Making soap by hand is not difficult and lets you control the ingredients in your soap. Most commercial soaps have a high pH and contain strong detergents that are not as gentle to the skin as most homemade soaps are. You can add all sorts of ingredients to personalise your soap, but papaya can add a beautiful fragrance and it has antioxidant properties that are good for the skin. Homemade papaya soap makes a wonderful gift or a simple personal indulgence.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Distilled water
- 100 per cent pure lye (sodium hydroxide)
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Castor oil
- Papaya essential oil
- Protective gear, including goggles and heavy duty rubber gloves
- Food scale with tare function
- Instant read digital food thermometer
- Two microwaveable 1 L glass measuring cups
- Plastic mixing bowl
- Plastic or silicone spoon
- Stick/hand blender
- Small cardboard box
- Waxed paper
- Stainless steel knife
Line the cardboard box with waxed paper. Put on protective gear.
Pour 177ml. of distilled water into a measuring cup. Slowly pour in 63.8gr. by weight of lye and stir until dissolved. Let the water cool. Never add the water to the lye.
Combine 177ml. of coconut oil, 295ml. of extra light olive oil, 15 to 20ml of papaya oil and 1 tbsp of castor oil in a measuring cup. Heat the oils in the microwave until melted, checking frequently to avoid overheating.
Measure the temperatures of both the lye and the oils. When they are within 11 degrees C of each other, slowly add the lye to the oil while stirring and measure the temperature again. The temperature should be between 32.2 and 43.3 degrees C.
Blend the mixture for a few minutes with the stick blender until it thickens into a consistency like gravy and gains a whitish colour. Check the temperature---it should rise by a few degrees when the soap has "traced" and the oils have begun to solidify into soap.
Pour the mixture into the lined box. Cover with waxed paper and let sit for two days.
Check the soap while wearing protective gear to ensure the soap is solid and smooth. Remove the soap from the box and cut into sections using a stainless steel knife.
Let the soap continue to thoroughly dry, or "cure," for three to four weeks, turning regularly.
Tips and warnings
- You can also "cook" a cup of chopped papaya by slowly heating it in the olive and coconut oil for 30 minutes and eliminating the essential oil in the soap. Do not let the oil overheat and do not put raw papaya directly into the soap, as the water content will cause spoilage.
- Follow the directions exactly---lye is highly caustic. Do not use lye without protective goggles and gloves.
- Use only plastic containers for mixing and heat-safe measuring cups. Use only a silicon or plastic spoon for mixing.
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