I like to use homemade soap. I love her even more because I can do it myself. Making soap can be quite addicting! There are countless recipes and options that allow you to completely customize your soap to suit your needs and desires.
My husband, however, wasn’t exactly thrilled to use my scented girl’s soap, so I set out to make manly scent soap just for him. He loved the result and has been using my homemade soap ever since.
This is a cold recipe, however, if you prefer to make your soap using a hot method, this recipe should work fine as well.
Work with Lye
Laundry is a necessary part of the soap making equation. Soap is the result of a chemical reaction between lye (which has been activated by water) and an oil or animal fat. This reaction is called saponification. You can’t make soap from scratch without lye, but with a correctly calculated recipe, no lye will be left in your final product.
It can be intimidating to work with detergent for the first time and it is absolutely necessary to follow safety precautions, but don’t let that stop you from making your own soap!
security: When I am working with laundry detergent, there are some things I do to make sure I am using it safely. This item also has great safety information, but these are the precautions I always take:
- Wait until the children are in bed. Children or animals underfoot can cause distractions or spills, and working with laundry is a chore to do when they’re not around.
- Wear protective goggles and rubber gloves as well as long sleeves.
- Have a clean workspace so nothing gets ruined in the event of a spill.
- Mix the laundry in a well ventilated area. I personally do this in my backyard so I don’t have to worry about house fumes and if I had to spill it it would be outside.
- Always add detergent to the water. DO NOT add water to the laundry. This will cause a caustic rash. Many veteran soaps use the phrase “snow floats on the lake” to remind the order in which they should be mixed.
Soap Making Ingredients
As I mentioned before, there are endless possibilities when you create your recipe. For this soap, I wanted a harsh but moisturizing soap with a lot of lather for my husband, so I used the following ingredients.
Tallow – makes a hard bar with high cleaning capabilities. It is an excellent basic ingredient for soap. Most commercial soaps are made primarily from tallow. It’s easy to create your own. If you want pure vegetable soap, you can substitute palm oil (sustainably sourced), but be sure to recalculate how much lye you’ll need before you start.
Olive oil – this is another classic soap ingredient. This initially makes a bar softer but with age can become quite hard. It’s very hydrating but doesn’t have the best lather.
Coconut oil – gives a wonderful, fluffy lather, but can dry out, so it’s best not to exceed 30% of your soap oils.
castor oil – I almost always include castor oil in recipes that contain coconut oil because it helps stabilize the foam produced by coconut oil. Use no more than 10% to avoid creating a lather that feels a bit slippery.
Beeswax – adds to the hardness of the bar.
Essential oils – your choice for the desired fragrance.
I used orange, patchouli, cinnamon and clove essential oils to create a spicy, manly scent. Patchouli helps anchor other scents so they last longer. I only used a very small amount of cinnamon and cloves as these oils are potent and can speed up the streaks which can make getting the soap paste into the mold difficult.
Soap Making Supplies
I have a set of supplies that I keep on hand for making soap. You can use your kitchen utensils if you clean them thoroughly, but I prefer to keep them separate.
- High quality glass jar or plastic pitcher for mixing lye and water
- Second glass jar or disposable plastic cup for measuring laundry
- Non-reactive jar or slow cooker for heating oils
- Small glass bowl for measuring essential oils
- Digital infrared thermometer or 2 candy thermometers (one for laundry and one for oils)
- Soap mold
- Immersion blender
- Digital bathroom scale
- Spoon for mixing laundry
- Gloves and goggles
- Vinegar for final cleaning