Hello from Texas, kinda

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Ozzietx

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2023
Messages
19
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52
Location
South Texas
Hello soap people.
My name is Bryan. I’m originally from Texas and am currently in South Texas. My wife and I sold our house and are traveling the country in an RV.
We decided to step out of the rat race and enjoy life. Part of that journey has caused us to review what we put into and on our bodies.
This has lead us to begin making soap and other cosmetics that we use in a way that we know what is in the products. I am interested in creating tallow and lard soaps. I have been drawn to soap making for creative aspect as well. I studied art in college and have a background in photography, painting and ceramics. I look forward to learning the technical as well as artistic processes.
Because we live in about 300 square feet, the soap making will require some creativity in working space.
 
Welcome @Ozzietx!
For actual soaping activities, you can use picnic tables on clear days. What you need is good storage for soap, supplies, and for finished bars. To cure the bars, you could store them on a tray in storage and leave them out as often as possible while they cure, especially during the first couple of weeks. I’m sure you’ll get many other suggestions here.
 
Welcome! I lived in TX for awhile (Waxahachie) and had a lot of fun!
Have you visited many national parks on your RVing adventures?
 
Hello soap people.
My name is Bryan. I’m originally from Texas and am currently in South Texas. My wife and I sold our house and are traveling the country in an RV.
We decided to step out of the rat race and enjoy life. Part of that journey has caused us to review what we put into and on our bodies.
This has lead us to begin making soap and other cosmetics that we use in a way that we know what is in the products. I am interested in creating tallow and lard soaps. I have been drawn to soap making for creative aspect as well. I studied art in college and have a background in photography, painting and ceramics. I look forward to learning the technical as well as artistic processes.
Because we live in about 300 square feet, the soap making will require some creativity in working space.
My parents were RVers for 15 years ~ my question is, how much time do you spend in one place as you travel? The reason being is that making the soap isn't very time consuming, it's the curing & storing that will be an issue because the soap will need to be in a cool, dry, well ventilated area and RVs don't have much of that to spare, and curing outdoors isn't ideal because you can't control the environment. So, you would need to make small batches that you could possibly stack & store in one of the overhead cabinets. If you spend a day making the soap and then let it sit in the mold overnight, then cut it when you remove it from the mold and stack in the cabinet ~ you should be good to go. You would have to come up with a smart alternating stacking style so the air flows around the bars but they don't fall over if you have to drive on to the next spot.
That would be my 2¢
I know you said you live in "300 SF", but what type of RV do you have? Because the other challenge is storage for your soap making equipment, as most of it needs to be "dedicated" and kept separate from regular cooking supplies due to use with lye ~ unless you are very thorough about cleaning, and that is another issue with RV life, things don't necessarily get as clean as they do in a "normal" household due to limited water in some areas.
It would be great if you could do a "run through" in a normal work environment before trying see how it would work in an RV, but then again, sometimes it's best to just work with what you have and make it work 🤷🏼‍♀️ I wasn't a fan of "making it work" in an RV, any of it, life in general, way too cramped for my liking. But the travel experience was neat! So I guess that's the trade off!
Happy traveling soapy adventures to you!
 
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Hi, welcome!

If you’re only making/curing one batch at a time, your storage requirements should be pretty small since you’d just need some lye, oils, and a bread loaf sized soap mold to pour into. Polypropylene plastic containers are pretty light, chemical and heat resistant, lye safe.

If you want to experiment a bunch of different recipes and/or make soap in bulk you will end up with a bunch of things curing on the rack, taking up space.

You might consider Scientific Soapmaking by Dunn. I’m reading it now and he has a process for making single bars of soap and scaling up to industrial levels. Most interesting find was that for small batches he mixes ingredients by shaking rather than by stick blending. That said, I haven’t made anything with his method yet so I can’t comment on it.

As far as “dedicated” equipment goes, I personally don’t worry about it too much (I don’t have kids or pets that might try and lick a spoon with lye on it). I let my dirty stuff sit for a day and then I clean it with soap and (a lot of) water.
 
Because the other challenge is storage for your soap making equipment, as most of it needs to be "dedicated" and kept separate from regular cooking supplies due to use with lye ~ unless you are very thorough about cleaning, and that is another issue with RV life, things don't necessarily get as clean as they do in a "normal" household due to limited water in some areas.
Well, I must gently disagree with this. For the first decade or so of my soaping journey, I used the same stickblender, crockpot, spatulas, stainless steel stockpot, plastic pouring pitcher, etc. etc., for both soaping and cooking. Not a single adverse event occurred in all that time.

There seems to be some kind of myth that a "grain of lye" could lodge itself into some crevice of a pot or implement, and lurk there forever, awaiting an opportunity to jump out and attack someone. This is so implausible on so many levels.

First, how on earth would a "grain of lye" avoid all contact with air and water throughout the entire soaping process, cleaning process, and post-soaping storage? If a grain of lye can get into a crevice in your crockpot liner, then water and air can both access that crevice, as well.

Second, once there is any contact with air or water, that "grain of lye" would quickly be converted into harmless sodium carbonate, aka soda ash. Similarly, caustic soap batter saponifies within a day or so, leaving the item coated only in soap.

Third, what do you use to wash your soapy tools? Most of us probably use a syndet dish detergent to clean up, but that is a fairly recent development. For the vast majority of human history, regular ole "lye soap" was used to wash everything. And most home soapmakers couldn't afford dedicated equipment, either. Why would I need dedicated equipment for soaping, when I'm going to clean that equipment with the same soap that was created in that equipment?

We also must remember that various foods are prepared in lye solution: pretzels, bagels, and olives, for instance. Lye solution is sometimes used to balance pH in bath and body products, as well. Following proper safety protocols, including normal clean-up procedures, is more than adequate protection for someone who wants to use the same tools for soaping, cooking, and baking.

Don't get me wrong... I'm all for using dedicated soaping equipment if you can afford it, or if you are selling your soap to the public and thus should be following GMP. However, many if not most home soapmakers have limited funds and limited storage space. For those folks who have an existing item in their space that can serve double-duty, there is zero reason (other than convenience) to acquire duplicates that will be used only for soaping,

Ok, I'm off my soapbox now. (<-- see what I did there? ;) )
 
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Well, I must gently disagree with this. For the first decade or so of my soaping journey, I used the same stickblender, crockpot, spatulas, stainless steel stockpot, plastic pouring pitcher, etc. etc., for both soaping and cooking. Not a single adverse event occurred in all that time.

There seems to be some kind of myth that a "grain of lye" could lodge itself into some crevice of a pot or implement, and lurk there forever, awaiting an opportunity to jump out and attack someone. This is so implausible on so many levels.

First, how on earth would a "grain of lye" avoid all contact with air and water throughout the entire soaping process, cleaning process, and post-soaping storage? If a grain of lye can get into a crevice in your crockpot liner, then water and air can both access that crevice, as well.

Second, once there is any contact with air or water, that "grain of lye" would quickly be converted into harmless sodium carbonate, aka soda ash. Similarly, caustic soap batter saponifies within a day or so, leaving the item coated only in soap.

Third, what do you use to wash your soapy tools? Most of us probably use a syndet dish detergent to clean up, but that is a fairly recent development. For the vast majority of human history, regular ole "lye soap" was used to wash everything. And most home soapmakers couldn't afford dedicated equipment, either. Why would I need dedicated equipment for soaping, when I'm going to clean that equipment with the same soap that was created in that equipment?

We also must remember that various foods are prepared in lye solution: pretzels, bagels, and olives, for instance. Lye solution is sometimes used to balance pH in bath and body products, as well. Following proper safety protocols, including normal clean-up procedures, is more than adequate protection for someone who wants to use the same tools for soaping, cooking, and baking.

Don't get me wrong... I'm all for using dedicated soaping equipment if you can afford it, or if you are selling your soap to the public and thus should be following GMP. However, many if not most home soapmakers have limited funds and limited storage space. For those folks who have an existing item in their space that can serve double-duty, there is zero reason (other than convenience) to acquire duplicates that will be used only for soaping,

Ok, I'm off my soapbox now. (<-- see what I did there? ;) )
I apologize for that
 
No, I was over thinking the situation. As I remember RV life, the limited water lifestyle meant things didn't always get as clean as we were used to in our normal home so I was making assumptions. My bad.
That makes total sense. Sounds like good advice to all RV soapers, to make sure they don't skimp on good cleaning and rinsing due to water limitations.
 
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