Posts Tagged ‘natural soap making’

Making Glycerin Soap with Kids

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Glycerin soap is a great craft to do with kids. The extra glycerin in the soap produces a very moisturizing bar of soap. The clear soap also gives you the opportunity to add extra fun by putting things into the soap.

Clear soap base can be purchased in large blocks to be melted down. This melted soap can be colored, and fragrance added as desired. This melted soap is then poured into soap molds and is known as “melt and pour” soap making.

Melt and pour soap making is great for doing with kids. There are no harmful chemicals to mix, so it is quite safe. You still need to have common sense such as: don’t cut yourself with the knife, and don’t put your fingers in the hot soap.
soap making
Instead of using melt and pour soap, you could make your own soap. This method would be slightly more complicated and would require more adult supervision. Making transparent soap involves more steps than regular cold process soap making.

If using melt and pour soap, first cut the block of soap into pieces and melt it in the top of a double boiler. To add surprises, while the soap is melting, put small toys in the soap molds. Face the toys down in the molds so they will be visible from the top of the soap.

After the soap has melted, you can add scents or fragrances to the soap if you want. Pour your melted soap over the top of the toys into the soap molds. Let the soap cool and harden.

Make sure the soap is completely cooled and hardened before you try popping it out of the mold. If you try getting it out while the soap is still warm, the soap will bend. After removing your soap from the mold, wrap it in clear plastic.

Your soap is now ready to use. Children will love washing their way towards the toy hidden inside the soap. They will think bath time has never been so fun!

The History of Soap Making

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Long ago people figured out that water is good for cleaning things. It also didn’t take long to learn that water alone can’t clean everything. At some point, someone figured out how to make soap, probably from animal fat that mixed with the ashes of the fires the meat was cooked on.

No one knows where soap making began. Clay tablets dating back to 2500 BC suggest that soap was first used for styling hair, as well as to aid in healing wounds. Ancient Greeks were said to use a combination of lye and ashes to clean their pots and the statues of their gods.

Cleopatra used milk, honey and essential oils in her bathing rituals. She used sand as a cleaning agent, scrubbing off skin as well as dirt. In ancient Rome, oils were used that were then scraped off the body with a strigil, taking some of the dirt with the oil.
soap making
The Gauls and the Romans combined goat’s tallow and the ashes of the beech tree to create their soaps. Roman legend has it that soap got it’s name from Mount Sapo, where animals were sacrificed. Rain washed the ashes and animal fats down the mountain into the clay soil along the Tiber River. Women washing clothes there found that the clothes came clean more easily using this mixture.

The first of the Roman baths using water from their aqueducts was built about 312 BC and bathing became quite popular. By the second century AD, soap was recommended for both medicinal and cleaning reasons. During excavations of Pompeii, an entire soap making factory was revealed, complete with bars of soap. After the fall of Rome, bathing and using soap declined, possibly aiding the spread of plagues during the Dark Ages. Japan and Iceland continued bathing throughout this time period.

In 1399, King Henry IV of England instituted the Order of the Bath among his knights. To join this order the knight had to venture into a tub filled with water at least once during his knighthood. Queen Elizabeth bathed every three months, and was considered a sophisticated lady.

Marseilles, France was reknown for its soap. The plentiful olive trees supplied the olive oil, and vegetable soda was also abundant. In the early days of the United States, pilgrims and pioneers made their own soap once a year on soap making day. This lye soap was fine for washing clothes, but was hard on the skin and not pleasant for bathing.

Palmolive soap, made from palm and olive oils, was in use before 1917. Ivory soap came about when a worker accidentally left the soap mixer running while he went to lunch; incorporating more air into the mixture and creating a soap that floats. Regardless of how soap use began, we can say with confidence that it’s use is here to stay.

Making Your Own Natural Soap

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Whether you’re pinching your penny or looking for a new hobby, the process of making your own homemade natural soap has attracted many.  A starter kit designed for beginners might be the best option for you if you’re just starting out.  If you want to take on a bigger challenge, however, you might consider searching out recipes and trying one on your own.

Starter Kits for Natural Soap

Soap making starter kits contain all the soap supplies you will need, and are the simplest way to go.  Complete with molds and detailed instructions, you will be guided every step of the way.  Look for a kit in a craft store, or shop online.

Melt and Pour Soap is what you’ll most likely find in these starter kits.  Just as its name indicates, you melt the glycerin, and pour it into the molds.  Using your microwave makes the process even simpler.

soap supplies

The Hot Process

When making natural soap using the hot process, be prepared for a few hours of heat.  Mix your soap supplies and ingredients over the stove in a double boiler or stock pot, and cook for several hours.  Finally, pour into molds.

The nice thing about the hot method is that because of the cooking process, it expedites the time it takes for your soap to cure.  On the downside, some of the valuable glycerin is lost while the mixture is heated over the stove.  Soothing the skin by pulling moisture right out of the air, glycerin is one of the most valuable components of natural soap.

The Cold Process

While the glycerin retention and preparation is much more favorable in the cold method, the time to wait is not.  Soap created through the cold process takes three to four weeks to cure, meaning you must hold off for that long before ever using your soap.

Find an easy recipe that others have been successful with.  After setting out your soap supplies, line the container(s) you will be using with plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper.  In a large mixing bowl, add the lye to the distilled water and take caution – lye causes heat, and there will be fumes.

Melt the oils in the microwave, and add to the lye-water mixture; stir.  Place the mixture in the lined containers, and wait for it to solidify.  Cut into bars, and set aside to cure according to recipe instructions.  Use within twelve months.

Organic or Natural?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Sometimes it’s confusing to know the difference between something labeled as “organic” and something else labeled “natural”. The certification of organic varies from country to country, but involves a set of standards for those growing, storing, processing, packaging and shipping food products. This includes everyone from the seed suppliers, farmers, processors, retailers and restaurants. Here are some of the general rules for something labeled organic.

Synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and food additives, and also genetically modified organisms are avoided. The farmland where the food is grown needs to be chemical free for at least three years. Accurate records need to be kept including production and sales numbers.

There needs to be a strict separation between certified and non-certified products in order to avoid contamination. The premises need to be inspected periodically to ensure these regulations are followed. Even when these rules are followed, there are differences in the levels of organic products.
candle and soap making
Something labeled as 100% organic means that all products used were made from ingredients certified to be 100% chemical free. An organic label means the products are 95% free of chemicals.  If it says made with organic ingredients, the product must contain a minimum of 70% chemical free ingredients.

There may be some chemical free ingredients specified in the ingredient list, but it can’t be considered “certified” unless it meets the above criteria. Non-certified and certified food producers both adhere to the same agricultural standards for food safety and other governmental regulations.  Obtaining the specialized certified label requires extra precaution to ensure consumers are getting what they expect.

Natural ingredients are those that have not been processed with chemicals and synthetics since leaving the farm. This means the farmer could have used chemical fertilizers and pesticides while the food was growing, but that no additional chemicals were added later. Thus, natural candle and soap making implies that no additional chemicals are added to the original products used in creating the candle or soap.

The word natural is overused, along with unrefined, pure, wholesome, and authentic. This can make it difficult to sift through the labels to find the truth. Natural candle and soap making can vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Knowing the difference between the certifications used on different labels can help us better understand what we are buying. Although it can be confusing, it is well worth the time it takes to read the labels a little closer. This can give you peace of mind when candle or soap making that you are really getting what you want.

The Difference between Natural and Regular Soap

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

If ever given the option, it is always better to use natural or organic products.  Organic food is better for your body, and with soap it is no different.  Knowing the differences between the soap making process of natural and regular soap will allow you to make yet another better choice in your day-to-day life.

The first major difference between natural soap and regular soap includes what they are made from.  During the soap making process, natural soap is always a mixture of lye, water, and oil, whereas the regular soaps you buy from the store are detergent-based from petroleum.  While petrol may be good for your car, it is definitely not good for your skin.

Regular soap contains ingredients which are harmful to your skin.  These include isopropyl alcohol, BHT, and Tricoslan which is found in most anti-bacterial soaps.  Natural soap contains none of these harmful substances.

The most noticeable difference between natural soap and regular soap is the effect it has on your skin.  Natural soap is soothing, whereas regular soap commonly acts as an irritant.  If you are looking for smoother, softer skin, consider switching to a natural brand.

soap making process

The most common irritant in regular detergent-based soaps is alkali.  Alkali causes tight, itchy, and/or flaky skin.  If you suffer from any of these conditions, check the amount of alkali listed on your product’s label.

On the other hand, natural soap carries a high level of glycerin after the soap making process.  This compound soothes and moisturizes the skin.  It pulls moisture out of the air, making your skin stay soft longer than it would by using regular soaps.

Some would assume that the tag of ‘natural’ also means the tag of a higher price.  There is actually little price difference between natural and regular soap.  Making your own natural soap at home may bring its price down even further.

Again, some might claim it an inconvenience to buy natural soap rather than purchase what they are used to.  With the ever-increasing popularity of organic products, however, natural soap is easier to find than ever before.  Look more carefully at the same places you usually shop, visit a store selling organics, or even shop online.

Five Tricks for a Better Natural Soap

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Natural soap making has become more common with our increased awareness of what harmful chemicals can do. Good natural soap requires the right combination of ingredients. Here are five tricks for better soap.

1. Get the basics right. High priced ingredients aren’t really necessary to make good soap. Often high-priced ingredients try to make up for an inferior soap recipe.

Recipes using coconut, palm and olive oils, though simple, are often the best recipes. There is no need for sugar in soap. Other expensive oils such as rice bran oil, emu oil or shea butter are also not necessary.
natural soap making
2. Use the right amount of coconut oil. Coconut oil in natural soap making creates a soap that lathers well with lots of big bubbles.  However, too much coconut oil cleans too well, drying out the skin.

3. Use enough fragrance. Many recipes don’t call for enough scent oil, so when you’re done, what little scent you used was wasted. In your natural soap making, use enough scent oil so you can enjoy it later.

4. Palm kernel oil also takes a prominent place in natural soap making. It takes the place of animal fats such as beef tallow or lard. Palm oil makes a fairly mild hard soap with only fair lathering qualities.

5. Moisturize with olive oil or something like it. The unsaturated oils such as olive oil act as moisturizers in natural soap making. These oils attract moisture to the skin and give the soap a luxury feel. Castile soap, made with only olive oil, makes for a thiner soap and doesn’t lather as well as soap containing coconut oil.

Natural soaps need not be expensive, and don’t need to include exotic ingredients. The trick is to get the right blend of ingredients in order to clean the skin without drying it. With the proper recipe, all natural  soaps can be a joy to use.