How to Make Soap on the Homestead
Lavender and Tea Tree Soap
Making soap is a labor of love. I have been making soap from scratch, called cold process soap making, for a few years now. Learning how to make soap on the homestead can be fun and rewarding. You can adapt the soap to what your family enjoys and/or what their bodies need.
Even though the soap is made from scratch, today, most people still use purchased lye (Sodium hydroxide) rather than making the lye themselves. Lye is EXTREMELY caustic and must be handled with the most extreme care. This is no laughing matter, it can do your body great harm, but, there are no worries as long as you follow safety precautions.
How to Get Started Making Soap
There are some tools you will need to acquire that will be dedicated to your soap making activities. You will want to purchase the following:
- A large stainless steel pot. I was very lucky and found a great one at the Goodwill store. You can see it in the pictures. I was so happy to find it. This pot has proven to be the ideal size for the soap I make.
- You will also need a large heat proof spatula
- Several measuring cups
- Small ramekin type dishes
- A small strainer
- Emersion blender (Nice, but not absolutely necessary, you can just keep mixing by hand but the blender speeds things up.)
- Soap molds suitable for cold process soap or a soap wood loaf pan for six pounds of soap. (You can also use a five pound loaf pan and an additional soap mold of your choice.)
- A scale
- A few everyday table dinner knives (not sharp)
- Long armed rubber gloves
- A face mask
Don’t get scared off, it’s really not bad, but you do want to be safe. As with many things, the first time you attempt something new, it can be a little daunting but believe me, it is worth the effort.
There are many places you can purchase your ingredients on the Internet. I have been purchasing mine from Brambleberry.com. I do not have an affiliation with this company. I have found them to be very helpful if a question arises and they are extremely knowledgeable.
- 3 cups of water – spring or, what I use is, water from by Berkey Water Filter
- 17 ounces lye
- 32 ounces of coconut oil
- 32 ounces of Crisco shortening
- 32 ounces Olive oil
- 2 cups bottled lemon juice
- ¼ cup powered goat’s milk
- 2 ounces stearic acid
- 1 ounce Lavender essential oil
- 1 ounce Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
- 2 ounces Vitamin E oil
- 1 ounce Sweet Almond oil or Jojoba oil
- Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle – just in case you get any lye on your skin. You can spray the area with the alcohol to minimize the burn.
It is imperative that you premeasure ALL your ingredients. You do not want your soap trying to “set-up” before you are ready.
Make sure to clear your “soap making room” of any and all children and animals while preparing your soap.
That’s All You’ll Have To Do!
At the end of the curing time, you will have a great family soap. Cold process soap needs to breath. Do not wrap it in plastic. Allow it to dry out between uses and do not let it sit in a pool of water. The soap is very gentle and makes you feel very clean. It washes off your skin nicely. I think this may become a soap you will appreciate having in your home. It makes a large batch, about six pounds, so you will not have to make it very often. Enjoy!
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