Homemade Lye Soap


Lee AnnIf you have never made your own soap, you may think it's a really complicated process. I know that's what I thought. I was afraid of the lye, didn't understand how easy it was to be creative, and felt like I was learning chemistry. Then a friend showed me how she makes it, and after some alterations to make the recipe my own, I came up with this simple soap. We now make a lot of different kinds of soaps here on the farm, but this always has been our go-to recipe. We have used it around here for years, and it's always fun trying new scents and additives. The trick to soap making? Just get started and don't be afraid!

simple soap 

Simple Soap from One Ash Farm Recipes

2 cups liquid ~ this can be things like chamomile tea, pureed cucumbers mixed with some water or green tea, or goat milk
6 ounces food grade lye ~ weigh this out on your digital scale
8 ounces olive oil
16 ounces coconut oil
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) shortening (yes, the kind you cook with)
Essential oils or soap fragrance oil
Any other additives (cornmeal, dried herbs, oatmeal, etc.)

– Combine the liquid and the lye and stir until mixed. Make sure you are pouring the lye into the liquid, not the other way around! The mixture will begin to get hot from the chemical reaction with the lye. Be sure to wear your apron and protective goggles. And don't splash!

– Slowly add the oils to the liquid/lye mixture, and, using your stick blender, mix thoroughly until saponification occurs. (This is when the mixture begins to thicken and you can see a trace, or trail, through the soap.) Saponification is the chemical process that creates a hard soap and neutralizes the caustic effects of the lye.

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