JustSewSimple

NQR - Do you make bar soap?

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I am allergic to EVERYTHING so I made my own laundry detergent and now I am on a quest to make my own bar soap.  I have had a devil of a time trying to by lye and stearic acid!!!  Apparently drug dealers buy this stuff to cook up their next high so us honest soap makers can't find it locally!  Darn!  I am paying more for shipping than for the lye and acid. Anyone have a source for this stuff?  I am using "Marsha's recipe" from YouTube but if you have a good recipe I'd love to see!  :huh:


Just Sew Simple Sylvia Blissett APQS Freedom '09 "Stitch" Circle Lord 2010 “"Until one has loved an animal, Part of their soul remains unawakened.”

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OK,  after having written this, I found my lye locally!  I could have saved a fortune had I known I could get it at Lowe's!!!!!


Just Sew Simple Sylvia Blissett APQS Freedom '09 "Stitch" Circle Lord 2010 “"Until one has loved an animal, Part of their soul remains unawakened.”

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Sylvia, I think it's great you make your own.  When my girls were little their grandma made soap in big batches and would send some home with all of us.  I didn't care for it at the time, but it worked great for the girls' tender skin.  Now I wished I had gotten the recipe because my post-m skin is so sensitive.  I remember most every step but not the ingredients!


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2009 Freedom, and a 1989 Ulti I w/Intellistitch

 

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Sylvia, I used to make soap and sell at craft shows. It has been a while though!

 

A very gentle soap is a Castile soap. If you have allergies, this one may be for you to try first. Castile soap only uses three ingredients: Olive oil, water, and lye. It is very easy to make, though exact measurements are important in soapmaking so that you don't have a lye-heavy soap that burns your skin or dries it out. Hopefully you have a scale that measures in ounces or grams, like a postal scale? (don't buy one of these at the same time you buy your lye. hahaha!!!) Weighing ingredients is much more accurate than measuring by cups.

 

I used to belong to a Yahoo Group called Soapnuts. They have a library that you can use to find more info about soapmaking, both hot process and cold process. There's recipes and all kinds of helpful stuff, and information on safety --  making soap can be dangerous so be careful.

 

http://soapnuts.com/index.shtml

 

The first recipe by Peg Frye on the cold process page is a good Castile soap that easy to make.

 

Please take caution with the lye. Always add lye to cold water. NEVER ADD WATER TO LYE. It can boil and spit up in your face. And please use eye goggles. Wear your safety gear (rubber gloves and goggles) and don't breathe the fumes and you'll be fine.

 

Oh, and there is no need for stearic acid in soaps. You can make a good soap without it.  

 

If you have any questions, I don't mind helping! 

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Well, Miss Bonnie, you are a world of information!!!!  My first try is going to be the recipe from Marsha's Soap on You Tube.  I will use the link to see what I can learn!  Marci, I want to use this on my hair as well as my skin.  My scalp will blister even with baby shampoo!  When I find the "best recipe" I will be in heaven!!!


Just Sew Simple Sylvia Blissett APQS Freedom '09 "Stitch" Circle Lord 2010 “"Until one has loved an animal, Part of their soul remains unawakened.”

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Oh boy, Sylvia. I see some problems in her recipe. I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all and I don't want to be negative but I want you to stay safe in your venture to find something that helps your allergic skin. I can relate to you as I also have sensitive skin.

 

For safety sake I just want to point out a few potential issues in the recipe in the hopes you might investigate since these ladies (Marsha and her helper) probably don't have a computer to aid them in their calculations of lye, water, and oils. 

 

The first problem is that there isn't enough water in her recipe for the amount of lye she is using. This may be why she is able to cut her bars so quickly after making soap. A few hours is crazy fast to be disturbing the soap in its saponification process. Usually soap is left lightly covered with a towel to "do it's thing" for a couple of days before it is uncovered and then a few days before it is cut into bars.

 

As for the lack of water I mentioned, the lye needs to dissolve and be distributed through the molecules of oil in order for it to turn into soap safely, without leaving lye leftover in the process. A certain amount of water is needed for this to happen. A good and easy ratio to think of is two parts of water for one part of lye. You can go a little lower than this, but your being new at soapmaking, this is a good place to start and it is easy to remember. Also, please use distilled water and not tap water. Tap water has unwanted minerals. Her spring water that she mentions is just fine but she doesn't mention to not use tap water. 

 

The second problem is 6 pounds of oils are not equal across the board in the saponification process. You cannot exchange an oil for an oil without doing the math and recalculating lye amounts. For example, if you are to make her recipe and substitute, as she directs, any oil for any oil, you are likely to come up with a soap that has too many fats/oils to be processed into soap, or not enough fats/oils to turn the lye into soap. The second scenario is far worse on your skin than the first scenario. The first scenario just means you make have a softer soap or one that goes rancid quicker. Usually soapmakers WANT some extra fat left in the soap, and we think we control that by adding it in at the last stages, as it is tracing. Chemically, who knows how right we are in that thinking, but that is what we think and usually do. This is basically called "superfatting." The second scenario of having too much lye leftover in the soap means the soap will be harsh on your skin, as it was in the olden days. This is why "lye soap" has such a negative connotation. There really was usually lye leftover in the soap back then.

 

Third possible problem. Lemon juice. Acidic juice added to cold process soap will only aid in slowing down (and possibly disrupting) the process at which lye converts to soap. 

 

If I plug her recipe of 32 ounces of coconut oil (for lather and a harder bar of soap), 32 ounces of Crisco (essentially a soybean/palm product -- the palm makes a harder bar of soap, the soybean is a skin conditioner but makes a softer soap), 32 ounces of canola (makes a softer soap but conditions the skin), 2 ounces of stearic acid (aids in making soap harder and since she is using a lot of "soft" oils, I can see why she wants stearic acid), and 2 ounces of vitamin E oil into a number of lye calculators online, she needs 16.41 ounces of lye, not the 17 she mentions. This will make a soap without any superfatting. So, in essence, there are no leftover oil particles to keep your skin safe as there may be leftover lye particles in that soap once the oil and lye have saponified (turned to soap). If you were to "superfat" this soap, you would need to add some additional oils. If she were to up her sweet almond oil to 8 ounces instead of her unmeasured 1 ounce she mentions, the soap would be just above the "safe" range of having no lye leftover. I am not suggesting you add 8 ounces of sweet almond oil, I'm just saying it is that far off on the oil to lye ratio and if you chose to add more of this oil, that is how much you would need just to get the soap into the safe range. If you were to use a different oil in place of the 8 ounces of sweet almond oil I mentioned, you would need to know at what rate that oil will convert to soap to know how much to add.

 

Tea tree oil can definitely cause skin irritations. If you know for certain your skin is okay with Tea Tree, you may be okay, but two ounces added to 3 pounds of oils might be a little much for one with sensitivities, or possibly even anyone. I would suggest splitting any soap recipe in half once you get to the point of pouring it into the mold, add tea tree to half of the recipe and the other half don't. Then you can experiment with the actual recipe of the soap both ways and know if tea tree, or any other essential oil, is right for you.

 

That she adds her "hard oils" of coconut and shortening directly into the lye water and allows them to melt this way, I'm not as concerned with that as I am with all of the above, though this is not the way I would do it. It brings the temperature of the lye down quite a bit and the actual process of the soapmaking needs the heat of the lye water mixing with the oils to help get those oils converted into soap.

 

Here's a good online lye calculator if you would like to play with figures: http://www.brambleberry.com/pages/Lye-Calculator.aspx And of course the Soapnuts Library may be useful. I haven't looked around there in ages. Of all the books on soapmaking I purchased, there wasn't any recipe or bit of advice that I didn't learn from joining Soapnuts at Yahoo or reading at a good online source. In fact, lots of the recipes in the books proved to be a little lye-heavy. Anybody can make a soap recipe. You can do it if you go to the lye calculator. It doesn't mean it will be good, but it will be a recipe. Add some pretty pictures and you can sell a lot of books.  :)

 

I hope that my post hasn't offended you. I thought hard about keeping my fingers away from the keyboard but wanted to give you a few things to consider regarding Marsha's Soap recipe on You Tube. Sometimes the "best recipe" to start with is the simplest of ingredients. I suggested a Castile (olive oil soap) because it is a one-ingredient soap that is very mild and it will be easy to figure out if your skin doesn't like 100% olive oil soap. It's only downfall is it is a little slimy when wet and tends to have minimal lather. But it is one that is used on babies as it is gentle. 

 

Oh I almost forgot. Consider letting the cut soap bars age for 6 to 8 weeks before using them. Cold processed soap is like a fine wine ... it's better with age.

 

P.S. Any soap recipe can be made smaller, so if you do chose to make Marsha's soap recipe, consider a smaller batch? 25 bars at 4 ounces each won't last a lifetime but it might seem like it.  :P

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Sylvia, I make soap and have NOT looked at this video. I agree with what Bonnie says above.

Just starting out I think I would make a smaller batch of soap also.

I use the Hot process method as I don't care if the bars are ugly, they are just for personal use.

 

I'm glad you found lye, next time I'm at Lowes I'll look and see what they have. Always good to

have a second source. I usually get mine from the Mennonite quilt shop.

 

Have fun with making soap and please stay SAFE!!!

 

As you are so sensitive to soap I don't think you should add any fragrance which can be a skin irritant.

Just a thought.

 

Let us know how it turns out

Michele

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Well, girls!  I am so glad I posted this.  I knew there were things I didn't know and now I know!  Bonnie, you did not offend me!  I love you for allerting me to all the pitfalls.  The more I think about this the more I think I might should just buy my soap. Hmmmmm...  How in the world did Granny, Elie May, Unkle Jed and Jethro make that soap out by the cement pond?  I will try some of the recipes the soapnuts site and only make a little soap at the time.  Thanks.  Bonnie, how did you get so smart on this?  You wanna come to MS and help me make a batch?


Just Sew Simple Sylvia Blissett APQS Freedom '09 "Stitch" Circle Lord 2010 “"Until one has loved an animal, Part of their soul remains unawakened.”

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Sylvia, I would love to come to MS and make some soap with you! What fun that would be!! As for getting smart on this, it's like quilting, just a passion to learn and be better informed. Once you make your first batch of soap, you will become hooked. Please don't let my post deter you. It is wonderful to use and fun to make. Actually I'm thinking about hunting down some lye and a few ingredients, look what you have done! LOL There's nothing like a bar of goat's milk soap or a gentle oatmeal soap with no fragrance or essential oils. Your skin will thank you if you keep it simple and use a good online lye calculator to double check any recipe.

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This link will take you to a blog I read and her soap recipe down to earth

Note - I have never made soap so cannot say whether this is good or not. Rhonda is in Australia but her advice is relevant to anyone.

 

Helen

 

This is basically an 80% olive oil, 20% coconut oil soap, which is not a bad combination for a two-oil soap as the coconut oil gives a lather to the soap that the olive oil cannot. Her advice is good except the mixer is a little scary, but she knows how hers works and that it won't spray soap solution, so that is fine for her. A cheap stick blender was always my go-to if I didn't want to hand-stir. Always submerse and then turn on! Definitely a sound, simple, no frills soap recipe  :) Cut it in half amount-wise and it's a good tester.

 

As for the grams/ounces. I always converted my soap recipes from ounces to grams when I made them as the digital scale measures much more accurately in the smaller measurements. But that is just me, ounces are fine, too, if your scale doesn't measure that small an increment.

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I just don't know why all my hobbies have to involve MATH!  I remember taking 3 college chemistry classes with labs and I though I had died and gone to hell.  I didn't date the entire summer cause all I did was study.  I thought those Bs looked liked diamonds!  And, now, just when I think I have escaped chemistry it  come back to haunt me!


Just Sew Simple Sylvia Blissett APQS Freedom '09 "Stitch" Circle Lord 2010 “"Until one has loved an animal, Part of their soul remains unawakened.”

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Sylvia,

 

I don't make soap but I noticed that you are also making your own laundry soap.  I have just ordered one of these and thought you might be interested:

 

http://www.amazon.com/pureWash-Professional-Grade-Laundry-Purifier-High-Efficiency/dp/B0051OKX2U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361318506&sr=8-1&keywords=pure+wash+laundry+system  

 

It makes it possible to do laundry in cold water without any laundry soap or detergent.  I am looking forward to using it when it arrives and doing away with detergents and soap.


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Sue, I have never ever heard of such a thing!  I will save this for furture use.  Right now my new homemade laundry soap is working but that could change.  I tend to be able to use a detergent, soap, shampoo for awhile and then I start to itch.  Then I rotate them for awhile.  This might be the "cure!"  Thanks.


Just Sew Simple Sylvia Blissett APQS Freedom '09 "Stitch" Circle Lord 2010 “"Until one has loved an animal, Part of their soul remains unawakened.”

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I have made soap, but also want to see if you've tried Charlie's Soap.  We all have very sensitive skin, and this stuff is amazing.  They have all sorts of tests hey've run on it, and it's safe enough to use when out in the wild, because it leaves no residues of any kind.  you DO have to wash everything you own twice with it, because what happens is it strips out every other detergent residue, scent residue, optical brightener, whatever is left behind by other soaps, and then those residues can get stuck to your washer.  Whenever we have to use other soaps, we all end up suffering.  It has gotten so that I just bring along a ziplock of it with us wherever we go, since we break out otherwise.  Did I mention I love it for washing fabric?  Because I do.  

No affiliation, just a not-scratchy and super satisified customer.

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I have been making soap for about four years.  I started with the "walmart recipe".  It is called that because all of the ingredients could be bought at walmarts.

It uses the soap cac. that Bonnie H. mentions.

I watched " Nancy"  on youtube, several times, and thought if she can do this, so  can I.  She is an older lady that wears a hat,  and you will learn a lot by watching her.

After you get the walmart recipe mastered, you can venture out, and make soap of all kinds.  I use this soap for my homemade laundry soap.

I love making my own soap.  Shirley

 

Ps.  Be sure to have a stick blender before starting this.

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I have sensitive skin and have used Dr Bronners castile soap for decades. I have had to change from the peppermint to almond over the years because the peppermint began to dry my skin out.   Reasonably priced when you don't use it full strength.   We overlook sthe 'spiritual' messages on the label :-)

 

I also use Origins products for the same reason...but to me it's expensive. 

 

Anita

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You ladies are a wealth of information!  I will get to know Charlie, and Walmart (and will watch Nancy on YouTube) , and Dr. Bonner (and will not read his spiritual message).  I love all you guys!!!!!


Just Sew Simple Sylvia Blissett APQS Freedom '09 "Stitch" Circle Lord 2010 “"Until one has loved an animal, Part of their soul remains unawakened.”

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That water purifier looks very interesting - the reviews were good. I'm seriously thinking about getting that. We have a septic system now so have to be mindful of what goes into it.

 

Helen,

 

Try shopping around for prices if you do get one.  It you are by chance a member of Direct Buy they are/were selling them for a much lower price than anywhere else.  I ordered mine from there and I am still waiting for it to arrive four weeks later!  The manufacturer also seems to have them on sale at times, a few weeks ago they were cheaper than Amazon.  


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