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Beginners Guide To Soap Making
Making your own soap is a lot of fun. I love making my own soap for myself and also giving it as gifts to family and friends. If youíre interested in making your own soap but not sure where to start, hereís a brief explanation of the three different soap making processes:
1. Cold Process
Cold process soap making is really making soap from scratch. The three basic ingredients youíll need to make soap this way are water, oils and sodium hydroxide (lye). Lye is classed as a hazardous material. It can burn skin on contact. When using lye you need to be extremely careful and take all safety precautions, such as wearing safety goggles, protective gloves, clothing and shoes. You also need to ensure you use a stainless steel saucepan and have separate containers for the storing of lye and measuring cups, etc just for soap making.
Itís very important you use a good recipe if making soap this way that tells you all the precautions you need to take when using lye; such as mixing the water and lye outside or in a very well ventilated area. The mixing of water and lye first produces a steam so toxic that it can burn your lungs.
You need to be very responsible when handling lye and it does sound scary, so a lot of soap making beginners prefer starting off making their own soap by the following two methods.
2. Handmilled or Rebatched Method
This method involves the grating of ready made soap (so thereís no lye to worry about) that is then melted with added water. You can add your own additives, such as flower petals, herbs, lavender, oatmeal, spices, soap colors and fragrance. Then you pour it into soap molds and leave to set. This can take 24 hours but for a truly hardened soap it can take up to two weeks.
3. Melt and Pour Method
In my experience, this is the easiest method to use if youíre a beginner. Melt and pour soap comes in ready made soap blocks (no lye to deal with). You just melt it, either in the microwave or double boiler, add your soap color, fragrance and optional additives, pour it into the mold and leave it to set for a few hours. Once itís set itís ready to use!
When making soap by any of the methods above, itís important you use a good recipe so you get the measurements of the soap, colourings, fragrances and additives right. Itís also important that you donít accidentally splash yourself when dealing with a hot, melted soap mixture.
Soap making is addictive. Once you make your first successful batch, you donít want to stop! So why not get started on your soap making journey today?
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