Making Soap: Yes You Can!


| 12/30/2015 10:16:00 AM


Tags: making soap, soap making, Deb Tejada, Colorado,

 

I made my first batch of soap about 15 years ago. It was a big deal since I decided to render beef tallow myself, just for the experience. It added a lot of work and time to the soap making process, but for me was worth the experience. The soap turned out nice­—but not terribly exciting. Next I tried a recipe that used olive oil. The soap turned out nice, but again, not terribly exciting. Then, after years of thinking my soap making days were over, I found a recipe that had a combination of rich, emollient nut and vegetable fats, plus coconut milk. This is a very creamy, fine-bubbled moisturizing soap and also doubles as a shaving bar. I'll share the recipe below, but first a little history, science and basics about soap making.

History

An excavation of ancient Babylon turned up evidence of intentional soap making around 5,000 years ago. It was made from fats boiled with ashes and the resulting soap was used for cleaning fibers used in textile manufacturing.  More history of soap can be found on the Today I Found Out web site. Trivia: Ever wonder how soap operas got the name? It's tied to the excessive amounts of money Proctor & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Lever Brothers spent advertising their soaps on such TV programs. They had the perfect audience!

Chemistry

You must be very specific when measuring soap making ingredients: saponification is a chemical process that requires the correct balance of fats and alkali. Fats (vegetable/nut oils and animal fats) are triglycerides. When triglycerides come in contact with a strong base (e.g. lye), the molecules are split and fatty acid salts and glycerol are released, making what was once oily fat into a water-soluble hygroscope (attracts and holds water molecules from the surrounding environment).


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12/30/2015 2:28:22 PM

Hey folks, this post JUST went live today and I see half of the STEPS are missing! Sorry, MEN is working on the problem. Deb T The Herban Farmer




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