Introduction to Soap Making – Day 7
|Wahoo! We made it to Tuesday. Whew! Do you have anything exciting planned? I do! Today we are going to be making a soap with lanolin. Come join us today to find out why soaps containing lanolin have such a loyal following.
So, where does lanolin come from? Every spring sheep are sheared for their wool. We take the wool to keep us warm in the winter AND to keep the sheep cool in the summer. During the washing process, lanolin is removed from the wool. It is then cleaned again to give us a wonderful product that can be added to our soap, lotions, creams and lip balms.
Lanolin has a high content of waxy esters that don’t saponify. This is why soaps with extremely high lanolin content stay very soft. However those waxy esters are what give the soap its emollient properties. Adding lanolin to your soap formulation also makes it temperature sensitive. Watch your temperatures when making a soap containing lanolin!
I have heard many people comment on how wonderful lanolin soap are. One of the best descriptions of lanolin soap I have heard is that after washing with the soap, it feels like a light lotion has already been applied to the skin. Spinners, knitters, secretaries and computer geeks all enjoy lanolin soaps. (Just call and ask Dirk, our resident IT guy.) I suspect a lanolin soap would be a welcome gift to someone who washes their hands frequently and their hands become dry and cracked.
Weigh the oils into a microwave safe container. Place into the microwave and heat. While the oils are heating, weigh the lye. Slowly add the lye to your container of water. DO NOT add water to your container of lye. The two chemicals reacting can cause a dangerous volcano. It is best to create good safety habits before you make a batch of soap that is 20 lbs in size. For this batch, my temperatures were 110 for my lye solution and 120 for my oils.
For most soaps, you will want to mix your oils and lye solution when both are somewhere between 110°F to 130°F. In the winter when your soaping area is cooler, you will want to soap at higher temperatures. In the summer when your soaping area is warmer, you will want to soap at cooler temperatures.
When your lye solution and oils are within the ideal temperature range, slowly pour the lye solution into the oils. Using either an immersion or a soap spoon, mix until you reach trace. Trace is when the raw soap has been mixed enough that oil will no longer rise to the surface when mixing is stopped. If you aren’t sure if you have achieve trace then stop mixing, go get a glass, fill it with water, do not drink it. Come back to your soap. Is oil floating on the surface?
Once trace is reached, you can pour the soap into a mold. Allow the soap to sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. After the soap has been allowed to sit for up to 24 hours, you can unmold the soap and cut it. Arrange the cut bars of soap in an area where there is good air flow but they will not be in the way. I like to put them on a sheet of cardboard. You are now ready for the curing process. The curing process is just allow the soap to dry out, giving you a nice hard bar. You can use your soap immediately after cutting but it will not last as long as a fully cured bar.
A great way to determine if your bar has cured all the way is to use our Cure Cards! Did you know you can get them free in qualifying orders? How cool!