The best part of making your own soap is the scent and peppermint is one of my all time favorites. It’s antibiotic and antiseptic properties makes your skin feel refreshed and your muscles feel relaxed, thus offering headache and stress relief as well as clearing the respiratory tract. Chocolate is peppermint’s perfect partner, raw organic cocoa powder helps to reduce puffiness, aids in collagen production and naturally smooths and tones your skin.At my house, we no longer by store bought soap of any kind. No shampoo, no liquid dial, no hand soap, no body wash and certainly no bar soap. These products are so drying to your skin and are filled with chemicals that have lasting negative effects on the body. While making your own soap is a great solution to the negative effects of store bought cleaning agents, keep in mind that making soap takes practice. If you don’t get it quite right the first time, don’t be afraid to try again!
Making soap is a chemical process
Before you begin, there are a few things you should know;
- Making soap involves a chemical process that is dangerous, caution should always be taken during this process.
- Soap making involves Lye which is a strong alkaline solution of either sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or potassium hrdyoxide(KOH), 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.
4.64 oz Lye
12 oz Mint tea / Milk combination
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)
Digital Scale (for measuring lye)
2 Instant Read Thermometers
Peppermint infused oil is made by using the dried peppermint leaves and immersing them in oil. For more information about how to make infused oils check out my post Making Infused Oils.
Herbal tea/milk solution;
When making soap with milk you want to dilute the milk with water. Milk has a high fat content with will react differently with lye than plain water or herbal tea. To do this properly first;
- Place dried peppermint leaves, or organic peppermint herbal tea from your local health food store, in a jar and pour boiling water over them, cover the jar at wait for it to cool to room temperature.
- Strain out the peppermint leaves from the herbal tea and measure out 6 oz.
- Add 5 oz of milk ( I most often use coconut milk, but any kind of milk will work) and add to the 6 oz of herbal tea.
- Pour the milk/tea mixure into the ice tray and freeze overnight or at least 12 hours.
Using frozen diluted milk with keep the reaction with the lye at a lower temperature and reduce the chances of your milk curtailing. However if the milk does curtail, it can still be used to make soap. As soapification occurs, the nasty smell of curtailed milk with go away!
Measure out and combine your oils including the coco butter in a large glass jar. Place in a pot with about 2″ of water. Heat over medium/low heat stirring consistently until everything has melted. Stirring will help everything to melt faster and keep anything from over heating. Once your oils have melted, turn off the heat. Turn your crock pot onto the warm setting and pour in your oil solution, place the lid on the crock pot and set aside while you prepare the lye.
Normally you would want to prepare the Lye solution before heating your oils.
However, because we want to keep things at a lower temperature when using milk, we will heat the oils first.
Remove your frozen milk/tea solution it from the ice tray and place into your heat proof measuring cup and add 1 oz of distilled water or you can use 1 oz of peppermint tea, if you have any left over.
At this point you will need to put on the gloves and goggles. With these in place measure out the lye using a digital scale and a stainless steal, plastic or silicone container. I usually use an old washed and dried sour cream tub. Slowly pour the lye into the milk/tea ice and water, stirring as you go. Careful not to breath in the fumes from the chemical reaction. I usually do this part in my kitchen sink and open the window. Some people like to do this part outside. Always add the solid lye to the liquid or frozen water/tea/milk, NEVER the other way around! Continue to stir after all the lye has been added to the milk/tea solution until all the frozen liquid has melted and the solution resembled diluted milk.
Place one of the instant read thermometers into the solution, take a measurement of the oil solution temp inside your crock pot with the other thermometer.
When the oil solution and the lye solution are within 10° F of each other, but not lower then 90° F, your solutions are ready to be combined.
Pour the lye solution into your crock pot of oil slowly stirring consistently. Continue stirring for at least 5 minutes. After that you can use the immersion blender to continue stirring. Use the blender in short bursts to avoid, excess bubbles or splashing, until trace occurs.
Trace looks like a slightly thickened custard, not instant pudding but a cooked custard. It will support a drop, or your stir marks for several seconds. At this point it is time to let your soap cook. Cover the crock pot and turn the setting to Low and allow it to cook for 1 hour. With this combination I usually stir at about 1/2 hour, due to the higher fat content from making soap with milk, I have found that some extra stirring keeps the fat from separating.
While the soap is cooking;
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.
I also prepare my essential oils and other additions. In a small glass jar or measuring cup, combine the kayolin clay and cocoa powder. Add in the ginger essential oil and a few drops of the peppermint essential oil and stir until well mixed. Gather the other essential oils to be added when the soap is done cooking.
After one hour;
Turn off the crock pot and stir the soap well. Add in clove, nutmeg and peppermint essential oils and stir generously again. Now, add in the cocoa powder/kayolin clay/ginger/peppermint solution. It will bead into small balls that resemble chocolate chips, stir these in to spread evenly throughout the soap and immediately pour/spoon the soap into your mold. I usually use an extra piece of parchment paper to even and smooth the top of my mold.
allow your mold(s) in a dry place to open air dry 12 hours. After 12 hours the molds will have cooled and set enough to remove the soap loaf from the mold. Allow the soap to dry for another 12 hours before cutting. Although soapification is still occurring, the soap is will be 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!!