In an effort to run a more safe and sustainable household, I am always on the hunt for natural homemade cleaning product recipes. I think that it is awesome that our generation is taking a stand against the chemical laden big name cleaners that we grew up around, and choosing a more natural way of cleaning everything from our homes to our children.   I find that most recipes from DIY laundry detergent to facial cleanser have one thing in common, castile soap as one of the main ingredients.  That got me thinking, since I am already putting in the effort to make my own laundry detergent, why not take it a step further and make the castile soap too.

I found a recipe online that used a crockpot method that looked pretty simple.  Although I did not follow the recipe, I used the technique.  I also used the lye calculator here to come up with my own formulation that was more like classic olive oil castile soap.

I was really intimidated at the thought of working with lye because I knew it could be really caustic.  I remember as a child, my grandparents would make lye soap, and my mom would always warn me that lye burns.  It really could not be easier though as long as you take the proper safety precautions.  I really wish that I had done this long ago.  The initial cost to gather all of the materials may seem like a lot, but when you consider how much soap you are getting, it is definitely a savings in the long run.  I purchased a crockpot and immersion blender just for this purpose at a local thrift store for under $10.  I did not make a huge batch since it was a new experiment, so I just used a loaf pan lined with parchment paper instead of the drawer trays that the website recommended,  and it worked perfectly.  The best part is that it took so little time to make.  I seriously only spent 15 minutes of hands on time total.

Lavender and Tea Tree Castile Soap

1 oz finely grated beeswax (by weight)

3 oz coconut oil (by weight)

24 oz olive oil (by volume)

10 oz distilled water (by volume)

3.6 oz of lye crystals (by weight)

25 drops of lavender tea tree essential oil

Step 1:  Using a digital scale, measure out the beeswax and coconut oil and place in a small saucepan over low heat to melt.

Step 2:  While the beeswax and coconut oil is melting, put the olive oil in the crockpot and turn on to the lowest heat setting

Step 3: Pour the melted coconut oil and beeswax into the crockpot

Step 4:  Measure out the water in a glass measuring cup

Step 5:  Weigh out the lye crystals

Step 6:  In a well ventilated area (like outside), while wearing protective goggles, gloves, and clothing, slowly add the lye crystals to the water.  Stir in the lye until it is dissolved.  Avoid touching the glass as it will get very hot.  Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Step 7:  After the Lye water mix has cooled, pour the mixture into the crockpot while stirring.  Stir for about 1 minute.

Step 8:  Take an immersion blender and blend until the mixture is the texture of pudding, about 5 minutes

Step 9:  Let cook for 1 hour

Step 10:  Pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper and let cool for at least 24 hours before removing and cutting into bars.

This is what I ended up with, beautiful creamy white bars of soap that also smell divine.  I am so excited that I can use this handmade soap as the base for so many other things too.  And now that I have the confidence, I think I will experiment more with my soap making, using different oils and fragrances (rosemary mint?), so stay tuned…

XX-Jenny

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