Sunday, 28 October 2018

Soap making 'Learning Session' in Watford

Sharing knowledge is really important. We all have so many skills that we pick up in our lives and yet rarely do we have the chance to share those skills.

When we share skills we are blessed with the gift of being able to empower others to do what we can already do. If we can also do that at an affordable price, everyone wins... so...

Soap Making with Greg Duda

Greg was on his way back to Peru and decided to stop by to visit a friend for a few days in Watford (that's another story). Greg it turns out is a bit of a chemist enthusiast and has been making soap for a while now... so... we invited Greg to teach us how to make soap... cold, hot and although we didn't have time... liquid soap too...

The Chemistry Lesson

Before we began mixing up the soap ingredients, Greg talked us through the different types of soap and how it is possible to combine the various oils for hardness, bubble production, moisturising, and fragrance and then how to introduce colour into the mix.

Basically soap is the chemical reaction between Oil and Lye (sodium hydroxide) ... it is pretty magical really... and very simple to do but getting the right quantities of ingredients together to achieve the result you are looking for is quite a complex calculation... however... help is at hand! ... Greg introduced us to a website that takes most of the hard work out of this and in the end gives you a simple list of ingredients and the quantities for the oils you want to use and the quantity of soap you want to make!

Into the Kitchen

Ok... the Lye used in Soap making is caustic soda, and so long as handled with the care and respect it deserves this will be a very safe process. Digital scales down to the Gram is advisable and although a gram either way is ok, accuracy is important in Soap making.

We started off making the cold soap. Very simple... once all the ingredients are measured out mix the oil with the lye until totally blended together... colours can be added at this stage... then the liquid soap is poured into the soap mould to harden (cure).

With hot soap making... the mixing together of the ingredients is undertaken in a hot environment... we used a saucepan as a hot water bath, then a smaller container inside which is where we mixed together the ingredients. We added some scented oil pretty much to the end of the process and this method tends to provide more flexibility for final adjustments and tinkering of the soap properties. When the hot process finishes you pretty much have usable soap. Much quicker than the cold process... which requires 24-48 hours to cure.

Final words

I never really thought about making soap before, however, with no harmful chemicals in the soap... a very high level of bubbles, great oils (coconut / olive), very natural and moisturising too... plus....with essential oil scents of your choosing... this is something anyone could do actually... Our skin is our largest organ through which we absorb many chemicals (daily), these soaps are much kinder to our skin and bodies.

A very informative and interesting session from Greg... who is now firmly ensconced back in Peru... it was a really enjoyable 1/2 day... if you missed it... well now you can learn from some of the attendees... I am sure this will be run again soon! 

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