Soapmaking

Our soap, curing on the mantle!

A few days ago we made our first batch of soap, using coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil, distilled water and lye. We decided to go unscented and so didn’t add any essential oils, but still, the soaps give off a sweet creamy smell of shea and coconut. It was simple enough, although we were both a little nervous about the lye and so suited up with goggles and gloves (thoughts of Fight Club floating around in the back of my mind). It was surprisingly easy. First we melted all of the fats in a double boiler, then mixed the sodium hydroxide with distilled water. Once both the fats and lye cooled to around 105 degrees, we used a hand-blender to completely mix them and thus began the saponification process. We then poured the solution into an empty quart milk carton and let them harden overnight. The next morning we peeled away the cardboard to find a nice solid brick of soap. We cut it and now the bars are curing on our mantle. Pretty awesome!

If you’re interested in soapmaking, we used a great, straightforward guide called Smart Soapmaking, which has an amazing picture of a woman on the back who I totally wish was my grandmother.

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