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Soap Making Equipment Basics

September 24th, 2018 Leave a comment Go to comments

When you embark off onto your adventures as a soapmaker, there are some necessary pieces of equipment you’ll need. Most of the things you need can probably already be found in your kitchen. Remember, making soap is an ancient process and can be easily done in our modern homes.

Important: once you’ve used any kitchen equipment for making soap, you must keep them separate from any other pieces you use for food preparation. Never prepare food with any utensil that’s been involved in making soap.

Aluminum, tin, zinc and most other metals react with lye. Even stainless steel will react although not immediately. Be sure to wash any stainless steel utensils as quickly as possible after exposing them to lye. This will keep them from corroding.

To store and mix your lye, use a container made of glass, enamel, oven-proof stoneware, plastic or stainless steel (note the precaution about it above).

You’ll also need a scale to accurately measure your ingredients. The chemical reaction between oil and lye is directly affected by their weight. If you get the proportions wrong, you won’t get that chemical reaction called saponification that’s the critical component of this whole process.

You scale should be able to weigh in tenths of ounces. A good scale is pretty easy to find and the newer digital ones are best. They are much easier to read.

Cups and measuring spoons are useful for adding your essential oils, botanicals, spices and any other ‘extras’. By measuring them out, you’ll know exactly how to recreate a recipe that you particularly liked.

More needed equipment:

  • A glass measuring cup for your lye. It should hold at least 2 cups.
  • Lye resistant container with a wide opening at the top for mixing your water/lye solution. It can be a beverage pitcher and needs to be able to hold at least 8 cups. This can double as your pouring jug when you add the lye solution to your oils.
  • Lye resistant, heat-proof mixing pot that holds at least 12 cups.
  • 2 thermometers like stainless steel meat thermometers. They need to measure temps between 70 and 200 degrees F. Preferably get ones that give a reading in a few seconds as opposed to ones that take longer to give a reading.
  • 2 water baths – one for cooling the lye solution and the other for heating or cooling the oils. These need to be big enough to hold the lye solution container and the mixing pot. You’ll need generously sized ones! Think in terms of ‘bucket’.
  • Spoons – wooden, stainless steel or sturdy plastic. Have 3 or 4 handy.
  • Lye resistant pouring pitcher to hold your newly made soap. This will make is easier to pour your mixture into molds.
  • Rubber spatula – use it to scrape every bit of soap out of the pouring pitcher.
  • Soap molds – these can be almost anything from simple box shapes that you’ll cut into bars later or fancy purchased soap molds.
  • Pot holders – always have plenty of these around for handling hot surfaces.
  • Old blankets – or pieces of cardboard for insulating your soaps while they set up.
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