In our amazing world we have all come to love this daily item. We use it to cleanse ourselves and household items which keeps a nice sanitary and healthy lifestyle. There are a seemingly endless variety of choices to grab on your journey through the grocery store. Today I am here to give you some tips on how to make sure you make the right soap for you!
Soap is mostly made out of many combinations of fats and oils of your choosing. This may seem very complicated but it's likely you have most of your ingredients in your own home. You can add as much or as little oil or fat as you desire to create your soap. In order to ensure a perfect quantities of your chosen fats and oils our class used the Soap Calculator . This website will enable you to choose what fats and oils you desire and the amount/percentage or grams that you want to put into your soap.
Now keep in mind that all fats and oils are different on what kind of qualities your soap will have. Depending on the type of oils and fats you choose you will have a varying amount of how much it cleanses and how hard it will be. To make my soap I had used a combination of Crisco shortening and olive oil. From the qualities that the soap calculator generated we had an alright soap not the best. When choosing your oils and fats look at the INS value, this will give you the quality of the soap. To have good quality soap you want that to be near to 160.
Before we get into the creation of your soap we will need a materials list, most of these are quite easy to find.
- A hot plate to keep your fats and oils in a liquid form and at a temperature around 49-54 degrees centigrade
- A weight scale to measure the amount of oil and fat plus your lye
- You will need preferably a 1 liter beaker to hold your mixture
- A stir rod or hopefully your hot plate comes with a stirring option which will allow you to put a magnetic stir rod into the mixture to steadily mix your solution.
- A thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of your mixture, make sure it is between 49-54 degrees centigrade.
- Lastly you will need some sort of mold or molds to pour your finished soap mixture into, choose something you will like!
Step 1: Background on Fats!
I am now going to get you comfortable with different types of fats! Fats come in three different types, Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Saturated. Keep in mind that all fats are not the same so remember when you are picking out your fats and oils different ones are going to react differently within your mixture (Oils are fats in liquid form).
On a molecular scale each fat type will have an acid on one end followed by a chain of carbon and hydrogen. Characteristics that show you a certain fat will have a higher boiling point is how straight the chain will be, this means that the molecules are packed tighter making it harder to make them break apart. Another characteristic is how long the chain is makes the boiling point higher because it takes longer for the whole chain to break apart.
Monounsaturated chains are has only one double bond between carbons making it an intermediate boiling point. Polyunsaturated fats have multiple double bonds between carbon making it have the lowest boiling point. Saturated fats have the straightest chain which gives these types of fats the highest boiling point compared to Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated.
Step 2: Saponification
Saponification is a fairly complex process for short it is the SAP value, the soap calculator will generate this value for you depending on the amount fats and oils you choose to make your soap. This is basically the amount of lye that you will be added to your mixture. The SAP value tells you how much lye or NaOH that will be reacting with one gram of your mixture. My groups SAP value was .141 which means when we added our NaOH solution we had .141 grams of NaOH reacting with one gram of our mixture.
Once we add the NaOH to our mixture the two are now reacting with each other. Our lye now separates the glycerol from our chain and attaches itself. Without the lye our mixture would not cleanse our skin because first of all you would just be rubbing fat over yourself, second of all water and fats are made up of polar and non polar molecules. With the lye now attached to our chain it is now soap! The soap can cleanse our skin because when it reacts with water it causes our chains to form a ball around the stuff we are trying to get of our hands. Just like a crane at a construction site it pretty much grabs the dirt and picks it right off allowing the running water to wash it away.
When you put your amount of fats and oils in the soap calculator make sure to put the amount/weight of fats and oils you plan on putting into your mixture. For our mixture we had to put in the amount of olive oil I had brought and the amount of Crisco shortening we had for our group.
Step 3: Safety Precautions
You may think that making soap would be harmless! But the chemical we are using for our lye NaOH is very harmful to your skin and if you ingest it. Note that is your eyes come in contact with this chemical it will cause permanent damage that can't be reversed or could very likely cause blindness. If the chemical comes in contact with your skin it could cause burns or severe burns. Thankfully the skin burns will eventually heal but for first aid makes sure to thoroughly wash the contaminated area of your skin.Here are some tips to make sure you handle this lab with care and make sure you come out unscathed.
For this make sure you have the right safety equipment. This include googles, gloves, long sleeves that don't dangle to much, and use your brain. These will only help you make sure the chemical does not come in contact with your skin or eyes. Another thing you need to know is that you are accountable for your safety and others. This means no horseplay around these types of chemicals, if the wost happens it could end pretty badly.
So remember once you add your amount of NaOH you have are constantly mixing your soap mixture at a 49-54 degree centigrade. You can go over or under these temperature limits but try to keep them very close to ideal temperatures. At this stage in the soap creation you will know when your soap is nearly done when it becomes quite thick. Once you notice this you will want to start adding your essential oils oats or other exfoliating agents, in other word your Adjuncts.
Step 4: Molding and Clean Up
Once your soap has become thick you will want to have your mold handy. You can have as many molds as you want, and make sure you don't make a mess!
The last part of your lab should be the cleaning up stage, yay!
You will want to start by washing the equipment that you had used inside your mixture, this also includes the beaker. You can do this in the sink and the great part is that you don't have to use any more soap because you already have leftovers in your beaker! Now remember that you may have used something to pour your NaOH from it's designated container to your beaker. The equipment you used to move the NaOH to your beaker will need to be washed out with vinegar before you pour it down the drain. Now work on putting everything back to it's right place then you are finished.
Step 5: Soap Turn Out
Once again my group and I created our soap out of olive oil and Crisco shortening, we added a cinnamon essential oil along with a whole bottle of lemon juice. To this day our soap is still curing! We had used an old soda cup from a fast food restaurant and the top of the soap in our cup is yet to dry. I have cut it into four circles of soap and used some of the soap that hasn't dried yet on my hands when I was done washing dishes. My hands didn't burn so that's good and it did clean quite well, if I had to rate it with a commercial product I would put it at a 4-4.5 because it smells nice and the soap cleanses pretty well.
When mixing our chosen fats and oils I think our ratio was quite well because on the soap calculator it showed that we had a pretty decent cleansing rating it wasn't that good but I liked our results for the first time we had done this. Compared to other classmates I think we probably could have gotten a better soap if we chose different fats and oils to make it have a greater efficiency. But from what we had I think we did what we could to the best of our skill. If I decide to do this again on my own time I feel like I will take more time to pick and choose a more efficient mix of fats and oils, also better adjuncts. Ours smells nice but I feel like we could have found something a bit nicer! Hope you can now do this on your own and create fantastic results, Good luck!