Saturday, September 15, 2012


One of the things Tristan wants to make in his new endeavor is bar soap.  One of the ingredients in his dishwashing liquid is grated soap and he loves the idea of making soap to sell.

I am of course terrified of lye, but love the idea of him doing the rest of the project including choosing which soap to make, researching soap manufacturing, carefully measuring everything out and using a lye calculator.

Having a poisonous and potentially explosive ingredient in soap is extremely interesting to him.

He is terrified of it too but deeply interested.  In order to overcome our fear, we wore long sleeves, long gloves and safety glasses.  Tristan stood back and watched from afar as I gently tipped the carefully measured out lye into the water and gently mixed it until it dissolved.  We prepared a large bucket of neutralizing solution and deposited everything that lye had touched into it.

Lye looks just like sugar.  That is terrifying in itself.  Especially with children around.

Anyway, we now have soap.  I was not thrilled with the outcome.  It is lovely to use and gives a smooth, creamy lather.  It just doesn't have a gorgeous smell and look.  George said it reminds him of the old Madagascan soap of his childhood.  I need to make more of it. I want to be more adventurous, read books about it and experiment with using things like goats milk.  It is easy to make.  Most of all I get a kick out of making products that I use and formally bought at the supermarket.

To make it I used a crock pot.  You just melt the carefully measured out oils and butters in it.  Add the lye. Whiz it with a stick blender for a few minutes until it looks like custard, and let it cook for a hour.  Put it in a mold, let it cool and voila!  Soap can be a lot more complicated. I picked a simple recipe from Frugally Sustainable for my first foray into the art.


  1. Wait, doesn't lye soap need to cure, or can it really be used right away? I thought it could not. Off to look it up! If it's this quick, then that is even better. I have a lye kit here that I ordered like three years ago and never made. I should do that soon.... Ha!

    1. should because it is fun and scary! More fun than scary!