I have not bought a bar of soap in the last 4 years! Once I figured out how easy it was I have been hooked. 'And it is sooo much better than the 'detergent bars that you get at the store! Making is soap is a little lesson in chemistry. My favourite have been a super cleansing 100% Coconut oil soap that I made in the crock pot. So just to improve on a good thing I've added a scrub-factor to make it even better! (You can just keep it simple too)
We have all read all the wonders of coconut oil and it adds a lot to soap as well. It has a super high cleansing factor and makes an amazing amount of bubbles.
Step 1: The Recipe
Imagine a world without soap! Soap is a wonderful reaction of Lye (sodium hydroxide) and oil. This recipe is an easy hot process type. Just like the olden days where they cooked the soap, this is ready soon after it comes out of the crock pot; yes another use for your crock pot.
There is a great soap making recipe resource online: a recipe calculator
It is very important that the recipe is right as you would not want any 'extra' unreacted lye in the final product as it will break up you skin, so being accurate and using weight to measure is an absolute must!
You can choose the types of oils that you would like to use in your soap, how much soap you want to make, and see results for factors like hardness, cleansing etc. There are a lot of good resources on this page as well.
Lye (sodium Hydroxide) can be bought at a local hardware store as it's used for unclogging drains since it reacts with grease. I am using only coconut oil here since it has such a high cleansing factor.
Super Cleansing 100% Coconut Oil Soap Recipe
- 2.7 ounces of lye (by weight)
- 6.1 ounces of Water (by weight)
- 16 ounces of coconut oil (by weight)
- 2-3 tablespoons of pumice or other scrub material (ground coffee, paprika, oatmeal, crushed walnut shells)
- optional mica eye shadow for some extra colour
you can also add a fragrance oil or essential oil if you like.
Step 2: The Tools
This soap is a quicker version than the cold process type so it needs to be cooked in a crock pot. The preferred mixing tool is the immersion blender (do not use it for food afterward).
You will need:
- a crock pot that will fit the required amount (I use a small one)
- Immersion blender
- Gloves, eye protection, long sleeves (for safety since working with caustic material)
- heat proof containers to measure and mix in
- digital scale for accurate weights
- mixing/scraping utensil
- knife to cut finished bars
- **vinegar** to neutralize the lye in case of any splashes
Step 3: The Lye Mixture
This the part where you should be extra extra careful. Lye will heat up to crazy-high temperatures when combined with a liquid. Put on your protective gloves, eye wear, and long sleeves.
- Measure out the lye in a heatproof container.
- In a separate container, weigh the water
- Place the container under the fan vent or outside as it will make fumes once lye is added
- Slowly, in small increments add the lye to the water (NEVER add the water to the lye)
- Mix slowly so not to splash
- Keep adding until it's all been added
- Stir until all dissolved (it will be very hot)
Step 4: The Coconut Oil
- Weigh out the coconut oil and melt it in the microwave. It melts at 76 degrees so it will easily melt
- Add the melted oil to the crock pot
Step 5: Where the Magic Happens
Add the Lye mixture carefully to the coconut oil
It will require thorough mixing, which is best done with an immersion blender.
Submerge the blender to prevent splashing and pulse the mix
It will immediately start to react and thicken which is called 'trace'
Keep pulsing until it looks like it keeps it's shape somewhat. (this oil thickens to trace really quickly but they don't always do this depending on the oil)
Step 6: The Cook
Sine this is a hot process soap, it will need to cook.
To prevent too much water loss during the cook you may cover with some wrap. Bring it up to slight simmer on high setting and once you see it bubbling at the sides turn down to low (about 30 minutes depending on the crockpot)
Check often to make sure it is not cooking too vigorously. It will change from a 'mashed-potato-look' to a 'vaseline-like' look when cooked. To test the doneness, put a bit on the end of a spoon and do the 'zap test'; touch it to your tongue and if its tastes like soap it's done. If it zaps like battery then there is still some unreacted lye and it needs more cooking.
Step 7: Forming
Once cooked you can pretty well put it in any non-reactive container. I line the plastic container with some parchment for ease of removal.
It will harden quickly so take a small portion (about 1/4 to 1/3) and add the pumice or other scrubber material into it and mix well but quick.
Step 8: The Layering
I like the look of rustic soap
Spread the pumice mix into the bottom of the container and quickly add the other layers. I added a bit of eye shadow mica to give a thin line of colour as well as some cocoa powder.
Finish off the top with the remainder, forcing it down and banging it on the counter to release air bubbles.
Set it in the fridge until cooled, remove and cut into bars - I love this part! SO gratifying!
Step 9: Squeeky Clean and Fresh!
The cleansing factor for this soap is quite high so it will get off all that greasy paint and oil. Use the scrubber side to give some extra power for dried on dirt and grime, no need for a brush.
This recipe has such an amazing amount of bubbles, almost unreal! I've heard that it will even lather salty ocean water!
Since it is highly cleansing be sure to give your hands a treat of some nice handcream... or make some! For more soap and other DIY's visit www.madebybarb.com
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