Beat the Hard Times Make Your Own Soap
Though there’s a glut of commercial soap in television screens and publications, soap making one activity that could spell big savings for your family.
It’s not a hard work as you would usually imagine. Try the following procedures for 4 kilos of soap. If you have the time and available materials to whip up more bars for your effort, just adjust proportionately the additional materials.
Equipment: Kerosene can, cooking cauldron or any cooking vessel made of clay or metal (don’t use anything made of aluminum), measuring cup or drinking glass, wood stick for stirring, wooden or cardboard mold. You may also use dried casing of white pumpkin (pinatuyong balat ng upo) or coconut shell for mold.
Materials: 13 cups or 3 liters or 2.75 kilos coconut oil or lard from animal fat; ¼ cup or 57 ml borax (optional); 370 grams crystals sodium hydroxide; 5 cups or 1.5 liters clean water; perfume (for bath soap only).
Use any one of the following oils for bath soap: 2 tsp. or 10 ml wintergreen oil; 2 tsp or 10 ml citronella oil; 2 tsp or 5 ml clove oil; 1 tsp or 5 ml lemon oil.
Procedure: Make sure the fat or oil is clean. Boil equal amounts of fat or oil and water and strain in cheesecloth. Add 1 part water to every parts of hot fat. Let cool without stirring. The fat that forms above the water is clean enough, but for cleaner fat you just have to put a sliced, unpeeled potato into the fat and water before boiling.
Melt right amount of fat in a cooking vessel for soap-making. Cool to body temperature. Meantime, heat right amount of water in another cooking vessel and slowly pour the lye (sodium hydroxide) in small amounts. This is going to be a hot solution with spattering of hot liquid, so take care. Cool to body temperature. Caution: don’t poke your finger into the liquid to feel the temperature. Instead, simply touch the outside bottom of the cooking vessel.
If borax is to be used (this is optional), mix it to the fat already cooled. Pour the lye into the melted fat. Do it slowly and in small amounts while stirring the solution to one direction. Continue stirring till the solution gets thick and sticky (this would take about 30 minutes). Let stay for a few more hours, stirring it only once every 15 to 20 minutes. When the solution finally gets sticky enough like honey, pour the solution into the molds (put under-layer of cloth or paper for easy detaching of soap from the mold).
Cover the mold with cloth or paper and let stay for 48 hours. Keep the molds under normal temperature in a dry place. Be sure the molds wouldn’t be moved or bumped into. Otherwise, the soap would not form into solid block.
Normally, the soap would be hard enough in two days. If not, let the soap stay longer in the mold till ready to be taken out. Don’t do this, however, if there’s still oil setting on top of the soap. If there’s still some liquid in the bottle of the mold, slice the block into a few pieces and keep them in mold for one to two more days.
You’ve done a nice job if the soap is hard, white, clean-smelling, greaseless and almost without taste. However, if the texture is coarse and the block tends to fall apart, do this simple re-cooking: Wear plastic gloves, then slice the soap into tiny pieces and slowly boil for 10 minutes in 12 cups or 2.8 liters water including the liquid left in the mold. If desired, you may add 2 tsp wintergreen, lavender, clove or citronella oil to perfume the soap.
Pour into molds and let the soap harden for 48 hours. After 2 more days, detach the soap from the molds and slice into bars with a fine chord. Arrange the bars in a dry but not so hot place for 2-4 weeks for them to harden some more.
Source: ang bayanihan