Latest step in my 6 months challenge to heal the world, I have stopped using packaged soap. There are few alternatives to do that, but we decided to make our own soap (Thanks Nad).
how to make your own soap
We decided to make your soap with Olive Oil (poramace), avocado oil and coconut oil. The other ingredient is lye or Sodium Hydroxide. Lye is used to make soap, ie saponification is the process of converting fat into soap. It is important to handle lye carefully as it is highly corrosive. Don’t worry though, the saponification process means that, if you use the right amount of oil, there will be only soap left and no lye.
How do you make sure you have the right amount of lye and oils? We use brambleberry lye calculator to find out. It is very easy to use and give you the amount of lye for a number of different oils and butters. The superfatting level asked for the calculation is basically how oily you want your soap to be. This is a personal preference, you will have to test. We made a 10% superfatted soap. Once you have entered the superfatting level, choosen liquid or solid soap (we made solid soap) and selected grams or ounces, you have to put the quantity of your oils and butters. Then you will get the amount of lye and water (grams of liquid) to be used.
The first step will be to dissolve the lye in the water. Be careful the dissolution of lye is a highly exotermic reaction so it will generate a lot of heat. Therefore, please make sure you wear gloves (and protective gloves as well) and glasses. You will need glass recipients to handle lye and a metal spoon. It is also recommended to have a large bottle of white vinegar ready in case you spill lye on anything. (the white vinegar will react with the lye and neutralize it). Put the quantity of water indicated in the glass recipient. slowly add the lye in the recipient without making any splashes.
Once the dissolution is finished, wait for the lye water to cool down while you prepare your oils and/or butters. Mix the oils and butters together (heating them if needed). Finally add the lye water to the mix and stir slowly and in short bursts with a blender until you get a slurry mixture. You can then pour it in your molds and leave it until it solidifies, 48 hours to make sure saponification is complete. You can then let your soap cure for few weeks (like you would let a cheese age 😉 ) to get it more solid and better. (try to keep some even longer until you find the perfect time).
You have a natural soap and there is no more reason for you to by any more packaged soap. You will also save money… If you want, you can add flagrance and color to your soap but we just used the nature one.
you don’t want to use commercial packaged soap anymore but you’re not ready to do your own? don’t worry, there are options for you. First, here in Thailand, it is easy to find handmade soap on markets or souvenirs shops. You can find some soap bars with minimal paper packaging. Or you can buy bulk soap at one of the refilling stations available in Bangkok.
Thanks for reading that far, please post your questions or comments below. please go to see my 6 months challenge page if you want to see all my other articles to reduce impact on our world. And remember all this is not about the waste we are not generating, it is also about all the products that companies will stop producing if everybody shops more responsibly.