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Make Your Own Soap and Shampoo Bars!

One of the fun and budget friendly low-waste skill I have gained over the years is making my own soap and shampoo bars! Not only does this save me a heap of money, it also allows me to make bars that suit my skin and hair. 

It can be a bit daunting at first - and actually took me years to get around to trying because I was scared by the idea of caustic soda and chemical burns (think Fight Club). But once I tried it, realised it is way simpler than I had imagined and that I had just put a barrier there myself for no reason.

So here are the recipes I use for soap and shampoo bars, plus some extras: laundry bars that you can then turn into laundry liquid, and tips to make liquid soap from scraps of soap bars. 

Making your own bars and cleaning products means you can avoid harsh cleaners, companies that don't align with your values and often you can find the ingredients in bulk bin stores. 

Watch the video instructions for shampoo bars here: 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION (READ FIRST)

Caustic soda can cause a chemical burn so be careful when using it. Always use safety equipment.

Caustic soda and water when mixed is called 'lye'.

Lye reacts with the oil and slowly turns into soap so there are no caustic elements left in the final product.

Glass is ok to use for soapmaking, ensuring it is rinsed in white vinegar and washed, and can then be used for kitchen use. Plastic and silicon on the other hand are not able to be used with food after being used for soapmaking. This is due to the material having pores that can hold the chemicals.

You can add essential oils and other flavourings. Be aware that the process is a chemical reaction so any essential oils may affect the process.

The quality of the ingredients will affect the quality of the final product for example cheap olive oil or almond oil may affect the shampoo quality.

Filtered or spring water is best for consistent results. Tap water is ok to use but may affect the process.

TROUBLESHOOTING: If you encounter any problems, google the issue as there are a lot of resources available online.

Hand Soap Recipe

975ml Coconut Oil
137g Caustic Soda 
370ml Water
14-30mls essential oils (optional)

Melt oil in a slow cooker. Fill a sink or bucket with water and a splash of white vinegar. Wearing gloves, weigh out caustic soda as accurately as possible into a glass jug or bowl (note caustic soda reacts with water and can burn). Measure water in a separate glass bowl. In a ventilated place slowly pour the caustic soda into the water, careful not to splash. Slowly pour the lye mixture into the slow cooker with coconut oil. Place the bowl into the white vinegar to neutralise the acidic caustic soda. With a stick blender mix the oil and lye until they resemble pudding. This is called 'trace'. Leave on warm or hot for 1 hour, checking regularly. After 1 hour, test if the soap mixture is ready. Do this by putting a small amount on your tongue. If it zaps it isn't ready, leave it a little longer. If it is waxy and just tastes of soap, stir to cool slightly and then add essential oils.

Pour into a silicone mould. Let sit for 24 hours and then cut.

 

Shampoo Bar Recipe

630ml Coconut Oil
270ml Olive Oil
90ml Almond Oil 162g 
Caustic Soda
296ml Water
14-30mls essential oils optional

Melt oil in a slow cooker. Fill a sink or bucket with water and a splash of white vinegar. Wearing gloves, weigh out caustic soda as accurately as possible into a glass jug or bowl (note caustic soda reacts with water and can burn). Measure water in a separate glass bowl. In a ventilated place slowly pour the caustic soda into the water, careful not to splash. Slowly pour the lye mixture into the slow cooker with coconut oil. Place the bowl into the white vinegar to neutralise the acidic caustic soda. With a stick blender mix the oil and lye until they resemble pudding. This is called 'trace'. Leave on warm or hot for 1 hour, checking regularly. After 1 hour, test if the soap mixture is ready. Do this by putting a small amount on your tongue. If it zaps it isn't ready, leave it a little longer. If it is waxy and just tastes of soap, stir to cool slightly and then add essential oils.

Pour into a silicone mould. Let sit for 24 hours and then cut.

 

Laundry Soap

975ml Coconut Oil
168g Caustic Soda
354ml Water
14-30mls essential oils (optional)
White Vinegar for the process

Melt oil in a slow cooker. Fill a sink or bucket with water and a splash of white vinegar. Wearing gloves, weigh out caustic soda as accurately as possible into a glass jug or bowl (note caustic soda reacts with water and can burn). Measure water in a separate glass bowl. In a ventilated place slowly pour the caustic soda into the water, careful not to splash. Slowly pour the lye mixture into the slow cooker with coconut oil. Place the bowl into the white vinegar to neutralise the acidic caustic soda. With a stick blender mix the oil and lye until they resemble pudding. This is called 'trace'. Leave on warm or hot for 1 hour, checking regularly. After 1 hour, test if the soap mixture is ready. Do this by putting a small amount on your tongue. If it zaps it isn't ready, leave it a little longer. If it is waxy and just tastes of soap, stir to cool slightly and then add essential oils.

Pour into a silicone mould. Let sit for 24 hours and then cut.

 

Laundry Liquid

125g Laundry Soap 
1 Cup Baking Soda
1 L Boiling Water

Grate the soap and put into a large bucket with 1 cup baking soda. Pour in 1 litre of boiling water and stir to dissolve. Using a stick blender, whiz the mixture to ensure it is fully mixed.

The following day add another 1 litre of boiling water and mix. Repeat these steps for 7 days.

Use one cap full for each load of washing.

 

Liquid Soap

Soap scraps/end of bars Boiling Water

  1. Put 80 grams of soap scraps into a heat resistant bowl. 
  2. Pour over 8 cups of boiling water.
  3. Whisk until the soap has dissolved.
  4. Cover and let sit for 24 hours.
  5. Remove cover and blend to mix in. 
  6. Pour into your pump container and use! 
  7. (This makes more than one pump container worth of soap so store the rest in a larger container and top up as required). 

 


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