Soap Making – from Scratch

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Eight years ago I decided to have a go at soap making – I invested in the book ” the handmade soap book” by Melinda Coss.

A great decision. There are quite a few books around that say they can teach you how to make handmade soap when in reality they teach you how to add essential oils and colour to pre-made soap and pour into moulds. This book is different – it teaches you how to make handmade soap from scratch using caustic soda and oils. Almost miraculously these change into the most gentle, moisturizering handmade soaps.

I had great fun experimenting, making a variety of recipes from the book. Plus I had an endless supply of wonderful handmade gifts. But there reached a point where there is only so much soap we can use as a family, and so many times you can give the same people soap as a gift! I looked into selling handmade soap, but was out off with my limited attempts at presentation, plus the regulations behind selling soap. For each recipe you need a license at approximately £120.

Kitchen Coffee Soap, homemade

A few years on I continue to make kitchen soap – utilising coffee as an ingredient this is a great soap for neutralising odours on your hands such as onion and garlic. I have recently run out, at a rather inopportune moment when I could have really done with some!!

soap making recipe

I have loved digging out my soap making box from the shed, ordering some more caustic soda, visiting the local ethnic food shop for coconut oil and making another batch.

It’s relatively simple to do, you just need to allow plenty of time. Essentially  you heat your oils together, seperatley add caustic soda to your coffee and wait for your two sets of ingredients to reach the same temperature,

soap making heating ingredients

Then stir and wait for the trace point to be reached. Pour into molds.

soap making moulds

After 24 hours slice.

soap making kitchen coffee soap

The hard bit is waiting the following four weeks for the soap to cure.

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13 Comments

  1. July 26, 2015 / 11:08 pm

    Wow, I don’t think id have the patience for that, but I commend your efforts, it all looks highly technical. Coffee soap though sounds amazing! I can’t believe all the logistics behind selling,seems a bit crazy but I guess with all the allergies around! At least you and your family get the pleasure x
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    • Vicky
      July 27, 2015 / 9:18 pm

      I am glad I gave it a go, and pleased that at least one recipe has stood the test of time:)

  2. July 27, 2015 / 12:00 am

    Soap making is something I have never tried, it looks fun but I imagine I would run out of people to give it to pretty quickly too. I had no idea the coffee would help with smells – you really do learn something new every day!
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    • Vicky
      July 27, 2015 / 9:17 pm

      I was amazed at how quickly I ran out of people to gift it to!!!!

  3. July 27, 2015 / 7:16 am

    A wonderful idea and you are very brave as know soap making can be fraught with problems. Did not realise that coffee got rid of onion smell on your hands, mind you I now cheat and buy ready diced frozen onions in a bag, so lazy.

    • Vicky
      July 27, 2015 / 9:16 pm

      I quite like the idea of cheating re onions!!

    • Vicky
      July 27, 2015 / 9:15 pm

      Thank you:)

  4. Melissa
    August 2, 2015 / 7:36 pm

    This is so neat! I have always wante dto learn how to make soap and this definitely makes it less intimdating, with the exception of waiting. LOL

    • Vicky
      August 4, 2015 / 7:27 am

      I appreciate the waiting is a bit of a bore!!!

  5. Mary
    November 4, 2015 / 3:10 pm

    I am so glad you mentioned that so many books and sites about making soap “from scratch” really is using premade product that is melted and enhanced. It may be fun, and be nice soap, but it is NOT homemade, any more than buying a roll of sugar cookie dough and adding something to it, is “homemade” cookies. Chances are you don’t know what is really in it, either. We don’t have to license our recipes here in New Mexico, but are required to have a business license, pay sales tax, and should have insurance. I’m sure not every vendor at craft fairs complies, but I do. It has become increasingly difficult to justify doing craft fairs, so I don’t blame you for not wanting to. I am still working as a nurse, and craft fairs take up weekend family time. I am not buying anymore oils, or scents, until I use up what I have, and will then decide if I want to continue. Homemade soap is so nice, but if you don’t make enough to buy your oils and lye in bulk, you will be making the most expensive bar of soap you ever used!

    • Vicky
      November 4, 2015 / 6:40 pm

      Weekend family time is so precious, it can be tricky to balance everything:)

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