Soapmaking Question : LUSENET : Cooking & Crafts : One Thread

I would like to attempt soapmaking but was wondering if I can use lard -- the kind you buy in store, or do I need to add some type of other fat to it? Anyone have a simple recipe for soap for a first timer?

-- Karen (, January 20, 2002


Karen, Yes you can use lard by itself. This is a good inexpensive way to make a batch of soap without spending a fortune on fancy oils. You can use them later, when you feel more comfortable with the process. I just posted a basic soap recipe on the Countryside forum. I'll repeat it for you.

3 pounds lard or shortening. (48 oz)

1 can red devil lye (6 1/2 oz)

3 cups of water

In a large pot, melt the lard down and let it cool to 95-98 degrees. (I hold my hand over the pot, it should feel the same as body temperature) Put water into a glass jar, add lye slowly, stir with the handle of a wooden spoon. Place the whole lye/water jar into a big bowl of cool water, this helps the lye mixture cool faster. I use the same method on the lye that I use on the lard-place my hand over the jar until it feels like body temperature. 95-98 degrees.

When both lard and lye/water mixture are 95-98 degrees, slowly pour the lye water into the lard, stirring constantly until the lard/lye water thickens. Your spoon will leave traces when you stir. Now it's ready to pour into molds. The easiest mold is a cardboard box lined with news paper. This soap needs to sit for three weeks before you cut it into bars or whatever shapes you like. Cover the box of soap with a newspaper or plastic, then cover it with an old blanket. Keeping it covered with an old blanket helps keep some of the warmth in and aids in the curing. Set it on a shelf out of the way and wait. Later, in your next batch, you can try using different oils for the lard, Just make sure they add up to the 3 lbs. You can also add milk to the water, just make sure the total is 3 cups. I want to mention that you might want to wear gloves and eye protection, lye is so dangerous! I hope this helps, let me know if I didn't explain myself well enough! Best of luck!

-- cowgirlone in OK (, January 20, 2002.

Lard ( the kind from the store ) is very good to use...It makes your soap take a little longer to cure...BUT!!! also gives you creamy white soap...unlike using old fat you've saved...also... I have many good soap recipes...( Our stuff is still packed...will post some as soon as i can find the box they are in...LOL..).. and just a bit of info...It is VERY VERY important that the lye/water mixture and the fat both be 100 degrees before you mix them can be frustrating at first...but it is worth the effort...also if you need to warm up your lye mixture...set the conatiner its in in a larger one with hot water...DO NOT HEAT ON THE STOVE OR OTHER HEAT SOURCE....remember practice makes perfect...happy molding...

-- Kristean Thompson (, January 20, 2002.

I am so glad you mentioned that it takes awhile to cure. A lady I know made a fresh batch of soap and gave me some but failed to tell me that I needed to let it age. Well, I didn't know any better and used it! She said it was good for sores and such. I was suffering with a yeast infection when I used it. I was burned bad!!

-- Jean in No. WI (, January 20, 2002.

10c. lard...12 oz lye...5c. pure water-distilled or filtered...Dissolve lye in water in non-corrosive pan or bowl...wear rubber gloves, goggles too... and keep apple cider vinegar handy to neutralize it if you get it on your skin, do this outside or in open shed etc...Lye should be around 95-98 degrees...melt lard-should be about the same temp...drizzle lye slowly into lard...stir and stir...til the wooden spoon/stick stands up on it's own in soap, just before this you can add oatmeal, honey etc....mold...cover with plastic wrap and towel/blanket...let sit 24 hours make sure there's newspapers or cardboard under it...if in flat box or similar turn out and cut in shape/size you on waxed paper or cookie sheet/whatever, stagger the bars for better drying. Dry two weeks. Scrape each bar and bevel edges.

Sometimes it takes longer to set upif you walk away from it for a while, its fine, it fact, sometimes it's quicker. Weather can effect the time also.

-- Cindy (SE. IN) (, January 21, 2002.

I suggest you use freezer paper to sit your bars on to cool....dont use newspaper or anything with color or will be absorbed by the soap...also because your soap is " green " the lye in it is still dont use anything metal...UNLESS it is covered with butcher paper...I also suggest mixing your lye and water in an old plastic pitcher ( dont use it for anything else )...test to be sure it can withstand the heat by boiling some water and pouring into the pitcher while it sits in the sink...if it doesnt melt the pitcher it will be good for the lye/water mixture...using the pitcher makes it easier to stir and drizzle your lye/water mixture at the same time...hope this helps...happy molding..Kristean

-- Kristean Thompson (, January 21, 2002.

Thanks Kristean, I meant to say place the waxed paper on a cookie sheet. This works quite well.

-- Cindy (SE. IN) (, January 22, 2002.

If you want to make milk soap {as I use goat milk} This is the way I make it, I have been making it for years and even sale some once in a while at the local fea market, Or you can just use water}

3 C. cold milk 1/2 c. lewis lye {or you can make a wooden hopper with a spout at the bottom, line the hopper with paper and feel it with cooled ashes run water through it, and something to catch the liquid, and drip your stove ashes I prefer hickory, you have Liquid lye}

3 c. fat, melted and cooled to at least 90*

{you can add oatmeal, olive oil, and glycerine, even honey if you wish to, it is not necessary}

Add 1 Tablesp. Borax, Caution do not use aluminum, it will turn your soap bad, I use a 5 gal. granet pot, and a large wooden ladel,

Carefully mix milk and lye in container, the lye will make your liquid hot, let it cool for a while, {20--30 minutes}, cook this on low for at least 30 minute, it will look like oatmeal, stir in any other ings. you wish, mix well, pour into your molds, you will have to work this last step rather fast, as it will set up rather quick. {note I would cut the soap before it hardens as it will be hard to cut.} Let age for at least a week.

-- Donna (, February 03, 2002.

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