Making soap: How NOT to

I decided to try making my own soap so I could control the ingredients. An acquaintance pointed me at Miller’s Homemade Soap Pages, which has all the advice you could ever want on how to make your own soap. It’s not a fancy-schmancy site, but it is quite useful.

Unfortunately, it seemed all the soap recipes on the site were for huge batches, and I just wasn’t comfortable committing that much raw material on my first attempt. I search around on the Internet and found a recipe (and wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to bookmark it) for a batch size I thought I could handle.

I collected my ingredients.

  • Lye? Check.
  • Almond and coconut oil? Uh, no. Substitute canola, which is what I had in the cabinet.
  • Glycerine? Noooo, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Skip it.
  • Honey? YES! I have honey.
  • Flower oil? No, I don’t want this to give me a migraine. Skip.
  • Oatmeal? Yes! Woo!

Does it sound as if I were a bit cavalier in following the recipe? I paid the price for that cavalier…ness. I got a soap the consistency and color of grainy peanut butter. Looking at the Miller site’s troubleshooting page, I think I should have adjusted the amount of lye I used, since each oil has a different soponification value.

But do you know what the most amazing thing is? It’s still soap! It doesn’t lather well, but it does clean, so I know this is possible!

Onward to a bigger batch. I’ll keep you posted. And this time, I’ll even try to keep detailed notes.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Hmm. While bathing with peanut butter doesn’t necessarily sound appealing, it does have a certain … uh … aspect of interest, let’s say.

    And hey, look at it from another angle: If the Internet crashes and mankind is hurled back into a second pioneer-age, you’ll be right there at the forefront with your homemade soap! It’s scentless, but you will be too — which will make you the envy of the entire prairie! 😀

    Glad you’re feeling better. 🙂

  2. I thought of that! Civilization is ending, you say? pshaw! I can make soap.

    Thanks for visiting my new bloggie. And thanks for the birthday wishes on the other one! I’m old today!

  3. It’s okay, hon — I’m old EVERY day! 😀

  4. I recently stumbled on your blog. Its amazing to me to see the different processes and creativity each one of us use when making soap. I look forward to hearing about whats next.
    ~Melissa

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