Ideas for first soap....

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kinggabby

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Ok I will hopefully have what I need to get started soon. I won't have a thermometer. But I have a stick blender and 11 lb capacity kitchen scale on the way. I need a ideas for cheap (few ingredients that are cheap to buy) but good soaps that are gentle on skin . I won't have money for colorants, EO or FO. TIA
 

Susie

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You don't need a thermometer.

Here's my favorite recipe:

Superfat 5%

Lard 65%
Olive Oil 15%
Coconut Oil 15%

Castor Oil 5%

All oils are available at Walmart. The castor oil is by the laxatives. This is a good soap that does not dry, gives rich lather, and just works for my dry, sensitive skin.
 

BattleGnome

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I raided my pantry and did a bit of research for my first soap. I honestly went as low cost as possible just in case I hated the process. Olive and canola make for a gentle long cure soap (I used them for my first soap. It was useable after 4 weeks but so much better after 6 months)
 

mx6inpenn

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My go-to recipe is almost identical to Susie's. It works well for my entire family, spanning from a 2yo to teenagers to my husband and I. As already said, the oils are fairly inexpensive and all available at Walmart. If you really want to try color, some food colorings work as well as paprika, pumpkin and other foods.
 

penelopejane

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I'd go for 100% good Olive oil and add 1 tsp of salt ppo. I love it. Useable after 6 weeks if you let it dry out between uses, better after 6 months, great after a year.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I'm sorry, but I think that calling a 6 week old Castile usable is a bit of a stretch of the word. Well, usable might fit in the same way that a you can use scissors to harvest 100 acres of corn! But "enjoyable" is not a term I would use for a 6 week old Castile.

OP, I would make a more balanced recipe - Castiles are great in their own way but really do need a long cure, which for a new soaper can seem like an eternity. 4 weeks can seem long enough for the first batch to cure, but it is also good for any soap to cure long enough before use. After a while it is good to use some soap before it is cured enough and see how it compares to a cured bar, to see the difference that the time makes to how it performs.
 

cmzaha

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I personally hate high or 100% olive oil soaps, and as EG mentions ^^ it is not a nice soap in 6 weeks. EG's description of a 100% castile gave me a good laugh. Thanks I needed a laugh...

Susie's recipe is similar to one of my recipe and you will not go wrong with it. I also like GV Shortening with tallow and palm from Walmart. You can use this instead of the lard or use a combination. You will find some very good recipes here http://www.millersoap.com/soapallveg.html
 
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lsg

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I like Susie's recipe. Here is another one that uses ingredients mostly found in your local Walmart.
coconut-27%
olive-34%
Crisco with palm-33%
Castor oil-6%
 

dixiedragon

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I like Susie's recipe a lot too! I will say I still use my thermometer a lot, otherwise I tend to soap too hot. But if you aren't adding color or scent, it should be fine.

Place your hand on the pot of heated oils. Not just a tap, but rest your palm on it. (Obviously don't do this if the pot is hot!) It should be warm but not uncomfortably hot. Warm bath water warm, not hot bath water.
 

navigator9

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The "holy trinity" of soapmaking oils are olive, palm and coconut. But there are as many favorite recipes as there are soapmakers. Start with what's readily available to you, experiment with amounts of each ingredient and notice the differences that occur in the soap. Take notes. You don't need color or fragrance to make a great soap. Sometimes I think that they distract from noticing the actual qualities of the soap itself. Get familiar with using a soap calculator. Once you are comfortable with the soapmaking process, you can try some additives that are not expensive, but are great in soap, like finely ground oatmeal, and some type of milk, like goat's milk, yogurt, coconut milk, etc. You'll find that you don't need to spend a lot of money to make really wonderful soap. Beginning soapmakers often get caught up in all of the different additives out there, but they can be very expensive, and don't necessarily make a better soap. Enjoy!
 

BrewerGeorge

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I like a little castor oil too, but it's hideously expensive when purchased as a laxative - like $4 for a 2 oz bottle last time I checked which is more than a full pound costs at Brambleberry. Since price is an issue for you, I'd leave it out of your first few batches; it's not required to make good soap.

Here's what I would do:
60% Walmart Great Value Shortening
20% LouAna coconut oil (from Walmart)
20% Olive oil (from Aldi)

The shortening is the version that's NOT listed as 100% vegetable oil, and is a combination of tallow and palm oils. It makes a very nice, white soap and it's listed in SoapCalc for easy calculations. One $4 tub is enough for a couple batches of ten typical bars. The coconut oil is in the same area. You're looking for the solid sold in tubs, not the liquid. It's the most expensive thing you'll need, but the tub is good for several batches at 20%.

If you have an Aldis near you, you can get a bottle of their regular olive oil for under $5. If not, just choose a "regular" non-Extra Virgin variety.
 

dixiedragon

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Some additives that you may already have in your house.

Honey - start with 1 teaspoon PPO (per pound of oils). This may cause your soap to heat up, so keep an eye on it!

Spices - cinnamon, clove, anise, nutmeg. They add an interesting speckled look and a nice (very light) scent.

Dried parsley - interesting green color (will slowly fade)

Fruits and veggies - pumpkin, avocado, banana, carrot, tomato paste. Do some searches for quantities. A little is nice but too much can make your soap rancid.

Coffee! - it gets an exclamation point because I like it so much. You can throw some coffee grounds in your lye water and let the heat of the lye reaction do the work for you. Stir to break up any coffee ground clumps and add to the soap. It will make the soap brown and scrubby. GREAT kitchen soap!
 

Susie

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I also frequently use coffee as a colorant. But I use the bits leftover from my morning cup. Just pour into a Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer until you get enough to substitute for the entire water amount. Then just mix your lye into it.
 

wbocrafter

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Ideas for first soap

Susie in your recipe you indicate you use 5% castor oil. Is that the oil that is used for superfatting?
 

cmzaha

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Susie in your recipe you indicate you use 5% castor oil. Is that the oil that is used for superfatting?
Not Susie, but no it is put in with your oils. Until you can purchase castor from a supplier I would nix it. As BG mentioned it is a ridiculous price. Some health food stores carry 16-32 oz bottles at a little better price. When I first started soaping I paid $13 for 32 oz for this brand https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0001TJX2Q/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
Susie's recipe is very good, but I would go with Brewer George's, it is a good recipe and will cost the least. Add in 1 TBS sugar for pound of oils for bubbles. Sugar like castor oil is a solvent in soap, making it more soluble. (If I am wrong DeeAnna, which I often am, please correct me)
 
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dixiedragon

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Walmart has small bottles - I think 1 or 2 oz - with the laxatives. If you have a Vitamin Shoppe, they have it for a decent price in larger bottles.

Also, the castor needs to go in with the other oils. it's SAPONIFIED castor that boosts the bubbles!
 

Susie

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Superfat is actually a misnomer, which is why it is so confusing for newbies. We actually say superfat when we mean lye discount. We do this because that is what it is called on lye calculators.

True superfat can only be achieved with HP (hot process) soap, when the fat is added after the soap comes to gel, and a good bit of the saponification is done. Then you add a specific oil that you want to retain the properties of to the batter. That way the NaOH (AKA lye) does not break down that fat like it does the others during saponification.

All the videos on YouTube to the contrary, there is no benefit, whatsoever, to adding any base oils "at trace". The lye is going to break them all down fairly equally during saponification. Trace is the BEGINNING of the saponification process. The whole process takes sometimes several days. The only oils I would consider adding at trace are FOs or EOs (fragrance oils or essential oils) that you know will cause problems like ricing or acceleration.
 

BrewerGeorge

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... Add in 1 TBS sugar for pound of oils for bubbles. Sugar like castor oil is a solvent in soap, making it more soluble. (If I am wrong DeeAnna, which I often am, please correct me)
Thanks. I intended to mention salt and sugar in the last post, but got distracted by work. :twisted: Salt is for hardness and sugar is for bubbles. I use both in every batch, but not as much as cmzaha. Simple cane sugar and non-iodized salt, I add at 1 teaspoon per pound of oils dissolved in the water before adding lye. The tablespoon per pound would give more bubbles, but then you get into the possibility of overheating due to the sugar, and watching for that seems a bit much for a first batch.
 

cmzaha

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The tablespoon per pound would give more bubbles, but then you get into the possibility of overheating due to the sugar, and watching for that seems a bit much for a first batch.
That is true about heating especially if using high water. For my formulas it works. I did forget to mention that I find it can leave an all veggie soap a tad soft so this amount is only for my high tallow/lard/palm soaps :)
 
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