Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thoughts On Our Homemade Soap

Our first batch of soap has cured for six weeks and we've started using it on a regular basis.  In the bath we use it both for hand soap, and in the bath or shower.  We also use it on our hair instead of shampoo.  In the kitchen we use it as hand soap.  Rhonda at Down To Earth, where I found this soap formula, also uses homemade soap for dishwashing, but we have the rest of a very large bottle of commercial dish liquid to use before we try our soap on dishes.

Our first batch wasn't without imperfections.  After a little research, I think I know what caused them, and may be able to correct them next time.  For starters, the bars have a very thin layer of white powdery film on the side that was not touching the molds.  This is apparently a reaction to air and is a thin layer of sodium carbonate (washing soda).  It won't hurt a thing other than making the bars less attractive.

The other problem was DOS, or "dreaded orange spots", which are probably spots of oil going rancid.  The bars don't smell rancid at this point, so we're considering the spots nothing more than a cosmetic flaw for now.  We'll be watchful, though, of the remaining bars and will not use them if they begin to smell rancid.  The spots could be caused by a few different things, but I suspect it's because we cured our soap in the garage, which has been both very warm and somewhat humid.  Our next batch we'll cure somewhere else, maybe in the basement.

On first use, my thoughts on the soap were that it lathers very well.  While it doesn't smell unpleasant, I would prefer for it to either have more fragrance or none at all.  The white film and the orange spots both seem to melt away with the first use.  When I first got out of the bath, I felt that the soap may be too kind of made my skin fell a little sticky.  However, after about 15 minutes, that feeling went away and my skin felt very soft and smooth, but not oily at all.  That feeling lasted through to the next day. I like using it in my hair better than the previous hand-crafted (and storebought) soap we had tried.  I have fewer tangles and softer hair with our homemade soap.  Rinsing the soap did feel a little oily or slimy, so it could be slightly heavy on lye or oil, but then again, we have a water softener and most soaps we use feel that way.

Shane's opinions were similar.  He's not having any trouble with break outs, although he has oily skin.  I was concerned about that, because if I thought the soap felt oily,  I was sure he would have trouble with it.  He is using our soap on his hair, but he didn't use the storebought soaps as shampoo, so he has no real basis for comparison.  I think he'd rather have unscented bars than any fragrance at all, so we'll probably do split batches in the future.

After researching homemade soap and learning about all the things that could have gone wrong, I think our soap came out quite well.  It may have been the formula, as I trusted Rhonda to have a good one, or it may have been beginner's luck.  Either way, we have a couple dozen good bars of soap (and a lot of scrap pieces) to enjoy for the next few months.  We'll probably make our next batch soon, once we decide what, if anything, we want to change.


A.Marie said...

I've always wanted to try making homemade soap but I am a chicken and too scared of doing it!! :)

Sheila said...

Thank you for the update. I've been wondering if y'all were using your soap yet. I'm glad your having success with this batch. I still want to try making our own soap too so I'll be doing some research as well. I had to switch soaps again just last week as the one I had been using was making me itch uncontrollably. I never thought of using it on my hair but I like the idea. I wonder how it would be on color treated hair. Thanks for the update. Have a great day.

I'm a Frugal said...

Making soap is not scary at all. You just need to respect the lye and you will be fine. I made and sold soap for 5 years. Here is a great site that will explain the whole process complete with pictures:

slugmama said...

sounds like it's been a positive experience and worth continuing.
Maybe even an avenue for some income production in your future! ;-)

Annie Jones said...

I'm A Frugal Girl: So, are you the Rose who left a comment here when we first made our soap? I tried to get in touch with you for more info, but I couldn't find your email address.

Sheila: I really like using it for my hair, which is not color-treated. My daughter tried it on her color-treated hair and didn't like it. She said it made it feel very clean, but also very rough and coarse. I don't think it stripped the color or anything, though; I think she would have mentioned that.

A.Marie: You should try it. It's really not that difficult or scary. My only recommendation would be that, especially the first time, do it without small kids or pets around to distract you.

Leanne said...

I've still to try this, honestly I will get to it:)

I've quite oily hair myself and notice that even shampoo can be difficult to rinse out and leaves a build up meaning I've to wash it every day, but I started using a vinegar rinse, well of sorts, I keep a spray bottle full of it in the shower and give my hair a couple of squirts after washing it. I've definitely noticed a difference, but I wouldn't recommend it for dry hair as it would probably strip it a little too much.

McVal said...

My girls got on the soapmaking kick a few years ago and I have all the fixings. At least for the melt in the microwave, add fragrance, then pour into the mold kind of quick soap...
I'd like to make something like this!
Their's was mostly too perfumy for my tastes.

Jill said...

These looks great. I think you did a wonderful job. Especially for the first try. I read Rhonda's blog too, she has such great info. on there.

Thanks for the compliment on my header.:-) I was excited playing around with the features, so much to learn! If you haven't tried picassa I highly recommend it. You can't beat free and you can change things pretty easy if you don't like them at first. I changed mine a few times. LOL

Have a great day!


Frances said...

I am glad you updated. I wondered how your soap turned out. I love hand made soap! I have made the melt and pour, but never made "real" homemade soap.

I'm a Frugal said...

Yes Annie that was me. ;) My contact info is on my blog.. what did you want to know? I'll be happy to help!