When I visited in mid-November of last year, I walked out to the water and filled a 1 liter bottle with water from the lake. My intention was to make a batch of soap for a friend of mine. We are visiting Antelope Island later this spring and I wanted to make the memories of the trip last longer than the day of our visit. They will get a personalized souvenir that will remind them of the visit each time they use the soap.
I’m not advocating to bring a tanker of water home from your next vacation, but it is fun to make a small batch of soap that extends your memories of your trip. My family does this by making jam every time we go on vacation. My most memorable batch of jam was the blackberry freezer jam that we made in Portland over our hotel room’s white carpet! I couldn’t help giggling every time we opened a jar.
Let’s head off to the kitchen to make some Great Salt Lake Brine soap!
Collect needed items:
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water from the Great Salt Lake
Microwave Safe Container
Jumbo Heat Sealable Teabag
|Recipe in Grams
170 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
142 grams Coconut Oil
113 grams Olive Oil
29 grams Shea Butter
64 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Great Salt Lake Water
|Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Olive Oil
1 oz Shea Butter
2.26 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Great Salt Lake Water
|Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31.25% Coconut Oil
25% Olive Oil
6.25% Shea Butter
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Great Salt Lake Water
Before starting I strained the water through a Jumbo Heat Sealable Teabag to remove any physical particulate, like brine shrimp. I then weighed my water and set it aside. I weighed the oils into a microwave safe container. Then I placed into the microwave and gently heated the oils until they were mostly melted. While the oils were heating, I weighed the lye. I slowly added the lye to a container of Great Salt Lake Water I had measured out before melting the oils. DO NOT add water to your container of lye.
Once my lye solution and oils were within an ideal temperature range*, I slowly poured the lye solution into the oils. I used an immersion blender to mix the oils and lye solution together until I reached trace. After I achieved trace, I poured the soap into the mold and allowed the soap to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
I came back after 24 hours and cut the soap into bars. Then I placed the cut bars of soap on a piece of cardboard and arranged them to allow for good air flow between bars. I placed the bars on my curing shelf and made a note of their starting weight. As the curing process is the time that allows for any excess water to evaporate, soap cures fairly quickly in our dry climate.
I did make a second batch of this soap with the addition of 1 tablespoon of mud collected from the Great Salt Lake. The brownish grey color isn’t appealing, but the source has a wonderful story!
Soap Notes: This soap is a hard bar and has a nice lather. I’ll be making a batch with regular salt to replicate this!
*Temperature Note: 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. This particular batch had temperatures around 120°F.
I had so much fun making this soap! What kind of soap would you make to give someone as a vacation souvenir?
P.S. If you are looking for information about the Great Salt Lake and its water, you’ve reached it!
How much minerals and salt were in the water you used?
I have to admit that I do not know for certain. The point where I collected water is noted to have between 17-20% salinity. That is not guaranteed. There are points of the Great Salt Lake that have a mere 5% salinity and yet other points that have 27% salinity! I’ve included a chart below that will help you understand the general composition of the water in comparison to a typical ocean and the Dead Sea.
Chemical compositions (dry weight percents) of Great Salt Lake, typical ocean, and the Dead Sea waters. Information found from the Utah Geological Survey.
|Great Salt Lake||32.8%||2.0%||3.3%||0.2%||54.5%||7.2%|