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Thread: Expert soap makers needed - I have questions.. many!!!

  1. #1

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    Question Expert soap makers needed - I have questions.. many!!!

    I'd really like to try my hand at soap making. It looks like fun and I'm sure there's a lot of satisfaction in using something you've made with your own two hands. I know you can buy those heat and pour soap making kits, but I'd really like to make it from scratch.



    I've been looking online for Goats Milk Soap recipes. I found this one:

    Cold Process Goat Milk Soap

    Makes 4 lbs. Weigh all ingredients,
    following basic cold process method.
    8 oz. distilled water (cold)
    8 oz. goat milk (cold) or (frozen/slushy)
    6.5 oz. lye (sodium hydroxide)
    8 oz. palm oil
    17 oz. coconut 76? oil
    17 oz. olive oil
    1 oz grapefruit seed extract
    2-3 ozs. essential oil

    Now, I'm fine with everything on that list except for the sodium hydroxide... isn't that drain cleaner? Is it possible to make soap without it? Or can you substitue it with something else? We only use natural and generally organic products in our home, so to make something out of something so toxic... :

    Does anyone have their own soap making recipes they'd like to share?

    Also, I'd love some recommendations on where to purchase the individual ingredients, moulds etc. required to make it. I've found a couple online stores, but if anyone knows of any really good ones, I'd love to hear from you.

    TIA

  2. #2

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    I just want to subscribe to see what everyone says as I'm interested in making some soaps after I saw pics of Shanti's soaps on Facebook!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Leasha~ View Post
    I just want to subscribe to see what everyone says as I'm interested in making some soaps after I saw pics of Shanti's soaps on Facebook!
    :yeahthat:

    I got some books from the library and was a little concerned about using lye so hopefully someone can shed some light on that.

    Otherwise I think you can melt down pure soap and add oils and fragrances but I don't think it comes out quite as nice.

  4. #4

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    I sat up for about four hours last night with a very stuffy, sick child sleeping on my lap, so I had a little bit of time on my hands to do some research. I found out that you can buy glycerin soap bases, that don't have the lye in them. Obviously, most soaps have lye in them, but it sounds like a terrible thing to put on your skin, nevermind using it for your little ones. I found a good site too. Aussie Soap Supplies.

    If there are any soap makers out there who would like to offer some tips or advise, I'd love to hear from you. I'm planning on making some soap to give to relatives for Xmas pressies this year. I love goat's milk soap, so I think it would make a nice gift.

    TIA

  5. #5

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    DH makes his own soap. You need lye to make soap, without it, you just have a bunch of blended oils LOL. You may find recipes telling you to make lye out of wood ash.. but you are making the same lye.. NaOH... but it is harder to control the concentration of the lye this way. You need it for the saponification process.

    NaOH is a natural chemical. If you don't use that, then you'd have to use a detergent - that's the nasty stuff. Potassium hydroxide is used for liquid soaps.

    Glycerin soaps would still have gone through a saponification process, just that they then have further processes on top of that.

    DH loves his olive oil soaps. Different plant oils will do different things with the hardness of the soap too. I think he uses coconut oil to make it harder? (can't remember). his 100% olive oil soap gets a bit soggy after use LOL. He keeps the % high of olive oil.. 80% or something.

    He hasn't tried any milk soaps.. (and we've heard that it stinks when you make it LOL). He just uses plant oils and some essential oils, but he prefers just a very plain soap. It's done wonders for his skin using home made soap.. he had terrible acne and very oily skin and it's been fantastic since ditching commercial soaps & cleansers.

    Get a hold of a book called Soap Naturally. Easy to read, explains all the basics and has a few recipes in there to try.

    ETA: New Directions is a good site for ingredients and supplies.

    ETA: meant to say he has honey and beeswax in all his soaps too.
    Last edited by Liz; October 4th, 2009 at 11:43 AM.

  6. #6

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    Thanks Liz! Great advice in there and good tips too!

    I also emailed the nice people at Aussie Soap Supplies and they had this to say:

    By definition soap has to be made with lye (Caustic Soda + Water). Soap made without Lye is a Syndet Bar (Synthetic Soap).

    Now, just because a soap starts with Fatty Acids (vegetable Oils) + Caustic Soda (Lye) does NOT MEAN THERE IS LYE IN THE SOAP. In fact, assuming the correct recipes are followed there can be NO caustic left because of the change in the oils into Sodium Salts. This is sometimes shown on soap labels as Saponified Vegetable Oils.

    Real soap made the natural way must start with a strong alkali (sodium hydroxide for solid soap and Potassium Hydroxide if you want to make liquid soap).

    The myth by people who sell Synthetic Soap or Surfactant based liquid soap is that natural soap has lye in it. In truth that is like saying you will find egg yokes in cake made with eggs. The cake mixing and cooking process changes the ingredients into something nice to eat. If you make the cake properly you will not finds eggs or flour.

    I hope this helps

  7. #7

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    Well, I've made my first batch of castile soap (100% olive oil). It's in the mold now and I've got to leave it for 24 - 36 hours before I take it out and cut it, but I'm really happy with how it's turned out so far. I'm using DH as a guinea pig when it's cured, so he's got a few weeks (well, months lol). Can't wait though! Very excited!!!

  8. #8

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    i vouch for Aussie Soap Supplies they are really friendly and helpful!

  9. #9

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    What soaps have you made hj?

  10. #10

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    Nothing as extravagant as Shanti's - but i was very fortunate enough to score a soap making set (thanks Linda) with a whole heap of moulds and scents! ranging from Baby Powder, Lemon Merengue, Champagne and Green Tea!
    Im just getting creative with doing them in different/mixed colours with swirls and dried flowers etc through them!
    Its fun! plan on using them a chrissy presents!

  11. #11

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    I have some more questions. These may seem odd, but here goes:

    Once you've poured the mix into the mould, do you put anything ove the top? Like gladwrap? And it said to wrap it in a towel. Why?

    Once it's set, do you cut it straight away or later once it's cured? And do you wrap it, if so, with what?

    Do you need to wear gloves to wash up the dishes once you've finished making your soap? Is the leftover left in the pot and on he spoons dangerous?

    Does Shanti have a website?

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