Making Cold Process Soap
We all care about the ingredients we're using on our skin! Once you realize how fun and easy it is to gather everything you need to make your own soap, and how much nicer your homemade soap is than normal synthetic commercially produced soap, you'll never go back.
To help you make your own soap, Voyageur offers everything you need, from ingredients to supplies and packaging.
We also have soap making kits with pre-measured ingredients and instructions for you to get a head start on soap making at home.
The Soap Making Process
When fats and oils (an acid) are combined with a solution of sodium hydroxide/lye (a base) and water, they combine in a process called saponification to form soap (a salt) and glycerin. Our homemade soaps are made using easily accessible materials and a simple process called Cold Process Soap Making.
Soap cleans in two ways – by helping to wet the surface to be cleaned and by trapping the dirt to the water, allowing the dirt to be rinsed away. This is possible because of the unique makeup of the soap molecule, which is attracted to water on one end, and oil or dirt on the other.
Basic Soap Making Ingredients
The basic ingredients in soap are fats and oils, sodium hydroxide (lye), and water. The water acts as a solvent to dissolve and help disperse the lye through the oils.
In the past, most soaps were made using readily available beef fat (tallow) or pork fat (lard). Today, there's also a wide range of vegetable and fruit based oils to choose from, including coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, canola shortening and liquid oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil, and soy bean.
You also have the option of using specialized fats and oils such as almond oil, grapeseed oil, hemp oil, jojoba oil, wheat germ oil, apricot kernel oil, cocoa butter, shea butter and beeswax.
Always wear protective rubber gloves and protective eyeglasses when you are making soap. Sodium Hydroxide (also called Lye or Caustic Soda) is a toxic and caustic chemical, and must be treated with respect.
Unused sodium hydroxide can be stored for future use in a safely sealed and labeled container in a location not accessible to children or pets. Ingesting lye can be fatal if not treated immediately. A recommended action is to give water only – 4 ounces for children and 8 ounces for adults – and go immediately to a hospital emergency. Check with your local poison control center for the most up-to-date procedures available.
Remember that all soap makers use lye to make soaps. Using knowledge and common sense are the best safety measures.