Friday, August 17, 2012


Supplies. stainless steel large pot
Metal whisk
vinegar for neutralizing any lye or soap that may splash on you
wooden spoon for stirring 
weighing scale

12 oz lye
21  1/2 oz cold water
5 lbs 7 1/3 oz lard

 I have wanted to make homemade lye soap for quit a while. I even bought the book on soap making that sat on my shelf for the last 3 years. The prospect of using lye was scary. especially after reading all the precautions written in the book so I decided to wait...

One of my friends Ronnie offered to do a hands on tutorial, it is fascinating to think that lard turns into soap by just adding lye, and water to it.

Lard was melted in a enamel pot.

Lye was mixed with ice water in a high temperature resistant glass jar, until the lye water was clear.  Making sure you wear safety glasses, and have vinegar on hand to spray in case of lye water splashing on the skin. The water actually reaches 180 degrees.
 The lye water is then poured into the melted fat, and stirred.
And stirred, and stirred, and stirred... for  4 hours to be exact , until the soap looked like thick gravy. That's what is called the trace stage when you pour some of the soap on top of the soap, and it lays on top for a moment before disappearing. At this stage is when we poured the oatmeal, and lavender.
Ronnie then poured it into a plastic lined cardboard box. It had to harden to fudge hard stage. Which took 12 hours.
I cut the soap into bars. It has to cure for 3 weeks before using. A chemical reaction process occurs in that time where lye dust appears to the surface of the bars. The dust is cut away, the soap gets mellow.
This soap is the best feeling soap, it's slick when wet, and does not feel scummy like store bought soap. The glycerin is not removed in homemade lye soap. I added the oats for exfoliating dead skin,the lavender was added for scent, and texture.