Recently I was asked if there was a natural way to combat athletes foot or other types of annoying and sometimes painful fungal infections. There are a variety of herbs and essential oils that are known fungi deterrents, making a fungal fighting shampoo bar as a natural alternative, is an excellent addition to anyone’s anti-fungal arsenal.
Cayenne, or capsicum, and comfrey are both known anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory agents, and everyone knows that coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer.
Coconut oil is also an excellent anti-fungal
Bonus! Peppermint also includes an abundance of benefits including anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Combining peppermint, cayenne, comfrey infused oils with coconut oil and other known anti-fungals such as aloe vera, ginger, tea tree and neem oil creates a fungus fighting, skin soothing and revitalizing soap that aids in muscle relaxation and an overall feeling of calm and well being.
Before we get started, there are a few things you should be aware of
Soap making involves a chemical process known as saponification
In order for saponification to occur, liquid, distilled water, herbal tea or milk must be combined with lye, sodium hydroxide (NaOH), causing a chemical reaction that produces heat. Lye will burn upon contact, as such protective gear, and a long sleeve shirt, is a must!
Soap making tools should never be used for food
Lye is toxic, so you don’t want any of it to come into contact with food, this includes kitchen utensils. I don’t even wash my soap making utensils in the dishwasher with my regular dishes. While white vinegar stops any lye/liquid reaction, the vinegar does not make it any less toxic.
2 oz Castor oil
2 oz Cocoa butter
8 oz Peppermint infused coconut oil
8 oz Ginger infused olive oil
2 oz Red palm oil
2 oz Shea butter
6 oz Cayenne infused sunflower oil
2 oz Comfrey infused sunflower oil
12 oz Peppermint herbal tea
4.61 oz Lye
Protective Gear – Goggles and Rubber or Latex Gloves
A double boiler or glass bowl/large jar and a pot with about 2″ of water for heating oils
Crock Pot (that is NOT used for food) – this is used in the hot process method
Heat Proof Measuring Cup
Wooden or Silicon Mixing Spoon (NOT used for food)
2 Instant Read Thermometers
This recipe calls for a variety of infused oils. Infusing oils is a simple process of combining herbs with high quality organic oil, and takes time, or heat if your in a hurry. For more information about how to make infused oils check out my post Making Infused Oils.
Now the Soap;
Add the 12 oz of peppermint herbal tea to the heat proof measuring cup, than dawning your protective gear, goggles, gloves and long sleeve shirt, measure out the lye using a separate container and the digital scale. Slowly combine solid lye and liquid, stirring slowly as you pour. This is best done outside while you are standing upwind. The chemical reaction will begin quickly. Take care not to add the lye too fast, this will produce too much heat and can cause your solution to bubble out of the measuring glass.
Always add solid Lye to Liquid, NEVER the other way around.
Continue to stir until the solution returns to it’s original color. Now that the reaction has slowed, place the instant read thermometer into the solution, set aside and allow to cool (100° F to 125° F). Be sure that you keep the solution away from the kids or pets!
While waiting for the lye solution to cool, combine the castor oil, infused coconut oil, infused olive oil, infused sunflower oils with the red palm oil, shea and cocoa butter in a large glass jar and place in about 2″ of water. Heat over medium/low heat, stirring consistently until everything is melted. Once melted allow the temperature to drop to 100° F to 125° F, use the second instant read thermometer to check the temperature of your oils.
Now that the lye solution and the oil solution have both cooled to within about 10° F of each other, add the oil into the tub of your crock pot and slowly stir in the lye solution. Stir consistently, taking care keep the mixture from splashing out of the pot. Continue to stir for a full 5 minutes with your wooden or silicon spoon.
*Note: if you combine them too early or to late the oil can separate from the lye solution, ruining the soap
It is important to have the lye solution and the oil be within a 10° F range of each other.
After which you can continue mixing with an immersion blender. Again, take care in not to splash the liquid or make a lot of bubbles. I usually use the blender in short burst, stirring in between. Continue stirring until trace occurs. Trace resembles custard, it will support a drop, or your stir marks for several seconds.
Stir in the neem oil, peppermint, ginger and tea tree essential oil. Cover and turn the crock pot to low. Allow the mixture to cook for approximately 1 hour. During this time prepare the kaolin clay by combining it with the aloe vera oil/gel in a silicon or glass container. Be sure not to use any metal utensils with the clay as this will deactivate it. I usually prepare my mold by lining it with parchment paper while the soap is continuing to cook. There is no need to stir with this recipe.
Once the hour has passed, turn off the crock pot and remove the ceramic basin from the heating unit. Thoroughly stir the soap mixture to combine any oils that may be trying to separate, than pour in the kaolin clay and aloe solution and stir until well combined.
Spoon the soap batter into the mold, it will be rather light and thick. As you add more batter to the mold it will begin to settle, I do however use an extra piece of parchment paper over the top of the mold to help flatten smooth and flatten the top.
After 24 hours the molds will have cooled and set, and although saponification is still occurring, this soap is now safe to use in another 24 hours. The soap will be soft. It is best if you allow your soap 3-6 weeks to set in open air, this way the saponification process will have time to complete and you’ll have much better soap.
Set all your soap making utensils together in one area. You can use distilled white vinegar to neutralize the Lye. To clean your crock pot tub, Immersion blender and spoon, wait about 48 hours you can simply rinse all the utensils used with your freshly made soap, after all it is soap!!