Dos and Don’ts of Making Homemade Soap
Whether you are looking to save money or you want to make sure you’re only using natural ingredients on your skin, making homemade soap will help you achieve your goals. That being said, many people jump into making homemade soap without taking the time to learn a few tips that could really help them along the way. Below are a few dos and don’ts you should be aware of and take into consideration when making homemade soap.
- DON’T Pour Water into Lye – One of the most important things you need to remember when making homemade soap is to always pour lye slowly into water, not the other way around. Lye is dangerous and it is important that you take proper safety precautions when dealing with it.
- DO Ventilate the Area – As mentioned, lye needs to be handled properly when making homemade soap. Always use your exhaust fan above the stove and open a window to allow the fumes a place to escape.
- DON’T use Liquid Colorants – Many people assume that they can use liquid coloring in the homemade soap; this is certainly not a good idea. Not only can it dye your shower curtain and the tub when you use it, it’s really not doing your skin any favors. There are enough natural colorants available that work wonderfully that you don’t have to use these types of products.
- DO use Cat’s Claw Bark – Few people will remember to tell you this little trick. When you add Cat’s Claw Bark to homemade soap, it helps it to cure faster which is ideal if you’re using a hot process so you can sell or give the soap as gifts.
- DON’T use Aluminum – The only time you should be using any type of aluminum when making homemade soap is if you’re lining the bottom of your oven with foil to catch any drips. Ingredients should be mixed in glass bowls and heated in stainless steel.
- DO Experiment with Herbs and Spices – Whether you grow your own medicinal plants or you purchase herbs and spices, adding certain ones to homemade soap is very beneficial to your skin. A few recommended herbs to add to homemade soap include alkanet, aloe, almonds, basil, borage, calendula, cayenne pepper, chamomile, carrot, clove, coffee, dandelion, dill, juniper berries, lavender, lemon, oranges, mint, marjoram, parsley, poppy seeds, rose, rosemary, safflower, paprika and walnut.
- DON’T use Soap Until it Cures – Homemade soap cannot be used until it has had time to cure! This means that with traditional methods, the soap will need to be cut and set on racks to aerate for 30 days. However, if you make homemade soap with the hot process, it will only need to cool for three days and then cure for another four.
- DO Mix at Like Temperatures – There is a reason why your pot of fats and your lye solution both need to be exactly 110 degrees Fahrenheit to combine when making homemade soap. For the best outcome, temperature must be consistent to mix and cure properly. If one is hotter than the other, cool it down by putting the bottom of the pot in a cold bath.
- DON’T Throw Away Ends – When you’re cutting your homemade soap in bars or popping out of molds, you will likely have a lot of scraps left, don’t throw these away! Soap can be remilled quite easily by placing it in a Pyrex or glass container, adding a little hot water and melting in the microwave. When it’s melted, pour it in a greased mold just like you have with your large blocks of homemade soap.
- DO Wet the Knife – The most helpful trick you’ll learn when making homemade soap is to wet the knife when you’re cutting into the bars. This will give you the smoothest and cleanest cut.