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Soapmaking Question and Answer

There was such an overwhelming amount of comments and questions when I announced this week’s blog topic that I had to spend a day just answering questions. Thank you all so much for your support, thoughts, and questions!

Jamie Greer asked: Is there a general rule of thumb to determine how much fragrance to use?

Answer: Our website has a really great tool called the Fragrance Calculator that you can use for soap or any type of recipe. Because we offer such a wide variety of Essential and Fragrance Oils, some vary in intensity. Use this tool to determine how much fragrance to use per ounce or pound (you choose!).

Pat asked: Is there a safe and easy way to make cold process soap in a small apartment with a rambunctious 3-year-old? My niece lives with us and is very allergic to soy and has eczema. I’d like to be able to make soap for her that will help resolve the eczema and not aggravate it.

Answer: Andee says: Nap time! If the child still takes a nap then use nap time as your time. If the child does not take naps then use bed time to make soap. Be sure to store your supplies and freshly-poured soap out of reach. As far as soap recipes, any recipe without soy will help!

Peter asked: OK, my question is about the amount of soap. When my soap calls for x amount of pounds of fat, is that the total amount of the final product? I am trying to get wooden molds, and I cannot decide which one to buy. Also, do most of the “experienced” soapmakers get one “universal” recipe and then just change the fragrance oils and additives?

Andee says: Figure about 20 to 22 ounces of finished soap for every pound of fat. If you cannot make your own wood mold then only buy what you desire for the final shape of your bars. Don’t look exclusively at the volume of the mold.

Production soapmakers generally have a few production recipes and then change up fragrance and additives. Household soapmakers tend to vary their recipes. Think of this in terms of efficiency. Restaurants have a set menu and household cooks handle all the requests.

My soaps range from 23.8 to 24.8 ounces. I’ll be watching them dry over the next few days.

Final Thoughts
My first day of soapmaking had mixed results. Two of my loaves of soap did not turn out to be a usable product. I did not mix the lye well and the product is a slippery mess. I even stuck my finger in it to show you what it looks like when the lye does not dissolve completely in the water. It is also important to note here that when using lye, please make sure that all fans are turned off and there is not a draft where you are mixing the lye. This can cause more steam with lye particles to disperse in the air.

My other 4 loaves turned out great. I mixed the lye well and paid more attention to detail. One thing to note, I did not completely cover the bottom of one of the trays with Saran Wrap and the soap leaked through. Whoops! I also allowed the Saran Wrap to fall into the poured soap while it was setting. When I pulled the Saran Wrap off after the soap set it pulled out some of the soap and the bar was not as pretty.

I hope that these have helped those that are just beginning to make soap. I recommend using a tried and true recipe before venturing out on your own and creating your own recipes. Our blog is a wealth of knowledge and dates back a couple of years so you can find a variety of recipes that have already been tested in our very own blog kitchen. As always, we are more than willing to help with recipes. We have a great technical support staff here at MMS that are happy to help answer questions.

If you have more questions, comment on this blog. I will answer them during this week and we can all pass the Beginners Soap Class together!


4 finished bars

2 bars where the lye did not dissolve completely

What a mess!

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