This is the updated recipe for this soap. (3/23/2013)
A week ago Dave and I went to a local craft fair that had all homemade/handmade crafts. There were at least five soap vendors, which was our main reason for venturing out. You know – research. We had fun talking and buying from several of the vendors who were willing to share their soaping experiences with us.
One specific bar we bought was a hand soap with coffee grounds. Wow! What an idea. We bought it and cut it up so we could try it in the kitchen and bathroom. We both agreed it was the best hand soap for getting grease and grime and all of that other stuff off of our hands.
So then back the books and specifically to the lye calculator. The best one I’ve found is here. However, there are several online. (I also checked this recipe with the other calculators just to make sure.) With this calculator you enter your total oil weight, the superfat discount (I use 8%) and then the percentages of the oils you want to use. From this information, you get a formula of the exact amounts of each oil, water, and lye necessary to make this soap. But what is even neater (sorry, couldn’t think of a better word) is it lists seven different qualities of this recipe including hardness, cleansing, conditioning, creamy, bubbly and more. It gives an INS number which should be between 136-165 with 160 being the best number for the physical qualities of the soap. This soap came in at 161. The recipe can be printed and put in the soap binder with any notes for future additions or deletions.
The soap we purchased included the oils that I have listed. However, I decided to add some Shea Butter to the mix due to it’s skin softening and healing properties. But as with any good stuff, a little goes a long way. We also substituted double strong coffee made with distilled water for the water in this recipe. The coffee gives this bar a dark color. To this soap I also added castor oil, not used in our previous two soaps. Castor oil, when used at 3% to 5%, gives a fluffy and long lasting lather and is a healing oil. (Used in larger quantities will take a long time to cure.) There are soapers who won’t make soap without it. So I thought I’d add it to this soap.
We also went with a blend of Essential Oils: orange and tangerine, which I also used in the Cocoa Butter Creamy Lotion. A note about the grounds, when adding to the soap, make sure they are dry. (Dave spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven.) Do not use wet coffee grounds because it could cause the soap to mold. Not a good thing! [/donotprint]
Below you will find our recipe. I’ve included the percentages so if you want to make a bigger batch, you can enter these numbers into the calculator.
A note with dealing with lye. Caution needs to be taken when using this. We open our kitchen window to give the room ventilation during the soap making, even on those cold days. Also, keep gloves on until finished with cleanup. I took my gloves off early and touched the soap mixture while cleaning. I didn’t burn them, but they are real dry and uncomfortable. If you want to make your own lye from wood ash, Lynn has a great tutorial here.
The verbiage in this post (except what is written in red and the revised recipe) was written in 2010. Since then we have made this soap several times and have made changes that are reflected on the above recipe. The previous soap recipe worked, but we wanted to make improvements especially making sure we had enough scent.
The only problem we had with this soap is we did a pouring no-no. When pouring into the mold, we scraped the soap mixture off the sides of the pan. Because of that, we had a thin layer on the top that was different than the rest. Layers are nice but we didn’t want one. That small layer doesn’t hurt the soap, it just doesn’t look very pleasing. But again, this is hand soap!
We are excited with our soaps and plan to make more including herbs from our garden. We’d like to try clary sage, calendula, peppermint, and lavender to name a few. I’d also like to include avocado and mango butters and goats milk to the next batch. What is great about soap making is that once you have a basic understanding of the process and are accurate in your measurements, you can be as creative as you want. If you’ve always wanted to make soap like we did, try it. We’ll be making another batch in a couple weeks. Can’t wait!