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Making Natural Soap At Home

Making natural soap at home… is one of the most spectacular things I’ve discovered in recent times !! But why so much enthusiasm …? Are we really talking about soaps?

Yes!! Well, actually we are talking about natural handmade soaps. And any of us can make them at home!!

Ok, What’s All The Fuss About?

I was spending a very nice family day on vacation at Parque dos Monges, in Portugal when I decided to try the workshop of handmade soaps (melt and pour soap making). The workshop was very light, focused on family experience, and they offered a simple glycerin soap that they made in front of us, with a pot over an outdoor fire (it was hot, it really wasn’t very pleasant, but there you go…) .

I discovered in this workshop that natural handmade soap can be made with natural ingredients, so simple that they can be found at home, in our pantry. And that you can (and should) add flowers, plants or herbs extracts with medicinal properties. Which are very soft to the skin, not aggressive, and help to fight the great wave of allergenic problems that new generations have – atopic skins, for example. I was very curious about the idea and went to search the net to see how soap is made.

What Are Soaps Made Of?

It’s very simple. So simple it seems like it’s not real. Just an oil or a mixture of them and the caustic soda that we use to unclog pipes to make soap. Simply put:

Oil + lye (sodium hydroxide) = Soap Salt + Glycerin = Soap!

When the oils and / or butters used and the lye (sodium hydroxide) are mixed in the appropriate amounts and correctly, they are chemically transformed, in a process called saponification. This process results in salt and glycerin, which make up natural soaps.

The manufacturing processes to make soap are very simple and can be conducted from a kitchen: hot process and cold process, being the main difference between them that one needs heat during saponification (hot process) and the other doesn’t (cold process).

Handmade Soaps Are Not Dangerous. Commercial Soaps Might Be…

Okay, curiosity may be a very good reason to start making soap at home, but there is more: using handmade natural soaps means avoiding chemical ingredients that can be toxic or are made from questionable substances or processes.

This report from RTP , of 17 January, called “Toxic Formulas”, makes us think:

Hundreds of chemical substances, many of them used in cosmetics, raise suspicions and concerns about their safety for the environment and human health. The European Union has already assumed that 60 percent of the chemicals on the market are in some way harmful to health and the environment, but the measures are slow to arrive.

 by Sandra Salvado – RTP * updated 17 January 2020, 17:22

This Soap article from Healthline.com explains the benefits of using soap instead of commercial store-bought hygiene products.

From my experience, natural soaps turn out to be softer, friendlier to the skin and to the body’s balance, because they are made with natural ingredients, some of them with medicinal properties and of ancient use, with proven evidence that they are good for our health. My skin started to become more balanced in terms of oiliness since I started using products made by myself.

Soap Making Is Fun And Creative

But in fact, I started making soap at home because I find it very fun and rewarding! We can make colorful soaps, with different and customizable aromas, in various ways, giving free rein to imagination and creativity. Make them using various molds, including recycling cardboard packaging. Do them from scratch, with nothing “pre-made”.

Making soaps stimulates imagination and creativity: mixing essential oils to make unique aromas; use natural ingredients like carrots, spinach or spices to color the soap; make mixtures of soap dough of different colors, give texture and shape to the soaps. There is no limit to what you can do.

The fact that I feel good after using them is just a spectacular side effect that, without a doubt, adds to the experience.

Try it out too! Browse this website and find out soap making processes and several recipes.

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4 thoughts on “Making Natural Soap At Home”

  1. Hi there! I loved reading your post and was actually shocked at how simple it is to make soap at home. I can only imagine how much money I would save if I made my own soap at home. And I think there is a therapeutic aspect to creating anything especially soap so having that as a little side activity could definitely help people during this pandemic. Thanks for this informative and valuable content!

    Reply
    • Hello Gabriel and thanks for your comment!

      Indeed, at least in my opinion, soapmaking is very rewarding. You see chemistry happening between your eyes, you are creating something useful for you, and you can make beautiful things out of it (ok after some experience 🙂 ). It’s very entertaining and fulfilling, especially if you start trying stuff like spices, herbs or vegetables as natural colorant. 

      As for saving money, it is true if you buy local cheap oils (but not low quality…) and you dismiss essential oils as a fragrance (fragrances are also expensive, but less). At least here in Portugal I can make a 1kg soap batch for 3€/4€ and that soap lasts for around one year for one person 🙂

      Hope you give it a try at soap making one day 🙂

      Cheers,

      Sofia 

      Reply
  2. Making soaps are completely doable. Oil and lye, I remember mixing those at my chemistry lab back in school, it’s so amazing learning how the mixing of compounds can be done by anyone, I’m embarrassed to say that I almost totally forgot about it. Definitely trying out creating one at home! I’m planning to use the lavender aroma for relaxing shower soap effect, have you tried that one? 😀

    Reply
    • Hello Riaz and thanks for your comment.

      How cool that you’ve learned to make soap back in school!! I didn’t have such fun with chemistry at school, it was more just watching potassium or sodium reacting with water. Do you like soap making? Yes, you should give it a try, especially if you watched it before and liked it 🙂 not only it’s fun, but you will also get a useful product at the end, better than most commercial soaps out there.

      As for trying lavender aroma in soap:

      – Lavender Soap Recipe

      – Rosemary and Lavender Soap

      – Homemade Soap Gift

      That’s 3 recipes where I use lavender to scent soaps! So, yes, I have tried it, several times, and I love it!! But I use it more on leave-on products, like a body cream, or a facial lotion 🙂 because I can enjoy the scent for longer. I also use lavender on my pillow, I don’t do it every night, but sometimes, yes. It is relaxing and it is proven that it helps with anxiety and sleep problems, but I use it mostly because I like the scent.

      Cheers,

      Sofia

      Reply

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