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The importance of knowing what you are doing when making soap


Meridith
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While doing a show today, there were 2 ladies across from us selling some soap and other B&B stuff. I guess a lady bought a soap from them and came back today, yelling and screaming at them because the soap burned the hell out of her; all over her body she got lye burned. She was flaming mad of course. This is a reminder that you better know what you are doing and have insurance in place before you sell. Pisses me off because folks like that give us all a bad name. Know your stuff people or you could hurt someone and get sued.

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Not only did they stay, but they did not pull one soap off their table. Apparently, they showed up Friday night thinking set up was at that time. It was actually this morning. It was on Friday night that they apparently sold the soap to the lady and she came back today to give them a piece of her mind. I don't blame her - I would have ripped them a new one if it was me. That just is not cool. Meanwhile, my soap sales were great! They were up from last year when we did this show. I sold out of several different types of soap. My pumpkin, OMH and pine tar soaps were very popular.

I agree with you Scented. I use soap from EVERY batch I make before it goes out for sale. That's why I have a gazillion bars of soap in my shower.

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I'm baffled at how anyone could not know that their soap was so caustic. The customer has obviously used handmade soap before or I doubt she would be taking a chance by buying again even from a different seller.

Several months ago, I approached the owner of a bath shop here in town about carrying my soap. She was quick to let me know that she had tried handmade soaps in the past that she felt were of poor quality. She would not even look at my soaps or accept any samples. Actually, she was quite snotty.

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The lye is what keeps me from making my first batch. I am scared to death. I have looked around for a class or workshop and can't find any. The market for handmade is completely unsaturated here and I so want to learn to make soap *sigh*. So for now, I just keep watching videos and tutorials of how its done trying to get the courage to try.

So that I can prevent this and do this the right way, could you ladies (gentlemen too) give me some tips on how to go about this? THE RIGHT WAY!

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I'm baffled at how anyone could not know that their soap was so caustic. The customer has obviously used handmade soap before or I doubt she would be taking a chance by buying again even from a different seller.

Several months ago, I approached the owner of a bath shop here in town about carrying my soap. She was quick to let me know that she had tried handmade soaps in the past that she felt were of poor quality. She would not even look at my soaps or accept any samples. Actually, she was quite snotty.

You could be right that she has used hand crafted soap before. I was just pleased to hear that she was willing to give it another chance by buying mine.

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Yes, I did mean that she more than likely prefers handmade or she would not have spent more $$ on soap. Most of my regulars will use nothing but handmade because of a skin issue of some type.

My negative experience with the shop owner was obviously from her previous poor experience with handmade soap.

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The lye is what keeps me from making my first batch. I am scared to death. I have looked around for a class or workshop and can't find any. The market for handmade is completely unsaturated here and I so want to learn to make soap *sigh*. So for now, I just keep watching videos and tutorials of how its done trying to get the courage to try.

So that I can prevent this and do this the right way, could you ladies (gentlemen too) give me some tips on how to go about this? THE RIGHT WAY!

The main tips that I can give you are start simple! 1. Go to the Miller soap site and find a recipe you can try, just to get the feel of soaping, nothing fancy...one with oils you can buy at your local grocery store. 2. Use a GOOD scale. Accurate lye measurements for small batches is very important. 3. Always tongue test you soap, sounds gross but you'll always know if it's OK or not that way, if it's not you'll get a zap! 4. Be safe...remember your safety...gloves, goggles and snow falls on the lake meaning always add your lye to your water not the other way around.

I always recommend to new soapers, keep it simple! I can't say that enough. Just get the feel of soaping, there's a lot to pick up on. If you're not worrying about coloring for the 1st batch it'll give you more time to study trace and get the feel of it. The FO is up to you but some of them can give you funny results sometimes so I'd even suggest to do a completely plain unscent/uncolored batch to get the ture feel. HTH

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Thanks April! I have read the Miller site front to back and I am planning to order The Soapmaker's Companion book. My desire to make homemade soap is for a skin condition. My friend and my youngest both have eczema and I have been reading for years that homemade soap would be best for both of them. I took candlemaking as therapy, I am a house fire burn victim and its so funny how I am comfortable with the candles but not lye. Also, I have a MyWeigh Ultra Ship 35 scale....is that one good for soaping? It's seems pretty accurate with my other measurements for b&b. I really appreciate your advice and will print it out for my notebook. Thanks again. When I finally do try I will let you know my results...

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Oh how I wish that would have been me. I haven't had an evil flair up in at least a week or two. I think I'd have brought a gallon jug of water and a cattle prod and made her use a bar of her own soap right there, in a rather delicate area then withheld the water. Muwhahaha.

On the soap making... Millers site gave me a damn headache when I was starting out. The layout sucks and it's a nightmare to manover around and though the information was great, it wasn't worth the headache for me. I got the best information right here and on The Dish to be honest. My first soap was a white salt bar because one, it only used two oils I could get at the grocery store and two... we like easy.

Someone posted a little cartoon about lye/oils and saponification using sheeps and wolves and being the simpleton that I am, thats the only thing that really stuck with me. I guess because I like looking at the pictures and don't have to read as much. :D

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Grumpy Girl.....I look at your soaps and :drool: . I want to learn how to soap and be THAT good! I showed your soaps to my friend and we were both in complete awe....like how did she do THAT?! So to read your post is an honor really, thanks for your input. I agree with you about the Miller site in that it has a lot of great information that gets lost because of the flow of the site is definitely lacking. There is a ton of information here and I have spent countless nights researching and taking notes. As a burn victim, I am super sensitive to things related to those types of injuries so, YES, safety and quality are of great concern to me. I guess I will just have to find some lye (can't find any local so more shipping costs....ugh!) and get over the fear and just be careful.

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Hell, I'm still working on a good mix that I can work with and that works 3-4 months later and quite a few bucks later in ingredients.

Even now, I think I might have a good piece of advice - even if you can get them at the grocery store doesn't mean they'll make a good soap. I started by buying every different oil the store had and 2 big buckets of lard. Yeah.. no.

I've had a couple of zap batches, went back over my notes, poured over the info... back and forth and back.... 3 tubs of lard later, I still have a few oils that are just sitting there on the shelf, because they aren't doing a darned thing to my soap except I do believe one to be the culprit of DOS.

ETA: All this babbling was meant to allude to one thing - these people didn't do near enough research and either a)don't care what they are selling to harm people or b)don't have a clue on how to make soap properly before selling.

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Even now, I think I might have a good piece of advice - even if you can get them at the grocery store doesn't mean they'll make a good soap. I started by buying every different oil the store had and 2 big buckets of lard. Yeah.. no.

Oh, I don't know... I've made some damn fine soap out of grocery store oils. It's about knowing what each one brings to the table and what happens if you saw off a leg on the table or add a shim here and there.

It's the formulation of the over all and synergy of each one.

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Oh, I don't know... I've made some damn fine soap out of grocery store oils. It's about knowing what each one brings to the table and what happens if you saw off a leg on the table or add a shim here and there.

It's the formulation of the over all and synergy of each one.

Oh no - what I meant was that just because you CAN get them there, doesn't mean they'll make a great soap. I've got grapeseed, coconut, lard, safflower, olive and sesame oils. My second recipe tried to bonk them all together. Not good. I did my research on the oils and what not, but I tried to get entirely too hard for something that can be very simple - especially for the learning phase.

My latest batches have been almost all lard (it's cheap comparitively), and I've tried lard and coconut and lard and castor. I'm actually quite happy with the results so far - except it won't seem to hard up after 24 hours, it's been a day on the one I scented jasmine and it feels just like lard would without the other stuff.

The same batch, same recipe I did Very Sexy from WSP and used raspberry pop and it went WAY too hard. I unmolded that one 12-14 hours later and upon cut, it just chunked off. I melted all the oils in a large bowl and separated it, but both came out complete polar opposites.

It's absolutely nuts! :D

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