel after pouring and covering with plastic
Use safety goggles and rubber gloves from the time you start
until you are
finished cleaning up after your soapmaking. Always keep lye,
lye water and
raw soap out of reach of children and pets. Lye is caustic in
both dry and
wet form and will burn your skin, can blind you and will ruin
just about any
painted surface or linoleum floor. So BE CAREFUL! Now that all
of that is
out of the way...let's make some soap!!!
In your glass measuring cup with a spout or glass wide mouth
measured amount of cold water. NEVER POUR LYE INTO WARM WATER-
CREATE A VOLCANO! Stir in lye until all is dissolved - DO NOT
Set aside in a safe place to cool down to about 100 degrees.
Check it often
In the meantime, over low heat melt your solid oils in a stainless
enamelware pot that will accommodate both the oils and water when
When they are melted, remove from heat and add olive oil. Check
temperature on the oil and keep a watch - both lye water and oils
need to be
about 100 degrees. You may need to give one or the other a hot
cold water bath to bring them to the right temps. Water baths
just put either cold water or hot water in one side of your sink
container of either lye water or oils in it till it reaches desired
This takes a little practice but works well.
When both lye water and oils are around 100 degrees you will
now mix the two
Pour the lye water in a steady slow stream into the oils, stirring
constantly and consistently in a circular the circle 8 pattern,
between the two. This will cause saponification**. YEAH!!!
Continue to stir, noting the changes in your mixture. It will
become slightly thicker and more creamy looking. Continue to stir
mixture traces...this is when your mixture is think enough to
support a drop
or dribble of it on its surface. It should be the consistence
pudding. This can take 30 minutes to an hour or more. This is
the point to
add your fragrance and/or additives (lavender buds, French green
just suggestions*) if desired. If making plain soap - pour into
After pouring your soap, cover with plastic wrap and then
wrap the towel
over and back again until it covers the mold well. This is to
soap and allows it to continue saponification at a constant temperature
will keep it from cooling too quickly which might prevent your
getting hard enough.
After 18-24 hours, unmold the soap and remove any plastic
wrap that might be
clinging to the soap. Let the soap sit another 12-24 hours before
into bars. Stack the bars as to allow air to circulate around
them and let
them cure for 4-6 weeks or more. You may even leave your soap
in a log and
cut off as you need it.
*If you use botanicals or clays, it is best to put a little
mixture into a
bowl, mix in the additive and then pour and stir it back in the
Susan Dahlem is AKA TheSoapMaven has been making soap for many
years and is available to answer your questions. Her wonderful
homemade soap is available at her website.
You may learn more at her website: www.thesoapmaven.com
Or you may contact her privately at: email@example.com