Soap Making Instruction: The Old Fashioned Way
Soap making today is a great way to make a few home-made gifts or start a micro enterprise at home. You would need to be warned though that soap making is not a child’s play and that you would indeed need to master the art well before you can be called a professional in this field. The bad news is that you would need to be very careful about the method of preparation since it involves a highly corrosive and dangerous ingredient – lye. The good news is that you can get around to master it and once you do you can manufacture some wonderful soaps for your own use or for gifts to your friends and other loved ones.
The Cold Process – The Old Fashioned Way
Since you are about to handle lye, you would need to equip yourself in such a manner that this would not accidentally spill on you. Hence, you would need thick rubber gloves, eye-covering goggles, heavy rubber apron and clothing that cover your legs.
You would also need enamel or stainless steel vessel where all the ingredients required for the soap making could be mixed in. This should be made of a non-reactive material. Now for ingredients you would need the following:
The first thing is to melt the at and bring it to about 98 degrees centigrade. In the meantime, you take the lye and mix it with the water. Caution – you need to be in a well-ventilated area when you do this as the fumes produced are vile. Mix this preferably in a glass jar. There would be high heat emanating from the mix following the chemical reaction between the water and lye. When the temperature comes down to 98 degrees, you would need to pou in the melted fat and oils into the water-lye mixture.
You would need to stir continuously for about 20-60 minutes until you are able to trace with your spoon on the surface of the soap mixture. When this happens, it means that the soap making process or saponification has started. Now you would need to ensure that the mixture stays hot for the longest period of time as this is what makes the lye melt and get assimilated (through the chemical reaction) into the fats and hence producing soap. This step can take anything from 6 to 12 hours. Cover the pot with woolen blankets and try to maintain the temperature for as long as you can.
Once the saponification is over, you can add the extra fat (shea butter/ cocoa butter, etc),the scents, the color, etc and mix well. After this, while the soap is still warm and fully moldable, you would need to pour it in the molds that would give its shape. Once it dries (and the drying process can take 4-5 weeks) you would have your own excellent home-made soap.
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