Soap Making Equipment Checklist
The ancient art of soap making comes from fats boiled with potashes from fires. Soap is created by the chemical reaction of a fatty acid with an alkali.
Sodium hydroxide lye is highly caustic and has the potential to burn the skin. Always Add Lye to Water (NEVER add Water to Lye!)
Lye creates an exothermic reaction that causes a dramatic temperature increase so the choice of equipment is extremely important.
What are the raw materials needed in soap making?
Soap is made from butters and fats and water mixed with Lye (sodium hydroxide NaOH) an alkali to form a salt.
Original years ago soap was created using wood ashes as the alkali. They believe this happen by accident when animal fat fell into the fire ashes and formed a solid.
So when we walk about about butters and oils these are things like.
Soap Making Oils:
Olive oil, castor oil, avocado oil, rapeseed oil (canola), argan oil, Apricot kernel oil, Jojoba Oil (waxy), and Calendula Oil to name a few.
Generally you use a higher ratio of oils to butters.
Soap Making Butters:
Cocoa Butter, shea butter, coconut oil, palm oil,mango butter, and even animal fats (tallow)
Butters vary significantly some are soft and spreadable, and others can be solid and brittle so you can chip away. Butters you use in smaller quantities than oils dependant of the hardness of the bar you require. (10%-15%)
Each butter or fat has a different rate of saponification. Use a lye Calculator to make sure you calculate the correct amount of lye to your butters and oils. This will ensure it goes through the saponification process and does not leave excess lye which could then burn your skin.
Remember that tap water isn’t always great to use in soap making as the PH levels can vary (hard water) and different impurities are present. Think about using distilled water instead.
There is also a simple way to make you first soap called “melt and pour” which you melt the base product, add the aroma and colours, and simply place in a mold. This process doesn’t require as much complex materials and soap making equipment.
What equipment do you need to make soap?
Here is a basic list of equipment to make cold process soap checklist it’s important to take every safety precaution when making cold process soap.
At a minimum you need safety equipment, bowls, moulds, something to mix with like blender and a thermometer as temperature is key.
Soap Making Equipment Checklist
The fumes that come from Lye as it mixes with the distilled water is very strong. Potentially mix outside where possible if not windy and avoid breathing in any fumes by wearing a face mask. Make it a well-ventilated area.
Do not use wood utensils as lye causes wood to splinter and some plastics will melt so be careful.
Don’t use the equipment for anything else like cooking they must be kept separate.
Make sure area clear and not other kitchen equipment around. Always leave gloves on while washing any soaping equipment because the soap will still irritate the skin. Use lots of hot water and grease-cutting soap. Or place in a bucket for twenty-four hours and let it harden before cleaning.
Measure the pH levels of your soap.
Another method is the “zap test” touch your tongue on your soap and if feels like putting it on a battery it is lye heavy. If no zap the soap is safe to use.