Posts Tagged With: castile soap

One More….

Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re getting bored with all this soapy stuff, right? I apologize but I made another one last night. John was watching a movie that I wasn’t terribly interested in so I made soap. It isn’t ready to cut yet but I did take it out of the mold; now it can cure until tonight or tomorrow, when it should be ready to cut.

First though, Sandie asked whether or not soap can go bad. The short answer is maybe. Here’s a link that can explain it way better than I can. As you see, it depends on several things – the amount of lye (have all the oils been saponified?), the oils, the additives, and even the conditions in which the soap is stored.

A soap like Castile soap (made with 100% olive oil) can last for years and years if stored in a dry place. It becomes harder with age and the harder it gets, the longer it lasts. Soaps that are scented or coloured may lose their scent and/or colour in time but, unless it smells off, the soap is still safe to use.

Hopefully, it isn’t something I’ll have to worry too much about. I have a feeling my soaps will be well used. I’ve already been using some; each morning, I’ve been washing with my Coconut Milk soap. Oh my, do I love that one! It lathers beautifully, a nice creamy lather that washes away and leaves my face feeling clean but not stripped.


There’s a sample piece of the Java Jumpstart soap at my kitchen sink and it, too, lathers beautifully with just the right amount of “scrubbiness” from the coffee grounds. The scent lingers on the hands after washing, a nice light, fresh scent.


Yesterday, I sampled one of the shaving soap “cakes” and I can report that it, too is great. I’m just waiting for John to try it; I really want a man’s perspective on that one. It’s unscented on purpose because I know that some scents can be drying and/or irritating to sensitive skin and John does have sensitive skin.

Shave and Goat Milk2

Today’s soap is all about the colour and the mint. Rosemary Peppermint Soap through Pinterest that I thought might be a fun one to try. I don’t do a lot with colour because I don’t have a lot of colorant available. This recipe uses spirulina (which I had to buy) and peppermint leaves and is scented with peppermint, rosemary, and basil essential oil. Right now, my whole house smells of mint! (It’s no wonder I had a hard time falling asleep last night!)


As I said earlier, it’s not quite ready for cutting yet and the soaps in the silicone mold will definitely need more time to harden up. I tried to take one out but it’s still very mushy. There’s only one thing that disappointed me a little. The soap did start to gel in the center and discoloured some of the mint leaves. I haven’t decided yet whether I like the small brown streaks or whether I hate them. I’ll decide once I cut the soap. (It does look a little bit cool, don’t you think?)


A thought just occurred to me… how would a contest go over right about now? With fall looming on the horizon, I have a harvest of soaps; what if we have a draw for a soap sampler…. say, six different sample bars? Samples are approximately 1-2 ounces each.

Let’s see…. I’m not going to just give them away. I need something from you, too…. but what? I know! To be entered into the draw, tell me your favourite thing about fall. I’ll hold the draw in about one month, Saturday, October 10.

What’s your favourite thing about fall? Leave your response in the comments (on the blog, not on Facebook) and you’ll be automatically entered (unless you tell me you don’t want to be entered.).


Categories: Blogging, Just stuff, Making Soap, No Knitting | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Cleanliness Is Next to….

As a result of two completely disparate events, I decided to try my hand, once more, at soap making. When Peter and Ashley were here last week (with the boys), Ashley and I talked about soap making. She’d made some and we talked a bit about that. I still have some books here, including one given to me by my mother, bought when she used to make her own soap with reclaimed animal fats (it was good stuff!), and since it had been years since I’d made soap, I gave her a couple of the books. I still have other books here on the subject and the ones I gave her won’t be missed.

The second event was the fact that I had a couple of days off this week. Our conversation about soap making led me to go hunting online, where I found a couple of simple soap recipes for which I had most of the ingredients.

Making soap always sounds incredibly intimidating to people. When I posted on Facebook that I’d made a couple of batches of soap, the comments were interesting: “Are you going to share the recipes on your blog? You make it sound easy – but – then you make knitting look easy too!” and “It’s only easy for someone with your talent”. 

When you stop to think about it, though, the process of making soap is all about the chemical reaction between oil and lye. The process involves, at its very basic, using a water and lye mixture to turn the oil to soap. Yes, you have to be careful because lye is caustic. Simply, all you do is add the lye to the liquid (never the other way around), stir it until the lye has melted, then adding the liquid mixture to the oils and stirring it all together until a custard like mixture has formed. At this point, colourings and scents may be added and the entire mixture poured into molds until firm. Really, that’s all there is to a basic soap. Those creative souls who make artisan soaps take it further and add all sorts of lovely things to their creations (my favourite is made with vanilla and oats). I decided to start with basic soaps as they can be used for anything, from washing your hands and hair (yes, the Cococnut Milk Soap is suitable for using as a shampoo bar) to washing your windows and mirrors (and they won’t fog up when you shower).

I did need to pick up a few supplies because any utensils used for making soap shouldn’t be used for anything food related. I have bowls and pots galore but use them regularly so I decided to make a trip to my local second hand store, Bibles for Missions, to search for the perfect vessel for mixing the lye and liquid, as well as an immersion blender. I managed to find both, and both were on sale!

The immersion blender is an Oster stick blender; the blender attachment separates from the body for easier cleaning and only cost about $5.00. It was marked at $8.00 but, as I said, was on sale. The popcorn pot is like a large flower pot and heavy enough to withstand the temperatures of the lye/liquid mixture (and it does get hot!).

003 The first recipe I tried sounded very rich and almost decadent. For this one, I did have all the ingredients at hand. Coconut Milk Soap uses one can of full fat coconut milk and refined coconut oil along with olive oil. The recipe directions are very easy to follow and the soap came together very quickly. In the picture below, the bottom pan, with the foil, is the Coconut Milk Soap; the two loaf pans and the muffin cups are the Castile Soap, which I write about below.


The second recipe I made is from the same website — Castile Soap. Castile soap is said to be the mildest soap available, made with only olive oil. It is suitable for all skin types, including baby’s delicate skin, and is great for cleaning as well. Again, the recipe was easy to follow and came together quickly. Within one hour, I had both batches prepped and made.

The batches were made on Thursday and left to sit for 24-36 hours, when they would be ready for cutting. Yesterday, I spent almost the entire day in bed with a migraine but I did manage to check on the batches. By then, they had cooled and hardened sufficiently that I could cut them into bars. Then, I went back to bed.

Now, my soaps need to cure. The Coconut Milk soap should be ready to use in about two weeks while the Castile soap should cure for about six weeks. As with all soap, the longer they can dry, the harder they become. As a note, with handmade soaps, you should always keep them somewhere that gives them the opportunity to completely dry between uses (not in your shower soap dish, for instance). The dryer they are, the longer they last.


In the foreground, 16 bars of Coconut Milk Soap; in the background 20 bars and 5 cupcakes of Castile Soap – enough for a few years, I’d say.

I will need to turn these daily to give them the opportunity to dry evenly and, once completely dry, and white, they’ll be stored in a dry place, each wrapped in tissue paper. Perhaps, they’ll even be given as small gifts to appreciative recipients.

Categories: Just stuff, Making Soap, No Knitting | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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