It’s official…I’m in love with homemade soap.
The moisturizing lather. The clean skin and hair. The ability to control the ingredients.
But most of all, I love that by making it myself I remain connected to all of the wonderful women before me who learned the necessary homemaking tasks of cooking from scratch, gardening, mending, preserving, herbal crafting, and soap making.
Today I had to replenish my supply of laundry bar soap and cut a few bars for use as a stain stick.
Soap Making Basics
My journey into soap making began almost 2 years ago. Thanks to the Internet and amazing people that are willing to share information so freely…I was able to learn the skill.
- Wardeh, who runs Gnowfglins, on her personal blog Such Treasures gives the clearest, most easy to follow directions ever! This is the exact post that got me started. She uses the hot processed method and I highly recommend that you read her recipe if you are even the slightest bit interested in making your own soap.
- Renee of Fimby was also very inspirational and such a great resource! Watch her awesome video that describes the cold processed method for making a simple soap by clicking here.
Yes, I had to overcome the fear of blowing up our house when working with the lye, but I finally decided that if generations and generations of women before me could do it, well then…so could I. Nowadays, making soap has become second nature and very much a part of the routine here in my home.
Homemade Laundry Stain Stick
I call the following soap recipe my Laundry Stain Stick — and it is crazy amazing at cleaning all sorts of stains — but I also use it when making laundry detergent and my liquid dish soap. The reduced percentage of excess fat and the inclusion of eucalyptus and lemon essential oils give this soap serious grease/stain cutting ability.
-2 pounds lard
-4.39 ounces lye
-10 ounces water
-1 ounce eucalyptus essential oils, optional
-1/2 ounce lemon essential oils, optional
Hot Processed Method
1. Measure the lye and water — each in separate bowls. Note: Run your recipe through a lye calculator to be sure that you are using the proper amount of lard, lye, and liquid.
2. Carefully combine the lye and water by pouring the lye into the water (never pour the water into the lye) and stir liquid until lye is completely dissolved. The liquid is caustic and not to be touched in anyway. The outside of the bowl will be extremely hot as well. Note: Be careful when working with lye and follow all of the recommended precautions. What I’m trying to say is, I can not be held responsible for any craziness, mishaps, explosions, etc. that may happen when making this recipe.
3. Allow the lye mixture to stay under a vent and cool down while you prepare the lard.
4. Measure the lard by weight and then place in a crock pot to melt on low heat.
5. Once melted, add the lye/liquid mixture to the lard in the crock pot and stir. Note: Any equipment the lye touches needs to be neutralized in a mixture of white vinegar, soap, and water.
6. After a brief stir, grab your stick blender and get to work! Blend the lard and liquid in the crock pot for at least 3-5 minutes. We are working toward ”trace.”
7. Blend until the mixture becomes a thick, pudding like consistency.
8. Once the mixture is pudding-like, cover the crock pot and “cook” the soap for approximately 1 hour.
9. Prepare your molds. I just use a standard loaf pan lined with parchment paper and it’s always worked perfectly.
10. Just before pouring “cooked” soap into molds stir in the essential oils (if using).
11. Spoon soap mixture into molds.
12. Allow soap to cool and harden for 24 hours.
13. Remove from mold on to cutting board and cut into bars.
14. Place bars on a tray with good airflow so that they can harden further. But go ahead and use your first bar!!!
To use the laundry stain stick simply wet the stained clothing and soap then rub the soap directly on to the stain. Wash as you normally would.
-I do not recommend using this soap recipe on your skin. It will have too much of a drying effect.
-Eucalyptus and lemon essential oils are known for their grease cutting ability and are excellent additions to the recipe.
-Many of the vintage recipes that I have read for stain sticks used turpentine instead of the essential oils. Turpentine is a natural substance that comes from the resin of pine trees and it is biodegradable. If it’s available to you, it may be a viable option.
-If you are new to soap making I strongly suggest you read through these super informative posts and find what will work for you:
-I would also recommend borrowing a few of these books from the library if you really find yourself wanting to know more:
- Handcrafted Soapby Dolores Boone
- The Soapmaker’s Companionby Susan Miller Cavitch
- The Natural Soap Book by Susan Miller Cavitch
-Looking for the raw materials mentioned in this post? The Soap Dish has some of the best prices on soap making materials you can find — not to mention it’ s a small family owned business. Mountain Rose Herbs is my go-to for all my essential oil needs!