Perhaps it was the first time you tried to read and understand the ingredients in a bar of soap. You’re an obsessive label-reader. If nature didn’t make it, you don’t want it in your body, so why would you want it on your body. When you saw how unabashedly chemical soap is, you dropped it on the supermarket floor like a hot coal.
You just want an organic hand soap, not the recipe for Walter White’s blue crystal meth!
How to make soap
Well, here is how to make soap naturally. It’s so natural, you don’t even need fire. It’s the cold process and it’s not only natural, it’s easy.
First, you need a place to create. Your kitchen is fine, if well ventilated, but a clearing in any meadow will do, as long as you have a surface to work on.
Equipment and ingredients
You need a couple of jars, some old newspapers and a towel, a bowl, a stainless-steel thermometer, a spoon and a pan, (or if you want to get fancy, a cute soap mold). Gloves and an apron are highly recommended.
For ingredients, here’s the list:
Oil – 2/3 cup each of coconut, olive, and any other oil totaling two cups
Lye – otherwise known as sodium hydroxide, available at hardware stores
Water – ¾ cup and should be pure and cool
Lay out the newspapers on the flat surface where you will work. Don your apron and gloves.
Measure out ¾ cup of cool, pure water into a one-quart canning jar.
Slowly add precisely ¼ cup of lye to the water, stirring all the while. Avoid sniffing the fumes; they’re highly irritating. It is very important that you add the lye to water, not water to lye, and to stir constantly. As the lye comes into contact with water, heat is released and if the process is not gradual and even, it could explode, splattering you with a caustic material, resulting in a chemical burn. Don’t breathe it and don’t touch it.
After it’s dissolved, set the jar aside.The solution will be warm.
Pour the three oils into another canning jar. Warm the oils up in a warm water bath to about 120 degrees. (Okay, I lied about the cold part. But coconut oil is solid at room temperature. You need a little heat. And it’s okay to use a microwave.
Wait for both the lye solution and the oils to reach a temperature between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This is crucial if you want your soap to be smooth!
Decant the oil mixture into a mixing bowl. Then slowly add the lye solution, stirring constantly for at least five minutes. You want every molecule of lye to touch a molecule of oil.
After five minutes, you can keep stirring by hand or switch to an immersion blender. The mixture will gradually lighten and thicken until it looks like vanilla pudding.
Now you can add whatever herbs or essential oils you want. Stir them in completely.
Pour the mixture into a pan or into soap molds (conveniently available from almost any crafts store). Cover with plastic and wrap in a towel to keep it from cooling off too fast. Now is when the mixture turns to soap through a chemical process called “saponification.”
Let it sit until it is cool and firm, about a day or two. Then it is ready to come out of the mold or be cut up.
Let the soap cure for about a month in the open air. Then wrap it up until you want to use it.