Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Beginner Soapmaking Series - Lye Safety and Handling

Lye is a hazardous substance that must be handled with care.  It can cause serious chemical burns and blindness.  Lye is safe for soapmaking provided you take safety precautions. 

ü  Always wear goggles or protective eyewear.  Lye, lye water, and fresh soap can cause serious eye injuries.  Avoid injury by wearing goggles.  If you do get lye in your eyes, rinse with cold water immediately and seek medical attention.

ü  Always wear protective clothing and gloves.  Wearing gloves, long sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed-toe shoes will protect you against splashes with the lye mixture or fresh soap.  If you do get lye on your skin, rinse with cold water to get the soap off quickly and immediately pour vinegar on the affected area. 

ü  Always have vinegar ready for emergencies.  Vinegar should be kept out where you are working.  If it is near the sink, you will have it ready for any accidents.  Vinegar should be applied to the skin to neutralize lye.  If you spill lye on the work area, use vinegar to clean it up.  A splash of lye or fresh soap may not hurt immediately but can still leave permanent damage.

ü  Always add lye to water.  Put your lye into the water, not the other way round, to prevent dangerous splashes or severe volcanic reactions.  When mixing with oils, add the lye water to the oils.  Lye is always the ingredient that does the pouring.

ü  Always mix lye carefully.  When lye is added to water, it will rapidly heat up to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mix in a large heat-safe container.  It is a good practice to place the container in the sink while mixing the lye and water.

Some additional precautions are listed below:

ü  Soapmaking is not recommended for children because of the potential danger that lye poses.  Children and pets should not be permitted in your soaping area while you are working.

ü  Carefully read the warning label on the lye bottle.  Lye is also known as caustic soda (sodium hydroxide).

ü  Use only pure lye granules.  Do not make the mistake of substituting drain cleaner.  It contains other ingredients that you would not want in your soap.  Lye for soapmaking must be 100% sodium hydroxide.

ü  Be sure to keep the lid tight on the bottle of lye to prevent spills.  Also, be aware that moisture in the air will weaken its strength and cause it to form lumps. 

ü  Lye can be fatal if swallowed. 

ü  Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.  Vapors released from the lye when it is first mixed with water are quite noxious, and can greatly irritate the lungs.  Never lean over the mixture when adding lye to water.

ü  Lye can remove paint, so be careful not to let it come in contact with any painted surfaces.  If lye, lye water or even freshly made soap splatters on any painted surface, wash the area quickly with water and detergent.  Rinse with clear water and wipe dry. 

ü  Freshly made soap can burn and irritate the skin, therefore it’s best not to handle soap with bare hands for at least 48 hours. 

ü  Do not use any containers made of tin, zinc or aluminum.  Lye will react adversely with them. 

ü  Recommended containers for mixing your soap include glass, plastic, stainless steel, enamel, and heat-proof stoneware. 

In case of a lye emergency, follow this information taken from the MSDS* sheet for sodium hydroxide:

If Swallowed
Rinse mouth with water and drink one to two glasses of water.  Do not induce vomiting! Immediately get medical attention or call your poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

If in Eyes
Immediately flush eyes with water.  Remove any contact lenses and continue to flush eyes with water for at least 20 minutes.  Immediately get medical attention or call your poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

If on Skin
Gently wipe product from skin and remove contaminated clothing.  Flush skin with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes and then wash thoroughly with soap and water.  Contact a physician or call your poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.  [The MSDS is often kept for people in warehouses or packaging facilities that typically do not have vinegar, hence the fact that it was not mentioned on the form.]

*For more information on lye, see the downloadable and printable MSDS data sheet at: http://avogadro.chem.iastate.edu/MSDS/NaOH.htm


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Monday, September 29, 2014

Beginner Soapmaking Series - Tools Every Soapmaker Needs


There are several items that you will need to make soap, many of which you may already own in your kitchen. Below is a list of basic essential tools.

  • Protective gear – Eye protection and gloves are a must when making soap. Wear long sleeves, long pants, and close-toed shoes to protect your skin from coming into contact with lye.
  • Vinegar – Vinegar neutralizes lye. If you get lye on your skin, rinse with water and then apply vinegar. If you spill lye, clean the area and follow up with a wipe down of vinegar. As a safety precaution, vinegar should always be out in your work area when using lye.
  • Bowls or containers for mixing – Glass, stainless steel, or plastic bowls or buckets are acceptable. Never use aluminum, as it reacts adversely with the lye by emitting large amounts of hydrogen gas into the air.  Do not use tin or zinc bowls as well.
  • Scale – Use a good digital scale. Accuracy in measurements is very important when making soap from scratch. Most ingredients in soaps are weighed.
  • Immersion or Stick blender – While soaps can be made by hand, they can take hours to trace. A stick blender gets your soaps blended and traced in minutes.
  • Mold – You need something to put your soap into. This can be anything from a box lined with plastic wrap to fancy flexible molds.
  • Miscellaneous – Measuring cups and spoons, pipettes, something for cutting your soaps, and a rack for curing your soaps are useful items to have.
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Formulating Your Own Soap Recipes eBook

We are very excited about our newly released eBook.  It is a comprehensive guide to creating your own soap recipes and formulations. It walks you through everything you need to know and more on the subject. Nothing is left to guessing - know exactly what you are doing it and why.
Topics include:
  • Saponification and why you need to understand it
  • Fatty acids and the properties brought to soap
  • Choosing the perfect oils for your projects
  • Creating the perfect balance of properties
  • SAP charts explained
  • Doing ALL of the math - every formula step by step
  • Understanding water's role in soap and when and how to adjust your liquids
  • SAP charts, oil substitutions, and recipe form are included
  • And more
This is a lengthy, thorough eBook (193 pages) that will teach you how to create great soap recipes of your own.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cafe Latte Goat's Milk Soap Recipe


This soap, made with coffee and milk, can be used in the kitchen to rid unwanted scents from hands, in the morning to help wake your senses, or to help exfoliate skin.  Coffee grounds are known for their ability to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Café Latte Soap – 4lbs

By weight unless otherwise stated
17 oz Coconut oil 76°
17 oz Olive oil
8 oz Palm oil
8 oz Goat’s milk, frozen, by volume
8 oz Coffee with distilled water, by volume
6.2 oz Sodium hydroxide
2 oz Vanilla essential oil, by volume
1/3 cup Coffee grounds, by volume


Follow cold-process soap safety. Mix oils and melt, then allow to cool to 110-120 degrees F. Make 8 oz of strong coffee using distilled water. Mix the lye with the coffee and allow the temperature to cool to approximately 150 degrees F. Then add the lye/coffee mixture to the frozen goat’s milk and blend until the temperature is 110-120 degrees F. Add in lye solution and mix with stick blender. As mixture thickens, add coffee grounds and scent at trace. Pour into mold and allow to set and cure.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Slowing Trace Plus 5 Slow Moving Soap Recipes

Controlling Trace
There are a few factors to controlling trace in your soapmaking.  If you want a light trace or an emulsion, try these tips:
  • Work at low temperatures
  • Increase the water in your formula
  • Use a whisk instead of a stick blender
  • Use sodium lactate
  • Avoid butters and use less hard oils
  • Use oils that trace slowly, such as olive or canola oil
  • Test fragrances and use only ones with no effect on trace

Slow Moving Trace Recipes
Use the following recipes for creating soaps where more time is needed in order to achieve an intricate design with little to no trace.  Click the image to download a colorful recipe card.


Slow to Trace Recipe #1 - 1lb
By weight unless otherwise stated
4.4 oz Olive oil
2.75 oz Coconut oil 76°
2.75 oz Palm oil
1.1 oz Sweet Almond oil
4 oz Distilled water, by volume
1.54 oz Sodium hydroxide

Slow to Trace Recipe #2 - 1lb
By weight unless otherwise stated
2.75 oz Olive oil
2.75 oz Canola oil
2.75 oz Coconut oil 76°
2.75 oz Palm oil
4 oz Distilled water, by volume
1.53 oz Sodium hydroxide

Slow to Trace Recipe #3 - 1lb
By weight unless otherwise stated
3.3 oz Olive oil
3.3 oz Coconut oil 76°
2.2 oz Palm oil
2.2 oz Canola oil
4 oz Distilled water, by volume
1.56 oz Sodium hydroxide

Slow to Trace Recipe #4 - 1lb
By weight unless otherwise stated
6.6 oz Olive oil
2.2 oz Coconut oil 76°
2.2 oz Palm oil
4 oz Distilled water, by volume
1.51 oz Sodium hydroxide

Slow to Trace Recipe #5 - 1lb (Palm Free)

By weight unless otherwise stated
3.3 oz Olive oil
3.3 oz Canola oil
2.2 oz Coconut oil 76°
2.2 oz Lard
4 oz Distilled water, by volume
1.49 oz Sodium hydroxide

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Handy Guide to Soapmaking Methods


There are several different processes that can be used to make soap. These include Cold Process, Hot Process, Melt & Pour (or Gylcerin) and Rebatched.

Cold Process (CP)

In this process, oil and lye are brought to their desired temperatures, mixed, and allowed to react without additional heating.  Fragrances, colorants, and other additives are added to the mixture, which is then poured into a mold. Saponification typically takes place in the mold within 24 hours and the soap is cured for 4-6 weeks.


Pros:
·    Natural, authentic looking soap, made from scratch
·    You control the ingredients and can make customized formulations
·    Many design possibilities – swirling, layering, embedding, piping, peaked tops, and more
Cons:
·    Some fragrances and additives can cause acceleration in trace, seizing, ricing, and separation
·    Curing time is 4-6 weeks
·    Dangerous chemicals require added safety precautions are used

Hot Process (HP)

Hot process soapmaking is very similar to cold process. The oil and lye are brought to their desired temperatures, mixed, and allowed to react; then additional heat is applied to complete saponification.  This is done either in a double boiler on the stove (HP), in a crock pot (CPHP), or in the oven after pouring into the mold (ITOHP). After heating, fragrances, colorants, and other additives are added to the mixture, which is poured into a mold.


Pros:
·    Saponification is accelerated, shortening the time in the mold.
·    You control the ingredients and can make customized formulations
·    Fragrances are added after saponification so there are no issues that can arise
·    Soaps are ready in a few days, but still need to cure in order to harden

Cons:
·    HP produces a thicker and stickier mixture that can be difficult to pour evenly and smoothly into molds
·    Curing time is 2-3 weeks
·    Milk soaps or soaps containing sugar may turn brown due to overheating
·    Difficult to remove from some molds
·    Dangerous chemicals require added safety precautions are needed

Melt and Pour (MP) - also known as Glycerin

Melt and pour soapmaking uses a soap base that is commercially produced and already saponified.  You can then blend in fragrances, colorants, or additives into the remelted base and pour into a mold. Saponification was completed when the base was produced by the manufacturer.


Pros:
·    Quick and easy to make soap
·    Many design possibilities – swirling, layering, embedding, and more
·    No curing – soaps are ready as soon as they have cooled
·    No dangerous chemicals
·    Safe for kids to make
Cons:
·    It is not made from scratch
·    Many bases contain chemicals, although there are some natural bases, too
·    Less control over ingredients
·    Tends to ‘sweat,’ requiring the soap to be shrink wrapped


Rebatched - sometimes referred to as Milled 

Soap is first made using either the cold or hot process method. Anytime after saponification, the soap is shredded, melted, and remolded. Typically, rebatching is used when something minor has gone wrong in a batch of soap the first time around – unattractive color or design, fragrance didn’t take, etc. You can also purchase shredded soap that is ready to rebatch. 

Rebatched soap is sometimes referred to as milled or remilled soap. This is not necessarily a correct term for this method. Milled soap, i.e. Triple Milled French Soap, uses a special process in which factory machinery presses the soap, among other things. It is not shredded and melted like you would do in a small shop or at home. Therefore, to avoid confusion, it should be referred to as rebatched soap. 


Pros:
·    Remake an unsatisfactory soap, rather than wasting the ingredients
·    Can add ingredients without having to start processing all over
·    Essential oils that are too delicate for MP or HP can be used
Cons:
·    More time-consuming
·    Softer soap that tends to melt faster when bathing
·    Doesn’t always fix problems with a batch that didn’t come out right the first time around


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