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.
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.
Soap Making Equipment Checklist
Think about personal safety by wearing long sleeves, long trousers, & shoes to give your body extra protection.
Splashes easily happen protect your clothes and yourself with added protection of an apron.
Protect hands from splashes and burns while mixing ingredients.
Lye in your eye is capable of causing major ocular damage.
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.
Remember to think about size you don't want the soap to be at the top of the pan. Don’t use the equipment for anything else like cooking they must be kept separate.
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.
The quantity of the ingredients crucial as it is based around a chemical reaction. Ingredients must be measured by weight. Scales have a weight limit.
More accurate for smaller ingredients like essential oils.
Plastic heads can melt in the soap batter so best to stick to stainless steel.
Temperature is SO important for saponification process.
Transferring essential oils in small qualities safely.
Looking for sturdy, heat-resistant plastic or glass. Don’t mix lye solution in a metal jug because the lye solution gets incredibly hot.
To put the soap in to set. These can be silicone or wooden lined boxes.
Small spills or splashes quick clean up. Also wipes to wipe gloves between actions to make sure you can't accidentally come in contact with any skin by accident.
Each oil or butter has a different SAP value and requires different amounts of Lye. Always run every formula through a lye calculator before using it.
Melting your oils and butters.
You will need to wrap up the soap to keep it warm once in the mould to keep the reaction going.
Cutting the soap up into bars.
Soap needs somewhere to sit, dry and harden for 4 / 6 weeks with air being able to circulate.
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.
Be prepared for accidents. Lye is very dangerous.
Look up emergency action for the products you are using referencing the MSDS sheet (Material Safety Data Sheet). Who would you call? Have a phone nearby.