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Soap Making Instructions Professional Tips

Soap making instructions are everywhere on the Internet. But the instructions are often complicated and hard to follow. This article reviews the basics so you can get a picture of the process and better understand some of the instructions you see.

First you need to understand that soap is a result of a chemical process. Soap is the product of a combination of an alkali and fats and oils. The most critical part of this process is getting the proportions right. You have to mix the proper amount of alkali with the proper amount of oils.

The alkali we use is some form of lye. For bar soap it's sodium hydroxide. And no, you can't make soap without lye. Now you can buy soap that's already been made with lye and remelt it. And you can use certain plant extracts that have soap in them. But what we call soap is lye plus a fat or oil.

The oils or fats we use to make natural soap can be most any kind of fat or oil. But different oils produce very different kinds of soap. Coconut oil, for example, produces soap with lots of big, beautiful bubbles. But coconut oil soap cleans so well that it removes the oils from your skin so it feels drying. On the other hand, olive oil soap is luxurious and moisturizing, but it makes very small bubbles. So, what you do is combine different oils to produce a soap that's just right. Just right to you that is.

The artistry to making soap is combining the ingredients in just the right proportions.

Each type of oil or fat uses a different amount of lye to turn it into soap. Luckily charts have been developed that tell you just how much lye is required to turn each kind of oil to soap.

We mix lye with water usually to make it easier to mix the soap batch. Without the water, the chemical reaction would take place too fast to make nice looking soap. That's means you have to pick the right amount of water too. We need enough to get good mixing of the lye and oils. But not too much or it will take to long to dry.

And it does take several weeks for the soap to dry or cure after it is mixed.

The basic soap making instructions are:

Always use approved eye safety goggles. Uncured soap can blind you.
Develop a recipe.
Measure the oils.
Measure the water.
Measure the lye.
Combine lye into water, never water into lye.
Melt oils if necessary.
Let oil and water come to about the same temperature.
Stir lye-water mixture into the oils.
Continue stirring until the mixture just starts to harden, called tracing.
Pour soap mixture into molds.
Allow to cure for about 4 weeks.

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