Soap is simple to understand when you break down what you need to make it:  water, lye and fat.   Everything else is just razzle-dazzle.  The two soap making methods are very similar.  The soap making method that we call hot process just speeds up the curing process.  The soaps can be used almost immediately.

You get soap through the saponificiation process and for that to happen you just need the water, lye, and fat to make it happen. The ratios and measurements have to be very precise, but if you can boil noodles you can make soap. You’ll need other items to complete the process like soap making equipment and soap making ingredients. You don’t even necessarily have to follow a set recipe.  Soapcalc is a great website for making your own lye water and I trust it more than most soap blogs or website.  You can try different fats and oils.  Sweet almond, coconut, olive, goat’s milk…the combinations are endless.

Here are the basics of the faster of the two soap making methods (hot process):

  • Use favorite cold process recipe you found online (from a source you trust) or use Soapcalc.  Both soap making methods will use the same lye water ingredients.
  • Start you lye/water mixture.  (Remember to always add your lye to water.  If you add water to lye you are going to have a bad time.  And don’t use metal containers, use glass.
  • Melt your fats on high in a pot large enough for the full recipe with room to mix.  Always better to go a bit bigger
  • Once your fats are melted and mixed, add your water/lye mixture to the fats.
  • Mix the fats and lye/water mixture with an mixer or hand blender until you hit a what is called “trace”. Trace is where the oil and water/lye will start to blend.  This is the goal you are working to achieve when blending your oils and lye water. At the end of the mixing process, you will notice that the ingredients begin to start mixing together. It looks similar to pudding.  Trace will happen faster in hot process due to the higher heats.
  • Once you hit a light trace leave the pot on high and mix the soap every couple of minutes to keep it sticking to the pot or burning. You might even want to use double boiler so that you have a nice even heat.
  • In a short period of time the soap will have the consistency of mash potatoes. Continue mixing the soap every couple of minutes until the soap starts turning translucent.  This translucent state will happen with both soap making methods.  Actually it will happen with any soap that produces glycerin.
  • Once the soap is in this translucent stage you can add your essential oils and coloring.
  • Make sure to mix thoroughly colors and scents and then spoon into your mold.

The saponification process has already occurred in the melting pot. The high temperatures speed up the process so you are suppose to be able to use the soap as soon as it hardens.  It’s probably best to wait a day before taking it out of the mold and cutting it.