This process takes a while, but it is worth the end result. I got 16 slices of soap and 4 decent size (but not pretty) soap balls.
Ground coffee (not instant)
Almond or Castor oil
Lye* (see notes)
Crockpot (I use a crockpot from a garage sale that is just for soap making)
Stainless steel spoon (not aluminum!) -you can use a wooden spoon, just don't use it for food when you are done
Glass jar for mixing lye
Wooden skewer for mixing lye
Postal or kitchen scale that weighs in 1/10th of ounce increments
Phenoolphthalein or litmus strips (in the pool supply aisle)
Soap Mold (I use a pringles can!)
Stick blender (helpful but not necessary)
ALL INGREDIENTS ARE DONE BY WEIGHT!
Weigh 12 oz. of cold coffee into a glass jar. Weigh 4.8 oz. of lye into a small jar or bowl. Slowly add lye into coffee (DO NOT add the coffee to the lye, it will erupt and can cause burns!), stirring with a wooden skewer. DO NOT breathe the fumes. This is going to get HOT! Stir until all of the lye is dissolved. Set aside.
Weigh 18 oz. of olive oil, 8 oz. of coconut oil and 6 ounces of palm oil into your crockpot. I add each oil seperately and then reset the scale.
Turn the crockpot on high to melt the oils.
Stir with the spoon constantly without splashing until mixture resembles thick set pudding. This will take approx. 15-30 min. depending on the temperature of your oils. If you have a stick blender, pulse in short bursts, alternating with stirring, you should reach the proper consistency in about 5-8 min. with a stick blender.
Stir and put the lid back on for another 5-10 minutes. I like to check and stir every 5-10 minutes. After about 15 minutes your soap should resemble applesauce, it will be gelled and chunky looking.
|close-up of applesauce stage, with a drop of phenolphthalein|
(the red means it is not neutral)
Keep stirring and checking your soap, it will start to get smoother and will eventually resemble mashed potatoes. Once it has reached this stage, take a small amount and cool it on a plate. Rub it between your fingers, it should feel waxy. Check the ph to see if it is neutral. Continue cooking until the soap tests neutral on the plate. Usually it takes about 30 minutes of total cooking time (after you reach trace), I will usually finish my soap after 30 min. even if I am not quite sure it is neutral. You can check the finished soap to be sure it is neutral, and if it is not, all you have to do is let it cure for a week or two.
|mashed potato stage|
-This is NOT a child friendly project, lye is dangerous stuff. Use caution and common sense. I always made soap when my kids were younger, they knew they were not allowed in the kitchen when mom was making yucky stuff!
-Lye is a form of drain cleaner and can be found at many hardware stores and home improvement centers. Read the labels to make sure you have 100% lye.
-Wear gloves when handling the lye.
-You can check your soap with phenolphthalein or litmus strips when it is done, it should be neutral.
-Leave your bars out to air dry, flipping them over every day, for a week and they will be harder and store longer.
-If you want a plain soap, use water instead of the coffee and leave out the ground coffee. You could add essential oil with the almond oil right before you mold your soap, just use about 1 tsp. of your favorite scent.
-You could also make this other scents like lavender or peppermint and add 2 Tbsp. lavender or peppermint leaves.
-This is one of my favorite hostess gifts with a handmade dishcloth.