Actually, it isn't hard to do, just make sure you do it safely. Simple recipe:
4.4 ounces of lye crystals added to 7 ounces of water, mix to dissolve; do this in a quart jar. it is going to get really really hot
heat up 2 pounds of fat; use lard or whatever
when the fat is at 95 degrees and lye mix is at 85 degrees, pour lye mix into fat, keep stirring until it is thick, sometimes up to an hour of stirring. pour into a mold.
after a couple of days, flip it out of the mold, slice into bars and let it cure for 4-6 weeks before trying to use
any time you make soap, always wear gloves and use eye protection, try to do it outside or have windows open. make sure there are no kids or animals around that can knock things over. keep vinegar on hand to neutralize the lye in case of spills.
A friend gave me this recipe for home made laundry detergent. I tried to make it, and did pretty well. 1 bar field napa soap. 1/2 cup 20 mule borax. 1 cup super washing soda. melt the soap on the stove, then mix it and the soda and borax in a big five gallon bucket with a screw top lid. I also added some bounty for good smell. Smelled fresh and really spring clean. Great also for soaping and srubbing the walks outside. Fun stuff, a bit gloppy. Next time I might try a hand mixer and some essential oils....? Pretty cheap, makes a concentrate, which then needs to be thinned down again by half. (But I just used the concentrate full strength.)
It works, not too hard on the skin. How do I make my own lye crystals out of wood smoke ash?
If you have little ones underfoot you don't need to be messing with making lye water. I'm not saying it to be mean hon, I'm saying it purely out of safety. It's dangerous, nasty stuff. You don't get crystals when you do the wood ash and rain water, you get concentrated lye water and it'll eat through damn near anything. Lye crystals were put on the market for safety, please use them. You can find them at feed stores, not Tractor Supply, but like your local ag store or hardware store. It's marketed under the name of Red Devil drain cleaner I think. Tell them that you need it for soap making. Lots of time now they keep it locked up because it's used to make meth apparently, just tell them what you are doing with it.
With your lye crystals, make sure that where ever you store them that no kids or pets can get to them. Make sure that they can't get wet. When you go to make your soap, always, always, always add the lye to the liquid and ne.ver the liquid to the lye or it will be a God awful burning mess. Always, always, always keep at least a gallon jug of white vinegar uncapped and at hand when you are making soap. It neutralizes the lye and stops it from burning. I speak from experience. I was a kid helping my Grannie make soap and got it down one leg and I'm still scarred to this day from it. Lye is nothing to play with. If you make soap, do it when the kids are at school, asleep, at the sitter's, with the hubs, whatever, just make sure you have the time to do what you need to without them in the same room
This is good to know, about the safety. I didn't realize how dangerous it could be......just sounds interesting. My kids are into everything. I think I will wait and stock up on a few cases of dove unscented for now
I don't really think my kids seem to mind be pretty dirty, actually ...........
LOL a little dirt doesn't hurt them! Go ahead and make your soap after the sprogs settle down for bed, just be ready for stirring and a tired arm. I picked up a cheap stick blender to use for soap making, cuts the time down to minutes instead of forever and a day. Using the crystals is easy, just keep the windows open and put a fan in one to draw the air out of the room. Line a shoe box with wax paper to use for your mold and after a couple of days, flip your soap out, cut it into bars and let it cure for a good 4-6 weeks before you try using it. If it feels slimy, rinse off with vinegar and let it cure longer.
You can make soap out of many natural grains, fruits, vegies, some woods, milks, oils, herbs, many resources depending upon your preference. Lye is what is needed with the fats and/or oils to form soap and glycerin. It's the saponification process. soapwort, yucca or soap lily are natural plants that have natural saponins (soap like qualities).