“anyone can make soap”

well, kinda. “….but you DID say that!” said someone who remain nameless. Yes, I said that. Anyone can make soap! Its not a complicated PROCESS. We add an alkali base to fats, they saponify, we add fragrance, pour it into a mold, and cut and cure. Simple PROCESS…. However, that does not mean developing a recipe is uncomplicated as a science, nor does it mean just anyone can make GOOD soap. Anyone can buy a can of shortening, add some lye, and make what would be considered soap… but wow is that going to be some unfortunate soap.

There is a youtube tutorial that suggests just that. It uses only crisco shortening… it gives you an incorrect lye amount (according to soap calc its over half an ounce too much, and yes that small amount is a big deal.) Then, they mix it without gloves, in a  crowded and dirty kitchen using tap water.

I’m sorry if this sounds rude, but thats not good soap. Sure its soap. But you wouldnt want to wash yourself with it.

A good soap maker must calculate their oils carefully, balance them based on the qualities we want to have our soap to have. How bubbly we want it, balance cleansing with conditioning. Balance hardness with creaminess. We spend hours running calculations, agonizing over reducing 1% of this and adding 1% of that to reach the perfect calculation. We have intricate scales that allow us to be certain we are adding just the right amount, because too much of one thing or too little of another can make a bad batch of soap. We cure our soaps lovingly and carefully, and test them endlessly to be sure we are satisfied… and even then there are hundreds of different results you can get with just a bit of tweaking.

There are some AMAZING soap makers out there. Everyday I connect with new soap makers on etsy, on soap making boards, that make me bow down in respect. But for all the good, there is also sometimes bad. How can you tell you are getting quality soap? Usually you can simply tell by the description. You can also ask. Do they know what they are talking about? What they are even creating and selling? Chances are if they dont you will know pretty quick.

Heres to the amazing soap makers out there who have served as such an awesome inspiration to me, and the ones willing to continue to be amazing tutors to me as the years go by. Anyone can make soap. Cheers to the ones who work so hard to make it well!!


9 responses to ““anyone can make soap”

  1. Could you include the written process on your blog. The youtube video is a little too fast for me. I would really appreciate a Hard Copy (ability to print it). Thanx

  2. Glad that you do all your calculations and science-y stuff so that I get to benefit from all your nice soap 😀

    (otherwise I’d be stuck making my own from crisco and lye and being a very sad girl)

  3. Hello,
    I am making liquid soap and it keeps going hard on me. I have searched for other people with these problems but there is nothing out there any suggestions.
    Thank You

    • Hi Erin, the first thing is to make sure you are using POTASSIUM Hydroxide, and not Sodium Hydroxide – it seems like a silly question but many a person (including me when I started out) has made this mistake, without potassium hydroxide it wont be liquid. Second I’d make sure you are using enough water in your recipe and dilution stage. Next, re-evaluate the oils being used. Are they “hard” oils?
      What is your recipe if you dont mind sharing? (including the water amount using to dilute?)
      Good luck,

      • I just read the bottle and its sodium hydroxide. I used 16oz olive oil and 24 oz. of coconut oil added 10 cups in the dilution stage and then added another 18cups when it went hard and I heated it back up. Could i use this soap for bar or shold i just get rid of it?

      • You can possibly use it as re-batched soap, I’m in Hawaii and unable to run the numbers at the moment but if you shred the soap, add in maybe some additional oils (a touch of a nice butter), some botanicals (dried tea, flowers, citrus peels), and fragrance – add a touch of water if needed- melt it down very slowly over a double boiler, very low heat (crock pots work too, very slow and low remember) and mold it in a good mold, you should get usable bars 🙂

      • Thank you so much. Sorry for bothering you on vacation 🙂
        P.S. your a life saver

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