Soap is so easy to buy in stores and pharmacies that you might be wondering why people might attempt to make it themselves. But wouldn’t it be great if you could have soap in your favourite colours and scents, and if you knew exactly what all the ingredients were? Here’s a rundown of various handmade soap recipes that are easy for you to make at home.
What is Soap Made of?
The process of making soap – saponification – involves specific chemical reactions. Soap in its purest form is made when fats – whether animal or vegetable – react with a base of lye or potash (potassium hydroxide). Different soap making recipes include different ratios of base and fats, but all result in a soapy solid or liquid that can be used to create suds.
Important Precautions for Handmade Soap Recipes
The traditional bases for soap – lye and potash – are extremely corrosive chemicals that must never come into contact with your skin. Although vinegar helps to neutralize both, these chemicals should not really be stored at home, and never within the reach of children. With traditional soap-making methods (cold process soap making), it’s also important to get the proportions of each component right. The order in which you mix the ingredients is crucial, too – otherwise potentially dangerous reactions can occur.
Safer alternative methods of making soap exist that involve melting down pre-made soap bases to combine with extra ingredients. This method is commonly known as ‘melt and pour’ and is safe to try at home. Nevertheless, you should always be sure to wear protective clothing when using ‘melt and pour’ methods to make soap. Liquid soap is incredibly hot and can easily burn.
How to Make Homemade Soap: The Melt and Pour Method