Homemade shortening soap - worth it? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 26 Old 10-16-2008, 01:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe I'm just too tired, but I can't seem to think through this.

I think homemade veg. shortening soap is certainly better than commercially made soap - like Dial. But not as good as a good castille soap.

So, if my goal is to have relatively cheap homemade soap with no additives since we've all got allergies to scents, is cricso soap a good direction to go in? Is there something better that's also relatively cheap? I have no problems with lack of bubbles too (hey, i love castille soap so that should tell you something...)
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#2 of 26 Old 10-16-2008, 08:58 AM
 
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I've not heard of this...keeping an eye on this thread.
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#3 of 26 Old 10-16-2008, 02:49 PM
 
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If you're looking for a gentle, scent free soap.. then I guess there isn't anything better than that.

Do you have any experience making soap? Depending on what method you use/advice you get, the learning process can become costly - but that's mostly only if you want it to! A fine, cheap soap can be made with crisco. I would add other oils to it, personally, but you don't have to get carried away.
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#4 of 26 Old 10-16-2008, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's a recipe if you're interested:
http://www.bellaonline.com/ArticlesP/art50789.asp

I'm thinking that the problem is that if there's any superfatting, you're putting hydrogenated oil on your skin. And it's soybean oil... So.. perhaps adding olive oil at trace or something? That wouldn't solve it completely...

I'm still thinking it's a decent idea for a cheap soap that has very few ingredients. If I had a source for really cheap olive oil though.. *sigh*
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#5 of 26 Old 10-16-2008, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Nemesis View Post
If you're looking for a gentle, scent free soap.. then I guess there isn't anything better than that.

Do you have any experience making soap? Depending on what method you use/advice you get, the learning process can become costly - but that's mostly only if you want it to! A fine, cheap soap can be made with crisco. I would add other oils to it, personally, but you don't have to get carried away.
I'm not a super experienced soap maker but I've made it before pretty much for the same reasons. I needed a cheap soap and this was as cheap as I could get and not have both me and DH reacting like crazy. I've still got all the supplies too, including a container of lye I've been hiding from DD since she's been born.

I think I may make one batch and see how it does, maybe I wouldn't be happy with it and would end up adding other oils.
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#6 of 26 Old 10-16-2008, 09:59 PM
 
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ewwww. Just crisco? nothing fancy? Check out this site I have tried about 10 of the recipes and they are all very tasty! My fave is the coffee soap ummm....

She does use "fragrance oils" in some but you can leave that out or skip the recipe all together!

I wish I had more time to make soap!

I'm crunchy... Like a Dorito.
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#7 of 26 Old 10-17-2008, 12:02 AM
 
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I made some with a combination of lard and olive oil, and it is WONDERFUL. If you want to experience handmade soaps without committing to making a whole batch, you can order some bars from someone who sells homemade soaps. I really like www.frostfishcovesoaps.com, especially their yeast defense soap. I would avoid vegetable shortening because I hate hydrogenated oils. I won't put them IN my body, I'm not comfortable using them ON my body. Lard is much better than shortening, but if you want vegan soap, you can use vegetable oils. I had found a great site that had a chart of how much lye to use depending on which oils you use, but the site is gone.

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#8 of 26 Old 10-17-2008, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Cost is really the biggest issue for me. I have no desire to play with soapmaking - we're all sensitive to scents and not all too picky about how foamy the bars are. So, I don't really *need* the coconut or palm oil and most things we own are unscented as it it. Aromatherapy only makes me sneeze. (Am I going to get kicked off this board for saying that? I hope not!)

Lard is out for me for religious reasons too.

I'm not all too partial to the hydrogenated stuff myself so I'm totally open to options. If there were tallow in neat blocks at my grocery store like lard, I'd do that. But sadly, that's just not available.

So, if not veg. shortening, what's the other cheapest ingredient? I can poke around the soapmaking calculators but I was hoping someone can come along and say "Yes, oil X you can get in a gallon jug at any grocery store makes for a great hard bar"
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#9 of 26 Old 10-17-2008, 04:23 PM
 
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Do you have an international/ethnic grocery near you? I ask because I've been able to find enormous vats of various kinds of good soapmaking oil for SUPER cheap prices at our local Chinese/International grocery.

Check and see what you can find, but I think you could do a half canola oil from the grocery store and half coconut "vegetable ghee" from the ethnic foods shop for about the same amount as 100% shortening. Canola oil is super cheap and substitutes well for Olive oil, and coconut makes a great hard bar. You might also find tallow there as well.
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#10 of 26 Old 10-17-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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I don't think tallow is any better or cheaper than crisco.

I think a 100% crisco bar is fine. Try a small-ish recipe and see how you like it. I would still take a 5% discount (superfat), rather than have lye-heavy soap.

If you want more lather, you can add 1T sugar/PPO or add some honey to the lyewater.
www.soapcalc.com

Hydrogenated oils were invented specifically for making soap, when tallows were in short supply. They were never intended to be eaten, but they make fine soap.
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#11 of 26 Old 10-17-2008, 08:05 PM
 
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You can get HUGE vats of some veg oils, like canola oil or peanut oil (though the peanut oil is usually dyed yellow for popcorn, which doesn't affect the soap but may cause a reaction if you're sensitive to dyes) at Costco and Sam's for reasonable prices. You can always add small amounts (like a few tablespoons) of the more expensive oils at trace, so that all the superfatting is the good oil and all the soapmaking is the cheap oil. I like to add straight vitamin E. You can also make your own scented oils by steeping things like herbs or citrus rind in safflower oil, then add a tablespoon or so at trace.

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#12 of 26 Old 10-23-2008, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Otterella View Post
You can always add small amounts (like a few tablespoons) of the more expensive oils at trace, so that all the superfatting is the good oil and all the soapmaking is the cheap oil.
This is the part I'm unclear on. At trace, is all the oil that was going to be saponified, already saponofied? Suddenly my three semesters of chemistry in college don't seem like enough...

Maybe I just need to read more about how saponification works.
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#13 of 26 Old 10-23-2008, 03:00 PM
 
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If you add the fancy oils at trace it will give the benefits of the oils without having to saponify the $$$ oils.

So you are using the oils like a fragrance or skin conditioner, not as an oil/fat really.

at least thats how I've done it.

I'm crunchy... Like a Dorito.
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#14 of 26 Old 10-23-2008, 11:19 PM
 
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Why not use the Dr B's "unscented-baby mild" castille soap?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#15 of 26 Old 10-24-2008, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why not use the Dr B's "unscented-baby mild" castille soap?
That's what we get most of the time. Rest of the time we get a pure castille soap at the middle eastern store. It's good stuff.
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#16 of 26 Old 10-24-2008, 10:04 PM
 
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Shortening will give you a soft bar...not sure how well it would hold up in the shower. Of course if it's too soft for you, you can always shred it and put it in a jar with water and make some soap goo. It's mushy, so you can just scoop a little out as needed and put it on your wash cloth....a little easier to manage than a soft bar of soap that'll keep sticking to your soap dish or shower. You can combat this with adding a little olive oil though.

If I were you I'd give it a shot, especially if it's just for the family. I'd probably hot process it though....it'll give you a harder bar in less time....just won't be as pretty as cold processed.

Oh, and check your lye, if it's been a while it may not be any good. Lye has an amazing ability to absorb moisture in the air and will clump up and such if it's old and has been absorbing surrounding moisture.

loving a small homestead with DH and DS (12/2005) keeping it natural, frugal and back to basics :
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#17 of 26 Old 10-25-2008, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It looks like this is going to be one really complicated project... I can't find lye locally anywhere. Thank you meth makers! :

Last time I made shortening soap it was quite a hard bar and I did use hot process. I just figured I'd do it pretty much the same way. It's been 8 years or so though so I might have forgotten.
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#18 of 26 Old 10-25-2008, 03:30 PM
 
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Thank you meth makers! :
yep, you just about have to get it online. You can't even find the lye in a can in the grocery anymore. stupid druggies.

I'm crunchy... Like a Dorito.
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#19 of 26 Old 10-25-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Nemesis View Post
Hydrogenated oils were invented specifically for making soap, when tallows were in short supply. They were never intended to be eaten, but they make fine soap.
Really? How cool is that! Do you have any links or resources so other people don't think I'm insane?

---feeling like an emu on acid---
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#20 of 26 Old 10-25-2008, 05:49 PM
 
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Just another soap maker to weigh in on this - I just comped my goatsmilk soap to be about a dollar for 4 oz. And I buy all my supplies - except for my olive oil which I buy at Costco. If you have room (I make room in my tiny 525 sq. ft. 2nd floor condo!) buy 3 containers of lye from The Soap Dish, oils from Brambleberry (coconut and palm in 7 lb containers), and essential oils from Wholesale soap supplies. Even with shipping, it came out cheaper for me to buy from each individual site, not all at one (but I was buying other things - I suggest sitting down with a calculator, adding everything to your cart and then figuring the average per ounce total - that takes a while, but it's nice to know - and you know whether you are getting the best deal.

It's a hefty expenditure - in the beginning - but you won't have to buy soap for a long time to come! And if you like plain soap, you don't need to extra eo expenditure.

I haven't made shortening soap. I've not heard of any reason not to use it for soap - but I think my recipe is great so I haven't tried another I need to be more inventive....

I am in no way shape or for connected to any of the above compaines - but I love to share what I do with others - so far, I think I'm still getting the best price for stuff!

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#21 of 26 Old 10-25-2008, 09:21 PM
 
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It looks like this is going to be one really complicated project... I can't find lye locally anywhere. Thank you meth makers! :
After a couple years I finally found some lye locally at a mom and pop hardware store. Of course I buy mine online since I tend to buy 10lbs lye and potash at the same time.

Also, maybe you could list on something like craigslist to see if there's some biodiesel makers in the area that might be able to help you find some or buy some off them. I can't remember if they use sodium hydroxide (for making bar soaps) or potassium hydroxide (for making liquid soap).

loving a small homestead with DH and DS (12/2005) keeping it natural, frugal and back to basics :
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#22 of 26 Old 10-25-2008, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's a very cool tip! TY momma!

I'd probably want the NaOH - like my soap in bars.
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#23 of 26 Old 10-26-2008, 01:52 AM
 
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subbing
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#24 of 26 Old 10-26-2008, 12:17 PM
 
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Lowe's carries lye, nationwide. So does Menard's, but I think that's mostly a midwestern store.
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#25 of 26 Old 10-27-2008, 12:45 AM
 
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I get my olive oil at Costco for $22-24 per gallon. If you like castile soap this is all you need!

I have found 1 lb. bottles of lye at Ace Hardware and Lowe's, both in the plumbing section.
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#26 of 26 Old 11-15-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kriket View Post
yep, you just about have to get it online. You can't even find the lye in a can in the grocery anymore. stupid druggies.
You can find lye at Lowes in the plumbing section. under the name Roebuck I believe.

You can also try a basic 3 oil recipe using equal parts of Olive, Crisco and Coconut Oil. Still pretty inexpensive and will give you a decent bar of soap. Adding oils at trace really does not mean that there will be more unused oils at the end of the process. The lye in your recipe does not discriminate. Use soapcalc and set your superfat to 5% or higher (whatever your choice) and you will have a balanced bar.
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