Memories of “you’re gonna shoot your eye out” come to mind when I think about making goats milk soap for the first time. Or really making any homemade soap.  I knew almost twenty years ago now that I wanted to make homemade soap. It was while standing in “Summers Past“.  A wonderful little garden shop on the outskirts of San Diego that I made the decision that I really wanted to live a country life. Making soap, baking bread, playing in the garden and canning my produce was the life I wanted.

My last trip to San Diego,  my daughter, grand children and I went back to Summers Past for a Fairy Festival.

alora-fairy-festival

Such a wonderful, magical place. Being there brought back the memories of the stirring to live a more simple life.

Making goats milk soap for the first time

That first Christmas after telling my husband that I wanted to make my own soap; he bought me a big stainless steel stock pot.   Now I would have something to make the soap in. That was all I really knew that I needed. A big pot and something about using a paint paddle to stir the ingredients. In my mind I was going to be making vats of soap. (I laugh when I think back on how the process appeared to me at the time.)

My grandmother (who was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia, and whom my mother swears was a gypsy) used to make lye soap for washing clothes.  I am pretty sure she made it by running water through ash and then adding fat she rendered from the meat she cooked. My mother tells stories about the big vat my grandmother used in the yard to make the soap. We were never to touch “grandma’s lye soap” for fear (mostly on my mom’s part) that we would get burned by the lye.

I tell you this story so that you will understand, that my fear of lye and working with lye stemmed from hearing this story as a young girl. So that pot sat for many years before I actually worked up the nerve to buy some lye to make soap.  First I fiddled around with melt and pour soap. Also melting down bars of soap that were scraps and reforming them.

Making Goats Milk Soap – Just Go For It!

Then one day several years ago I decided that I was “going for it”. Armed with safety goggles, rubber gloves and stern warnings to the children and pets that no one, and I meant no one, was to come anywhere near the kitchen while I was working.  Carefully, I laid out newspaper every where, got all of my supplies out. I was ready!

I measured every ingredient exactly. Mixed everything together the way the instructions called for. And except for the fact that I did not have a stick blender while using a recipe that was heavy on the olive oil my first adventure went alright. I did have to stir my soap for five or six HOURS to get it to trace. So, when I suggest to people to get a stick blender if they are going to make soap, it is with that experience in mind that I recommend them.  A good friend of mine uses an old plastic bucket and a paint paddle hooked to his drill to make soap.

Making Goats Milk Soap From Start To Finish

The time it takes me to make homemade goats milk soap has gone down considerably. I can usually make two batches from start to finish including clean up in an hour and a half. Though I am still respectful of lye, I have discovered that keeping vinegar on hand will neutralize any mishap.  Always mix your lye into your liquid and then the liquid/lye into the oils, so it is not necessary to be fearful of it.

Making homemade soap and cooking — just different forms of the same thing. Once you get the hang of the basics, the sky is the limit when it comes to expressing creativity.  It is my hope that you will enjoy your soap making adventures too.  Feel free to leave comments below. I love connecting with other soap makers and want to be soap makers.

 

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