Fight Club Soap! (Bacon * Drain Cleaner * Soap)

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About: Random Weekend Projects

Bacon + Drain Cleaner = Soap??!  ..Yes, and it smells like cinnamon.

Step 1: Watch the Video!



Project inspired by: "Fight Club

Special thanks to "soapcalc.net" for use of their online soap making calculator. 

WARNING:  Use of video content is at own risk.  Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) is highly caustic, poisonous, and can cause serious damage to tissue and/or property.  Lye should be approached with care and caution, ensuring all suggestions listed on the container are complied with, and handled with gloves or other protection.  There are risks associated with these projects that require adult supervision.

Step 2: 2 Main Ingredients

For this project I tried making traditional "Lye" soap, which consists of 2 main ingredients.  

-Animal fats
-Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)

I practiced with rendering beef fat to extract "tallow", and after a few successful attempts at making soap I wondered if it could be done with bacon fat.

To give this project a bit of a twist, I tried using 1 lb of "American style" bacon because it's very fatty, and some crystal drain opener marked as 100% lye.  It's very important that this is 100% lye, and if there are any doubts, it shouldn't be used.  The goal here is 100% Sodium Hydroxide, which this container is, according to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).






Step 3: Render the Fat

Bacon is salty and odorous, and to extract the pure fat, we need to render it.

This is best achieved by cutting the bacon into very small pieces and placing in a pot, with a lid, on low heat.

To get clean white fat, make sure you simmer on a very low heat.  The lower the heat, the better.  Higher temperatures will cause the fat to turn brown and retain some of the smell.  Yes, it will take longer to extract the fat on low temps, but the quality will be worth it.  

I found that a temperature of around 95C (203F) was enough to melt the fat and keep it nice and clean.

After about 8 hours of simmering, the bacon should look cooked, and your house will smell delicious.  

I used the lid as a strainer to pour the fat into a container, but this crude method does allow some impurities to pass through.

To "clarify" the fat, just pour a bit of water in the container, and watch the mixture separate into 2 different layers.  The clarified fat floats on the top, while the water and impurities sink to the bottom.

From here it's easy to cool the mix in the fridge, and skim the fat from the top.  

What you're left with is a beautiful, food grade, ball of lard!

From this pack of bacon, I recovered 70 grams of rendered and clarified lard.  Perfect for a single bar of soap!

Step 4: The Recipe

To figure out the best recipe for traditional Lye soap using pork lard, I visited "soapcalc.net" for use of their online soap making calculator.  

For 70 grams of pork lard, the recipe called for 26 grams of distilled water, and 9 grams of Sodium Hydroxide.

The pork lard went in a clean pot and started melting on low heat while the water and NaOH were mixed together.  

Note: When working with Sodium Hydroxide, be mindful of all the risks and dangers associated with this chemical, because there are  many!  (See "Dangers of Lye" picture for examples)

With the lard melted, the lye solution was carefully poured in and stirred constantly on low heat for 5 minutes, then left to sit for 5 minutes more.

Every 5 minutes after that, I came back and stirred for 2 minutes, then let sit for another 5.  This was repeated until the mixture had the consistency of vanilla pudding, and when dripped on itself, would leave blobs and ridges.  This stage of the mix is called "trace"



Step 5: Saponification

At the "trace" stage, aromas and colors could be added to make the bar a little more attractive, if desired.

If the lard was rendered properly, it should be nice and white, and there should hardly be any smell of bacon at all.

For aroma, I chose to use 7 drops of "Cassia" essential oil (smells like cinnamon).

For color, I used 7 drops of red food coloring.  For making soaps, food coloring probably isn't recommended, but it worked great for this purpose.

When the mix was stirred together, it all turned a bright pink and was ready for casting.

I had fashioned a small silicone mold for the bar of soap I wanted, and poured the mix in to let it cure.

The curing process is called "Saponification" which basically means the fats and alkaline solution are combining to form soap.

To help speed the process, I placed the soap mold in an oven with the door closed for 24-48 hours.  The heat from the oven light is enough to help the saponification take place much quicker, and firm up the bar.

You can see when the bar was removed, it had nicely taken the shape of the mold.

Note: The bubbles in the soap were caused by a mistake on my part.  I pre-heated the oven to 170C before adding the soap, and this much heat deformed the bar with bubbles.  Do not pre-heat the oven at all, and your bar should come out clean and smooth.



 

Step 6: Getting the Bar Ready for Use

Before you use your bar of soap, you need to make sure it's fully saponified, or else the lye in the bar can burn your skin.

The easiest way to tell if the bar is ready, is to lick it. 

..if it tastes like a bar of soap, it is.

On the other hand, if it zaps you like licking a 9volt battery, that means it needs more time to cure.

I let my bar cure for 6 weeks just to be safe.  

The result was a much firmer bar that holds up substantially longer in the shower, and was richer in color.

I tested the pH value with litmus paper, and got a value somewhere around 7.5.  Anywhere between 7-10 should be fine for your soaps.

Washing my hands, you can see the soap bubbles like you'd expect.  If you want more of a lather, there are other oils you can add for different effects like hardness, lather, cleansing, etc.  Soapcalc.net should have plenty of info if you search around.

This is a glycerin soap, meaning the glycerin was left in the bar.  Most manufacturers extract the glycerin out of the soap to resell as a different product.  So in a way, this soap may be superior to many soaps bought at the store.

The glycerin helps moisturize and soften the skin.  I personally tested these bars in the shower over a period of 2 months.  They retained their cinnamon scent and color, and did a good job cleaning the body.

Not surprisingly, they work just like soap!

Step 7: Bacon Bits

Remember the left over bacon in the pot?  Try using it to make fresh homemade bacon bits!  We used these ones for dinner on our baked potatoes!

Well now you know how to make a beautiful bar of glycerin soap, from household drain cleaner, and a pack of bacon.  

That's it for now.  If you liked this project, perhaps you'll like some of my others.  Check them out at www.thekingofrandom.com

For more details, make sure you check out the video!

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    39 Discussions

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    Street-Wise Irish

    2 years ago

    This is an amazing Instructable ! You did a great job ! Terrific idea !

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    DivideWorks

    4 years ago

    thanks for posting, now I have a use for my stockpile of bacon grease.

    temp_-1954129855.jpg
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    gravityisweak

    4 years ago

    This is an amazing instructable, but you didn't include any information about your mold, which is an instructable in itself.

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    octochan

    5 years ago on Introduction

    why was there BACONIN THE SOAP??!!
    - Invader Zim

    now we know why.

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    fugitives

    5 years ago on Step 7

    for you next soap batches, try olive oil and other vegetable oils... you'll get better results in terms of the quality of the soap.

    1 reply

    Yeah but in Fight Club the soap was made from human fat. Lard is probably the closest you can...legally...get to that ;)

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    GenAap

    5 years ago on Step 7

    That instructional video almost as unpredictable as the movie. One moment it's "Hey, Bacon" and the next it's "Lick it!" and then... Bacon bits? I guess I should have seen it coming.
    Anyway, very well done tutorial. I may be trying this in the future.

    1 reply
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    anyheck

    5 years ago on Introduction

    A person I know has the original prop soap used to make the artwork for Fight Club.

    They are made from cast resin of some sort and there is a Pink (shown in all of the artwork that I've seen) as well as a didn't-make-the-cut yellow/orange swirly one.

    They are kept in the bathroom, but continue to be non-functional props.

    1 reply
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    BuckGully

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Every time I go with my wife to Michael's and I see the soap making stuff, I want to do this exact project. I envision 3-D printing the Fight Club soap blanks, vacuum forming the bars into a sheet of plastic, and casting the soap.

    Which reminds me, you can get all the soap making stuff at Michael's, without all the caustic danger. Which might actually be against the whole point of Fight Club, but I wouldn't know because I've never talked about that... ever.

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    adamtheautomaton

    5 years ago

    Awesome!
    Please tell me your making nitroglycerin in your next instructable! ;)

    The first rule of instructable club is..

    1 reply
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    MrEadamtheautomaton

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Making nitro-glycerine is easy ad nitric acid to glycerin in a metal bowl suspended in ice water, VERY SLOWLY. But beware this is deadly, stupid and illegal.

    The first rule of instructable club is..tell everyone about instructable club.

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    Nice work! But how did you make the nice lettering on the master for your soap mold? :)

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    jeanlafete

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, This is a great project, the soap is fantastic, and far better than store bought soaps full of chemicals. I happen to own a soap factory and we make all of our soaps using vegetable oils. Check out my little soap factory at: www.santafesoaps.com
    Thanks! .... Jim