For some reason I've always thought that making soap seemed too hard. For a start the number of ingredients required was confusing and all the safety warnings about using the alkali put me off. The worst part for me was that most of the ingredients had to be purchased, and some even imported (palm oil and coconut oil), which never seemed very self-sufficient. I can definitely see the benefits of using homemade soap instead of mass produced soap (that often contains synthetic fragrance, colour, preservatives, and has had the glycerine removed), but it seemed to me that if I was going to buy all the ingredients I may as well just buy the soap and save myself all the hassle. For the past several years I have bought homemade soap from various market stalls and websites, and that has suited me just fine.
|soap made by my friend|
It took me a little while to work out how to render the tallow, which I discussed earlier this week. Then I found out that a friend of mine makes soap and has done for a number of years. I talked to her about using tallow and as she was always looking for cheap ingredients, she got some from the butcher to try it (at $2 for 3 kg, it is very cheap!). She then agreed to show me how to make it.
I'm not going to write about the entire process, many people with more experience have already written detailed posts about soap making in general, for example. With my friend, we used half tallow, and a quarter each of coconut oil and olive oil. Now that I know how its done, I would like to experiment with a 100% tallow soap. I have read differing opinions about tallow soap. Some say it will form a long lasting soap that cleans well, but others say that it may not lather as much without oil. However, the vegetable oil soaps tend to dissolve quickly in water and don't last as well. I would like to make the tallow soap and see if we are happy with the lather. I also made a couple of bars with no essential oil, just to see how that would smell.
Some useful links:
A post about making tallow soap here. A post about making tallow soap in the old days using the hot cooking method here. Frugal Kiwi making sheep tallow soap here.
Here's what we did:
|The oils used - tallow, olive oil, coconut oil and lavender essential oil.|
|all the other equipment|
|weighing out the oil/fat|
|weighing the water|
|weighing the lye|
|mixing the lye|
|adding the lye to the fat after getting the temperatures the same|
|mixing the soap with a stick blender|
|smoothing the soap into the moulds|
|leaving the soap to set|
|Out of the molds and drying on a rack|