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How to Make Soap at Home

Updated April 17, 2017

Making soap at home is a fun, useful practice that can save money and promote healthier skin, since the ingredients used are cost-effective and provide an all-natural alternative to store-bought products. Because manufactured soaps often contain petroleum-based detergents, artificial dyes for colouring and degreasers, they can be harmful to use. What's more, these soaps often don't carry the natural glycerins that moisturise the skin. As a result, making soap at home offers a viable solution. In fact, many people have made soap-making a hobby not only because it's enjoyable but also because they can create a practical cleaning product in an array of scents.

Refrigerate 3 cups of water overnight to ensure the proper temperature. Then pour the water into the 2-quart saucepan.

Put on the plastic gloves and goggles. Make sure there aren't any holes in the gloves.

Slowly add the lye, stirring carefully with a wooden or plastic utensil. Do not use a metal utensil, since it will get hot when the chemical reaction increases the temperature of the mixture. Do not breathe in or allow the vapours to contact skin.

Cool the mixture for at least 1 hour in a safe location. While it's cooling, unwrap the lard and warm it to room temperature in the plastic pan. Again, do not use metal. If using olive oil in place of the lard, pour into pan and allow it to settle.

Slowly pour the lye mixture into the pan containing the lard or olive oil, being careful not to let it splash or come in contact with skin. Mix the lard thoroughly for at least 15 minutes until it has the consistency of thick pudding.

Allow the solution to set for 24 hours. After it has hardened, cut into bars or large chips. Let the mixture harden for several more days, and then wrap with plastic. If you used the olive oil in place of the lard, allow the mixture to harden for approximately 1 week, and wrap with plastic.

Tip

Fragrances such as flowers and spices can be added during Step 3 if desired. Use sassafras stems to stir the lye into the water. The properties of this fragrance prevent attack from insects such as mosquitoes.

Warning

Lye is very dangerous and can cause severe damage to skin, lungs and eyes. All safety precautions with the material should be taken to prevent any possible health impacts. Ensure that the area the soap is produced is well-ventilated and the solutions are carefully secured. Refrain from having children present during the process for safety considerations.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 cups water
  • Glass or enamel 2-quart saucepan
  • Plastic gloves
  • Goggles
  • 340gr. can of lye
  • 1.36kg. lard or 1,419ml. olive oil
  • Plastic 10-by-12 inch pan
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About the Author

Jason Chavis has been a professional freelance writer since 1998. He is the author of four books, two movies and a play as well as numerous articles for "Scientific American," The History Channel, City Pages and "The Onion." In 1996, Chavis won the award for "best science fiction/fantasy" from the River Valley Writer’s Conference.