I learned how to make soap during Sanitation IST (In-Service Training) and have always been fascinated by the process. Making soap is not very difficult, time-consuming or costly. These are three great points when introducing the idea to community members. Soap is often not purchased for hand-washing due to its cost. So making soap at home is one way to combat that. Plus, it can be really fun!
1 2/3 c. oil – variations below
(1/3 c. coconut oil; 2/3 c. olive oil; 2/3 c. almond oil)
(pure vegetable oil; sunflower oil; cocoa butter)
1/4 c. lye- (sold as potassa in the ferreteria)
3/4 c. water
Foraged materials: flowers, herbs, exfoliants, essential oils
In a plastic cubo, pour the water into the lye, stirring as you go. Let the mixture dissolve and cool.
In a different cubo, pour in the oil. Slowly add the lye/water mixture into the oil. Stir in the same direction for 30 minutes.
Add in foraged materials and continue to stir.
Pour into plastic-lined molds and cover lightly with plastic. In 24-48 hrs, remove soaps from molds and dry on layers of chicken wire.
Let cure for 4-6 weeks. Lather up!
After learning how to make soap at IST, I taught the process to several members of the community. We made soaps from ingredients around the house: oatmeal, coffee grinds, lemon and culantro, wildflowers and loose tea. Willi had a great idea to make chocolate soap using his manteca- cocoa butter- as an oil substitute. Together, we stirred cubos of soap with sticks for hours and talked about the importance of proper hand-washing. After the soap cured for several weeks, all the kids rushed by to choose one for their home. Kabe really likes the coffee one ;). There are many different ways to make soap, so find which way is best for you.