Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thank God For Rain and Lye Calculators

I am so glad it is raining today, for that means I can collect more rainwater to make soap with. Yes, I use rain water. You can use distilled water for making soap too, but there's something fresh about using rain water. I hope my pot fills up! I want to make a castile type of soap. I have a recipe for making laundry detergent, and one of the ingredients is a Fels Naptha soap bar, grated. I have used this and the laundry soap turns out great. I don't know what it is about this Fels Naptha soap bar, but if I am not mistaken, it is probably a Castile type of soap. Castile soap is made with olive oil and is a good cleanser. I have used soap scraps from my soap to make laundry detergent, but the detergent never gels. It gels if I use the Fels Naptha bar though. So, I will try this experiment as soon as I get the chance. In soap making, using a lye calculator is helpful. In order to find out how much lye to put into the water, you put the amounts and types of oils into the calculator, then when it processes the recipe, it tells you how much water and lye to put in. Here is a url for calculating lye and water for soap making: You might be surprised to know that all genuine soap is made with lye. Lye is very caustic and dangerous to be around. You have to use it properly or you could get hurt! But, something happens when lye is mixed with water, then added to oils that have been heated and cooled. After they are mixed together, a process called, 'saponification' takes place. The oils, water, and lye combine and form a mixture that looks a little like pudding mixture when thickened. After the mixture is thick enough to pour into molds, the soap has to 'cure'. It takes about 3 weeks for the soap to fully cure. The affects of lye are no longer found in the soap. Now it is a nice product that can be used on your skin (if it is made right!) and can smell pretty. There is technically no more lye in the product, which is a good thing. The lye becomes something else when combined with the oils.

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