Ingredients that you will Need to Make Soap
Oil and/or Fats – Almost any natural oil or animal fat can converted into soap using lye. Each has its own special characteristics and creates different properties in the soap that it becomes. Some popular oils are coconut oil, canola oil, olive oil, vegetable shortening, palm oil, bacon grease, and lard. Note – We have more information about the different type of oils and their properties at the following link.
100% Lye (NaOH) Sodium Hydroxide – Lye is the chemical that converts oil or fats to soap. Before it was readily available it was extracted from ashes left over from a fire. Red Devil lye is a popular brand. We have a link below with sources of lye if you have problems finding it locally.
Water – Distilled water or bottled water is preferable. The minerals in hard tap water are not needed for soapmaking and can cause problems. Pure distilled water is all you need.
Essential Oils and Fragrances- These can be added but are not required. They add a nice fragrance to your soap which most people prefer. Stay away from any scents that contain alcohol since it can adversely affect a formula and cause unwanted results. Also, avoid potpourri, candle scent oils and commercial perfumes. These ingredients are not made for soap and can cause problems. Essential oils and fragrance oils are fine to use and are commonly available at health food stores. They are generally used for aroma therapy.
Other additives – Oatmeal, spices, ground up pumice, sage, ground apricots, herbs and other ingredients can also be added to soap at the trace stage to add texture, fragrance or function.
Soap Colorants – These can be purchase from a soap supply store or you can use crayons that are made using stearic acid (common) If you use crayons melt a piece first and add it to the soap mix at the trace stage. It is best to use commercially available colors. In other words, use colors that are designed to be used in soap.
Equipment and Tools that you will need
First, let me say that you can get almost everything you need to make soap at Walmart or a Grocery Store. You can also buy soapmaking supplies online. This goes for equipment and tools also. Here are the basic supplies that you will need.
-A Pair of safety goggles and a long sleeve shirt or coveralls. (Important)
-A Pair of rubber gloves or dish washing gloves to protect your hands from lye. (Important)
-Two 1/2 gallon Rubbermaid type pitchers that are dishwasher safe. One will be used for water and the other for lye.
-Some durable plastic stirring spoons. One will be for oils and one will be for lye/water mix.
-Glass candy thermometers for check the temperature of your oil and soap mix. (do not use aluminum)
-Large enameled or stainless pot to melt oils in. A 16 quart pot should work fine. Avoid using aluminum pots.
-Old blankets for insulating the soap when it is in the molds.
-Kitchen food scale or postal type scale.
-Saran type food wrap to be used to line molds)
-A collection of molds. Different shapes and types.
-Stick Blender is optional (creates a faster trace)
For making blender soap you will also need:
-Standard Kitchen type Blender with a lid
-Towel to cover the blender when it is in operation.