Making soap at home is one of my favorite hobbies. The idea of being able to make a soap with vegetable oils and customize it with colors and scents, amuses and stimulates me. In addition, it also makes me more eco-sustainable, not having to buy soap with useless packaging that sooner or later will have to be thrown away. In this post, I decided to list all the tools you need to have if you want to make soap at home with the cold method. This post is an excerpt fromSoap making 101 with the cold method, have a look at it by clicking here. You will find all the information to master this hobby.
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List of soap making supplies
As I described in a previous post of mine, soap is the result of a chemical reaction. By mixing precise amounts of oil and caustic soda you get soap and glycerine that over time take on a solid and robust consistency. Let’s start the list of soap-making suppliers with ingredients.
They are all easily available at reasonable prices, both online and in stores. If you want to know more about the formulation and the steps for the creation of soap I leave you a useful link here.
Soap Making Supplies: Safety First
The cold soap production method involves the use of caustic soda. It is an ingredient that requires appropriate safety measures because it is highly corrosive both in solution and solid-state. In addition, during the preparation of the caustic solution fumes can be generated which, if inhaled, would cause serious damage to the respiratory system. I have written a detailed article, which I will bring you back here if you want to go into the subject in more detail. In order to work safely, it is absolutely necessary to be equipped with:
These are essential and cannot be missing from the tools to be used for soap production. I also recommend working with long-sleeved trousers and T-shirts to prevent splashes from accidentally ending up on the skin.
SoapMaking Supplies: Tools
Now that we have the ingredients and all the equipment that will allow us to work safely, let’s see what tools are needed to make our soap.
Containers and spoons
Let’s start with the containers where we’ll weigh the oils, butter and prepare the caustic soda solution. The containers we’ll need will be of two types:
Plastic Container (PP)(polypropylene plastic) to prepare the caustic soda solution. I normally weigh the caustic soda in a pyrex glass that I only use for this purpose. I then pour the lye into a second PP container containing the water.
Stainless steel, pyrex glass (find it here), or PP (polypropylene plastic) containers to heat oils and greases in a water bath. This should be large enough to hold the final soap.
To mix the caustic soda solution you will need either awooden spoon or a glass stirring rod. Some soap manufacturers also use stainless steel spoons. I have never tried it before because I am currently satisfied with my old wooden spoon. To mix the soap once produced, I love to use the silicone spatula that takes each portion of soap, making the transfer into the mold perfect and safe.
Soap making supplies: equipment
To prepare the soap at home we will need some essential tools:
A digital scale is a must for soap production. I prefer it to analogs because it can measure more precisely and accurately without the risk of making mistakes that could affect the success of the product. I only use one for DIY, here in the picture!
Immersion blender (Stick blender)
In order to mix the fats with the caustic soda, I strongly recommend that you use an immersion blender. Mixing the two phases with a whip or spoon will take too much time and effort. We’ll be stirring them for minutes or even hours until the right consistency is reached. To avoid all this, an immersion blender will help us save time and get a quality soap. As with the digital scale, I purchased an immersion blender exclusively for soap production. It is recommended to keep utensils that have come into contact with caustic soda well separated from the kitchen or other DIY activities. The immersion blender I use is not very expensive and does its job perfectly.
The thermometer is an instrument that I did not buy immediately thinking I did not need it. Actually, I was wrong! Mixing oils and caustic soda at very different temperatures can affect the final result. For example, from my experience I understood that adding the caustic soda solution when its temperature is still very high triggers the saponification reaction too quickly, compromising the structure and the next stage of customization with dyes. On the market there are several but I recommend the infrared one that is really easy to use.
Once we have created our soap, we will just have to pour it into the molds and let it cure for a few weeks. There are many molds on the market, I started using silicone molds that are easy to use if you are a beginner. I also used other plastic molds but extracting the soap was a challenge. If you want to raise the bar and prepare larger amounts of soap by trying different decorative techniques, you can opt for the silicone mold with the wooden box. This option will allow you to make your soaps and cut them perfectly thanks to the small knife provided.
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