cold process soap making

Many people love cold process soap making and consider it to be the only real soap making method. I suggest that you test the waters and see what fits the best with you. The cold process method does mean that you will handle lye (sodium hydroxide) and safety precautions and equipment will need to be used. Note that because of the caustic effect of lye, the equipment that you use should only be used for your soap making.

Many soap making suppliers sell some great cold process soap making kits.

Gather your soap making supplies and equipment

cold process soap making instructions

Remember you need to wear a pair of goggles and gloves when you handle lye. NEVER pour water into lye – ALWAYS pour lye into water.

It is best to have all you soap making equipment and ingredients ready.

Your workspace should be covered.

Mold(s) are prepared and set out.

Print out a copy of the your recipe for a quick reference.

  1. Measure and set aside your essential oils or fragrances and any additives you will be adding to your homeade lye soap recipe.
  2. Weigh out your lye (sodium hydroxide) and your distilled water. Place your lye – water solution in a roasting pan of in the sink. This way if it bubbles over (how I am happy that I actually listened to this safety tip).
  3. Dissolve the lye (sodium hydroxide) by pouring lye (sodium hydroxide) into water distilled water LYE INTO WATER. Make sure that you do this in a well ventilated room or even outside. Take your time to make sure that it is completely dissolved. Let cool.
  4. Weigh out your oils and butters using a digital kitchen scale.
  5. Place all of your oils and butter in saucepan and heat them on low-medium heat. Use your thermometer to monitor that the temperature does not go over 150F.
  6. Remove from heat when your oils are between 120F and 140F.
  7. Monitor the temperature of your lye-water solution with the thermometer. When the lye-solution and the melted oils reach about the same temperature (between 100F and 120F), add the lye-solution to the melted oils. This might take a bit of time and juggling. Sometimes I will put my solutions in cold water bathes. Certain soap makers do not really worry about having the same temperatures before mixing.
  8. Use a stick hand blender to mix the soap solution. You should be still wearing your goggles and gloves. Be careful not to splash. Continue to mix until you’re the mixture reaches trace (this means that the mixture has thickened enough that when you drizzle some on the top of the mixture, it leaves a trail (trace) on top).
  9. Add your additives and scents (essential oils - fragrance). Blend all these together for a few seconds with a spatula or hand blender.
  10. Pour the soap mixture into mold(s). Cover mold(s) with plastic wrap and cover/wrap these with towels for insulation.
  11. Let the soap set for 24 to 48 hours or so before taking it out of the mold(s). Unmold and cut the soap into bar. Sometimes I put my molded soap in the freezer a few minutes to make it easier to unmold.
  12. Place the soap bars on a covered rack to dry out and cure for a minimum of 3 to 4 weeks before using them.
  13. Enjoy your handmade soap.

What you will need - soap making equipment for CP

  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • Digital scale
  • Thermometer
  • Heat safe container with spout
  • Glass mixing bowls
  • Rubber spatula
  • Measuring spoons
  • Stick blender
  • Saucepan
  • Knife or soap cutter
  • Mold(s) (soap mold. silicone bakeware, candy or candle molds, wood molds or hard cardboard boxes (mil cartons work) lined with parchment/freezer paper)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Old towels

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