Back in the early days of colonial USA, living in cities and towns would be a tradesperson who made soap and candles.
As a matter of fact, Ben Franklin’s father, Josiah, was a soap and candle maker and seller, supporting his family with this business. The family was not particularly well-to-do, but if Josiah Franklin could support 17 children, it couldn’t have been too poor a vocation!
It’s easy to see why Josiah and others like him manufactured both soap and candles, because they were both made from tallow. The tallow they used was beef tallow, but many other animal fats are called tallows, also, such as deer and bison. The most notable exception to that is lard, which is pig fat. Why it’s not called pig tallow, I have no idea, but, I digress. I have never seen or heard any of my candle-making friends speak of tallow candles, so that natural association no longer exists, but it makes me wonder how many of our readers do make both soap and candles.
Do you make both? If so, why? What is the common bond between the two products that makes one a natural lead-in to the other?
We’re looking forward to reading your answers!
I was thinking about all of the various soapmaking techniques that we employ, and began wondering which ones our readers like to use.
You’ve all been so helpful in adding your opinions thus far, that I thought you might enjoy this new topic.
My favorite bar soap technique is CPOP because I get the smooth look of CP, but a quicker cure. Then again, I took up LS a few years ago, and have been quite fascinated with that, as well. But, enough about me; what about you? Which have you tried, and what do you prefer, and why?
Below, I’ve listed every technique I can think of and defined it briefly for the uninitiated. Tell us what you like best, or what you would like to try. If I missed your favorite, go ahead and mention it, just be sure to define it for us.
- Melt & pour: Purchased base that is melted, then colored and scented and re-molded
- Cold Process: Combine sodium hydroxide and water and add it to melted oils. Both are cool to at least lukewarm at time of mixing.
- CPOP: Cold process, oven process or ITMHP–make like cold process, but put soap, mold and all, into an oven to speed cure.
- HP (Hot Process): Usually done in crockpot. Mix lye water into oils as for CP, but heat the soap through the gel stage and then mold.
- LS (Liquid Soap): Made with KOH. Make paste, sequester, then dilute. I’ve included the variations in this category.
- Cream Soap: Mix of KOH and NaOH, resulting in a cream consistency.
- Transparent Soap: Clear soap made with NaOH, but using alcohol, glycerin, and sugar to make it transparent
- Whipped Soap: Cold oils are whipped with lye and formed using cake decorating equipment, etc.
Now, it’s your turn!
I was looking outside at the snow the other day–yes, we still have snow, and I wondered if anyone had ever made soap using it.
I thought snow soap sounded like an intriguing idea, and even a great marketing concept, but then wondered about how one would filter the snow and “clean” it. Would it have to be distilled?
My next thought was rain. Catch rain in a clean receptacle and make soap. The challenges would remain the same as for snow, but what a marketing angle! Imagine snow soap from Alaska or a rain soap from Washington. I think the public would take a second look at a product of that nature.
That brings me to my question. Have you ever made soap from snow or rain? How did you clean it? Did you distill it? What other unusual or downright zany soapmaking ideas have you used? You can even tell us about the ones you’ve thought of, but didn’t try!