It seems that I am always experimenting with something or other. I am always trying to learn how to make things, be it food, cleaning products, hygiene products, or more obscure (weird?) items. Last summer, I decided to try my hand at soap making. I made plain, unscented soap for bathing and some lard-based soap (scented) to use in my homemade laundry soap. I was pretty pleased with those batches. The bars don't look great, but they work! :-)
Since then, I have wanted to try to make my own dish soap and shampoo. We used the unscented bath soap bar to wash our hair for a few days when we ran out of shampoo. That actually worked really well. I had to use apple cider vinegar as a kind of conditioner for my hair with this method. I put it in a spray bottle, sprayed it on my hair in the shower, and rinsed it out.
Since we are used to liquid shampoos with scents, I tried to convert my laundry soap bars into liquid for that purpose without much success. The unscented bath bars suds up more, and we really do like the suds for our hair even if they aren't necessary. I also tried the liquid for dishes, but I didn't really like it.
I finally ordered potassium hydroxide to make liquid soap, my latest experiment. I am quite a ways into my first batch as I type. Liquid soap is definitely more time-consuming than bar soap! I'll let you know how it turns out when I'm finished.
In the meantime, I thought I would share some soap-making links in case anyone is interested. These are all cold process soap links (cold process soap has to cure for several weeks to neutralize the lye before it is ready for use). I will add liquid soap making links to my liquid soap post.
- Homestead Crafts at The Family Homestead (scroll down for the soap making info): I was first inspired to try making soap by reading about it at The Family Homestead. I used Crystal's Simple Soap Recipe for the bath soap and Crystal's Lard Soap for Laundry (same page, last recipe). I added about 1 ounce of lavender essential oil to the laundry soap.
- down to earth has a really helpful soap tutorial with pictures.
- Miller's Homemade Soap Pages is *the* place to go for cold-pressed soap making information! I used Kathy Miller's Soap Classic recipe for my latest batch of cold-pressed soap with orange blossom and lavender essential oils (the kids begged me for a scented bath soap). That will be curing for a few weeks, so we haven't used it yet. It smells great, though.
- Grandpappy's Homemade Soap Recipe: This is how they made soap in the "old days." The recipe includes instructions for making your own lye and rendering your own animal fat.