Soap making is a challenging task because you decide on the qualities of the soap you will produce. You can add various additives in order to achieve results depending on your desire.
Soap is a common necessity in every household. It is essential for personal hygiene and cleaning our clothes as well as other places in our house. While there are a lot of varieties of soap available in the market, you can make your own soap or turn it into a profitable business. It is quite easy to do soap making.
Basically, soap is made up of vegetable or animal fats. The sodium tallowate comes from beef fat and is commonly used as ingredient in making soap. Softer soaps are typically made of palm oil which is a vegetable oil. Castile soap is made up of pure olive oil. Different oils and butters featuring different qualities are used for soap making. Such ingredients may come from olive oil, coconut, cocoa, palm, shea butter, and hemp oil.
Hand-made soaps are better compared to industrial soap. A hand-made soap is the result of excessive fat or super fatting which leaves a moisturizing effect and ideal for the skin. This can be achieved by putting less lye to the mixture. On the contrary, an industrial soap usually uses more detergent which is not very friendly to our skin. Sometimes soap makers make use of a ready made soap which is melted and poured in different kinds of molds. This method is called melt and pour.
In soap making, there are several processes which you can use depending on your preference. The cold and hot are two of the frequently used processes. Ideally, both cold and hot processes need constant heat for proper saponification. In cold process, above room temperature is required to achieve liquefaction of the fat. It also requires that the lye and fat is maintained warm after mixture to make sure that it is saponified completely. This method is the most popular method used in soap making, too. This process allows the reaction of fats such as olive oil with lye.
Hot processed soap can be immediately used compared to cold processed soap. A great advantage of hot process is that there is no need to know the exact concentration of the lye to achieve successful results. While in cold process, it is essential to know the exact quantity of lye to achieve a mild and skin friendly quality of the soap.
In hot process method, the lye and fat are boiled at temperatures between 80 to 100°C until saponification is achieved. Afterwards, salt must be added in order to precipitate the soap from the solution. Any excessive liquid is drained. While still hot, it is poured into molds and allowed to cool. Saponification charts are used for both methods.
In cold process method, the first thing to do is to use the saponification chart to identify the measurement of saponification value of fats to be used. It can be utilized to compute the right amount of lye to be mixed. You must be careful of the process because un-reacted lye can lead to high pH that may cause skin irritation and burn. However, if lye is insufficient it will cause the soap to be greasy and unpleasant. In order to achieve the best results, it is recommended to formulate the recipes with 4 to 10% discount of lye. This will ensure that the lye will totally react and excess fat is available that’s beneficial for skin conditioning.
In the process, lye is thoroughly dissolved in water and oils are heated at room temperature. Soon as the substances are cool enough, they are mixed together and stirred until no traces remain. After constant stirring it becomes a thin pudding. Then, you can add other recipes such as essential oils, herbs, fragrance oils or any other recipes you wish to add.
After the process, it can be poured into molds. You can use towels to keep them warm. Leave it for 17 to 46 hours to continue with saponification. When the soap is hard enough, it can now be moved out of the mold and cut into desired sizes. The soap can then be used because it has completed saponification. But with cold process soaps, it must be totally hardened and dried for 2 to 5 weeks depending on water content before it is safe to use. If you use caustic soda, it is ideal to cure the soap for 4 weeks.
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