Monday, January 21, 2013

Making Soap (Without Chemical Burns)

I have been very keen to make Cold Press Soap Recipe from the Down to Earth Blog for a while now.  I have been collecting my ingredients from various places, local and the internet.  The Caustic Soda arrived while we were on holidays and our kind neighbour was collecting our mail.  Eyebrows went up when my Hazchem parcel arrived, thanks Mr Neighbour P for not judging me.

Finally soap day was here, I banished the younger two children outside and recruited Miss M my scientist in residence to help me.  We weighed and measured with NASA like accuracy, we had our protective clothing on and our work bench all laid out with soap making equipment.  I can not stress enough the importance of treating this process with full Laboratory protocol.  I am happy to report that only a few mild chemical burns were sustained (and that they may even have been psychogentic, we were that paranoid.)   However next time I would mix the caustic soda and water outside as, phew does that give off some noxious gas!  I also can not agree enough with other bloggers that a stick mixer is the way to go and be really careful that it doesn't overheat.

The Trace looked just like custard when it was time to pour.  I think next time I would let my trace thicken a bit more than this.

Lye is the name given to the toxic burnie mix of the caustic soda and water.  Trace is the name given to the mixture when it will no longer give you a chemical burn.  (Which is when the Lye and the oils have completely mixed.)
It really did look yummy.
Miss M "put some random toys in to make the soap more fun" (her words.)  
The recipe said to leave it for 15 hours before cutting into bars.  Unfortunately for us a humid heat wave kicked in so it was 48 hours before I could cut it.  Next time I will give it longer again as the pieces were pretty malleable  and don't look anything like the  Down to Earth Blog photos.   The soap is now supposed to need a couple of weeks to cure but again the humidity will slowing that down.  I also think that if the Trace was thicker when I poured it, it might set faster??

We can't wait to use it - Especially Master B who wants his spider back.

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