Citrus trees everywhere have had their blossoms replaced by green, round, fruit that will soon turn into plump and juicy oranges, lemons and limes! Not only does citrus have a refreshing and clean scent, it is also wonderful for your skin and hair. I’ve been making soap successfully for a while now, in fact we haven’t purchased hand soap or shampoo this whole year, so why not try citrus shampoo bar! I’ve learned a lot since my first attempt and making soap, which you can read about in my very first post, and we have been using my homemade soap with excellent results for quite some time.
Making Soap is a Chemical Process
Before diving in head first (something I do way too often) there are several important things about soap making that you should know;
- Making soap involves a chemical process that is dangerous, caution should always be taken during this process.
- Soap making involves Lye or Sodium Hydroxide which is toxic and will burn your eyes and skin upon contact
- Always wear protective gloves and goggles when using and working with or around Lye.
- Any equipment used with Lye can NEVER be used for food!!!
- Keep the Lye far from the reach of children or pets.
8 OZ Lemon/Orange Herbal Tea (cooled)
3.37 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
Citrus infused oil is made by using the dried rinds of the fruit. For more information about how to make infused oils check out my post Making Infused Oils.
Now the Soap;
While wearing safety goggles and gloves, combine solid lye and liquid, stir well. Place the instant read thermometer into the solution and set aside and allow to cool (100° F to 125° F). This is best done outside while you are standing upwind. Always add solid Lye to Liquid, NEVER the other way around.
Combine the oils (except for the Aloe & Essential Oils) and Shea 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.
Add your oils to the tub of your crock pot and stir in the Lye solution. It is important to have both the Lye solution and the oils be at approximately the same temperature when combining. Pour slowly, stirring consistently, taking care not to splash the Lye. Stir for a full 5 minutes with your wooden or silicon spoon.
After 5 minutes you can switch to using the immersion blender. Blend carefully in short burst, be careful not to make big bubbles or splash the liquid. I usually use the blender in short burst, stirring in between. Continue stirring until trace occurs.
Add the Aloe Vera Oil and other Essential Oils, stirring thoroughly to combine the oils with the newly formed soap.
At this point, place the tub of your crock pot into the slow cooker and cover. Turn the heat onto LOW and allow to cook for 1 hour. During this time you do not need to do anything with the soap, although some people do, it is not necessary.
I take this time to prepare my molds. You can use Silicon baking molds (although you wouldn’t use them for baking after making soap), Loaf pans or wooden soap molds. This recipe will fill a 3 LB mold. I usually line my wooden or non-silicon molds with non-stick wax or parchment paper.
Once the hour has passed, turn off the crock pot, and thoroughly stir the soap with a wooden or silicon spoon. Then spoon the soap mixture into your molds. I usually move them back and forth gently to evenly distribute the soap in the mold. Set your mold(s) in a dry place to open air dry 24 hours.
After 24 hours the molds will have cooled and set, and although soapification 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 soapification 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!!