Making soap is fun, and should be anything but dangerous. However, most soap making processes that you can do on your own at home require the inclusion of a little ingredient known as lye. Although it sounds harmless, lye is a caustic soda that is highly corrosive and can cause burning if it comes in contact with skin. Knowing this, making soap without lye seems to be the most desirable option for many at-home soap enthusiasts.
People have been making soap on their own for thousands of years. So how did they do this safety? Well, when people first began making soap, it was made from very basic ingredients, such as animal fats, wood ashes, or other components of nature. Today, however, soap is made by mixing animal fats or vegetable oil with lye. Luckily, there are still ways for crafters to create their own soaps by adding personal touches to already made soap. Get ready to lather up some fun by making soap without lye!
Before we get into the process of making soap without lye, let’s first give you a little background on why most people would not want to use lye at home.
What is Lye?
- Lye is a chemical compound known as sodium hydroxide.
- Lye is used in many different ways, such as: food preparation, biodiesel production, water treatment, and of course in making soaps and detergents.
- Lye is highly corrosive and known as a “caustic soda”.
- Lye creates a strong alkaline solution when it is dissolved in water.
- Today, lye is commonly manufactured as flakes, pellets, or powder.
What makes lye dangerous?
- Lye is toxic and fatal if it is consumed or swallowed.
- Lye is so toxic that it will eat through certain substances, causing it to damage many materials.
- Lye can cause chemical burns if it comes in contact with skin.
- Lye can cause blindness if it comes in contact with your eyes.
- Lye is exothermic when it is dissolved in water, which means it will create a large amount of heat that can be flammable or burn objects in its area. If large amounts of lye are dissolved, it could boil and splatter, which is dangerous for what it touches.
- Lye is explosive it is combined with: aluminum, magnesium, zinc, tin, brass, and other metals.
- If lye is combined with sugar, it will produce carbon monoxide.
How To Personalize Your Own Soap Without Lye
Now that you are aware of the harm that lye can cause, let’s take a look at how you can create your own soap without using lye. This involves using an already made Ivory soap and simply adding in your own personal touch. It is a fun way to be crafty and create something that you can use yourself or as a gift for friends or family.
You will Need:
- 1/4ths cup water
- Dried and pulverized herbs, scents, or flowers of your choice
- Essential oils
- Approximately two cups of already shredded Ivory soap
- 2 large mixing bowls
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 1 Glass plate
- 1 Soap making mold
- Take your choice of herbs or flowers and crumble them up. Place them in your mixing bowl. If you want to achieve a more concentrated scent for your soap, pick just one single herb. For instance, you can decide to choose to work with lavender, mint, or both.
- Once you have your herbs in a bowl, go ahead and pour 1/4th cup of boiling water over your herbs.
- Once you have your mixture set, add five or six drops of essential oil to the pot of herb mixture. If you are unsure of which essential oils to choose from, here are some ideas: Peppermint, Rose
Lemon, Orange, Spearmint, Cinnamon (use sparingly), Jasmine, Bergamot, or Ylang Ylang. Keep in mind that you might not want to mix too many different scents, or else you will end up with a product that is too overpowering.
- After dropping in your oils, go ahead and stir the mixture until everything has been mixed evenly.
- Take your second mixing bowl and shred your bar of Ivory soap as finely as possible.
- Now, pour the boiling water that contains your herbal and oil mixture over the shredded Ivory soap. Make sure the water covers the soap shreds completely.
- With your wooden spoon, go ahead and mix the herbal water and shredded ivory until all of the soap has completely melted. Make sure that all of the herbal bits are evenly distributed and not clumped throughout the soap mixture.
- Let the soap mixture sit for around 15 to 20 minutes so that it hardens enough to remain pliable. The soap should be workable enough for you to press into the soap molds without burning your skin.
- Once your soap has hardened, you are going to want to divide your mixture into smaller portions so that your soap can be more easily useable. You can do this by pressing the soap portions into the soap making mold, or you can roll them into balls.
- When the soap has hardened enough to fit the mold, gently remove the soap from the mold. If you want to make this removing processes as easy as possible, coat the mold with vegetable oil before pressing the soap mixture into it.
- Time to play the waiting game! Allow three to four days for your soap to dry. Rest it on a glass plate and in a cool area of your home.
- Once your soap is dry, time to lather up and enjoy!
With all of the dangerous effects that lye has to offer, it is a much easier and safer option to avoid it altogether, especially when you are going to be handling it yourself in your own home. By making soap without lye, you will still be able to have the benefits of creating your own soap and personalizing it to your taste. So get in on the soap making process in the safest way possible, and create your own useful and delightfully smelling soap!