In a previous blog I shared five frequently asked questions from my soap making courses and as a follow on from that post I am sharing another five frequently asked questions here.
I have been teaching soap making courses for just over four years and I am very proud that I have taught hundreds of lovely students to make soap. Sharing my passion with so many of you is a real privilege. It’s always a fun day where many new friendships are established, and the sound of laughter fills the room as we enjoy getting creative when making batches of lovely natural soap.
Over the years that I have been teaching there are several questions that crop up on a regular basis and I’d like to share them here with you.
Can I make soap without lye (aka sodium hydroxide)?
Unfortunately, soap cannot be made without lye as you need lye to create the chemical reaction that turns oils into soap. Without the chemical reaction there is no soap and without the lye there is no chemical reaction. If you want to read a bit more about this and many other soap making myths, please click here.
Why can’t I use tap water?
You should only use bottled water or filtered water for soap making. Tap water contains impurities which will affect how your soap turns out. Just a few of the contaminants in tap water include chlorine, hormones and nitrates. You don’t really want to add these ‘extras’ to your soap, do you?
What’s the best way to cut my soap?
You can cut soap into bars with a sharp kitchen knife. Cheese wire also works well. If you are new to soap making don’t feel like you must rush out and buy a fancy soap cutter. Save your pennies to buy more ingredients instead. Obviously when you have been making soap for a while you will want to invest in a soap cutter and there is a good selection on Etsy.
How do I calculate volume for my soap mould?
Numbers and calculations are not the most appealing part of soap making but do not fear. Help is at hand! There is a useful online calculator to help you calculate the volume for a soap mould. This basically means that you have bought a nice new soap mould and you need to work out your recipe size to fill it. Once you have worked out the volume times the number by 0.4 (this is the allowance for the water in your recipe) to work out the oil quantity required for the mould. Once you know the oil quantity you can use the soap calculator to work out the water and lye you will need to turn it into soap.
How do you check the pH of handmade soap?
The average pH of handmade soap is 9. A pH above 10 indicates that the soap is too harsh for personal use (but it can be grated and used in place of your usual washing powder). You can use pH test strips to test the pH of your soap, but these should be used for guidance only as you will not obtain an exact reading.
To download my FREE Top Ten Soap Making Oils Guide click here.
If you would like to join me on one of my soap making courses click here.