I've also added a few links to products that I use and have worked well for me. There are also some great websites for ingredients, products, and instruction. I especially like Brambleberry not only for products but for the instruction.
(Of course if you'd rather just buy some soap, I can help you with that as well!)
Equipment needed (please note material composition of equipment as lye reacts violently to some materials)
- Large stainless steel pot
- 40 oz or larger plastic container with breathable lid (I use this one)
- wooden spoon
- safety goggles
- safety mask or a large hankerchief
- white vinegar to neutralize lye, if needed (see note below)
- soap thermometer (digital thermometers work great!)
- digital scale
- electric handheld blender
- loaf soap mold with silicon liner (though I started out using old milk containers)
- large towel
- baking rack (or something similar)
- coffee grinder (thrift stores are a great place to find these)
- 16 oz distilled water into glass bottle
- 7.82 oz lye
- Slowly pour lye into water and stir immediately w wooden spoon until dissolved. Make sure not to get any lye on your skin. If this happens, immediately rinse with water Note: The water heats up to about 180 degrees once the lye has been added so be careful handling the glass jar.
- Set aside in a safe spot and wait for lye to cool down to 98 degrees (this will take a few hours)
Note about lye and vinegar: Although some recommend rinsing lye spills with vinegar, this source convincingly explains why vinegar makes the situation worse. Plain water works better. You can use vinegar for the final clean up, but not initially.
2. While waiting for lye to get to the right temp, grind lavender buds and oatmeal in clean coffee grinder -- approx 2 TB needed of each. Measure out essential oils (about 2 TB)
3. When lye gets down to about 140 degrees, start preparing the coconut oil
- Measure out 50 oz coconut oil into stainless steel pot
- Heat oil to 120 degrees (heats up quickly and cools down slowly, so carefully monitor)
- Both lye and oil need to get to 120 degrees or close to it (note: if lye mixture gets too cool, you can place jar in warm water to elevate the temperature)
4. Put on safety gear -- goggles, long sleeved shirt, mask (this is especially important at this stage, since mixing can cause a little splashing)
Once lye and oil are the same temp, slowly pour the lye mixture into the oil while stirring with stick blender on low power. Continue blending until mixture traces (leaves a trail when drizzled across the surface). This takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
5. Add lavender, oatmeal and essential oils and blend.
6. Pour mixture into wood mold (keeping safety gear on). Tamp down to eliminate any air pockets. Add toppings of lavender buds and oatmeal for decoration; cover with plastic wrap and gently press down. Remove plastic wrap and cover with wood cover and then wrap with a towel. NOTE: At this point the mixture has not completely saponified so you still need to avoid contact.
7. Leave for 24-48 hours (no peeking) -- soap needs to slowly cool down and completely saponify. After 24-48 hours, cut soap and let cure on a rack (a baking rack works well) for 3 weeks so that soap can harden. Makes 16 4-4.25 oz bars
Note on cleaning -- I usually just put everything into the big pot and let them sit for a few days. The mixture in the pot and on the spoons turns into soap so then I can just add water and clean everything out then.