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Basic Rules for Making Soap

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 Basic Rules for Making Soap

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The possibility of large scale social collapses aside, there are other more pressing reasons to learn how to make soap.  For example, did you know that allergies, cancer, and even an increased risk of getting colds and other infections can be caused by toxins commonly found in commercial soap? Next time you open a new bar of soap, take a look at the ingredients and do some research on them. You will truly be amazed at how dangerous these chemicals are, and the fact that your skin isn’t always a barrier to them.  While it may take some trial and error to make good quality soap, it will be well worth the effort.  

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Choosing the Right Equipment

 

Overall, there is very little equipment that you need for making soap.  Your most expensive purchases will be a scale that measures within 0.1 ounce, elbow length chemical safe gloves, and a pair of splash proof goggles.  You may also want to purchase a stick blender for larger batches of soap.  The rest of your equipment can be scavenged from around the kitchen, however it can never be used for food once you make soap with it.  Here are the things you will need to get started:

 

  • stainless steel pot – it is very important to use a stainless steel pot with no aluminum or other metals in it as they may cause a reaction to lye.
  • Plastic tubs and buckets – for mixing and holding ingredients. Choose plastic that has a code #5 in the recycling triangle, as this means they can safely hold items with a higher temperature. Remember, the lye solution will reach up to 200 degrees and you will not want to use a bowl or container that will melt or leak.
  • Wooden spatulas and spoons
  • glass measuring cups for holding essential oils and other ingredients
  • molds – you can purchase soap molds or make them out of just about anything that won’t leak.  
  • Towels – if you making cold pressed soap, towels will help to keep the heat from the lye from dissipating too fast
  • protective gear – make sure you have an apron that will resist chemical spills and splashes. If possible, it will also help to use a scarf or something else to protect your neck.  Remember, lye can be a very dangerous substance, and accidents can happen.

 

Making Cold Process Soap

 

Even though hot process soap will yield a finished soap product faster, cold process is easier to work with. Here are the basic steps for making cold process soap:

 

  • You can start off by using a recipe or do the calculations yourself.  If you choose a recipe that will make the exact amount of soap you are interested in, then you can begin assembling and measuring out all the ingredients.
  • Before you begin gathering ingredients, make sure that you put your safety gear on, and that you your processing stations set up. For example, while I have no problems with measuring essential oils and other ingredients in the kitchen; I always have a station set up outdoors for measuring and processing the lye.
  • Once you have all the ingredients measured out, it will be time to heat up the oils (olive oil or other oils that form the main bulk of the recipe; not essential oils or scenting agents) and fats that will be converted by the lye into soap (this conversion is called saponification).
  • After the oils and fats are hot enough, go ahead and mix together the lye and water. Remember, you must always add the lye slowly to the water. Do not reverse this process or it can be very dangerous.  The lye will react with the water and produce a very hot solution. Never touch the lye or the water and lye solution, and do not inhale the fumes.
  • Let the lye and water sit still until the water goes from cloudy to clear. At that point, the solution is ready to pour into the fat and oil mixture.  This time, make sure that you pour the lye into the oils and fats, not the other way around.
  • You will need to stir the mixture together until you see a “trace” left behind by the spoon or stick blender.  This can take several minutes depending on how fast you stir and how fast the solution cools.
  • Next, add dye, scenting agents, essential oils, or other minor ingredients that will give the soap its main character.  
  • Once the soap reaches trace, quickly pour it into the  molds and cover them up with warm towels. Try to keep the soap in a warm area such as a sunny window for 24 – 36 hours.  Do not stick your fingers into the soap during this time because it will take some time for the lye to be neutralized as it saponifies the fats and oils. You can expect this process to take anywhere from 4 – 6 weeks.

 

The Lye Free Illusion

 

More than a few people think that recycling soap is the same thing as making soap from scratch. In most cases, these people may take the remainder of old soap bars, grind them down, and then re-melt them into a new bar of soap.  It is very important to realize this only works because the soap bits were already processed using lye.  While there are some recipes available that enable you to make soap from scratch without lye, they may not work properly, or you will have a harder time making them.  

 

The Basis for Measurements and Calculations

 

As with any other recipe, ones used for making soap are based on ratios of each ingredient in relation to others. For example, if you are making pie dough, the ratio of water, salt, shortening, and flour must be within certain limits in order to make a pie crust that has the proper taste and texture.   Let’s say your recipe calls for one teaspoon of salt for every two cups of flour.  If you add three tablespoons to two cups of flour, the pie crust will not taste right. On the other hand, if you add the same three tablespoons of salt to six cups of flour, it will taste perfect.  

 

Making soap is similar to cooking in the sense that the ratios of all the ingredients must be within appropriate limits. Unlike cooking, however, it is the weight of each ingredient that must be in ratio as opposed to the amount of space (volume) that the ingredient takes up in the final product.  Even though some recipes attempt to convert weight measures to volume, they may not be successful because of the variance in oils and fats.  You will always be best served by using weight measures so that the amount of lye used is always in proper proportion to the fats and oils that must be saponified.  If you use too much lye, the soap will burn your skin, and may not be safe to use.  If you use too little lye, the soap will be rancid and will not work properly as a cleaning agent.  

 

Deciding on Batch Size

 

When you begin making soap, it is very tempting to start off with nothing more than a bar or two so that you don’t wind up wasting a lot of ingredients.  Unfortunately, smaller batches of soap, which use less lye, will also produce less heat. This means your measurements must be much more precise than for larger batches.  You can still start of with small batches, however it is best to work with a recipe that will produce 4 – 8 bars until you are confident of your skills.

 

Once you begin making soap, you are sure to want to explore working with different scents, or produce soaps that address different health or cleaning related needs.  After you have a recipe and set of ratios that produce a decent bar of soap,  you can always modify the essential oils, dyes, or “character” ingredients within these limits. If you are concerned about wasting materials, make sure that you can produce at least one good bar of plain lye soap so that you know all of the basic ratios are correct. From there, move on to adding a few drops of essential oil or some other character ingredient.   If at all possible, try to keep all your source ingredients from the same jars, cans, or other containers so that you do not wind up with ingredients that vary enough to require adjustment.  

 

As I mentioned earlier, soap making is a trial and error process.  Even if you work out perfect ratios for a batch of soap, it will take time and experience before you gain a sense of just how much or little of each ingredient to add.  While you might like to work only with ratios, measures and numbers, the fact remains adjustments may need to be made as you go along.  Since oils and fats are never 100% consistent from one product to the next, you can expect slight changes that may have a bigger impact than you expected on the final soap product.  That being said, once you get the knack of making soap, you will be able to better manage a crisis, and safeguard your health in these complicated times.  

 

*A Scott Hughes original for FP!

 

**Feature picture by Small Notebook.

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Writes​​ ​​about​​ ​​freedom ​​and​​ ​​more​​ ​​​​at www.perrinlovett.me​​​​.​​ ​​His weekly National Affairs Column - never a dull read - appears at The Piedmont Chronicles​​​​. THE SUBSTITUTE​​ is his first Novel. He​​ ​​is​​ ​​still none​​ ​​too​​ ​​fond​​ ​​of​​ ​​government​​ ​​meddling.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Conrad Novak

    November 3, 2017 at 12:22 am

    Making your own soap with essential oils has a lot of benefits. Peppermint oil is a popular option in my home. Applied topically, peppermint oil can relieve sore muscles and has a calming effect on the body. It is easy to pick up personal products at the store out of convenience but we can unknowingly put ourselves at risk. Thank you for the informative article!

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Excellent Ideas from an Experienced Survivalist to Homestead in an Apartment

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After watching the 1999 romantic comedy, ‘Blast from the Past,’ I had always wondered about the genius of Dr. Calvin Webber who managed 35 years in an underground shelter. His wife gave birth to an only child Adam, who ventured out into the outside world for the first time in his 35th year. The point is the film convinced its viewers very realistically that it is possible to live isolated for at least 35 years if we make meticulous plans. 

History is overloaded with numerous examples of self-sufficient lifestyles. Many communes had developed their norms to survive and maintain law and order within their secluded lands. There are many anecdotes about people living their lives without interacting with the external world. The “Lena and Ole” compilations are based on Norwegians who chose the upper lands of the Midwest as their foster homes. Here is a one-liner, 

“Ole painted the barn in July and had put on two jackets because the user manual of the paint said- Put on two coats!”

This is an inadvertent simple joke that has no ill intentions. Will Rogers once said, “Everything is funny as long as it’s happening to someone else.” Homesteading is no easy task. At the same time, it is a style that has no substitute once you get used to it. 

The Age of Information

Our generation is blessed with information at our fingertips, I mean, literally. Today a shepherd boy living in a remote African village has more information on his smartphone than was available only to the President of the United States at a certain age. My point is that the film ‘Blast from the past’ could not be conceived today nor would Ole put on two jackets to paint the barn. Homesteading is fine for people who live on “land,” but what about the inhabitants of apartments? 

The Homesteading Lifestyle

What happens in a homestead that is independent of the outside society? The inhabitants have the necessities within the confines of their boundaries for a decent existence. Let us have a look at the methods used by homesteaders to live. First we need to define the term in simple language.

An individual, a family, or a whole society can live within the set geographical limits of a designated area. We are talking about homesteading in an apartment, so let us focus on an individual or a small family. 

Definition of Homesteading in an Apartment

A single-family existing within the household compound of an apartment building to live, work, and earn can be defined as homesteading. 

This layman’s definition will give rise to a lot of questions which we shall be attempting in the content that follows. 

OK, let us now get on with living our dream life homesteading in our apartments.

A Farm Inside the Apartment

I will begin by growing my food and advance on to sophisticated produce along the way. Start small by growing your salad bowl.

i. Get hold of enough grow bags or containers. Search the net for required sizes and DIY ideas.

ii. Prepare the soil by using proper potting mix.

iii. Tomato is a good option- cherry tomato would be my suggestion. 

iv. Other plants for our salad bowl should be lettuce and basil plants. 

v. Take care of the plants with good nursing practices. Place them on the balcony where there is enough sun.

vi. Carrots can be grown inside car battery covers in the interior of the apartment.

vii. You can make organic fertilizer at home. 

You are now the proud owner of an organic farm. 

Tip: Grow lights can substitute for the sun.

Other Items I Can Grow

Once you get the hang of interior farming, we can move on to other crops. 

Strawberries: They can be grown in containers or grow bags, but need a hydroponic watering system. We will discuss that later. 

Herbs: Mints, lavender, and rosemary are good choices. They will come in handy to prepare a good cup of hot tea. They can also be used to make soaps and oils. Herbs will add flavor to many dishes. 

Micro Greens: With some quality seeds you can begin. The first harvest will provide seeds for the next. 

Sprouts: With a jar and some cheesecloth or mess top we can grow our sprouts for a stir fry or sandwich. 

A Hydroponic System

Even if you are growing food using containers and potting soil, a hydroponic system will let you increase the quantity. It avoids a lot of mess as it advocates a system of soilless farming. They come in compact designs or vertical configurations. 

They can be bought or constructed by learning the numerous DIY strategies available online. 

Manufacture Manure at Home

Organic fertilizer can be made at home by the clever utilization of food waste. Get a container with a good lid. Put some gravel and soil at the bottom. Introduce worms for worm composting. Empty all bio-degradable garbage into the container. You will get enough environment-friendly fertilizer for the farm. This method frees you from the chore of taking out the garbage. 

Tip: Do not expose the manure cans to sunlight. It can cook worms. 

Grow Mushrooms

Did you know mushrooms are grown only indoors for industrial farming? Get an edible mushroom kit to begin your first batch in a dark corner of your apartment. 

Meat On The Table

Did you wonder for a moment what crazy idea I was going to put forth? Quails!

They are very silent birds that need only very little space. They give a lot of eggs and quail meat is way above chicken, beef, and pork in its health advantages. Quails being small birds, need only a little feed, and kitchen scraps go well with them. 

Mini Solar Power House

Did you know solar panels don’t require direct sunlight? They need good lighting and it is advised to install the panels at a good spot on the patio or balcony. 

Depending upon the capacity of the panels, you can increase the number of appliances that run on solar power. They can be used for grow lights and also for pumps used in the hydroponic system. 

A Self-Reliant Life

Once we have become self-sufficient in food matters, we can think about cutting out other purchases. This will also involve income creation. Do your homework to get as many DIY ideas as possible. We can begin the process by gaining ideas by:

i. Visiting other homesteaders or communes.

ii. Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) venture.

iii. Visiting farmer’s markets.

We can enrich our homesteading experience within the confines of an apartment by progressing on to a more autonomous lifestyle by integrating the following activities:

i. Do own baking for bread and other items.

ii. Learn and engage in carpentry.

iii. Do your own electric and plumbing jobs.

iv. Learn to stitch to make your garments (trust me, it is far easier than you believed.)

Before Going Shopping

Whenever the need to buy something comes up, take a few moments to ponder whether it is something you can create using your potential. Not only will you be learning a new skill, but also it may help you earn. Remember, the Wright brothers had never flown an airplane till they became the first humans to become airborne on a machine. 

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Why Does the Black Plague Keep Coming Back?

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Black Plague
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Prepper News Weekly, Friday, April 6, 2018

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Prepper News Weekly, Friday, April 6, 2018

 

A big, busy, crazy week in prepper land! Spring has sprung and it has sprung forth all manner of issues to keep us on our toes. Here’s a review of the bigger stories bearing down on preppers and freedom lovers. Please enjoy (and subscribe!):

 

Video by Perrin Lovett/FPTV/YouTube.

 

Perrin recently learned that something called “airplane mode” stops incoming debt collection calls and hate texts from interrupting our recordings! Will wonders never cease?

 

 

Quality will improve immediately…

 

In the news:

 

The Caravan

 

Mass migration

 

Troops out of Syria, to Rio Grande?

 

More Snow?!

 

YouTube shooting

 

China and tariffs

 

UK/US/Russia

 

Mueller

 

 

And, we’re in full swing at The Masters!

 

Thank you, as always. Don’t forget to check www.freedompreppernews.com every day for all the stories that affect preppers, survivalists, and the rest of the sanity crowd. Well, check it now – rumor has it the news will soon be incorporated into the new, new revised and improved FP.com. Stay tuned.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

Perrin​​ ​​Lovett​​​ ​​​writes​​ ​​about​​ ​​freedom,​​ ​​firearms,​​ ​​and​​ ​​cigars​​ ​​(and​​ ​​everything​​ ​​else)​​ ​​at www.perrinlovett.me​​.​​ ​​He​​ ​​is​​ ​​none​​ ​​too​​ ​​fond​​ ​​of​​ ​​government​​ ​​meddling.

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