Did you know that the earliest soap formulas can be traced to ancient Babylon. It was a far from rudimentary alkaline solution mixed with water and cassia oils. Although we’ll have to wait a couple of a thousand years before stumbling upon the iconic soap-bar, and precisely in late 15th century Marseille, the secrets to creating soap without resorting to industrial mass production, have been available for millennia.
Although soap bars can be used for all cleaning purposes: from body wash to shampoo and general detergent. In more recent times, soap in bar form has been widely used for regular hand washing.
It may seem surprising, but it’s possible to produce hand soap bars at home with only two ingredients! And they will have the same look, feel and cleansing properties as branded soap bars.
Follow this step-by-step guide to create perfect soap bars, and remember to give it your own creative touch!
Step 1 – Chop and Melt Your Soap Base
You can do this through two different methods, either by heating the soap base on a stove or even by using a microwave! Both are absolutely valid methods, but whereas using a double boiler will give you more control over the process, the microwave will undoubtedly save you a lot of time. But first, you’ll need to cut your soap base into small pieces to facilitate melting.
Method 1 – Over the Stove: Simply place the soap chunks into a double-boiler or bain marie and heat gently bringing the water to a boiling point. Keep the heat low and stir from time to time until the chunks start melting
Method 2 – In a Microwave: Make sure your container is microwave safe. We suggest a microwavable jug, but if unsure, a different microwave-proof container can also be used. Depending on the appliance, this might take from 1 to 1.30 minutes. It’s best to start heating full power for 1 minute first then check the result, if it hasn’t completely melted, heat it for another 20 seconds. Keep doing this until the base turns liquid.
Tip 1: If you want to get rid of the bubbles on the top of the soap, simply spray some rubbing alcohol on it and they will disappear!
Step 2 – Add Fragrance Oil
Now it’s time to add in your chosen fragrance.
As usual, the challenge here is to add it at just the right temperature for it to mix nicely into the solution, but not too high or the fragrance would dissolve. This can also depend on the specific fragrance, so best to check first our fragrance oils guide for specific flashpoints and measure the temperature before adding it to the mix.
The same goes to the amount of fragrance, some will be quite stronger than others, so it may require some attempts before getting the ideal ratio right. Overall, we’d suggest adding around 50ml to the mix, then stir it up thoroughly.
Tip 2: Why not add a touch of colour or a sprinkle of glitter to your soap bars? You’ll simply need to add these at this point of the process (once again, making sure the liquid is at optimal heat) then keep stirring to obtain a nicely even colouring/ pattern.
Step 3 – Pour Into the Mould and Let It Cool
This is a fairly easy step, but it will require precision, as the mix will tend to harden very quickly. Make sure you fill the moulds to the very top, then carefully place it into the fridge and let the bars harden. Alternatively, if you have a fairly cool environment, you could let them cool at room temperature although it may take slightly longer.
Tip 3: When cooling the moulds in the fridge, perhaps make sure you finish any leftover food first, especially blue cheese and pickles, otherwise the soap smell might turn rather ‘interesting’. Unless this is exactly the fragrance you are going for.
Step 4 – Pop The Bars Out & Enjoy!
Depending on the overall size of the chosen mould, the cooling process (especially at fridge temperature) shouldn’t take longer than two hours, at which point they can be very easily removed from their mould and ready to use!