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#1 of 37 Old 07-06-2009, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I know it's cheaper to make my own laundry detergent rather than buy it in the store. Not to mention better because there's less chemicals. It doesn't take much time to make, is easy to use and the money savings is nice.

This got me to thinking. Is it cheaper to make my own soap or is it cheaper to buy it? For those making your own soap, how does it compare to store bought soap?

Ami

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#2 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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What is your time worth? How much do you spend on soap every year?

Personally, I doubt I even come close to $20, so I don't really see soapmaking being worth it. I do think it would be really fun to make melt and pour glycerin soaps, but that's pretty spendy.

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#3 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 12:58 AM
 
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I make laundry soap. It is way worth it.
cost:
bar of soap $1.25 (or less)
cup of borax apx $0.25
1/2 of wasshing soda apx $0.25

$2 can't buy even a small bottel of the cheap stuff for. This recepie makes 5 of the big dispencers. I will admidt that at first is can cost a bit. You will need a 5 gallon bucket, mixing stick, an old pot and an old grater. The cost of the supplies was the cost of the big container at Sam's. It can be hard to find some of the supplies. For example I couldn't find Fels Naptha soap... I found a pharmacy to order it for me. Borax is easy. I found it at wal-mart. The washing soda I ordered online... only to find it the next day at publix. The lady at the service desk told me to save the box when I am out (or close to it) and she would order it for me. At publix it was less the $3 online it was $7 plus shipping. Needless to say I have enough for a few years!
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#4 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 12:59 AM
 
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oh I am sorry I just reread your post and you are refering to hand, body, face, dish etc.
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#5 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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I make my own soap for several reasons, 1) no chemicals, 2) no allergens ( I have very sensitive skin and cannot tolerate any scents or colors), and 3) WAYYY cheaper.

I make olive oil castile soap. It requires no special equipment or materials like glycerin soap does. I spend about $7 to make a dozen bars of soap. It takes as little as a half hour to make a batch of soap, plus two days to cure. I typically make soap 3 to 4 times a year at the rate of soap consumption in our house. And that also includes soap that I give away as gifts.

Now compare what olive castile soap costs at Better Heath stores in my area, which is $4 to $8 per bar, and my soap at $7 for 12 is a great deal!
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#6 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 02:08 AM
 
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I make my own soap for several reasons, 1) no chemicals, 2) no allergens ( I have very sensitive skin and cannot tolerate any scents or colors), and 3) WAYYY cheaper.

I make olive oil castile soap. It requires no special equipment or materials like glycerin soap does. I spend about $7 to make a dozen bars of soap. It takes as little as a half hour to make a batch of soap, plus two days to cure. I typically make soap 3 to 4 times a year at the rate of soap consumption in our house. And that also includes soap that I give away as gifts.

Now compare what olive castile soap costs at Better Heath stores in my area, which is $4 to $8 per bar, and my soap at $7 for 12 is a great deal!
Where do you get your castille? Online? Please share, I've wanted to do this forever!

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#7 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 03:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What is your time worth? How much do you spend on soap every year?

Personally, I doubt I even come close to $20, so I don't really see soapmaking being worth it. I do think it would be really fun to make melt and pour glycerin soaps, but that's pretty spendy.
I go through a LOT of soap a year. Well, my extended family does. We also use it to make laundry detergent, and we wash a lot of clothes. So it all adds up. I'm just wondering if it makes more sense cost wise to hound the dollar store for 4packs or if making it comes close.

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I make laundry soap. It is way worth it.
cost:
Oh, I know! It's insane the markup on detergent at the store. Also, since I don't have to use fels naptha, it's even cheaper. I can use Ivory or, my personal fave, Zote. 99cents for a double bar--super cheap and no nasty chemicals!

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I make my own soap for several reasons, 1) no chemicals, 2) no allergens ( I have very sensitive skin and cannot tolerate any scents or colors), and 3) WAYYY cheaper.

I make olive oil castile soap. It requires no special equipment or materials like glycerin soap does. I spend about $7 to make a dozen bars of soap. It takes as little as a half hour to make a batch of soap, plus two days to cure. I typically make soap 3 to 4 times a year at the rate of soap consumption in our house. And that also includes soap that I give away as gifts.

Now compare what olive castile soap costs at Better Heath stores in my area, which is $4 to $8 per bar, and my soap at $7 for 12 is a great deal!
That sounds like a really good price for olive oil castile! What is your recipe? Me & my entire family are really sensitive to chemicals in regular soaps too. It's Ivory or one of those super-fatty soaps like Dove. Well, we do get the cheapo stuff, but then our skin is super dry, flaky, & just icky. My mom once got a steal on olive oil castile soap and we hoarded those things! Oh, and were do you get the materials to make your soap?

Ami

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#8 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 03:51 AM
 
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If you like Ivory you are most likely going to be best making a Lard based soap since Ivory is mostly that, Lard soap is very cheap to make and many people like it. As for Dove it is not soap at all it is a detergent bar, that makes it very different.

Personally while I make my own soap, I do not have the patience to grind up the soap to make laundry soap. I have had good intentions to do it with soap scraps but never get too it

To make soap the hardest ingredient to find is Lye, everything else can easily be found at your local grocery store or home store. I know you can sometimes still find lye, but I buy mine in bulk so I am not much help there.

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#9 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 08:40 AM
 
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I make my own soap because dd and I have skin issues. I make a very, very simple lye soap: lye, lard, water. Dd likes to have a natural essence in the soap, so I will put in lavender or rose sometimes.

1 (16oz.) can of lye is $3.89
1 (4lb.) tub of lard is $4.89

I use about 1/2 of a can of lye to a tub of lard. So I'm spending about $6.50 and it makes about 30 bars. I have no special equipment. I use an icing bucket from the bakery, an old wooden spoon and a plastic drawer I pull out for the mold when I'm making soap. This much soap will last us most of a year.

So, for us it's very cost-effective, but more than that it is healthier for our skin.

The essence is $2.49, so at most we pay $9/year for soap.

ETA: my father, who is truly my traditional homemaking skills muse, brought us an entire case of lye (because he knows how hard it is to find) earlier this year. We have enough lye for the next 25 years! . I keep about 20lbs. of lard around in my pantry (not for eating!!) and the last time I bought it, it was cheaper than I listed above, so in reality, for us, we spend only about $5/year on soap because the lye was free.

Lye is caustic, so it must absolutely be kept dry. Be careful about that.
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#10 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 09:15 AM
 
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So you do NOT have to use Fels-Naptha soup to make laundry soap?? Or am I confused? lol
I would love to use a gentle soap, like Ivory, or I also can get unlimited homemade goat's milk soap from my MIL (aren't in-laws just great? ) that would be nice to use, since I know exactly what is in it.

Thanks for your help!

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#11 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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I make and sell soap, so I want to throw in a little bit about safety. I will say that making soap is relatively easy and fun.
But along with the purchase of lye and oils. You will want to purchase a very accurate scale preferably digital. Measuring out the ingredients is very risky you need a scale for accuracy. You do not want a lye heavy soap! Safety goggles and gloves are a must. Even a very, very small amount of lye dropped on the skin burns!! Ask me how I know! LOL
Millers soap site has a lot of good information about making soap.
If you do cold process soap you need to allow a good 4-6 weeks of curing time for a nice mild soap. Castille generally require an even longer cure time.
Hot process soaps, technically are ready to use immediately but are still milder and last long if given a couple of weeks to cure.
Once you have tried a good homemade soap, I guarantee you will never be able to go back to store bought again!!:

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#12 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 02:02 PM
 
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So you do NOT have to use Fels-Naptha soup to make laundry soap?? Or am I confused? lol
I would love to use a gentle soap, like Ivory, or I also can get unlimited homemade goat's milk soap from my MIL (aren't in-laws just great? ) that would be nice to use, since I know exactly what is in it.

Thanks for your help!
you can use just about any bar soap to make laundry soap. The moisturizing bars don't realy work because the moisurizing stuff coats the clothes and the build but any regular cleaning bar works great.

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#13 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I make my own soap because dd and I have skin issues. I make a very, very simple lye soap: lye, lard, water. Dd likes to have a natural essence in the soap, so I will put in lavender or rose sometimes.
Before your father bought the bulk lye, where did you get it? Also, if it's truly impossible to find in my area (there's only one store that carries washing soda for 20 miles) where did you get the bulk lye? Also, how much is half a can approximately? I have a digital scale, so I can weight this out. 30 bars for about $7--now that is an awesome price for pure soap!

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So you do NOT have to use Fels-Naptha soup to make laundry soap?? Or am I confused? lol
I would love to use a gentle soap, like Ivory, or I also can get unlimited homemade goat's milk soap from my MIL (aren't in-laws just great? ) that would be nice to use, since I know exactly what is in it.

Thanks for your help!
Yep, no need to use fels naptha. Just don't use a 'moisturizing' soap. But almost all soaps, especially the really, really cheap ones (aka not going to have emollients added) are good for laundry making. I've even heard of people using soaps like Irish Spring!

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Originally Posted by my3monkees View Post
I make and sell soap, so I want to throw in a little bit about safety. I will say that making soap is relatively easy and fun.
But along with the purchase of lye and oils. You will want to purchase a very accurate scale preferably digital. Measuring out the ingredients is very risky you need a scale for accuracy. You do not want a lye heavy soap! Safety goggles and gloves are a must. Even a very, very small amount of lye dropped on the skin burns!! Ask me how I know! LOL
Millers soap site has a lot of good information about making soap.
If you do cold process soap you need to allow a good 4-6 weeks of curing time for a nice mild soap. Castille generally require an even longer cure time.
Hot process soaps, technically are ready to use immediately but are still milder and last long if given a couple of weeks to cure.
Once you have tried a good homemade soap, I guarantee you will never be able to go back to store bought again!!:
I have a digital postal scale I can use. Is that okay? What's the difference between a cold processed and a hot process soap? We have enough regular soap that a month of curing time should be fine. This is ******'s soap site, right: http://www.millersoap.com/? If so, I see she has a lot of coconut oil & palm oil in her recipes. Those things are incredibly hard to find & expensive. Can I make a plain lard soap without them, using just the big buckets of lard at the supermarket?

I'd love to make an olive oil castille soap, since my whole family loved them. They are so expensive though. I can get big jugs of olive oil from Costco. The grade of olive oil doesn't matter when making soap, right? So I can buy the cheapest one?

Ami

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#14 of 37 Old 07-07-2009, 04:32 PM
 
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Where do you get your castille? Online? Please share, I've wanted to do this forever!
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That sounds like a really good price for olive oil castile! What is your recipe? Me & my entire family are really sensitive to chemicals in regular soaps too. It's Ivory or one of those super-fatty soaps like Dove. Well, we do get the cheapo stuff, but then our skin is super dry, flaky, & just icky. My mom once got a steal on olive oil castile soap and we hoarded those things! Oh, and were do you get the materials to make your soap?
The basic recipe is bees wax, olive oil, lye, water, and EO (optional). I've posted the specifics many times here before...Off the top of my head I think it's 1oz wax, 1-14oz bottle of olive oil (I buy the cheap stuff for $3.49 a bottle at Aldi for soap making), 1C cold water, 2 oz lye powder.

I bought the lye years ago at Meijer grocery, one container will last a VERY LOOOONG time! The bees wax comes from Better Health, it's cheap too.
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#17 of 37 Old 07-08-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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Before your father bought the bulk lye, where did you get it? Also, if it's truly impossible to find in my area (there's only one store that carries washing soda for 20 miles) where did you get the bulk lye? Also, how much is half a can approximately? I have a digital scale, so I can weight this out. 30 bars for about $7--now that is an awesome price for pure soap!
The lye isn't really "bulk". It's 12 (16oz.) canisters in one case. I use about 1/2 can of lye per batch of soap. I don't measure it... my father taught me how to make the soap and it's all kind of by feel, like cooking. I know a lot of people measure it all out very precisely, but I've never needed to do that.

I'm pretty sure I can still buy lye, although I haven't for ages. I live about 15 minutes from the absolutely NEATEST country store. Technically they call themselves a hardware store, but they have one of EVERYTHING. Some of the things that I have found in this store that I have not been able to find in the city are: lye, bluing, fels naptha, rubber gaskets for hermetically sealed jars, washboards, tins cups (for camping), coffee percolator parts, old-timey canned foods like Chow-Chow and other relishes.

My guess is that if you find one of these "country" stores that has just about everything, if they don't carry lye, they will at least order some for you.

My dad bought the case of lye through a hardware store where he lives (extremely rural area where everyone literally knows everyone else, so there was no question about what his purpose was for the lye).

You want to make sure that the lye you get is pure sodium hydroxide. If there are other chemicals, it can mess up the saponification process.

Good luck and happy soap making!!
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#19 of 37 Old 07-08-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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The other night me and the moms in our homeschool group had our monthly child-free "Diva'a Night" : and I taught them how to make soap. I used to have a natural skincare and herbal remedy business so I had a good selection of oils and stuff to choose from. I used coconut, palm, olive, and sweet almond oil with lemongrass, ginger, gingergrass, lime, and ylang ylang EOs. At the end we worked out the math to figure out the cost and it was roughly $1.53 per bar. My mold is a slab mold and we were able to cut it up into 36 bars. If you were to buy it at Whole Foods I am sure it would run you $4 a bar easily.

Here is my friend's and you can see the picks (I am the chick in the tie-dye shirt .

http://homeschoolgardener.blogspot.c...-own-soap.html

http://homeschoolgardener.blogspot.c.../soap%20making

That soap was pretty fancy compared to the stuff I make at home, which is usually just a plain oil base and lye and no EOs. It is much cheaper per bar than the one I made that night.
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#20 of 37 Old 07-11-2009, 10:17 AM
 
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The last I checked both Ace Hardware and Tractor Supply both carried the Roebic brand of lye. Lowe's used to, but I think they have discontinued it.

I have a digital postal scale I can use. Is that okay? What's the difference between a cold processed and a hot process soap? We have enough regular soap that a month of curing time should be fine. This is ******'s soap site, right: http://www.millersoap.com/? If so, I see she has a lot of coconut oil & palm oil in her recipes. Those things are incredibly hard to find & expensive. Can I make a plain lard soap without them, using just the big buckets of lard at the supermarket?

Yep, you can just make a plain old soap using oils from the grocery store! A good site to figure out amounts is www.soapcalc.com. You just plug in the amount of soap you want the oils you want to use and it figures the rest out. it is a bit confusing at first but once you play around with it a bit its easy!

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#21 of 37 Old 07-11-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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So, how do you make your own laundry detergent? Sorry if this is off topic but I would be really interested in recipes!

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#22 of 37 Old 07-11-2009, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, how do you make your own laundry detergent? Sorry if this is off topic but I would be really interested in recipes!
Liquid or Powder? Regular or for cloth diapers?

REGULAR Powder detergent.

1 bar soap (Ivory, Fels Naptha, Zote, Kirk's Castille, Irish Spring, whatever), grated very fine (use both the shredder & the cutting blade in a food processor until very fine)
3 cups borax
3 cups washing soda
3 cups baking soda (only if you have soft water, baking soda would dilute the formula too much for hard water--you can add it in separately, while washing though.)

Mix together. Use 1-2tbs for a front loader, 2tbs - 1/4 c for a top loader.


Cloth-diaper Powder detergent

1c borax
1c washing soda
1c oxiclean (any kind, brand doesn't matter)

Mix together. Use 1-2tbs for a front loader, 2tbs - 1/4 c for a top loader. No soap because it causes repelling issues, especially if you are using anything other than flats & prefolds.


Regular Liquid detergent

1/3 bar soap (any kind, like with powdered)
1c borax
1c washing soda

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it, mix gently until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load for a top loader, 2tbs for a front loader.

*if you double the soap, borax & washing soda, but keep the water the same, you will have a thicker gel & only need 1/4 c per load! For a top loader use only 1 tbs or a couple teaspoons*


Cloth diaper liquid detergent

Due to the oxiclean, I don't make a liquid version. I do measure it out beforehand, put it in a big plastic cup and add some hot water. I use a chopstick to mix it up until most is dissolved, then add it to my front loader. Do this if you are washing in warm or cold water too, the super hot water activates the oxiclean.

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#23 of 37 Old 07-11-2009, 06:59 PM
 
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I have called every where in town looking for lye and no one has it. Sigh. I may have to start checking out of town places and get someone to send some to me. I have a whole pig worth of fat in the freezer I want to render to make soap.
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#24 of 37 Old 07-12-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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snip...
Regular Liquid detergent

1/3 bar soap (any kind, like with powdered)
1c borax
1c washing soda

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it, mix gently until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load for a top loader, 2tbs for a front loader.

*if you double the soap, borax & washing soda, but keep the water the same, you will have a thicker gel & only need 1/4 c per load! For a top loader use only 1 tbs or a couple teaspoons*


....snip
Holy Smokes! This is insanely easy! I am so definitely doing this when I run out of laundry detergent. Can you put in a drop or two of essential oil like, say, lavender too? I can't wait to make up a batch now!

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#25 of 37 Old 07-12-2009, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Pumpkin_Pie View Post
Holy Smokes! This is insanely easy! I am so definitely doing this when I run out of laundry detergent. Can you put in a drop or two of essential oil like, say, lavender too? I can't wait to make up a batch now!

Yep, you can put in essential oils at the end, while stirring everything together. The thing is though, that the 'scent' washes out really easily, aka your clothes don't really smell other than 'clean'. Although, to really scent your laundry, put a couple drops on an old washcloth & toss it in the dryer. You'll get a much bigger bang for your buck and you can keep reusing the washcloth, adding more oil when the scent fades away.

Ami

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#26 of 37 Old 07-12-2009, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by bwylde View Post
I have called every where in town looking for lye and no one has it. Sigh. I may have to start checking out of town places and get someone to send some to me. I have a whole pig worth of fat in the freezer I want to render to make soap.
I see you are in Canada. On millersoap.com she has a section on where to find ingredients. Here's the page link: http://www.millersoap.com/soapingred.html. If you scroll down, there's a whole section from Canadians on where they find their lye.

Her most recent post from a Canadian on lye availability (Jan 2007)

Quote:
Hi there. i was reading your website about where to obtain soap supplies. I inhabit northern nova scotia and i found out recently that Gillett's Lye has been discontinued. Now if one wants lye from Home Hardware they have to ask them to order this other product. They have it on their website as:

LYE, CRYSTALS

Model: HH 3KG
HH Item Number: 3226-431

I bought one recently for $23.00 cdn. good luck.

Now, if anyone has ANY idea on where to find lye in the Bay Area, I'd be really, really happy!

Ami

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#27 of 37 Old 07-13-2009, 08:49 AM
 
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Thank you so much, Ami! I have been scouring (hee hee) many sources lately looking.
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#28 of 37 Old 07-18-2009, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have given up finding a source for lye in stores. It's gone. Apparently, the last hold out in my area was Lowes, and they discontinued carrying it late 2008. So, I'm about 7 months late.:

However, I just found an EXCELLENT online source for lye (once you get there, click the sodium hydroxide-lye bar):

http://www.essentialdepot.com/servlet/StoreFront

And they are CHEAP. They send you whatever quantity you want packaged in 2lbs bottles. They are the most inexpensive ones I have found online. They ship UPS ground anywhere in the US AND to Canada.

Shipping is high, but that's across the board, since lye is shipped as hazardous material. There was like a $2 difference in shipping between getting 8lbs of lye and 16lbs of lye. Also they are running a 10% off deal until about 9pm tonight. I got 16 lbs of lye for $47 (includes shipping). That's under $3 a lb. MUCH less than it would be through the store AND I 'splurged' for the food grade one--pretzels, bagels & olives, anyone?

Ami

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#29 of 37 Old 07-18-2009, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just found this site & thought it awesome. It has examples of lots of different soaps made with 1 type of fat (so all lard, all coconut oil, etc) and their properties. It also gives an update on 6 mos later on how well each bar held up. Super cool! http://www.zensoaps.com/singleoil.htm

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#30 of 37 Old 07-23-2009, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just got my shipment of lye. They are all in child-proof bottles. I need to gather the fats, and I will be making soap this weekend! Wish me luck!


Oh, also, for all you soapmakers, do you use any special molds? I'm thinking of buying a few rubbermaid containers for the molds. Just wondering what everyone else uses.

Ami

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