Introduction to Soap Making – Day 11
|Today is the last of the Introduction to Soap Making Series. Thanks for joining. It has been fun. I will have another post with all of the soaps lined up for you to visually compare but today is the last day we will be making soap for this series. Now I wanted to end this series with a bit of a bang. Are you ready for today’s oil. Drum roll… Today we will be using Neem!
Now if you have ever made anything with Neem, you know Neem has a very strong odor. So strong, you could even say it reeks! Why on earth would someone want to make soap with Neem?!
Neem has been used topically to aid in the healing of skin. Neem is even used in some OTC drugs that are available today! Neem has also been used to treat nits, hair lice and even insect infestations on plants.
Because of the intense odor that Neem has, I am going to limit it to less than 1% of my total batch. I chose to use Macadamia Nut Oil to complete my 1 oz of luxury oils.
My finished soap had a very mild Neem odor to it. It is still there but it is at a manageable level. I think this soap would handle the addition of a more earthy fragrance oil nicely.
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 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!