Are you tired of having to run to the grocery store every time you are out of soap? If that’s the case, then you might be interested in making soap bars at home instead.
If you are a DIYer who enjoys crafting your own goods, you will love making soap bars at home. It is not just a fun process, but it is actually quite simple and easy as well. Not to mention, you know all the ingredients you will add to this soap, which makes it completely safe, organic, and natural.
And here’s the good news: You don’t need to know chemistry in order to understand how to make soap!
All you need to do is keep reading this thorough guide to making soap bars at home. We will look at how homemade soap will benefit you, the essential tips that will help with the process, and what ingredients you will need.
Benefits of Making Soap Bars at Home
Store-bought soap is cheap, cleanses your body, creates bubbles, smells great, and comes in fun packaging. So why would you feel the need to make DIY soap at home?
However, there are several benefits you can enjoy when you make homemade soap. The first one is the fact that you save a ton on costs, especially in the long term. You make soap with high-quality ingredients, such as oils and fragrances, and it costs you the same as buying a cheap, low-quality soap.
Moreover, when you make homemade soap, you have control over the ingredients. You can research the oils and fragrances and then use the ones that you are the most comfortable with and seem the safest. Hence, you can make your soap entirely chemical-free and natural.
Lastly, the best part about making soap bars at home is the fact that the process is fun and easy. You just have to mix all the ingredients and customize the color and design of the soap. And the result will definitely be worth the effort since you will have a beautiful and practical product that you can use yourself or gift to someone.
Should You Use Lye for Making Soap Bars at Home?
Some DIY easy homemade soap recipes call for using lye since store-bought and factory manufactured soaps also use this chemical. However, lye, which is known as sodium hydroxide, is actually dangerous to work with at home. The fumes from the chemical while cooking can be caustic to the eyes and mucus membrane.
Yet, many people prefer to use lye because that is the ingredient that gives the soap its texture and makes it foamy. Moreover, once the lye has been adequately mixed in to make the soap, the final product is not dangerous. Hence, if you do end up using lye for your homemade soap, make sure to follow these precautions:
- Use food-grade or pure lye
- Ensure that you are making homemade soap with lye in a well-ventilated area
- Use goggles, masks, and heat-resistant gloves when making soap
Making Soap Bars at Home: Step-by-Step Process
Here is a step-by-step guide on making soap bars at home from scratch. This guide uses lye since you get the best results when you incorporate this ingredient into your recipe. However, remember to use the aforementioned safety precautions as well.
Step 1: Choose Your Recipe
First and foremost, you should look up a recipe for your soap. This will allow you to determine what kind of fragrances and essential oils you will need. We have a list of some of the best soap recipes that you can check out. Besides this, you will need the following ingredients:
- 16 ounces coconut oil
- 14 ounces palm oil
- 21 ounces olive oil
- 19 ounces distilled water
- Sodium hydroxide (or lye) bar
- Fragrances and essential oils according to recipe
Step 2: Gather Your Tools
These are all the tools you will need:
- Large heat-safe container
- Measuring cup or a small ball
- A silicone spatula
- Stainless steel wire whisk
- Soap mold
- Wax paper or parchment paper
- Old towel or blanket
- Sharp knife
- Protective gear, such as gloves, goggles, and mask
Step 3: Melt the Base
This is where the process on how to make soap begins. You will need to melt the base in a container. You can either use a double boiler on the stovetop for this process or the microwave. The stovetop would be a better option because it gives you more control over the heating.
Let the chunks of the base melt and avoid whisking at this point since this will trap air bubbles. Once the solid pieces have melted, you must then gently mix.
Step 4: Mix the Lye
Now is the time to mix in the lye. Make sure you are following all safety precautions at this point, and try not to keep your face too close to the container. Gently mix in 201 grams of lye with 19 ounces of distilled water. Stir until it all dissolves. Don’t worry about the lye being toxic and harmful in the soap because the lye’s cooking and mixing process with the fatty oils from the base will render it safe to use. This reaction between the oils and lye will make it safe to consume.
There will likely be fumes coming out of the mixture by now, so you should set it aside until it cools down. This can take between thirty to ninety minutes.
Step 5: Prepare and Measure Out the Fragrance
In the meantime, you should measure out your fragrances based on the recipe you are using. Mix all of the scents in a separate bowl together. You could even improvise and make your own blend by mixing a few and seeing if the fragrance works.
Step 6: Melt and Mix the Oils
In another bowl, you should also mix all of the oils together. If you use solid oils, such as palm oil and coconut oil, you will need to melt them first and then stir. Heat up the oil mixture until you bring it to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 7: Mix Everything Together
Once your lye and oils have reached temperatures of 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to put your goggles and gloves back on and mix. Use a blender to combine the two. At this point, there will be a reaction happening, which will turn the mixture cloudy. After a few minutes of blending, it will become thicker and more opaque.
You should continue blending until the mixture has reached a consistency of a runny pudding. Then, gently mix in the fragrances.
Step 8: Prepare and Pour Into Molds
You should have prepared your silicone molds or baking tray beforehand by placing wax paper or parchment paper inside it. Pour the mixture into these molds and cover to insulate it with a towel or old cloth. You should leave this insulated mixture undisturbed in an airy room for at least 24 hours.
Step 8: Cut and Cure the Soap
Once it has been 24 hours, it is time to take your soap out of the mold. Using a sharp knife, you should then cut it into bars. Now, the last step is to cure the soap for four to six weeks. You can also start using the soaps, but the curing will allow the water to become completely evaporate, which will make them harder and easier to use. You should let the soaps sit in the same airy room on a baking tray for four to six weeks. After this, they will be ready to use!
The Best Easy Homemade Soap Recipes
Now that you know the essential steps in making soap bars at home, it is time to explore the various homemade soap bar recipes. You must be using the same amount of base, oils, and lye as mentioned earlier, and just add about one teaspoon of each fragrance for one bar. Additionally, you can also add food-grade colorants to your recipes to give your soap bars a pop of color!
Though the possibilities of various fragrances are endless, we have rounded up a few of the best fragrances and ingredients you can add to your soap. You can use them on their own or as a combination:
- Cocoa butter
- Orange peels or zest and orange juice
- Lemon slices and lemon essential oil
- Rose petals along with rose fragrance
- Steeped green tea leaves
- Lemongrass and eucalyptus essential oil
- Lavender buds with lavender essential oils
- Poppy seeds
- Cinnamon and cocoa fragrances
As you can probably tell, making soap bars at home is definitely a process that is fun but requires some patience and initial investment. However, you can use these supplies for months and make dozens of soap bars. In fact, many people have lucrative businesses through creating their own blends of unique homemade soap bars and selling them online.
So, give it a try and see for yourself how rewarding, enjoyable, and cost-effective making soap bars at home is!