Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hot Process Soap

I prefer making the cold process soap making way of doing things, but sometimes you need soap ready faster than that. In these cases, hot process is a perfectly acceptable way of making soap. The soap will have a different texture, but will still be wonderful, gentle, usable soap.

In addition to your normal soap making equipment, you will need a crockpot. I got mine used for $16 and it is perfect. Don't use a soap making crockpot for food! Don't forget that when making soap, safety always comes first!

The great thing about hot process soap making is that you don't have to worry about the temperature of your oils or your lye! You aren't pouring it into a mold, so if it reaches trace really soon, that's ok! First, measure out your oils into your crockpot and melt them over low heat (at least on mine, high is too high).
The bottle actually contains vinegar, which is always good to have on hand.

Then, carefully mix your sodium hydroxide and water. Always pour the NaOH into your water, never the other way around. I use almost frozen water so it doesn't get as hot and I mix it in my sink. If lye is harmful to your skin, just think what it will do to counters, floors, or anything else.
Notice I'm wearing gloves! I'm also wearing goggles.
Very carefully, pour your lye into your melted oils and mix with a stick blender (spoons work too, but that is soooo slow). Be sure you don't splash! Raw soap will burn your skin and counters. You should still be wearing your safety equipment. I mix my soap to a very heavy trace, but you only need to mix it well enough to make sure it won't separate. Mine looks lumpy and funny colored because I already added my ground chamomile flowers. Once your soap is at trace, put a lid on it and let it sit.
It will take a few hours to cook completely, but don't just leave it. Keep an eye (doesn't have to be a real close one) on it because it will start to expand and creep up in the pot and you don't want it to over flow.
Sorry about the picture, but look how much higher the soap got!

If it starts to get too close to the top, just use a spoon or spatula to stir it down. The first time you do this, it is very important to watch to make sure your soap isn't too big for your pot. I've used this pot a lot, so I'm know it will get really high, but won't overflow on low heat. Your soap is done when all of the lye has been reacted. You can test this using phenolphthalein or the tongue-zap test. Whatever you do, make sure your soap is done. I cooked mine for almost 4 hours, which was more than needed, but someone got hungry right about the time the soap was done.

When you are sure your soap is done, you will need to scent it. Check the flash point on your scent and the temp of your soap, it should be less than the flash point. Pour or scoop into a mold. It won't spread nicely like cold process, you will have to spread it. I put on my gloves and cover it with wax paper and press it flat. Be very careful not to burn yourself. It is molten soap, it'll hurt.

Let the soap cool. Once it is cool, you can unmold and cut your soap. It will be ready for use right away, but I like to let it sit a few days to harden. Again, the texture is different, but the soap will be just as good.

I know the top looks funny, but I press it well enough that the bottom looks pretty normal, so I just put the labels on that side :)

This is my Lavender Soap, which is one of my favorites! What is your favorite scent of soap?