So guess what I did today?
Yep, that's right it's soap making day.
I don't know why but I always end up making soap when it's raining - something to do with the flowing water perhaps?
It's a job that I truly love and here's my gear ready to go.
Scales for weighing everything, rice bran oil and coconut oil (I forgot to include the olive oil), caustic soda to add to the rainwater, old stockpot and spoons to cook the soap up with, fragrance and tea tree oil.
I start by adding the caustic soda to some rainwater to make lye and as the resulting chemical reaction cools down to 50 degrees C, I heat the oils up to the same temperature and then add the lye to the oils.
It starts to change almost immediately.
Now I stir, and stir, and stir..........
....passing through the 'caramel sauce' stage.....
....until finally it reaches 'trace'; this is when the ripples from stirring stay on the surface.
Now is the time to add any fragrance. I always add tea tree oil for its antibacterial qualities and this time I added some perfume oil from Lush, the warm and furry smelling 'Exhale'.
Time now to pour it into the molds; as you can see I use old Carte D'Or ice cream containers, they are firm enough to get a good set but are flexible enough to get the soap out fairly easily. I have tried posh silicon molds but they just don't seem to cut the mustard for me.
I've included Rhonda Hetzel's book 'down to earth' as this recipe comes from Rhonda's blog - as anyone who reads this blog will know, this is my go-to source for nearly all things frugal and simple.
Tomorrow I will take the soap out of the molds and cut it into slices; then I just have to wait 6 weeks for the soap to cure - during this time the soap hardens off and the harder the soap when you start to use it, the longer it lasts in your bathroom.
The final soap lathers beautifully and is very soft on the skin, leaving you with out that dry feeling that some soaps and shower gels can do.