Posts Tagged ‘organic soap making’

I know What Soap Is, But How Does It Actually Work?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

A popular activity for many people is soap making. Soap making is a fun way to make your own, unique soap. But how does soap actually work, and will you be doing it the right way if you make it on your own?

The most simple way I can think of to explain how soap works is that soaps have sodium and potassium fatty acids salt in them. The fatty acid salts produce a chemical reaction known as saponification. They have strands of molecules that like water, and some strands that don’t like water. Because they are able to work with and against water, soap is able to work well with both water and oil.

Soap has hydrophillic heads that work well with water. They also have long, hydrophobic chains that join well with the oil. The particles of oil are then suspended from the water, making it easier to remove.
soap making
After oil is suspended it will detach from whatever substance it was holding on to. So if oil was on a pot, it would be able to be separated from it and be rinsed away with water. Soap allows you to get the item clean.

Grease is similar to oil. It is insoluble in water and needs soap to separate it from the water. The non-polar hydrocarbon molecules breaks up the grease molecules and all the dirt, grime, or oil that was part of the grease becomes unattached. The grease is then free to be rinsed away from the item.

Soaps are popular for cleaning. They are great for cleaning hands and cleaning items with dirt. Dirt is all over the place, and soap allows us to get dirt off easily and clean the skin or item in the process.

Soaps are now being fitted with anti-bacterial. Anti-bacterial does more than clean. It actually kills the germs, so that you have a much lower risk of getting sick. Anti-bacterial soap is very important after using the restroom, or when you are handling food or are sick.

Soap making is a great opportunity for people to make their own soap. The soap you make on your own should, if done properly, still be able to have the same cleaning properties. The difference is that you will have the pleasure and opportunity of  soap making for yourself.

The Ever Popular Soap on a Rope

Monday, June 21st, 2010

There are many good reasons for soap making using a rope. I think it’s great for camping since it helps keep your soap out of the dirt. At home it’s nice because with your soap hanging to dry, you don’t end up with all that slimy soap mess in your soap holder. When soap is securely attached to a rope, you have an easier time finding it and catching it when it lands in the tub!

So, how do you make soap on a rope?  It’s really easy, and lots of fun! If you already have a favorite soap recipe, start your soap making like you would normally do. You will also need about 18 inches of some kind of rope.

The easiest is to use melt and pour soap and add your own fragrance. If you have a double sided mold that snaps together, you push both ends of the rope down into the opening so that they will be about halfway into the bar of soap. You want to make sure your soap is firmly attached to the rope! Put some rubber bands around the mold as extra security to hold it together, and pour your soap into the mold, overfilling slightly.
soap making
If you are using a one sided mold, again start your soap making in your usual fashion, then pour your soap into the mold so it is about half full.  Let it set up just a bit to form a film, then lay the ends of your rope on top of your soap so they will be at least halfway encased in the finished soap. Finish filling up your mold by pouring the rest of the soap over the top of your rope, making sure the rope doesn’t float.

Place your soap where it won’t be disturbed. Let your soap harden as you normally would do before removing it from the mold. Voilá, you have soap on a rope!

You can also make soap on a rope from a regular bar of soap and mold it with your hands. Turn the bar of soap into soap flakes by grating it (or using a food processor). Add enough water to make a dough and knead it with your hands. (For 3 cups of soap flakes add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water.)

Tie a knot in the ends of your rope to hold them together. Put a few drops of vegetable oil on your hands so the soap dough won’t stick so much. Form a ball out of your soap dough and push your knotted rope down into the ball about half way.

The artistic minded can mold the soap ball into different shapes using your hands. Set your completed project aside where it can dry at least overnight. You now have your very own soap on a rope creation with soap making!

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.