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How to make soap ?

There are many fancy soap recipes which make better soaps if you have all the ingredients and know the basic method. Here is providing the basic information on how to make soap from the most basic materials.

The first basic method assumes that you can go to a store and just buy the ingredients. The second method assumes that you have animals to butcher and a proper place to burn wood fires and saved the ashes.

- First Basic Method

You will need a small plastic dishpan about 10" x 12", an enamel 2-quart saucepan, 12 ounces of lye (sodium hydroxide), 3 pounds of lard and enough water. As safety awareness, you will need hand gloves and eye protection.

Wear hand gloves and eye protection. Pour 3 cups of ice water or refrigerate water into the enamel saucepan. Carefully put in the lye a little bit a time, stirring it with a wooden utensil. Make sure you not use any metal and not breathe the vapor.

The lye mixture will be very hot. Allow it cool in a safe place at least one hour. Meanwhile, the unwrapped lard should be warm up to room temperature in the plastic dishpan.

Once the lye solution is cool, carefully pour it into the lard in the dishpan. The lard will melt. Stir and mix thoroughly for about15 minutes, until it looks like thick pudding. Then allow it set until the next morning.

After it set, cut it into bars and package. It will get harder after several days. If you want to create olive oil soap based, use about 48 ounces. It may take a week to harden.

If you wish to create liquid soap, make chips from your home-made soap bar. Put in enough hot water to dissolve followed by citric acid to get pH 7 to 8. It is important to add in acid citric to avoid harsh on your skin.

- Second Basic Method

This soap making method takes 3 basic steps.

1) Making of the wood ash lye.

Place wood ashes in a bottomless barrel. Set on a stone slab with a groove and carve a lip in it. The stone in turn settled on a pile of rocks. Place a layer of straw and small sticks in the barrel then put the ashes on the top to avoid the ashes from getting in the solution.

Pour water over the ashes slowly until a brownish liquid oozed out from the bottom of the barrel. This potash lye solution was produced by letting the water run into the groove around the stone slab and drip down into a clay vessel at the groove lip.

Other way to make the lye solution is use an ash hopper. Keep the ash hopper in a shed to protect them from being leached by a rain fall. Add ashes periodically and pour water at intervals to assure a continuous supply of lye. The lye will drip into a vessel placed beneath the hopper.

2) Rendering the fats.

Cleaning process of fats is called rendering. It is the smelliest part in making soap.

Animal fat must be rendered while removed them from the animals during butchering. Take out all meat tissues that remain in the fat sections. Fat obtained from pigs is called lard while fat obtained from cattle is called tallow.

If soap is made from grease saved from cooking fires, it is also have to render to remove all collected dirt in it. It will create a good smelling soap.

To render, place animal fats or cooking grease in a large kettle and add in an equal amount of water. Place the kettle over the open fire outdoors. Never do it in house because the smell from the rendering process is too strong. Allow the mixture boiled until all the fats or grease is completely melted.

After a longer period of boiling to assure completion of melting the fats, the fire is stopped. Add the same amount of water as earlier into the kettle and left the solution over night to cool down.

The fats have solidified and floated at the top surface forming a layer of clean fat by the next day.

3) Mixing the fats and lye solution.

Place the amount determined to be the correct amount lye solution in another large kettle or pot. Place it over the open fire outdoors again. Let it boiled until the mixture change into a thick frothy mass. The soap is formed. This process could take up to 6 to 8 hours. It is depend on the strength of the lye and the amount of the mixture.

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