Some more Creative Recycling: The Magic of Soap.

Some more Creative Recycling: The Magic of Soap.

Adverts telling us how much we will save, if we buy an item are intrinsically deceitful, what I really need to ask myself is, not whether I want to make a saving, but whether I really need to buy the item in the first place!

Let’s take the case of soap…

Perhaps whilst reading this post, you will find that you don´t need to buy so many different kinds of detergents.
Technically soap is a salt, it is the product of a chemical reaction; more specifically the reaction of triglycerides (fats) with base (normally lye).
In other words to make soap, I can use any fat, and by just adding lye, I can cause the above-mentioned reaction/ this reaction
This post will show you how easy it is to transform your cooking oil into soap. We’ve all been warned that pouring grease down the drain is dangerous and bad for the environment and here is the solution, here is real magic…the greasiest and messiest, substance we produce at home, can be transformed into a cleansing, disinfecting washing thing, called soap!

I started making soap 15 years ago and since then I have been addicted!

Soap making is very creative and since I started I have tried lots of different formulas.
When we come to formulate the soap and establish the proportions among the ingredients, the issue can get a little complicated. In fact,,all the soap makers I have met over the years, have their own soap chart, with which to calculate the amounts according to the ingredients used. We also all tend to play with and try different formulas. Actually the amount of water and soda used can vary and we can add many other ingredients, but for the moment I will give you a base recipe which uses 1 kg of reused olive oil.

The fixed number that all soap makers need to respect, is the saponification number. On the Internet you will find heaps of pages by professional soap makers sharing information and recipes. This is one I found ,which may be useful for people used to thinking in pounds and ounces.

Please consider that in the recipe I am giving you here, the amount of water and soda is double that which would be used if the soap was made with clean oil.

Now, let’s suppose we want to use olive oil left over from cooking,., the saponification number for olive oil is 0.134,bBut as I said, for the moment we will not look at how to calculate the amounts by using the saponification number.

To transform your cooking oil into soap you need only three ingredients:
1 – cooking oil
2 – caustic soda also called lye (sodium hydroxide)
3 – water (preferably distilled or rain water)

The recipe is given in grammes

1000 gr. Recycled olive oil
260 gr. Caustic soda
400 gr. Water

Material: gloves, goggles, mask, container, blender, mould.

1. Measure the oil and pour it into a bucket; remembering to filter out impurities first.
2. Measure the water
3. Weight the caustic soda
4. Dissolve the caustic soda in the water (this is the most dangerous part of making soap! Please be aware that as we mix water and soda, the solution releases toxic gases, so please use a mask and do not inhale the gases. Try to make your soap outdoors or at the very least next to an open window ;and once you mix it, leave it outside for few minutes, until the soda has completely dissolved. Please also , be aware that as the temperature of the solution rises it can reach boiling point. Moreover, make sure you are wearing glasses and plastic gloves, if you accidently touch the solution you will get burned. This all applies also to point 5, in fact as we join the lye and the oil the mixture will heat up and it is caustic on the skin until it hardens).
5. Join the lye solution with the oil and stir with an immersion hand blender, until the mixture becomes creamy, in technical terms you should blend to trace. This means when you lift the spoon or the blender the mixture drops and leaves a trace. The mixture must be completely emulsified with no remaining oil but does not have to be too thick.
Pour the mixture into your mould. Remember moulds must be plastic or wooden, never use metal moulds. And remember also to have your mould ready, next to the bucket in which you are blending the mixture, as it does not take long for the mixture to thicken once it reaches the “trace” point.

Now you just need to wait 2/3 days, before you are able to take it out of the moulds. The soap will be white and hard when it’s ready to be taken out.

Let your soap curate for as long as you wish, at least 2/3 weeks, but the more it curates the better it will be.

It is important not to wash all you used to make the soap right away, it would take us ages and we would waste lots of water and soap. But if we wait 2 or three days we will just need to rinse off the hardened soap from the tools we used!

This soap will have a very high Ph, so I advise you to use gloves when you clean with it. The high Ph (between 9-10) is absolutely normal in handmade soap, in the case of soap made with cooking oil, it can be even higher as we put double the amount of caustic soda. The high Ph will contribute to the disinfectant effect of the soap.

What I do with the soap I make out of cooking oil is to use it to clean the house. I grate it and let it dissolve in water and use it to clean the floor or any surface.

I do not use this soap on skin as its too aggressive…if you want to know how I make soap to use for skin and hair…stay connected and keep reading my posts!

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