Archive for the ‘Soap-making’ Category

Adventures in FF alternatives

I did it. I made soap. It has tiny oily pockets inside, though, which may or may not disappear with curing. It may have been caused by overstirring (?) since I had to redo it three times to get it to set up. Time will tell.

On the plus side, the non-oily parts work like soap, if not as sudsy as I’m used to. It also rinses well, leaving no scent whatsoever, which I can’t say about even the fragrance-free Dove soap I’ve been using. My oldest says the Dove smells like puke.

I’ve been trying different things as shampoo since the stores around here don’t carry it. Things like oatmeal body wash (too drying), a moisturizing liquid soap (doesn’t spread through the hair well), and the Dove bar. So far the Dove is the best. It lathers with a little elbow grease, and doesn’t dry out the hair as much as the body wash.

I did find out, however, that the body wash works well on the dishes. My dishwasher went out again so I’m washing by hand for a while. There is no such thing as FF dish soap as far as I can tell. The first night I used Borax, which, though a miracle on most other jobs, did not work well for this one. The body wash won’t  work on a greasy pan because it’s too mild, but it’s fine for the plates and glasses. The greasy pan was made for Borox. Like I said, it’s a miracle.

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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.