newbie to Soap Making with question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by exegeses, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. exegeses

    exegeses Well-Known Member

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    I haven't quite gotten up the courage (or supplies, yet) to make my own soap, but I hope to be ready next month. My question is - would it be possible to use a herbal infusion in place of the water called for in any particular recipe? I have read that soap making can be a tricky business and wonder if this would mess the whole thing up? I know the soap wouldn't be a nice white (more like an icky brown!) but that's OK with me.

    I have a recipe for a liquid soap (made like bar soap with lye) and am interested in using an infusion in that recipe.

    For those of you who are already soap makers, what do you think? Have any of you ever tried this, and if so, how were the results. (In case you're wondering, the herbs I would be interested in adding would be things like soapwort or yucca, so essential oils won't work as a substitute.)
     
  2. apirlawz

    apirlawz playing in the dirt

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    I use green tea, chamomile tea, and esspresso with very good results in cold process soap. The tea/esspresso will give the soap a different color, but it's not at all bad...nice, "earthy" shades of yellows, greens, and a chocolatey brown from the espresso. I've not made liquid soap before, so I'm not sure how it would work in that.

    Soap can seem really intimidating at first, but it's really not that bad once you get started. Just be sure to follow you measurements as closely as possible (always use recipes with weights, never volume measurements...cups, tablespoons, etc.), and be careful at all times around your lye solution.

    Lots of good info out there for soapers! I would try Majestic Mountain Sage (I think it's mms.com) for a really good lye calculator. There is also the Soap Dish forum (not sure about the addy, but you should be able to google it), they have some good boards for newbie advice.

    Have fun! :D
     

  3. exegeses

    exegeses Well-Known Member

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    Great! I was hoping that it would be OK! The recipe I have for the liquid soap seems very similar to other cold processed soaps in that you use melted fats, then add your lye/water mix and cook. Apparently, it just doesn't solidify and stays somewhat 'liquid'. It does mention that it doesn't get 'transparent' until it sets a bit, I'm assuming that's the equivilent of a solid cold process soap 'aging' a bit.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I would not try anything different until you have made several successful batches of soap. After that experiment to your hearts content. You can also wait till you have a good batch of soap and rebatch it using the herbal infusions. The reaction with the lye can eat up the herbs so you may not end up with what you wanted. Rebatching (melting the soap down and remolding it) is a good way to add 'goodies' without ruining the soap.

    Have fun. This is an addicting passtime.
     
  5. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    You use the herbal teas the same way you use water or milk. They can change the trace time and the way the lye reacts. I've tried making soap a couple of times now with nettle tea and it comes out so caustic it's impossible to use. A lavender infusion worked really well, though, as did fennel.

    Just be ready to do lots of experimenting.
     
  6. Debbie at Bount

    Debbie at Bount Well-Known Member

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    Oklahoma
    Herbal teas would not be a biggie but do not try milk until you know how to "make soa".
    Debbie
    www.bountifulsoaps.com