Melt and pour soap
Melt and pour soap is the easiest method of making homemade soap. Because the soap base has already been made and prepared for you, you do not have to worry about working with lye, like you would with cold or hot process soap. It is fast and easy to prepare for both children and adults alike. All you have to do is melt the premade base, customize it with your favourite colours, herbs, seeds, honey, rind or essential oils and pour into a mould. Once you get the hang of the process, you can experiment with advanced techniques like layers and swirls. Melt and pour bases can be used for body soap and shampoo but they are not recommended for conditioner bars. I have provided wonderful alternative recipes that do not use melt and pour.
Cold process soap is made by combining oils and sodium hydroxide lye. That causes a chemical reaction called saponification. Melt and pour soap has already gone through that process. That means you don’t have to handle lye, you can focus on the design, and you don’t have to cure the soap – it’s ready to use as soon as it’s cool and hard.
A double boiler
There is no need to go out and buy a double boiler. A double boiler is nothing more than a glass bowl inside a pot of boiling water. Ensure the water does not get into the bowl at any time. A glass bowl or jug in a microwave can be used in 30 second stints as an alternative once you get used to working with soap as long as you do not boil the soap/butters. It must be dissolved slowly.
You need to use a mould that can withstand higher temperatures, so it doesn’t melt when you pour in hot soap. You also want it to be flexible so it’s easy to unmould the bars. Silicone and plastic moulds are best for melt and pour. Silicon moulds are the easiest to work with when making soap. An important tip is to spray the moulds with rubbing alcohol to prevent air bubbles before and sometimes on top of the soap after if bubbles appear on the top. Try not to move the moulds for at least 2 hrs when poured and if you are in a rush, place the soup into the fridge or freezer to harden quicker. They will sweat a little when they are taken out again so make sure to let them ‘breathe’ for an hour or so before storing them in an airtight container.
There are plenty of options for colouring melt and pour soap. Micas and colour blocks are easy to use and they look great in the finished bars. Natural colourants such as turmeric or saffron can also be used. It is not recommended to use options like food colouring or crayons because they haven’t been tested or approved for use in soap. They tend to morph, fade, or bleed.
Conditioner Soap Bar (4-6 bars)
Customizing Melt and Pour Soap
The easiest way to make soap is the melt and pour method. And it’s really a great way for any beginner to start. There are a lot of natural melt and pour soap bases to choose from including glycerin, Castile, goat milk, shea, hemp, sulphate free and more! Of course, we would encourage you to make glycerin soap base yourself.
Essential oils, herbs, and other ingredients can be added to melt and pour soap bases for unique combinations and inspiring aromas. Plus, you can customize your melt and pour soap using silicone moulds to make fun shapes.
CASTILE SOAP OR SAL SUDS DILEMMA?
You may be wondering why I am putting soaps into this section. However, castile soaps and sal suds are soaps derived from oils (coconut, olive, palm, jojoba, and hemp). It is important to figure out whether you have hard water at your property or not as this will determine which of these two products would suit you best.
DO YOU HAVE HARD WATER??
Here some useful info about how to find out if you do and whether it’s best to use castile soap or sal suds as your natural soap element for cleaning.
The Test to see if you have hard water or not…
Fill a clear glass with tap water.
Squirt in some true soap, such as Castile Liquid Soap.
If the soap turns cloudy as it enters the water, you have hard water. If the soap swirls around but stays pretty much clear, you don’t.
The reaction of castile soap with the minerals in the water leaves behind an insoluble film that’s commonly called “soap scum”. Soap scum is not actually soap that remains, but a precipitate of minerals. If you do not have hard water, castile soap is ideal.
If you have hard water – use sal suds in place of castile soap. This is our biodegradable household cleaner which doesn’t react with hard water. It rinses cleanly and leave surfaces sparkling. No more film on the tub or towels! For it’s multitude of uses, see the Sal Suds Dilution Cheat Sheet.
Remedies if you have hard water:
If you have hard water, there are a couple ways you’ll see the effects.
Laundry: Hard water doesn’t rinse the soap off as well.
Remedy: Add ½ to 1 cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle.
Shiny bathroom surfaces: Hard water leaves soap scum (ring around the tub).
Remedy: Wipe surfaces dry, and clean once or twice a week with a 50% vinegar spray. 50% water
Hair: Hard water can make hair stiff and a little tacky feeling.
Remedy: Use a slightly acidic rinse after you wash your hair with soap such as 50% apple cider vinegar solution, or a couple capfuls of the Dr. Bronner’s Hair Rinse diluted in a cup of water.
CASTILE SOAP OR SAL SUDS?
Situations to use Castile:
- Body – Head to toe.
- Animals – Any Castile soap scent on my dog. Baby Unscented on my cat.
- Pest Control – Only Castile soap has this ability to eliminate insects
- Washing bedding
Situations to use Sal Suds:
- Laundry – except bedding
Castile soap is primarily designed for the body. The blend of oils (coconut, olive, palm, jojoba, and hemp) are designed to be the most nourishing to our skin. Because it is such a beautifully simple soap, it also cleans many other things amazingly well, whether it’s your dog, your sinks, or your floors. You can find details of all these uses on this Castile Soap Dilutions Cheat Sheet. Because Castile soap is a true soap, it reacts with the minerals contained in hard water (add castile soap to your water, If it goes cloudy, it is hard water and will leave a film on your dishes etc. Better to use sal suds in this case)