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BEAUTY CORNER

MAKE YOUR OWN SOAP

Making soap at home is a satisfying, inexpensive way to provide for your family's needs or create wonderful gifts for your friends.

17 February 2015 Tuesday 00:57
Making soap at home is a satisfying, inexpensive way to provide for your family's needs or create wonderful gifts for your friends. Making your own soap from scratch enables you to choose your own ingredients and customize the soap to fit your needs.

Soap is made in two parts, lye and water, plus a mixture of oils. The two don't combine easily, so they must be brought to similar temperatures. Lye and water get very hot when mixed, so the mixture must cool before being added to the oils.

The oils must be gently heated. The oil is nowhere near hot enough to cook with, but still, please do not start any fires. Every oil has a different saponification index, which is a measure of how much lye is required to turn that oil into soap. This means, if you run out of coconut oil, don't go replacing it with olive oil.

Lye is VERY caustic, so don't get any on your skin. It also gives off nasty fumes, so use goggles and very good ventilation or a respirator. Check out the Materials Safety Data Sheet on lye.

You will also need a mold. You could use a 9 x 13 cake pan and line it with wax paper. I bought a used Rubbermaid bread box that is about 14" x 6" x 5". This makes a big block of soap that is not safe to cut with a knife. I cut it with a guitar string wrapped around a couple of chopstick handles.

•    Lye — Mix in large pyrex measuring cup, stir with a chopstick saved from order-in Chinese food. Again, do not breathe the fumes. Wear goggles.
•    700 milliliters purified water
•    270 grams or 9 1/4 ounces lye (one small container)
•    Oils (Mix in a big pot.)
•    Olive oil 955 grams or 4 1/2 cups (Use the cheap pomace olive oil; virgin doesn't work as well.)
•    Coconut oil 390 grams 500 milliliters 2 cups
•    Grapeseed oil 515 grams 500 milliliters 2 cups

Let lye mixture cool to 110 degrees F. Warm oils to 110 degrees F. When both are at the same temperature, slowly pour lye mixture into oils. Mix with a stick blender until trace, periodically scraping sides and bottom of pan with a spatula. I mix with short pulses of the blender, and it only takes about three minutes.

At trace, add 10 milliliters cinnamon oil. Mix as little as possible, just enough to combine. Theoretically, the soap can harden very quickly at this stage, trapping your spatula inside a giant bar. I have never had a problem with this recipe, though.

Pour into mold. Wrap with heavy blankets for 24 hours to keep the heat in and help the chemical reaction.

The next day, when soap has set, cut it into bars and store, separated nicely, on brown paper in cool place. Turn over after two weeks. Use after one month.

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