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The journey of making soap

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Little by little, a bar of soap emerges from the loaves that were made last weekend..

Now that they have been cut, they will sit for a few more days before being stamped and then moved to the drying rack and wait for packaging.

It’s always fun to cut them to see their design and final colors. Even though I try to stay with the general color for each specific scent, tints and shades will vary from batch to batch.

When I first started making soap, I learned how to do it using the “cold process method.” This means that the actual chemical reaction takes place WHILE the loaf is sitting which takes 6 to 8 weeks to be usable. This started to pose a problem though. I didn’t have enough room to store that many loaves while they just sat around and “cured”.

I soon learned that I needed to learn “hot process method”, but I was pretty unsure and Ill be honest, scared. In the hot process method, you are actually cooking the soap, so that when it goes into the mold it is already usable. Why? Because you cooked it causing the reaction to take place right then. It will just be soft and won’t last long using it. When you’re doing this method you do need to cure, but not because it would be dangerous to use, but because it is still soft. Setting it will continue to harden down so that it will last longer when using. The scary part is that you are actually working with 200+ degree oils mixed with lye as the reaction takes place. If you remember in elementary making a volcano with vinegar and baking soda, this is like the same eruption that happens. EXCEPT its over 200 degrees Fahrenheit.... kind of scary the first few times and you better be on your toes to stir it down. (I have showed videos of this before. ) The beauty of this method is that they no longer have to have a 6-to-8-week resting time in order to be able to start moving them out!

Making Soap took me a really long time... like five years. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up, but that’s just not me. There are so many factors and so many things that can go wrong. It can be very discouraging with each failed batch. It is a skill that has taken me many years and many, many hours of researching. Hundreds of trial-and-error batches, but then again, it’s how I learned to re-batch soap with all of the mistakes. With every error there is a lesson. Learn from them and before long a skill will emerge.

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