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Natural Soapmaking (once Soap Naturally)
Raw materials, tools and where to find them

The Aussie soapers resource centre

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Soapmaking Books: Soap Naturally - Ingredients, methods and recipes for natural handmade soap: the ultimate guide to making natural soap

Soap Naturally - Ingredients, methods and recipes for natural handmade soap answers all questions about natural soap.

This book is now OUT OF PRINT.

BETTER HANDMADE SOAP BOOKS ARE IN!

Visit the Super-Naturally Website
for NEW handmade soapmaking books everybody want to have!



The information on this page has been put together with the Australian home-soapmaker in mind, and offers a good starting point in your researches even if you do not make soap in Australia.
For a bigger picture, Soap Naturally - Ingredients, methods and recipes for natural handmade soap includes detailed descriptions of soapmaking ingredients, base oils and additives, as well as general information on retail and wholesale sources that are available internationally.


What, Where

Uses

Buttermilk

Supermarket - Fresh milk section

soap

Caustic soda
(NaOH and KOH)

Available from the soap and detergent section of most supermarkets. Make sure it is 98-99% Pure Caustic Soda and not a mixture of chemicals! Lower purity grades can also be used (e.g. 94-96% caustic soda).
For larger quantities, look up "Chemical suppliers" into the Yellow Pages, or (even better) ask a high school chemistry teacher. Usually, companies that supply chemicals to schools are more expensive BUT have a wider range. Also try a pool cleaning shop. I think the caustic soda is cleverly disguised as something they use. You must make sure you have something at least like what you get in the shops and that is 98-99% caustic. Other suggestions for those who want to buy big bags (25kg): try shopping in the industrial areas of your city/town; check out chemical cleaning companies; go to your local dairy plant, since they clean their floors with bags of lye. If you do purchase a bag of lye, then also buy a huge bucket with a snap on secure lid and store in a very safe place... away from kids and animals (and husbands *heehee*). Other good places are Murray Goulburn Trading or Bonlac Stores.
See also section on Lye.

soap,
liquid soap
(creams, lotions)

Citric acid

Canning section of stores; Local herb stores; Local health food stores; Bakery supply wholesalers; Feed dealers can sometimes get it for you.
If you're planning to buy larger quantities, also check our Soapers Resources page.

bath bombs

Coconut oil

In the dairy section of supermarkets, you can find "Copha" (as in chocolate crackles making). However, the manufacturer has recently decided to add soy lecithin to the coconut oil... it can still be used, but we prefer to discourage using soy lecithin-added copha for soapmaking.
Indian/ethnic food stores usually stock coconut oil in bottles.
If you're planning to buy larger quantities, also check our Soapers Resources page.

soap

Colours and clays

Art supply stores have powdered kaolin (white) clay and ground pumice (good for gardener's soap).

soap

Containers, tools, pots, bottles, jars, packaging materials

Spotlight, Lincraft, hardware stores, supermarkets, cheap discounts shops and Murray Goulburn Trading or Bonlac Stores all stock baskets and a large variety of containers.
Bags are sometimes available from large newsagents.
Vinnies, Sallies, op shops, recyling places, trash & treasure markets, white elephant stalls at fetes, or tip may have suitable treasures, e.g. muffin pans, baskets, pots etc.
Reverse garbage at Marrickville and Casula are wonderful places for intrepid shoppers, recyclers, craftspersons. Essentially take clean waste from industry including paper, fabric, plastic, foam etc. Diane & Kerry visited Marrickville some years back. Then was green garbage bag for $15 & pro rata for less plus some items have set price. Great place for a scrounger, and it's on bus route.

general

Distilled water

Supermarket - Laundry section

soap, toiletries

Goatsmilk

Supermarket - Fresh: in the milk section
Longlife: in the longlife milk section

soap

Herbs and spices

Supermarket - Spice and flour section.
If you're planning to buy larger quantities, also check our Soapers Resources page.

soap, toiletries

Lard

Supermarket - Dairy section (along with margarines and spreads). Usually labelled as "lard", but some brands may include other ingredients.
Read the label to make sure it's 100% lard and not a blend, or you might have trouble working out the right SAP value!

soap

Lye (Caustic soda)

Supermarket - Cleaning section
Check the label and make sure it's pure "caustic soda".
Typical brand names are Diggers in Australia, and Red Devil in US.
See also section on Caustic soda.
If you're planning to buy larger quantities, also check our Soapers Resources page.

soap, lotions

Moulds

Any plastic containers can be used (except styrofoam). Empty milk cartons make good "log" moulds; margarine/butter containers, jelly cups/yoghurt containers and biscuit (cookie) trays are a very good option for individual soap moulds. Also, look for old microwave containers and plasticware, cutlery trays.
For special soap moulds, see our supplier links page.
Soap moulds: No metal or aluminium molds are to be used for cold process soap moulding, because the active lye will remain unsaponified in cold process soapmaking and therefore will react in an adverse way with metal/aluminium. If you are eyeing off some beautiful metal or aluminium molds, only use these for HP/CSDBHP/crockpot/wrap methods, as the active lye will have saponified after the cooking process.

soap, bath bombs, lotion bars

Olive oil

Supermarket - Make sure it's not blended with other oils, or it would be difficult to calculate its SAP value.
If you're planning to buy larger quantities, also check our Soapers Resources page.

soap, creams

Palm oil

Supermarket - Dairy section, disguised as Frymasta.
Palm oil is not required in order to make good soap; in countries where oil palms do not grow, it is actually best to avoid it altogether.
Related information and suggestions on how to replace palm oil in soap are available from the Soap Master's Blog.

soap

Plastic flip top jars

Walmart, Dollar Store

toiletries

Plastic buckets

(US) Bee supply stores (1lb and 2lb buckets with lid)
(Australia) Supermarkets, hardware and kitchen supply stores

general

Tallow

Supermarket - Dairy section, usually disguised as "dripping" or (depending on brand) as "cooking margarine". Read the label to make sure it's 100% animal and not vegetable fat, or you might have trouble working out the right SAP value!
Some butchers might give you beef fat for free - make sure it's "suet" and ask them to mince it for you (sometimes this attracts a small fee). Then you can render it yourself.

soap




  
The Natural Soapmaking Handbook: how to make soap... any way you like. Super-Naturally series, Making soap... naturally. The ultimate soapmaking book for soap makers of all levels.

Soapmaking Books:

The Natural Soapmaking Handbook: how to make soap... any way you like
is the first volume in the Super-Naturally series about Making Soap... naturally
All books in the Super-Naturally series are locally available in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada and Europe.
Discover the soapmaking books we've all been waiting for!
Natural Soapmaking Handbook details


Editors & maintainers:
Ersilia Vitale [ ccdream --at-- iprimus.com.au ],

Marina Tadiello, Patrizia Garzena
[ Soap book authors: Soap Naturally - Ingredients, methods and recipes for natural handmade soap]
[ Soap book authors: The Natural Soapmaking Handbook; The Natural Soapmaking Cookbook ]

[ Visit Patrizia and Marina's blogs on soapmaking, sustainability, frugal living ]

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