Once you know how to make natural homemade soap you can experiment with added ingredients for different scents and textures. You can also make sure that your soap contains the only additives that you want. The two main ingredients in soap are lye and tallow. You can buy lye commercially, but for proper homemade soap, make lye yourself from wood ashes. Shop bought soap usually contains sodium hydroxide which is harsher on your skin than the potassium hydroxide that comes from homemade lye.
Things You Need to Make Soap:
How to Make Lye:
1. You make lye by burning wood. You should use hard woods like hickory, ash or beech. Once you have burnt the wood, collect the ashes (which should be light in color). Get rid of any black charcoal residue.
2. Next drill a 1/8 inch diameter hole through the bottom of a plastic bucket. The hole should be drilled about 1 inch off-center. Use a 1/8 inch nail to block up the drilled hole.
3. Raise the bucket up on the two breeze blocks (laid sideways). Put the bucket resting between the breeze blocks with space beneath the center to put a receptacle for the lye.
4. Scoop spades of ashes (cold) into the bucket. Press the ash down as you put in each spadeful. Fill the bucket about a third full.
5. Put on protective clothing and gloves and goggles.
6. Boil around 1/2 a bucket of rainwater. Add some to the ashes. The mixture will hiss and pop. You are making a caustic substance. This can be dangerous.
7. To begin with the water will not seem to mix well with the ashes. Leave it to for a while and come back later on. Then you can add some more water.
8. Remove the nail from the bucket and check on it every few hours. You may have to wait hours, or even days, for a bowlful of lye to build up. When a bowlful has accumulated, boil it carefully over a stove.
9. Pour the boiled lye back into the bucket. You are strengthening the lye by this process and you can repeat the procedure later, if necessary. You can check the strength of the lye by placing a chicken egg in it. If the egg sinks, then the lye is too weak. If the egg floats too high, then the lye is too strong. Weaken it with pure water if this is the case. When the lye is the correct strength, the egg floats with just a dime-size piece of shell showing over the top of the lye.
10. Now you should put the lye into a shallow container and leave it in the sun to dry. It is ready when crystallized.
How to Make the Soap:
1. Measure out 18.2 oz of lye into a pan using the weighing scales. Slowly add 2 1/2 pints of rainwater. Mix together and warm slowly to approximately body temperature. At the same time also warm up 6 lb of beef tallow to around body temperature.
2. Mix together the tallow and lye/water to make a solution with a consistency of sour cream.
3. Leave the soap for between 2 and 4 weeks to cure. The longer you leave it the better. Soap that is not properly cured may burn the skin. During curing the soap should be in a well-ventilated area. It should be open to the air while it is being cured.
When you have learned the basics of how to make natural homemade soap, you can then begin to experiment with your own variations. You can add salt in the final stages to harden the soap, for example. At this stage you can also add colorings and essential oils and/or some oatmeal or other abrasive substance which will help to ex-foliate the skin when the soap is used.