In the current virus lockdown situation, it's useful to have a recipe for making a very simple, plant based household soap. This can be used for washing your hands, your laundry or even washing dishes with a brush. It is effective in cleaning away the lipid, or fat layers, of viruses, rendering them inactive. You can make simple, easy household soaps at home from larder and kitchen ingredients.
You might also wish to read our Journal post on how our Farm Soap Co. soaps are made to give you extra information
Ingredients to make 130 grams of soap
250 grams ordinary olive oil
250 grams coconut oil
175 grams water at room temperature
80 grams sodium hydroxide (NaOH) – caustic soda
7 -10 ml essential oils (lavender, tea tree, lemon, eucalyptus, sage and rosemary are antibacterial)
25-50 grams sea salt
Plastic jugs for measuring the ingredients and mixing the sodium hydroxide and water (lye)
Digital weighing scales - these are more accurate
Pot for melting oils together
Whisk and/or hand held blender
Spatula - spoon
2 small Tupperware containers each holding 300 ml of liquid
- Weigh all your ingredients carefully.
- The coconut oil is solid at room temperature so it needs melting gently. Place in a pot with olive oil and melt over low heat. Leave to cool – you can cool the mix bain marie style in a bowl of cool water, till it reaches 40-48 degrees Celsius.
- Wearing rubber gloves and being careful, pour the sodium hydroxide into the water (never the other way around). This creates an exothermic reaction which means that heat and steam will be generated so stand well back. Mix the lye mix carefully (sodium hydroxide and water creates lye, an ingredient necessary for all soap making). Cool the lye as above.
- When both the oils and the lye mixture reach 40-48 degrees Celsius, carefully and gradually pour the lye into the oil. Whisk thoroughly – you may wish to use a hand blender to speed the process.
- As you approach the moment of trace (the consistency of thin custard) you might wish to add and mix in salt or essential oils. Mix these in manually, as they speed up trace too quickly and you will get a very hard texture.
- When the mixture has no oily bubbles at the rim, is completely emulsified and leaves a subtle yet definite trace on the surface, pour it into two small Tupperware containers.
- Lid the Tupperware containers and date them – the soaps need to cure for 30 days from that date. In the warmth the mixture will saponify and reach the gel phase.
- The following day, when the soap is hardened, you can unmould it from the Tupperware container, cut it into quarters on a clean chopping board and place the bars on a wire rack. Leave the soap to cure under a clean tea towel for 30 days. In a month the soap will be neutral in pH and ready to use.