As promised, I’m posting the soap recipe that’s my ‘go-to’ when it’s time to make another batch. It was the first soap recipe I tried and I love it. The bars of soap come out consistently firm, not crumbly and last for ages.
The blog post I took it from was from 2010 and I see that I was one of the first people to comment on it. Makes me feel a bit old… That blog has now been taken offline. This made me panic when 3 years ago I went to pull up the blogpost to make my next batch and it was unavailable.
My soap recipe has gone forever! Oh crappity crap! I tried PMing the blog author but she never got back to me. That was a little surprising but hey. What can you do? A few weeks later, I mentioned it on the frogblog as I was posting about making another soap recipe to give as Christmas gifts for work. A brilliant reader called Jamie sent me a link to the wonderful soap recipe post that they’d archived. I was so happy!!!
I’ve noticed that some readers since yesterday have tracked down the soap recipe I posted about in that frogblog post that uses Lux flakes. This is NOT the recipe I love. Don’t get me wrong… it smells like Lux and it’s easy to make, but call me a purist: it didn’t feel like I was making real soap. It was a bit of a cheat. But if you feel like making soap and the thought of using caustic soda turns you off, then by all means use this Easy-Peasy soap recipe.
But if you want the brilliant soap recipe, here’s the archived page that Jamie sent:
(I could’ve just given you the basic recipe, but I like the way Suse’s post gives a lot of information in a readable and informative way. This was my entry into the soap-making world and I like the idea of sharing the original post with you all.)
Suse’s post gives a ton of good hints and tips. I’d add that it’s not a good idea to rush mixing the melted oils and caustic soda mixes together. I’ve found that when I was impatient and mixed them together while they were still quite hot, I’d run the risk of the whole batch curdling, which is disappointing when you unwrap it the next day to find out that it hasn’t worked. Then I’d have to rebatch it by melting it into a slow cooker, which works to make the soap usable, but it’s never quite as pretty. Giving it an extra 10 minutes to enable the oils and caustic soda to cool to a ‘warm’ temperature is time well spent.
If you’re wondering if the soap has started curing properly and whether the caustic soda has saponified properly and lost its bite, the easiest way to test this is to touch the tip of your tongue to the newly unwrapped soap. If you feel a ‘zap’ like a tiny electric shock, then the soap has to be rebatched. This has only happened to me a couple of times. It’s annoying when it happens but it’s not the end of the world. Re-melting it in a slow cooker, then putting it back into a mould and wrapping it up for another 24 hours does the trick.
Another soap recipe that I really like is the one on The Witch’s Kitchen. Her blog and book (I just LOVE this book – such a useful resource, especially the plant index at the end!) are terrific. Anyone interested in food gardening should set aside some time to sit down with a cuppa and rummage through her blog. So much information.
Anyway, in this soap recipe, she mentions using grated lemon zest as a little added extra in the soap. How nice would that be? Also, as with the Terrific Soap Recipe, there’s a lot of useful info in the comments underneath the original post.
If you like the idea of making homemade soap to give away as Christmas gifts, now is the time to get started. The soap recipes that use caustic soda need at least 6 weeks to cure properly, so if you set aside the time to make a batch or two now, you’ve already got yourself organised for Christmas.
Imagine the warm glow you’ll feel from being so efficient!
Thank you. This is my first year of retirement and I’ve always wanted to try making hand soap. I do have some experience making lye laundry soap so fingers crossed!
Yay! It’s very rewarding. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
I’m blushing 🙂 Thank you for the lovely comments about Witches Kitchen. I’m glad you got something out of it. I got all the ingredients today, and we’re making Christmas soap tomorrow. I think this is the 26th year of the tradition. Soap and sourdough and pasta – the home-mades that have been so worth it, I’ve never got sick of them.
I had to stop making sourdough. I learned how to do it during the first year of lockdowns. Tasted glorious, but the boys complained that they were getting fat!
I only make a small loaf a week now, otherwise we get too fat too. But I make 2 pita bread pockets every morning for the grandkids’ lunches, and Lewie bikes it over to them then bikes with the 8 year old to school. The fun of grandparenting.
I made soap from Rhonda’s Down to Earth Blog about 10 years ago. Recently I did a 2 hour soap making course to update my skills and do something nice. I invested in an infa red temperature gun thing that you point it and click it and it reads the temp without having to put a thermometer into the liquid which for soap making is great. I just got it on Amazon for $40. I will have to get in and make some now. One thing I do with recipes and things I like apart from linking them on my blog I write it out on the blog too because for that very same reason blogs went out of fashion and often the links don’t work so if it’s written on my blog I still have the recipe but also link it to the person where it came from.
Yes, I’ve done the same thing with this recipe since it was sent to me. It’s in a notebook as well… really old school!
Thanks for writing this out – I hope I can get to make it soon ?
Do! It doesn’t take long and the results last for months.
Thanks for linking us to the soap recipe, for some reason, it won’t open for me, it’s trying to redirect me and I have to sign in to Blogger, but still not getting anywhere. Any idea of how to get to the recipe? Thank you
Thanks for letting me know.
Olive and Canola Oils Soap
150g caustic soda
500g coconut oil (copha)
250g canola oil
250g olive oil
1.5 cups cold water
50g essential oil for fragrance (optional). Recommended oils are citrus, rosemary or lavender but you can experiment. Don’t use food colouring as it’s not stable, you can colour your soap with natural colours like turmeric
etc if you wish (I haven’t).
I’ve been making a soap using rendered sheep fat. A local older lady taught me her recipe and provided me with plenty of fat 🙂
I’ve never heard of that before!