It's very easy to make your own soap for survival and all you need is three basic ingredients (water, lard and lye, aka sodium hydroxide) and some utensils. I add peppermint essential oil to this recipe for a nice smell, but it's not a must. This recipe is also going to involve electricity but you can do it without it. I'm going to lay this out so it is as easy as possible for those who have never done it before and who cannot get to a class. I will be teaching how to make this basic soap in a class titled "Basic Soap Making for Survival With and Without Electricity" at the National Preppers and Survivalists Expo in Baton Rouge. March 4th & 5th, 2017. If you can come, you can see how truly easy this can be and I'd love to have you!
A lot of people out there would love to learn how to make a pure natural bar of soap and in a survival situation, you may need to make it yourself or do with out it. I have heard of soldiers and others who were not able to get soap, who placed it up there with food for one of the things they desired most in a worst time. I do have soap making kits available as well for those who would like the convenience of having all needed ingredients to come premeasured and together in one order.
So here is my recipe for a basic plain ol' lye soap, free of nasty chemicals, fragrances, dyes, and preservatives. I put the kit together so it would be a little easier to get started and understand than when I first got started years ago for my own children's needs.
Many of you have probably heard the "scare" tactics commercial soap companies used for years, that says lye or homemade soap is harsh or even dangerous. Well, that couldn't be further from the truth. ALL SOAP IS LYE SOAP. Many companies will disguise their soap's lye ingredient as Sodium Talloate or some other form used to describe the saponification process using lye and fats like tallow. Again even liquid soap is lye soap. Most liquid soap uses Potassium Hydroxide, but it is still a form lye.
Old fashion lye soap, the plain or milk are the very best for skin problems. It is all we use in our house from hand washing to dishes. It never breaks out our skin and doesn't over dry it either. With all the chemicals in commercial soaps, my children break out and itch constantly. We cannot use any soap or detergent from the store. So here is my all natural soap base that you can use to make many different versions. At first stick to the basic soap and master it. Then, when you're confident, add other ingredients like goats milk. We have a lot of skin issues and our homemade lye soap has no chemicals, and helps with our skin problems like eczema and acne. I have chosen to use more of an old fashion soap that is not super fatted because super fatted soaps usually do not set up right. They will separate and go rancid easily. They also do not clean as well. This basic soap is safe for even using on teeth in place of tooth paste. Although tooth paste sellers would probably disagree, because it will hurt their sales. For more on that topic, research Dr. Gerald F. Judd. You will be surprised at his findings, and how easy/cheap good dental care really is. Making soap has saved us tons of money in many ways.
For those of you who would like to purchase a totally pure soap, instead of making it for yourself, you may find it here..
This basic soap has only 4 ingredients and leaves a wonderful smell behind if used in laundry. Lard, lye, water, and peppermint essential oil. If needed you can leave out the peppermint essential oil, you only need the other three for making soap. *You can use this basic recipe for any soap, milk as well. Just replace water with a milk (goat, cow, sheep, ect.). Also make sure the milk is frozen at least half way. The lye gets very hot when it hits the liquid and will quickly cook the milk, so it must be partly frozen or you will have cheese, not a smooth milk for soap. I do also use this recipe with organic fats other than lard. I do not use coconut oil as the base fat, because of the 'detergents' in it. If not using lard alone, use organic fats like coconut, shea or mango butter. Also a solid fat will render a better soap, do not use a liquid only as it will not set up. Lard is cooked down without chemicals to render a firm fat. It is also what most homesteaders used for years and years. It really makes the best soap, plenty of suds, and hard bars that last for a long time. These bars will last about 4 to 6 times loner than a commercial bar! I am not kidding. They really go far and the lard is why. What about other oils? You can mix and match oils, but using a large amount of liquid oils with this recipe or any others will sometimes cause separation when trying to set up. I don't like having to babysit it. I want to walk away and not be surprised when I go back to check on it. You can use some liquid oils but not as the majority. Don't try changing the basic recipe until you have more experience. Then you could play with it a little, just so long as the total fat used is 3 lbs and 6oz total. *You can use some coconut oil with this recipe, but not for the entire amount. It's still too soft at room temp to give a good hard bar with this recipe.
When getting started you should also wear apron, safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself and the product. Also lye gets very hot, so stainless steel or glass utensils are best. Very sturdy plastic will work, but with plastic there is always the risk of melting or small particles coming of into product. *Sturdy plastic only and pick utensils carefully to make sure they can hold up. When using metal for soap making, ONLY USE REAL STAINLESS STEEL. Other metals break down with lye exposure!
Steel shafted stick blender (In a survival situation you will be stirring a while, in place of the stick blender)
Steel Pot big enough for recipe ( for this recipe, 10 to 12in round and at least 4 inches deep)
Sturdy Plastic Pitcher that will not melt with high heat of lye
Stainless Steel Ladle
Kitchen Scale (Good one costs about $50 or more. A digital is not a must and in a survival situation it will need precious batteries you could use elsewhere so I keep an old fashioned weight scale in my kitchen I bought from the Amish)
Candy Thermometer (You do not have to have this, it helps but is not a must.)
Soap Mold (not thin plastic) A sturdy Tupperware like container or steel mold or dish will work. You can find them at crafter stores online. Mine is a 12 & 1/2in by 10in rectangle. Mine precuts bars by shaping into individual bars with a divider. If your mold doesn't individualize bars you will need to cut using a straight edge and good knife when soap is firm but still somewhat soft, like cutting a block of cheese. Make sure you can flip the big soap out of the mold to cut it. Make sure your mold will allow for this.
Basic Soap Ingredients:
This recipe makes fifteen 5oz bars, so it's a larger recipe than most people use. You may need to adjust based on your mold.
3 lbs & 6oz of Lard *(makes the best soap with a good price, regular coconut oil contains detergents I do not want on my skin or my family's)
9.5oz of Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
24oz Water Or Frozen Milk (at least half way frozen)
2oz Peppermint Essential Oil
*Vinegar, this is must to stop a lye burn instantly if you get it on the skin. It is acidic and lye is alkaline so it stops the burn on contact. A jar of pickles will do in a pinch!
First label pitcher as 'LYE PITCHER' so no one will drink from it. Then begin by weighing fats (Lard) and place total amount of fats in pan on medium heat to melt. Let fats melt then remove from heat and place on an eye that is not hot to cool and make your lye mixture, directions below. *In a survival situation, you will need to pour the lye mixture (water and lye crystals) into the pan containing the 3lbs 6oz of lard, to melt it that way. You will most likely not have electricity in a survival situation, so the heat of the lye water mixture can melt the lard for you. From there, simply stir until it is as creamy as a thin cake batter. Without electricity this will take a good while, sometimes a few hours.
If I am in hurry, I don't use the thermometer for my basic lye, personal soap. If I'm making a specialty soap or for selling, I do. But for this recipe it isn't a must and in a survival situation you probably will not have one on hand. Just let soap get thick and creamy a bit before adding essential oils or heat could kill their volatile properties. After you've mixed in the Peppermint well, pour into mold. This is a big mold my husband welded for me. Make sure your mold is on a towel or some surface that will not scorch because the heat of soap will transfer to surface through the mold. Also it will be heavy, so think about how to pick it up and where to put it when your finished. Sturdy handles come in handy.
*This was written for educational purposes and I am not responsible or liable for any damages, reactions or adverse effects from someone using this or any of my personal recipes. I am also not responsible for the product you create.* I urge you to be careful, and remember to try your first lye soap making without anyone else around. I hope you found this helpful! You can find our handmade soap at Homesteadmoma.com