Feb 13, 2015

Soapmaking 2-2-2015

I do more than just stitching in my barn. Last weekend I made soap. I never thought about making soap before last year. I never felt like I could live like "Little House on the Prairie", being raised a city girl, but I've got chickens, make my own bread (by machine) and make my own soap. The reasons I do these things is because of my health. Living with homemade products lets me see exactly what goes into it and I make sure there' are as few chemicals in it as I can afford. I use organic flour for my bread because the chemicals they use now on commercial bread are way beyond any that our bodies can handle long term. I've had great results so far cutting out a lot of everyday stuff for natural equivalents that work and cost less, even organic. Making my own soap is one of my favorite ways.

I love making soap because it makes the science geek in me squee in delight and it's not extremely dangerous. All soap is made with lye. Lye is a strong base that you don't want to inhale or get in your eyes so I use personal protective equipment like eye protection, gloves, and dust mask. If I was doing large quantities I would use a respirator but I do it outside with the wind coming from my back for added ventilation. There are You Tube videos and a ton of websites and information that you have to research before you start. I researched for months before I finally took the plunge. A video showing the remedy for getting lye on your skin is what convinced me. It turns out rinsing it in vinegar will neutralize it. The lye is used up in the chemical process of saponification so there is never any left after the soap has cured enough. Homemade soap retains all the natural moisturizers that are removed in commercial soaps and then sold to you as lotion with alcohols that dry out your skin.

The bowl above was hand carved by a coworker.

Most of this soap I made this past weekend. I use a hot process method in an old crockpot I got at the thrift store for $5. It takes me less than two hours to make a batch and it's ready to use the next day. The bottom right creamy colored one is from the batch before this one.  That's the soaps' natural color and it's pretty. I used an old silicone muffin pan for the hearts.

I make two basic kinds that I developed myself to be easy and that everyone likes. The square and heart ones are an extra cleansing type that my husband loves but is harsh on delicate skin. The creamy colored one only has peppermint oil as a scent and the others have both the oil and some detoxing green clay mixed in. The light specks are from the soap aggressively scraped off the sides of the crock that are pretty hard. I made a 1.5 lb batch and it gave me 11 good sized soaps. The round soaps are a more gentle cleansing version that I also added the green clay to but used lemongrass oil instead for oily skin. This is my first time using the lemongrass oil & I'm completely in love with it! I've bought lemongrass soap before but the scent is much more intense in the freshly made soap. I made a 1 lb batch of it, because I was running low on supplies, and I still got 8 large bars from it. I'm planning on making another batch with a red clay powder after I refill my supplies. The red clay is supposed to be more gentle than the green. It will have no added oil to be super gentle.

I wouldn't have to make soap very often but I seem to keep giving it away. At under $8 for 1.5 lbs of soap, it's not that big of a deal. I'm saving a lot of money too. I used to pay $4 - $7 a bar before I started making it.

Going natural has helped lessen my allergies, given me more mental clarity and made me feel better all around. It also gives me more drive to sew so I'm going to get back to it.

Have a great day!

Shared at Sew Darn Crafty

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