Homemade Soap Making Tips
There are no artificial chemicals in the homemade soap and that really is the first step in being chemical-free. The ingredients are simple and there are only a few tools involved. You will need a wooden spoon; a wide-mouth, glass, half-gallon jar; several flat containers that you can line with plastic wrap (you could use several shoe boxes if desired); an enamel or iron pot in which to "cook" the soap; and a photography or dairy thermometer. The temperatUre is important when making soap, so get a good thermometer that registers as low as 95-98 degrees.
There are several rules to follow when making your soap:
In addition to carving, there are many ways to make your soaps more attractive. You can make "soap on a rope" by forming the soap around a knotted cord. To make the soap prettier, select a glass with an attractive design on the bottom and press the bottom of the glass into the soap.Wrap the seasoned soap in pretty tissue paper, tie with a bright cord or ribbon, and then store it or give it as gifts. I like to line a small' box with tissue paper and place three to a box. It's handy to have around if you need to unexpectedly give a gift. If you plan on using your own herbs to make the soap, you would need to make a strong tea from the herb desired and cool it completely after straining. You can make it the night before and store in the refrigerator overnight. It will not make as strong a scent as the scented oils will. And the scent does disappear completely while you are using the soap.
For a coarser texture, try adding cornmeal or oatmeal that has been ground in the food processor, or grains of pumice to the mixture. This is good for people working on cars or others who need a grainy soap to remove oils from their hands. Try adding powdered herbs or spices to the soap mixture. This creates interesting colors and textures. Soap making can be fun. If you keep records of your soap making recipes, you will be able to recreate a good idea.
To create a wonderful gift for yourself or others, put together a basket with homemade soap, a bath salt or oil mixture, and then add a luffa sponge that you have grown yourself. Sources to purchase the seeds for luff a sponges are as close as your favorite seed company or store.
Luffas are a relative of the squash family and would need a trellis to climb on. The fruit is fast-growing and great to use. Right before the autumn rains start, bring the luffa indoors to dry. You might want to wipe the outer gourd with a weak bleach solution to keep black spots from forming on the outer shell. When completely dry, soak the gourd in warm water overnight so the shell will be easy to peel away. If you wish to whiten the fIber of the sponge, soak the gourd in a weak bleach solution. This will also soften the outer shell.
To soften the sponges, use them for household tasks, such as wiping down counter tops or scrubbing out sinks. When the sponge has been softened by this hard work, it will be soft enough to use for your bath. These sponges last forever and you need never buy another sponge. They are a handy gift from mother nature, if we but take the time to plant them.
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