soapmaking (can shortening be used?) : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Is there a way to make soap using lye and shotening? My daughter wants to make soap, and I work third shift and just don't have the energy to render fat and all. The kits at the store are high-priced and don't amke much. I'd rather she learned from scratch, not from a kit, anyway. Thanks for your help in advance.

-- carol chambers (, January 18, 2001


Response to soapmaking

We use store brought works Grant

-- grant (, January 18, 2001.

Response to soapmaking

You can use shortening like Crisco - it works just fine. You can use almost any oil or combination of oils. There are a bunch of great sites for soapmaking - try - they have good instructions and recipes.

-- Linda Al-Sangar (, January 18, 2001.

Response to soapmaking

A woman in our church makes wonderful soap from Crisco. It really helps my hands in the winter. If you can't find recipe e-mail me and I will call her for hers.

-- diane (, January 18, 2001.

Response to soapmaking

Here's a great site with lots of info and recipes. I should warn you, soapmaking is addictive!

Sherri in IN

-- Sherri C (, January 18, 2001.

Response to soapmaking

Here is a real basic recipe: 1 pound of lard (runs about $1.00 at the grocery). 4 tablespoons of lye (red devil is good, do NOT use Drano, etc). Put your 4 tablespoons of lye in a heavy glass jar, add 6.5 oz of cold water. The lye solution will get very hot, so keep your face away - and you should probably put the jar in the sink to add the water. Let cool to about 75-80 degrees F. Melt lard (I also add an oz of olive oil, but it isn't necessary) to about 85-95 degrees. Use a glass bowl, stainless steel pot or enamel clad pot. Once temeratures are reached, slowly drizzle lye solution into the fat while gently stirring. Wear rubber gloves and keep vinegar on hand in case you get any lye on your skin - and rinse, rinse, rinse if that happens.

This is the fun part. Stir gently until the mixture saponifies. It can take as little as 20 minutes, or hours. If I get too impatient (I usually make at least 5 lb batches), I take the electric beaters to it. You know it has saponified in this kind of soap because it will suddenly thicken, make sure all the lye solution is mixed in. You can add scent such as essential oils or perfume if you like at this time. If you want to color it, you might want to try adding something like paprika or ground parsley.

Pour the mixture into a mold - a milk carton will do for your first few tries - make sure you have a mold ready to pour into before you start. Wrap the mold up in towels or rubberized bathroom mats to keep it from cooling too fast. Let it sit for 24 hours or until hardened - it should still be soft because if it's too hard you'll have a giant block of soap mostly good for grating and putting in a shaker. Remove from mold, and use fishing line, I stretched fishing line on a hacksaw handle, or a good sharp knife to cut the bars. They now have to cure for a few weeks before they are ready to use - they get good at about 6 weeks. They may have an ashy coating, that will be a bit drying to the skin - just rinse it off when ready to use or scrape off. Enjoy. There are all kinds of ways to make soap, but this one is pretty reliable and gives a creamy lather.

-- Anne Tower (, January 19, 2001.

Response to soapmaking

Does anyone have a recipie for using vegetable oil and red devil lye? I bought quite a lot of oil for y2k and wish to use it for making soap. annette

-- annette (, January 20, 2001.

Response to soapmaking

Could someone tell me where you would buy Red Devil lye?


-- Kelly (, January 21, 2001.

Response to soapmaking

I have read some of you use some olive oil. I have a calendula oil that I made with calendula blossoms and olive oil. Can I use that? Will it retain some of the healing properties of the calendula? pS the oil is very, very orange from the calendula. A lot of people are saying they find the lard makes the soap have an odor..will shortening lessen that and what will the lather be like?

-- Alison in Nova Scotia (, January 23, 2001.

Response to soapmaking

Kelly, I buy Red Devil Lye in the grocery store, it's in the same section as the drain cleaners.

-- diane (, January 23, 2001.

Response to soapmaking

Just make sure you get LYE and not a sodium hydroxide solution of some sort. Most fats will work fine. I have a soaper friend that uses all vegetable oil for her soaps. I have made soap for 20+ years and have had just one or two batches not come out the way I wanted. Good Luck!

-- Gailann Schrader (, January 23, 2001.

I am into basic soap... I have used crisco in most every batch I have made. You have to be careful not to hurt some peoples feeling, because what they make is art to be admired, but I like it practical, and affordable. I won't buy expensive oils...

-- Cheryl M (, February 22, 2002.

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