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The mistakes I have made in Soap Making and what I learned from them

Posted by Chris Greten on

The Mistakes I learned from Soap Making

This is a quick article on the mistakes I made while soap making and the things I have learned from it. I will most likely continue to add to this list as I continue to make soap and learn from future mistakes. Soap making is serious business you are working with harmful ingredients and if not handled correctly it could be a very costly mistake to you, both physically and financially. Hopefully by sharing these mistakes with you, you will learnfrom my errors and not make them as well.

• First I must say always treat sodium hydroxide (lye) with respect. I am thankful I have not had any accidents but it is only because I took heed from others warnings. I always wear googles, gloves, long sleeves, long pants and shoes when I am working with lye and soaping. I have not had any lye accidents but have seen some nasty burns from others. I feel you can never be too careful.
• So onto my mistakes! My husband and I soap together, we measured out our oils and essential oils and went up to microwave our coconut oil. When we came downstairs we saw a huge puddle on the table. We learned never put essential or fragrance oils in Styrofoam cups, it will eat right through a Styrofoam or paper cup. I only use ceramic or glass cups now.
• Another mistake I have made several times is wasting costly ingredients by not figuring out the mass of my mold. Now I take the time to make sure I know exactly how much ounces I will need to fill the mold to the top without excess or coming up short. For a great article on how to figure out how much your mold holds click here.
• I also learned the hard way that you get what you pay for as far as ingredients go. I tried to use the much cheaper pure olive oil that I find at Sam’s. I found out that it was anything but pure! Cheaper does not always mean better. I had several batches that did not work well due to this oil.
• When using a new colorant or a new fragrance/essential oil always be sure to try it in a small batch first. Before you try it in a 6 pound batch for the first time and it accelerates too quickly. (Ask me how I know this!)
• If your mold screws together make sure you have checked to make sure it is nice and tight BEFORE you pour the soap in. We were pouring a 3 pound Orange and Calendula Soap into a vertical upright mold that was held closed by wingnuts. I did not know my husband had put the wingnuts on but had not tightened them. As we were pouring the soap in I saw the soap sinking lower in the mold when it should have been rising, thankfully I caught the side just in time before it popped off and was able to tighten the wingnuts. Always check your mold that it is secure before you start!
• Do not cover any soap that contains honey or sugar. It will heat up and volcano out of the mold. Let’s just say I know this can be messy:)
• One last mistake I will leave you with is not having all my materials ready to go before starting. I have the bad habit of starting my lye and heating my oils and then tearing apart my soap room looking for the fragrance oil or special colorant I was planning to use. I am trying to make it a habit to make sure I have all my ingredients out and measured before I start. How about you? What mistakes have you made and what have you learned from them.

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