Soap Making Basics: Three Main Methods
This is the first post in a series dedicated to the basics of soap making. They say the best way to learn, is to teach! So that’s what I’m doing here today. I will share with you what I have learned through research, through practice, through trial, and error.
Now, let’s start with the very basics!
The first method I‘d like to go over is the most simple of the three. This method is called Melt & Pour (or MP). This soap has already gone through what is known as the saponification process (more on that later). Melt & pour makes for a fun and relatively safe DIY (aside from piping hot soap that should only be handled by adults and/or supervision) that can be enjoyed by the whole family. There’s books, the internet, and just wild imagination when it comes to recipes for this soap (although there are some things to follow. Check my next blog post Oops! Learn from My Mistakes). Here’s a relatively easy and beautiful MP soap creation you can do with almost everything in your kitchen! Click here for my Cinnamon Oatmeal recipe. There are many bases to choose from, from milk, to honey, to white, to clear. The possibilities are endless!
The next method in soap making is called Cold Process. This is the most common among soap makers as this process allows for complete freedom of creativity from base ingredients, to scents, to colors, and to function. This process works by adding hot ingredients and letting it cool. This method also comes with risks as it can be potentially dangerous without proper precautions. Cold process requires working with lye, or sodium hydroxide, which is highly caustic and can cause severe chemical burns without taking proper safety measures. Combing lye and oils is what creates soap in what is known as the saponification process.
Hot Process is the third method that is among the most common ways to make soap. This method requires adding hot ingredients and keeping it hot to accelerate soap making process. This is usually done in a crockpot or oven. This method is favored among those who like a more “rustic” look to their soap. Since the process is accelerated, it leaves little room for creative expression as far as colors and designs go. This method also requires handling lye.
These are just a few of the most common ways to make soap and does not include the other variations and methods out there. You can make your own liquid soap for the kitchen or laundry. There's this thing called "soap dough" where you can use soap as "clay" and create beautiful masterpieces. There's also a whole other world where there's different uses for the same oils you use in your soap. If you're interested in learning more, subscribe and keep reading my blogs!
I know you may be intrigued and feeling inspired, but please, do not attempt to make your own soap without knowing all the risks and taking all the necessary precautions.
All-in-all, cold process means the cold process of saponification, and hot process is the hot process of saponification.
Melt and pour has already gone through the process and is ready to use, making this a great place to start and a fun choice for beginners!