Olive or other Oil 1/3 to 1/2 cup
1 heaping teaspoon full of Lye (sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
!/4 cup of luke-warm water
(You buy lye in the plumbing section of your hardware store in the drain cleaner section.)
(You have a month’s worth of soap for less than a buck. No harmful ingredients.)
1. Measure the olive oil into a container that can be heated. Peanut butter jars or other heavy jars are best.
Slowly add the lye crystals to the water, stirring with your spatula as you do so. Do not inhale above this container—there will be fumes that can take your breath away! This mixture will heat up quickly.
Heat the oil to be very warm to the touch, while the lye cools down. (I use 22 seconds in the microwave.)
5. pour the two together. I pour the oil into the lye mixture, but you can do it either way. Blend and stir until mixed and then occasionally for 3 to 8 hours, until the mixture reaches medium trace (it will be like thick gravy, and drizzled trails will stay on the top).
6. Add a few drops of scented oil if desired. The soap smells metallic but that smell rinses off. Leave the mixture in the jar, or pour into a chilled mold (or a clean, dry, quart size milk carton with the top cut off) and stir occasionally.
If you mold it for bars, unmold 48 hours after pouring into the mold. Cut into bars and place in your curing area for 5 days.
If you leave it in a jar you’ll have hard soap in the bottom of the jar. You can add 1/2 cup of very hot water to the jar to use it as liquid soap which can also double as shampoo if you put oil on your hair first. You can add oil to the jar too for a more delicate liquid soap.
The hardened soap will be ready to use as liquid in about 5 to 15 minutes so do this step just prior to bathing. You won’t notice a change in the hard soap in the bottom of the jar. Just enough is melted to make the liquid soap each time.
There will be plenty of hard soap in the jar for the next shower for about a month.
The soap loses its cleaning power after about 3 weeks, so most soap recipes will say to wait three weeks before using it because commercially made soaps don’t want you to know how much better homemade soap is at cleaning. I was thrilled and amazed!
Note, I put about a half cup of very hot water and some imitation vanilla (found in the baking or spice section of the supermarket) into my jar to make enough liquid soap for shampoo and body wash for 1 shower. I heat that water in the microwave for 30 seconds. The soap has a metallic smell to it. Other scented oils can be added if you want.
It takes seconds to do but is well worth the effort!