Monthly Archives: January 2022

Soap Making Part II- Equipment

Hello and Welcome!

Thank you again for your patience.

It’s time to learn about the equipment you will need to make your own soap.

In this post I am going to show you what I use and give you ideas of other things that could be used. Your equipment won’t necessarily look exactly like mine. The good news is you don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money on special equipment as you will likely have many of the things you need on hand.

Since we are working with lye, which is a caustic and corrosive substance, we must pay attention to what materials the lye comes in contact with. Things to avoid are anything made with aluminum, iron, steel and most other metals. Stainless steel or enamel are good choices as are heat resistant glass, heat resistant plastic and even wood.

Protective Equipment/Gear

While working with lye you will want to protect your skin from coming into contact with it. You should have glasses, safety glasses or goggles, rubber, latex or vinyl gloves, an apron or old shirt, long pants and some type of footwear.

It may go without saying but the kitchen is the best place for making soap because you will want to have running water and will need the stove for heating your oils. I also like to use some newspaper to cover my work area.

Assuming you have read this post about how to clean up or neutralize a lye spill you know you should have paper towel or rags on hand as well as a broom and mop for cleaning up potential spills.

Measuring Equipment

Scale – A scale is probably the most important piece of equipment in soapmaking and the one where I cannot think of a good alternative. All of the ingredients will be measured by weight and having accurate measurements is a key to making a good soap.


Containers that will sit on the scale for measuring your ingredients into. (Remember to avoid metal except for stainless steel or enamel.)

Weighing Containers

I usually use the tray for measuring solid fats like coconut oil, lard or tallow. I use the cup or similar containers when measuring liquids, liquid oils like olive oil and for measuring the lye. As long as the container is large enough to hold the amount you need to measure you’re good. You will need to remember the set the scale to 0 after placing the container on the scale and before putting your ingredient in the container.

Thermometer(s) – You will need at least one kitchen thermometer, but since you will be tracking the temperatures of the oils and the lye water separately before combining, using two different thermometers is better.


Glass candy thermometers will also work.

Containers for mixing – You will need two separate containers: one for mixing lye and water the other for mixing and melting oils and fats. Later you will be adding the lye water to the oils, so it is best to melt your oils in the biggest container or at least one large enough to hold the entire batch of soap.

I use the glass measuring cup on the left for mixing lye with water and the stainless-steel pan for melting my oils. The containers I use are quite large because I usually make at least a four lb. (1814.36948 gram) batch of soap; sometimes I make 8 lbs. (3628.73896 grams).

Below are some other ideas for mixing containers that may be used for smaller batches.

Mixing Containers

Mixing Utensils – You will need a utensil (spoon) for mixing your lye and water together and a second for mixing your oils together. Heat resistant plastic or stainless steel are good choices and what I use, but wooden spoons could also be used.

Mixing Utensils

Emersion Blender – Also known as a stick blender is optional but makes the process go very quickly. When I made my first batch of soap I didn’t have an emersion blender and decided I would just hand stir the mixture. After more than an hour of stirring the mixture finally came to a trace (the point where it is ready to go into the mold). After that I decided to buy an emersion blender. It now usually takes less than 10 minutes of mixing.

Emersion Blender

Soap Molds – There are many commercially made soap molds on the market. You can buy plastic molds, silicone molds and even wooden molds, but unless you want to make soaps that are a specific size and/or shape it is not necessary to purchase soap molds.

Below are some examples of things that you might have on hand that could be used as soap molds. If you decide to use a cardboard box like the one in the photo it will be necessary to line it with plastic wrap or butcher paper so that the soap does not soak into the cardboard.

Plastic wrap or butcher paper is something you should have on hand anyway for covering the soap after you pour it into the mold. You will also need a towel or two to wrap the soap in after it is in the mold.

Now while you go hunting around for equipment you can use to make your soap, I will put together Part III of this series – “Ingredients and a Soap Recipe”. If you have any questions about equipment please leave them in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading.

Soap Making Part I

Hello and Welcome!

Before we get started, I have to tell you that for me writing a soapmaking tutorial is not the ideal way to teach you all how to make soap. If I had my way, there would be about six of us gathered in my kitchen and we would be making a batch of soap. I would be explaining everything we were doing and why and you would be asking questions and maybe even taking notes.

For many reasons that isn’t going to happen (unless you live in the area and would like to spend a couple hours here with me making a batch of soap in which case leave me a comment and we will see what we can work out).

One thing that remains the same is that I encourage you to ask questions. I may not have all the answers, but I’ll do my best.

I have decided to break this tutorial up into a series of posts. In this first post I will give some definitions; Part II I will talk about equipment you will need for making soap; Part III I will write about ingredients and give you a recipe; and Part IV will be the actual process of making the soap.

Let’s get started.

Soap DefinitionNote: this definition or explanation comes from the US Food and Drug Administration which is the agency in the United States that regulates, among other things, the soap and cosmetics industry.

“Ordinary soap is made by combining fats or oils and an alkali, such as lye. The fats and oils, which may be from animal, vegetable, or mineral sources, are degraded into free fatty acids, which then combine with the alkali to form crude soap. The lye reacts with the oils, turning what starts out as liquid into blocks of soap. When made properly, no lye remains in the finished product. In the past, people commonly made their own soap using animal fats and lye that had been extracted from wood ashes.”

They also tell us “Today there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products. Detergent cleansers are popular because they make suds easily in water and don’t form gummy deposits. Some of these detergent products are actually marketed as “soap” but are not true soap according to the regulatory definition of the word.”  Source

Lye Definition – “1: a strong alkaline solution (as of sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) 2: a solid caustic (such as sodium hydroxide)” Source

Both sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide can be used to make soap. I have never made soap using potassium hydroxide; however, it is my understanding that potassium hydroxide makes a softer soap. It is also worth noting that sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are not interchangeable, meaning a recipe would require a different amount of sodium hydroxide than potassium hydroxide.

Since lye is a strong alkaline it does have the potential to cause harm if it comes into contact with our skin and can be hazardous if spilled so, along with safety gear that I will cover in my next post, I would like you to read this article about how to neutralize lye spills.

Soap Making Methods – There are two methods of making soap from scratch. They are cold process and hot process. I have never used the hot process method and will only be writing about the cold process method. The two methods however are interchangeable, meaning that a recipe that can be made using the cold process method can also be made using the hot process method.

If you ever hear or read about someone making soap without lye, then they are not making soap from scratch. They are talking about what is called melt and pour where a premade soap base is melted down and then colors and fragrances may be added, and it can be molded into fun shapes.

Hopefully this first post has answered some questions that might otherwise come up later. Again, feel free to ask questions about anything that is not clear. Thanks for reading.

Farewell My Friend Until We Meet Again

Our hearts are broken, and tears are falling. Our beloved Trooper has gone to wait for us at the rainbow bridge.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…

We’ll miss you Trooper but will forever cherish the memories. ❤

Soap Update

Hello and Welcome!

Back in November I wrote about the new soap recipe that I made, and I mentioned in that post that I would let you know how it turned out. I used an oil combination of 40% coconut oil, 40% tallow and 20% olive oil. I also added aloe to it. The types and amounts of oils used in a soap will determine things like how hard the soap is, how cleansing, or conditioning it is and if the lather is creamy or bubbly.

My husband and I have been using this soap for several weeks now so I will share his thoughts as well as mine.

First my husband’s comments, “I love it!” (Short and to the point.)

Now my critique: I find it to be a nice balanced soap. It is a hard bar of soap but not so much that I couldn’t cut it. (In the past I have made some soaps that crack when I attempt to cut them.) It can be worked into a nice creamy lather and it it does not dry out my skin. (Normally this time of year the skin on my calves gets really dry but that hasn’t happened yet.) My favorite part about this soap is the addition of aloe. Aloe gives kind of a silkiness to the lather that makes it a great soap for shaving.

When I posted about making this recipe one of my readers asked me for a soapmaking tutorial. I have decided to break the tutorial up into 3 posts that will be done over the next two or three weeks. If you are interested in learning to make you own soap, you can follow my blog by email or for those with a WordPress account you can follow along in your WordPress reader.

Thank for visiting.