new soaper- too much info on net!

pottershandsFebruary 19, 2006

Hi! I really want to make soap to use and sell. I have some of the ingredients and equipment, but I'm getting really frustrated looking at all the recipes on the net and different methods. I think I'm interested in hot method because of the faster cure time and not having to have the temperatures of the lye solution and oils at the same temperature. I have only 2 lb. of lard and 13 oz. of lye. I bought 2 deep baking sheets to pour into, a wooden spoon, spray pam (do you think I should spray the pans?), a candy thermometer and dental floss for cutting into bars. Do you think floss will cut the bars? I found a site talking about how "Granny" didn't need fancy scales and thermometers when she made soap in the yard. Do you think I really need a scale? I am broke and just want to make a basic soap to get started with. How much soap can I make with 2 lb. of lard? I think I'm going to have to buy a new pot. Mine is a nonstick pasta pot with vents in the lid. Do you find plain lard and lye soap gentle enough, or should I add olive or vegetable oil? I'm looking for easy and cheap here. Thanks for your advice!


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Way back when I first wanted to make soap, I found the best instructions were in books I borrowed from my public library. I checked out several books and read through them all. Then I picked the one I liked best, settled on the basic recipe, and read and re-read that recipe and warnings over and over until I could just about say it from memory.

There are lots of mistakes that can be made, some that will just lead to a batch of lye and fats that would be best thrown away, and other mistakes that could lead to very serious injury to you, your pets, your children, etc.

And you need to be careful of the type of materials you use to make the soap... you mention a wooden spoon (Good!), but also baking sheets... it is not advisable to pour a fresh batch of soap into any metal container!

"Granny" may not have needed a scale and thermometer, but if you want to be successful in making soap, every time, you do.

I have made countless batches of "lye and lard" soap over the years. Properly made, it is extremely gentle and lathers well. It is a very basic soap and a good one to start with.

But make a trip to your library (a free source of good information) and study up before you jump in. You'll be glad you did.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 10:42PM
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Thanks. I saw someone on the net using baking sheets for molds, but they lined them with saran wrap. What would you use for a simple mold? I have quite a few juice cartons saved up. I saw instructions for hot process in a crock pot in which the soaper used a pvc pipe mold. That sounds neat, but I can't imagine how one would be made or how easliy the soap could be removed from it. What do you think?
I found another candy thermometer around the house. I guess I'm going to have to buy a scale. My thoughts are getting more organized on this . I think the first time around I'll use the crock pot method. Is the crock pot safe for food use after making soap in it? (or other pots, for that matter.)
Thanks for your advice,

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 1:26PM
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I guess lining the metal pans with Saran wrap would work. You just want to be certain the new soap does not come in contact with metal. (Fresh soap still contains free lye that will eat holes in metal until the soap fully saponifies.)

Juice cartons would work as molds. So do the plastic candy molds. You can sometimes find these at secondhand stores. Just be certain whatever you use as a mold is impervious to the lye and is flexible so you can remove the hardened soap.

Usually PVC pipe molds are made by carefully cutting the pipe in two longitudinally so you end up with two long "half-pipe" pieces (if you have been watching the Olympics, you'll know the half-pipe shape - LOL!). Then you use hose clamps or very heavy duty rubber bands to hold the two pieces together while the fresh soap is poured in (of course you have capped off the bottom so the soap doesn't flow out there). After the soap has set up, you remove the clamps and the two pieces of PVC, then slice the soap into rounds.

I've never used a crock pot to make soap.

Usually soapers recommend ANY pans, utensils, etc. that you use for making soap are dedicated to soap... and never go back to kitchen use.

Sometimes you can find scales at secondhand stores, especially the one that measures 0 ounces up to 16 ounces (1 pound).

Have you checked your library for soap books yet?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 2:21PM
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