Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sapo, sapone, soap

Since we have had a heat advisory
yesterday and today
I have been staying inside
making soap.
I wanted to start making up
a lot of batches (16 bars per batch),
so I would have some on hand
not just for our own use,
but to sell at Trade Days this fall,
and to give away at Christmas
(great gifts btw)
Each batch has to cure minimum of 6 weeks,
so I better start now.
Handcrafted soap
is something we use every day
around my house.
The photo below shows 2 batches of soap
still in the molds,
prior to cutting into 5 oz. bars.
My DH makes the molds for me.
My kitchen looks like a laboratory
when I make soap.
I have all my different oils, the 100% lye,
the 100% pure essential oils,
the bowls, the spoons, the thermometers,
the scales and everything needed to make
great homemade soap.
A long time ago when my grandmother made soap
it was harsh and not so good for your skin.
Today, the science is so exact
that it is very gentle to your skin,
if done correctly.
By the time my soap has cured for about 6 weeks,
there is no lye remaining,
only rich moiturizing 100 % natural ingredients.
It is not real soap unless you have oils plus lye.

The term saponification
is the name given to the chemical reaction
that occurs when a vegetable oil or animal fat
 is mixed with a strong alkali (lye).

The name saponification literally means "soap making".
The root word, "sapo", is Latin for soap.
The Italian word for soap is sapone.
Soap making as an art has its origins
in ancient Babylon around 2500 - 2800 BC.

The oils  I use vary
 and  are carefully chosen 
for the character they impart
to the final soap.
Coconut oil creates lots of glycerin,
 makes big bubbly lather,
and is very stable.
Olive oil has natural antioxidants
and its soap makes a creamier lather. 
Lard makes a white, stately bar
 that is firm and creates abundant lather.
 Many other oils can be used,
each one for a specific reason. 
I usually add things like herbs,
sometimes ground oats, etc.

The alkali I use is sodium hydroxide or lye,
which is used to make bar soap.
The common term for the alkali became simply "lye",
which curiously is not short for alkali,
but originated in the Anglo-Saxon language.

Soap made in earlier American times
became known as "lye soap".
That term is still derogatory to many 
and denotes a harsh soap that will irritate your skin.
Not so.
In fact, well made, well cured handmade soap
is better in many ways
for your skin,
than any commercial soap.

  • melt and pour soap is not real soap.
  • Sandy Maine is one of the best soap makers ever
  • 100% lye (crystals) is used as drain opener, no chemicals please

Yesterday I made jasmine and geranium scented soap
with some additional herbs and things.
The scent is going all through the house!
My DH loved it!
Well, I'm off to make more soap!
and to.....

Savor the Day!


Bea said...

Oh, how wonderful to have that scent throughout your house. What a great activity to do during a heat wave. I've been painting. Now, the grass is calling my name but it's sooooooooo hot out there, she whinned. :)Bea

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I bet your house smells just dreamy...I have tried to stay in also...the heat is hard on my heart and I think it is playing with my headaches. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

elle said...

Drat, I need another hobby like a hole in the head, but this is SO cool. I wonder if I can get anybody to make this into a group project. I can think of 2 to ask right away. Thanks for this super idea. It is hot, humid and rain is threatening.

Deborah said...

I can just imagine how wonderful your kitchen smells. My grandmother made lye soap when I was a child but i wasn't allowed to participate in the process. Sounds like it's safer now.