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Making soap

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hi, i have a basic recipe i use it calls for 1 can lye, 5 cups cool water, and 4 lbs lard or shortening and 2 lbs liquid veg oil of any kind., you can add anything ya want to that and it makes a nice hard smooth batch like the store baught stuff, if ya want more of a washing soap to shave down use all lard or shortening that makes a crumbly soap powders well. if you use all liquid oils it makes a too soft soap. a mix of both is nice.i use the cheapest supplies possible and its just as nice as all the fancy oils.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Hi everyone, I'm just investigating this new idea...new for me I mean...


I'm checking out some of the web sites and trying to decided if I'm brave enough to tackle it....


May I ask...why do you make your own...just for the fun of it??? or are there other benefits??



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  • 1 month later...

Stephanie, yes there are alot of benefits. First of all, I can make it smell any way I want, which I love. Most of the soap you buy in the store has the glycerine removed to be sold separately. When you make your own it has lots of glycerine in it for you skin. Ever throw out soap because it breaks into a million pieces? Not with home made soap. Usually, you can use it right down to the last sliver. Plus you can use different oils in the soap for different benefits. I have not bought soap in the store for a very long time.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...
I was talking to dh about making soap since when TSHTF it will be a needed item and possibly good for trade. He said that lye comes from wood ashes and since we have a wood stove I'll be all set. Do you make your own lye? If not where do you get it?

When I run short on lye, I can get it from Lowes Hardware store and purchase the Roebic brand, and need to make sure it is labeled "100% sodium hydroxide". Due to Lye being used in meth labs, it is no longer labeled "lye" but is drain cleaner, but you need to make sure it is 100% sodium hydroxide and nothing else in it.

I do not make my own lye, as there is not an easy way to determine the strength of it. This is why you often hear of 'grandma's' soap being harsh, and why lye soap has a bad reputation among some people. With good recipes and accurate scales, I find home made soap to be very good for my skin.

Also, home made lye would be potassium hydroxide, which will make a soft (or liquid) soap, not bar soaps. In the past soapmakers would add salt to make the soap into bars. I do use some purchased potassium hydroxide to make liquid soaps though, but I usually get it from a supplier of my oils.

If you're going to want to make soap in an emergency situation, I would suggest you learn now, so that you know how everything should look and feel. You will also need a good scale, tried and true recipies, and stainless steel or glass pots and stirring equipment and most importantly goggles and gloves to protect yourself. There are a lot of good tutorials on the internet to get you started.

I can make a large batch of soap to be ready to pour in about 1 hour, however if I didn't have an electric stick blender, it can add another hour or two to my stirring time. After pouring, it sits in the mold for about 18-24 hours, then is taken out and cut, then let to cure for 3-4 weeks. You can make hot process soap which doesn't have to cure, but I find that harder to work with and probably would not be something done in an emergency situation due to the energy consumption required.
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Misty, here are a couple sites I found when doing a search on google.







How to Make Lye Soap and Other Homemade Concoctions




Wow, I had no idea about the change about lye either. I have never made soap using lye, but I have recipes for it. My sister has made it a few times several years ago.

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Those are good sites, Snowmom. I can't add much to the basic diretions but perhaps some would like some historic info. Soap was being made from hard wood ash lye long before commercial lye was even thought about. I've made it many times using that very process. It is true that the strength of the lye will determine the saponification process but I've not had one fail totally yet but some batches had a lot more work involved than others.


It's true that home made lye soap is often thought about as being too harsh but it usually becomes more usable with curing. Most pioneers tried to make soap only once or twice a year and always about three months before they needed it if they wanted a gentler product. Soap was often made just from saved fats from various meats. Even the grease from frying meat was saved if it wasn't used for cooking. It was usually clarified by heating with water and allowing to cool long enough for the impurities to settle to the bottom and the fat congeal on the top. The type of fat will make a difference in the soap. For instance, some wild animal fat leaves a strong smell in the soap.


Most pioneer did make a soft cooked soap that was stored in barrels or in crocks. It often took hours of stirring over an open fire to get it to "turn". All sorts of directions could be found for this including the direction that you should stir the soap in one direction only, usually clockwise. This soap was used for laundry, scrubbing and heavy cleaning.


But women are women no matter the era and most wanted a nice hard hand soap, usually with some herbal concoction for scenting them. They would often go to great lengths to save the whitest fat for this soap, rendering it gently and clarifying it again and again until a completely white fat remained. Venison fat is especially nice for that. (As an aside, this white fat was also used to make lotions and salves) Then the lye would be very carefully made, leached again and again or boiled down to the correct strength so that the soap would turn very quickly. (See the info about floating an egg or potato) Then the product would be well aged, sometimes as much as a year or more. If the product wasn't scented before curing, it would be remelted and a fragrance, often attar of roses (which is a whole 'nother post)added. Other ingredients could be added as well, such as fine oat powder. A pioneer woman who had mastered this art could have a great home business which might be something for some of you to think about if TSHTF.


The lye water itself was often used to scrub the punchion (split log)floors and porches of a long cabin and left them very white and beautiful. It was well watered down and usually the floor was srubbed using a homemade scrub brush, often made from hardwood twigs, straw, or corn husks. Lye, even made from ashes, IS caustic so be very careful if you use it.


If you are considering learning this as a SHTF necessity it might be good to know the whole process AND to practice it before hand. You may not have the time to experiment later.


Welcome to Mrs. S Halfpint, that was a super post.

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  • 11 months later...

Someone asked me in shout to post about how to make soap. There are so many good sites out there that there's no point in re-inventing the wheel. Here's a pretty good explanation of how to make soap, for your first try:




This is a very good lye calculator, from the same site, for making up your own recipes, once you get a little practice:




Hope that is helpful!



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  • 4 months later...

I made my first batch of soap last weekend and yesterday I did my second batch. I used the *WM* recipe for the first and it was lye heavy--my intentions are to turn that into laundry soap.


My second batch is drying out right now--I cut it as soon as it set up well enough--and its' not crumbly like the first batch. This time I superfatted by 7% and used only 4lbs of lard and 1 lb of coconut oil (for the lathering).


and I must admit, soaping is FUN! smile

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  • 5 weeks later...

We make goats milk soap for sale--we have used it for years and decided to market it---DD made 6 batches yesterday--We make both hot process and cold process soap. Although hp soap can be used right away, we found it is better to wait a few days---cp soap really needs 4 to 6 weeks to cure unless you use some of the quick dry methods--- then you can get useable soap within a week. You should check with a lye calculater --hmm I am not sure of the site, cause my DD does that, but you should be able to google it. We use goats milk from our own goats, coconut oil, sunflower or safflower oil, lard, lye and EO or FO. We have unscented--unscented with oatmeal as well as about 50 fragrances some of them using essential oils. Had to buy more goats to keep it up--- each batch is hand made and hand cut--of course we have our personal stash ready. Crumbling may mean your temps weren't right. It may have "seized" Once you get started, it is sooo addicting. LOL. Have fun Carolyn

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Originally Posted By: Carolyn
We make goats milk soap for sale--

Yeah yeah yeah, so do you have a web site? I can't make soap. I do however buy it really well. Well can't meaning I am afraid to. I wouldn't mind learning, in fact I would love to learn, but I would need to find someone who actually KNOWS how to make it before I could do it, and I would need them holding my hand through the process the first couple times.
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Duh---- someone already posted a site with a lye calc on it---ohhh what a day LOL am waiting for a doe to kid-- we bought her for milk and found that she had rebred sooooo we had to dry her up---she kidded the very end of Dec and rebred sometime in January---just waiting. LOL Carolyn

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DD is setting it up--we debated about even having a website, cause we can hardly keep up locally, It isn't hard--really, but you do need a good scale to weigh everything on. Just got an order for 20 bars. We hit every craft show, and now the summer shows---Art in the park kinda thing-- we have 4 maybe 5 summe shows left, then the fall shows. Both DD's work full time jobs--Dil doesn't have patience for soapmaking, but makes bath salts and bath fizzies. I will try to post a picture--- the name of their soap is "My Crazy Mother and I" goats milk soap and yes I am the "crazy mother" I come up with all kinds of wild ideas LOL. I have been prepping for years and people also think I am crazy--- don't know what people think they are going to do. I'm ready wink. Carolyn

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  • 2 months later...

I've never made soap, but would like to and already have 5# coconut oil, at least a gallon of olive oil and 30# lard(the kind that comes in buckets) that could be used.

I could probably get some goats milk from a friend too. Oh.. and I just remembered I have some liquid lanolin that someone gave me that I have no idea what to do with.. an 8oz bottle.


Anyone have a tried and true recipe for a beginner that would make the most of some/all of those?


I do have a good kitchen scale, so weight measurements are fine.


I'd like spearmint or vanilla scent, but don't have a clue how to scent soap, so that'd be super helpful too. I'd be using the soap for hand and bath soap if that makes any difference.


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you don't have to use milk, goat or cow, you can use water!


here is a thread to a tried and true recipe and information on different fats and what they do.




this recipe is for a measurement and not weight... it is easy to make, quick, fun and makes a great soap! scroll down to see all the different oils you can use.


have fun!

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I love to make my own soaps, especially goats milk. Currently don't have goats but will be making lots of soaps for Christmas, etc. I usually make tons every couple of years and that tides me over. Bought my scales at garage sales, also a marble cheese grater for cutting the bars. I use pvc pipe for molds or cute ones I got at the dollar store- seashell, turtle, fish, etc. I get the tallow from my hubby the butcher. I do need to find a source to buy a large quantity of lye- say 50 lbs instead of 1 lb jars- I thought there was a source in Logan, UT. I'd much rather pay 50 cents a lb instead of $4, of course the 50 cents lb was several years ago. Any other leads on inexpensive supplies would be appreciated.

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  • 5 months later...

I have found it easy to make Hot process in the mold soap by setting my wooden mold on top of a cookie sheet and placing it in the trunk of my car in the late afternoon about an hour or two before sundown in summer and removing if in the morning. I found that if I place the mold in the car in the morning it gets too hot too long in the Texas sun and boils over. Can someone please edit the recipes from "1 can of lye" to a specific weight or measurement?

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GND, someone in here has a recipe and it called for 7 oz of lye. Not sure if that is a large can or small can or if lye comes in different sizes, since I have not bought any lately.


Hope this helps. :)






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  • 3 months later...



When our DD was here last July, we made soap, but, it didn't turn out the right way. I could and did use it, but, we had used regular Baking Soda, and it was suppose to be Washing Baking Soda. Therefore, it didn't get cooked as long as it should have as it ran over.


This time I used a larger pot and used the Washing Baking Soda and it didn't foam up much at all. I now have about 3 gal. of nice thick laundry soap. :) It will probably last close to 6 months for just the two of us, if I use just a small amount, 1/4 cup. But, she says something about using 1/2 coffee cup full, so not sure just how much I will use this time. I think I used about 1/2 cup in a regular measuring cup that I had just for this. :)


http://www.metacafe.com/watch/821928/make_...n_laundry_soap/ is where I got the recipe, but, you have to write it down as she talks. :)




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An old coffee cup was 6 ounces, so 1/2 of that would be 3 ounces.

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