How to Make Natural Spearmint Cold Process Soap
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Yield: 10 Bars
- Prep Time / Clean Up: 30 Minutes
- Perform Time: 1 Hour
- Total Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes (longer if putting through gel, which is recommended)
- Cure Time: 4-6 Weeks
- Extra Long Disposable Nitrile Gloves (easily found in dishwashing section at local supermarket)
- Digital Scale
- Digital Thermometer or Infrared Thermometer
- Stick Blender
- 1 x 2 Quart Glass Mixing Bowl or Microwavable Plastic Bowl
- 2 x Funnel Pitchers
- Small Containers (for holding ingredients)
- Pipettes (for Essential Oils)
- Measuring Spoons
- Fine Mesh Strainer (Stainless Steel)
- Paper Towels
- 10” Silicone Loaf Mold
- Spoon or Chopstick (for texturing soap top)
- Heating Pad (Optional)
- Timer (Optional)
- Cardboard Box That Fits over Mold (Optional)
- Towels/Blankets (Optional)
- Vegetable Peeler (Optional)
- 12.0 oz Olive Oil (36%)
- 10.0 oz Coconut Oil (30%)
- 8.4 oz Palm Oil (melted) (25%)
- 1.7 oz Avocado Oil (5%)
- 1.3 oz Castor Oil (4%)
- 1.6 oz Spearmint Essential Oil (3.5%)
- 3/4 teaspoon Peppermint Leaves (Finely Ground) (0.25 teaspoon PPS)
- 6.7 oz Cold Distilled Water (20% Water as a percent of oil weight)
- 4.7 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) (6% Super Fat/Lye discount)
- 2 teaspoons Sodium Lactate (Optional) (helps soap to harden and release from mold sooner) (1 teaspoon per pound of oils) If not available, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon salt per pound of hard (saturated) oils in distilled water. For this recipe use a scant 1/4 teaspoon.)
Before starting this tutorial please make sure to read all instructions.
You should have a basic understanding of making cold process soap before you begin this tutorial.
It is always a good practice to put any new recipe through a soap calculator like the one found at http://soapcalc.net/calc/SoapCalcWP.asp.
Step 1 – Measure All Ingredients
Now put on your long sleeves, long pants, shoes, safety goggles, and gloves. Work in a well ventilated area that is free from distractions.
To make the process go faster, measure all ingredients first. To cut down on dishes, measure cold water into the funnel pitcher and measure coconut oil into the large mixing bowl. Measure sodium hydroxide last.
Step 2 – Make Lye Solution
Sprinkle approximately half of the sodium hydroxide into the cold water, stir gently to avoid splashing. Make sure to avoid breathing any fumes. Repeat, and stir until mixture is dissolved. (Always add lye to water and not the other way around because of the potential lye volcano. Just remember, “Snow falls on the lake.”) Set aside in a safe place to cool.
Step 3 – Make Oil Solution
Melt coconut oil in 30 second bursts until completely melted.
Next, add olive oil, melted palm oil, avocado oil, and castor oil to the melted coconut oil.
Then, add the spearmint essential oil and finely ground peppermint leaves to the bowl of melted oils. Stir to incorporate.
Step 4 – Make Soap
If you want to gel your soap, which is recommended, now is a good time to turn on your heating pad.
When the temperatures of the lye solution and the oil solution are within 85°- 95° F, carefully (with safety gear still on) strain the lye solution into the other funnel pitcher. Use paper towels to wipe strainer and empty pitcher. Then dispose off paper towels. Next, add sodium lactate to the lye solution.
Next, pour the strained lye solution into the oils, pouring down the side of the container to avoid adding air bubbles to the mixture. Before turning it on, insert stick blender at an angle to the bottom and shake it a bit to release any trapped air. Then, blend in short bursts until medium trace is reached (a thin pudding consistency.)
Step 5 – Pour the Batter
Pour batter as shown. Once the batter is poured bang mold on counter to release any trapped air.
Step 6 – Texture Top
If desired, add a texture to the top of your soap by using a spoon or chopstick. Usually you can have a few tries at this by banging your mold on the counter and starting over. It is possible to overwork the top though. When this happens the consistency of the batter goes from creamy to grainy, so try and finish quickly.
Step 7 – Put Through Gel*
Next, set your mold on top of the heating pad. Then, cover with a box. Next, insulate with blankets/towels. Set your timer for 20 minutes. When the timer rings, slide your hand up under the box and feel the air. If the air is warm, turn off the heating pad. If it’s not warm, keep repeating in 20 minute increments until the air in the box feels warm, then turn off the heating pad. At this point, make sure the mold is snug and keep it covered for at least 48 hours. (The sooner the soap is exposed to air, the more likely it is to develop soda ash.) Ambient temperature matters as well. If your home is warm, you probably won’t need the heating pad.
*You don’t have to put your soap through gel; you will get soap no matter if it goes through gel or not. This soap is made with a water discount to prevent glycerin rivers. With less water, soap goes through gel phase faster, often causing partial gel. That’s why it often needs to be forced through gel. Other benefits of forcing soap through gel are that it releases from the mold easier, it is harder, cures faster & lasts longer, the colors are often more brilliant, and it avoids partial gel.
Step 8 – Unmold and Cut Soap
If the soap releases from the mold easily without sticking to the sides, it’s ready to unmold. If not, cover and let it sit until it’s ready. (It doesn’t pay to rush unmolding.)
Mark your soap top and cut it into 10 pieces.
You can wait a day and bevel the edges with a vegetable peeler if desired. Finally, allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks and Enjoy!
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