Monty Don’s guide to making soap …
- Soap is simpler to make than you might have thought. You’ll need olive oil, organic palm or coconut oil, and beeswax pellets.
- Heat the ingredients together on the stove to about 54 degrees centigrade stirring regularly.
- Now for the tricky bit. Soap is produced when the oils which are acidic are mixed with lye.
- Lye is sodium hydroxide or caustic soda, a powerful alkali. When powdered lye is added to water it heats up, add the hot lye water to the melted oils, taking great care to avoid splashes as these will burn, and stir until the mixture thickens.
- After this is done, you can add any colourings, fragrance and softening oils – for example, honey and sweet almond oil.
- Pour the raw soap into a mould for setting and curing which is a maturing process needed before the soap is ready and safe to use.
- Finally turn the soap out of the mould and cut to the desired shape.