Blue Cat’s family is always trying new things, and the latest is making homemade soap. Blue Cat doesn’t really use soap (he’s very delicate and like most cats is not overly fond of water) but he appreciates it. And homemade soap is both economical and fun. And Blue Cat likes fun.
Soap is made from fats, liquids and lye. For the fats, Blue Cat’s recipe uses olive oil, castor oil (from the castor bean, which is really a seed), coconut oil, and lard. For liquids, Blue Cat’s family adds interesting things like aloe juice. And you can add other things like oatmeal and cinnamin. That makes the soap good from your skin and smell nice.
Soap making also requires some equipment. You need something to mix in, something to mix with (an electric “stick” mixer really cuts down on mixing time), and molds to pour the soap into. Blue Cat’s family likes silicon molds because it’s easy to get the hardened soap out of them. And Blue Cat is into easy.
And then there’s the lye. NaOH – sodium hydroxide. Blue Cat is afraid of the lye, because it’s very base (meaning it has a high pH – the opposite of an acid) and it can burn through skin and yarn. He’s very careful with lye – he stays in the other room when it’s being used.
And of course you need a scale to measure your ingredients, since everything in Blue Cat’s soap recipe is measured by weight. As you can see, Blue Cat has been working out – he’s down to his fighting weight of 100 grams (the 4 extra grams are from clothing and shoes).
Blue Cat bets you’re wondering what his recipe is for soap. It’s at the bottom of this post for those who want to give it a try. His scribe’s daughter created it using the tools at www.soapcalc.com. She is the family soap expert, and she says they also have good instructions on cold process soap. She also likes the tutorials and recipes on www.soap-making-resource.com.
Home-made soap has to cure for a couple of weeks, but it looks like soap when it comes out of the molds. Here are three batches of soap in various stages of curing.
What kinds of soap ? The white ones are Aloe, the brown ones are Aloe-Oatmeal-Cinnamon, and the red ones are Aloe-Oatmeal. Blue Cat is hoping for some ice cream soap next, because he really likes ice cream. (Scribe Note: Blue Cat doesn’t realize that ice cream can’t be put in soap, but no one wants to break the news to him.)
Let Blue Cat know about your soap-making experiences by leaving him a comment below, or emailing him by clicking here. Here’s to staying clean!
Blue Cat’s Family Soap Recipe
“Water” – 190 grams (use any liquid here – for example, you use 190 grams of aloe juice for aloe soap)
Lye (NaOH) – 72 grams
Castor Oil – 68 grams
Coconut oil – 175 grams
Lard – 100 grams
Olive Oil – 157 grams
In a plastic pitcher, mix the oils and lard. Warm the pitcher in a hot-water bath to melt the solids
In a separate container, measure out the “water.” Add the measured lye to it and mix.
(Blue Cat says “Never add liquid to lye – always add lye to the liquid!”) Be careful – the mixture will get hot.
Add the water/Lye mix to the oils/fat. Use a stick blender to mix until thick (the soap will pile up on the surface of the mixture)
Then add other stuff (coloring, spices, etc) and stir
Pour into molds and let the soap set up overnight. Let it cure on a rack for 2-3 weeks.
© William P Doyle, Jr 2013 All Rights Reserved