soap : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I was thinking about making my own soap. Would this be economical? I would have to buy the lye and fat as I would never be able to save enough (fat) of it to make it totally from my own source. I would like to make my own washing detergent with it as well. Any information would be appreciated.

-- debbie mulder (, March 23, 2001


look in the archives,, are tons of posts on making soap

-- stan (, March 23, 2001.

Ask around nicley at the grocery store. Chances are the butcher will gladly give you all the beef tallow you can carry away. That is what they did for me. I couldn't get the hang of rendering it though, and I'd recommend that you do it outside. The lye is fairly inexpensive. Even if you buy the fat too, you get a lot of soap for what you spent on the supplies. What really costs are the essential oils to make it smell beautiful!

-- Rebekah (, March 25, 2001.

Lorann Oils has all the essential oils at very reasonable cost, or 1-800-862-8620. Example,one ounce of sweet orange oil= 2.00, one ounce of real lavender oil=4.70, can't beat their prices anywhere!

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, March 25, 2001.

Even with store bought ingredients it would be economical. I've been making soap forever. Most times, I have to buy ingredients, though I have made it from all homemade stuff...

First... Find the best price you can on olive oil.... Every soap I make has some olive oil in it, as it is a natural moisturizer, and protects skin. (My doctor advised my mother to only use olive oil to wash me as a baby, as I was premature)

Next, get generic vegetable shortening in the can... like Crisco. Its made from the same stuff, but a lot less expensive that Crisco is.

You can make soap with just these two, but a little coconut oil - although slightly drying to the skin - will add the lather that one is used to. Without it, soap will not lather much at all... still cleans, but most folks like that lather.

78 ounces fats 1 can lye 2 quarts water.

Make sure that they are about the same temperature... if you can quickly and lightly touch the bottom of the jar containing the lye mix, and the bottom of the enameled pot holding the melted fats, it should be good to go.

Stirring CONSTANTLY, but slow and smoothly, SLOWLY add the lye mix to the fats. Stir until the mixture is about as thick as heavy cake batter, then pour into molds. Should be about an hour or so. Stir evenly, slowly and constantly, or it might seperate - and that CAN be hard to fix.

Molds can be anything from plastic-wrap lined old shirt boxes to the store boughts. Store bought molds don't last long, as the soap will eventually weaken them and they will crack.

I usually make a 10 ounce bar (about the same size as a 3 oz from the store) and it will last a family of four up to two months, used constantly. From the recipe above, you will get up to 36 bars of soap. If all your ingredients are purchased on sale, it should be about equal (if not slightly better) to the 'dollar' bars you get at the store - and a lot better for your skin!!

If you are going to add milk (whole, skim, buttermilk, powdered), herbs, fragrance, etc.... Add it just before pouring into the molds. Until that stuff is hard, it is very caustic, and will 'eat' whatevere you add to it. It isn't as bad just before going into the molds, as it is starting to harden at that point.

Don't bother with colors... I used to use food coloring, but the blue comes out pinkish purple, and the other colors seperate. There are special colors on the market for soaps, but they are expensive, and sometimes your ingredients will color soaps, so why bother? Chemical colors come out closest to what they are supposed to be, but I have had those 'change' too.

Hope this helps!

-- Sue Diederich (, March 26, 2001.

VERY economical! You really need to try it at least once! I have been making soap for 20+ years and always have lots on hand. Make some and have fun!

-- Gailann Schrader (, March 26, 2001.

You can make very nice soap with just fat, water and lye. Go to the local butcher shop, the kind where they bring in animals THEY have slaughtered. The will likely be glad to give you some fat. The hardness of the fat will determine the hardness of the soap. I like 1/3 beef (hard) to 2/3 pork (soft) fat. Animal oils lather differently than vegetable oils, but I've found animal fat soaps to be milder. (Just my own experience, perhaps not universal.)

If you want scent without expensive oils, get some strong-smelling plant (lavender, rosemary, cedar leaves, etc.) and make a very strong tea, simmering it for a while. If you like the smell of the finished tea, and it is strong, chances are you will like the smell of the soap. The soap-making process will change the scent, though, so don't expect it to be just the same. Cool the tea and use it for the water to dissolve your lye in. Good luck!

-- Laura Jensen (, March 26, 2001.

Has anyone made those "gardener's bar" that are suppose to be particularly good for gardener's hands?? If so, what makes them special?? Thanks for info if you know.

-- diane (, March 26, 2001.

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