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Soap is an important tool in our everyday lives. We use it to clean almost anything, from clothes to dishes and even ourselves. But just because it is used mainly for cleaning, it doesn’t mean that we can’t use them for decorative purposes. Soap can be molded similar to clay and different colors can also be used. The only difference is that soap will be harder to mold, but it has a more fragrant smell which makes it more appealing to use.
The most important ingredients of soap making are fats and lye. Fats determine the type of soap that will be produced. Some types of fats may make soft or hard, and the amount of lather can also be affected by the type of fat used. Lye mixed with water and used to hydrolyze fat in a process called saponification. An easier way is to use store bought glycerin soap as you will not need to mix lye and fat anymore.
Two ways can be used to make soap. The first method is through the hot process which involves heating of the fats before mixing it with lye water. This is further cooked for around two hours or until the soap is ready. The second method, called the cold process, makes use of the same ingredients but heating of the fats is not done. The fats are just mixed with lye water and allowed to cool. Once cooled, they can be poured into molds that have been dipped in cold water to form the desired shape. The cold process usually produces soap that has longer lasting quality. Glycerin soap on the other hand, can simply be melted and it will be ready to use.
Other things that can be added to your pre-formed soap mixture are fragrance oils or dyes. An example is using citrus fragrance oils if you plan on making soap that is designed to look like an orange. Dyes can also be used creatively to achieve an attractive design. A simple tie dye effect could be achieved by using a stick to stir the dye along with the soap mixture then waiting for it harden.
Even though soap making may seem an easy and safe activity to do, you should always remember that lye is a dangerous substance. It has a strong corrosive effect that could cause burns or blindness on prolonged contact. Fumes are also harmful when inhaled. Gloves and masks should always be used when dealing with this material.
Soap making is a fun activity that even kids can do. It will give them something to do with their hands while stimulating their creative minds as well. Just be sure to keep an eye on them when using lye, or use the safer glycerin soap to make sure that they are safe from the harmful effects of lye.
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