Your soap making equipment list can be made with regular easy-to-get household items. Firstly, you don’t need anything new, except maybe the scale, as everything will be used for caustic ingredients. I would go to the thrift store and get what ever you can from there. Dollar stores are great too. Here is what you need and why you need it:
Soap making equipment list in short:
- safety gear
- stainless steel pot
- wooden spoons
- plastic jugs
- measuring cups and spoons
- mold and lining
- stick blender
Soap making equipment list, in long, for more details:
Meaning safety glasses, long sleeve shirt, and rubber gloves. The soap base is not like acid, it won’t create a one-second burn. Although a splash could seriously hurt an eye, on the skin it would cause a redness. Once while making soap, I could feel an odd itchy warm spot on my arm, and when I finally looked it was soap base. It would have been the same temperature as me, so I didn’t feel it when it first got on my arm. You’ll definitely need the gloves to wash your supplies after. Safety also applies to having a quiet and uninterrupted place to make soap. In the beginning I would place a plastic table cloth on my kitchen table as my work table. Again, use that table cloth only for soap making.
Stainless steel pot:
You need stainless steel as aluminum will react with the lye solution. I used stock pots but you may not need one that big yet. But big enough to prevent spills from stirring.
A candy thermometer works great. You need a thermometer that can measure from 90 degrees to 180 degrees. You won’t be heating things to 180 degrees, but the lye and water will reach that temperature before cooling down. Candy thermometers have clips to hang the thermometer to the side of the pot. These are around $4 – $6 each.
You could also use an infrared thermometer. These are super easy and accurate, and you don’t have to worry about holding and dropping a glass candy one. The infrared ones are around $20 – $30.
Wooden spoons are great in that they don’t react with the caustic soap base. Some people use plastic but I figure the lye is eating away at the plastic and it gets in the soap – it probably doesn’t though. You cannot use aluminum or it will react and fizzle with the lye. Dollar store would be perfect for these, 3 / $1. package.
you’ll need one for the water, to which you’ll pour the lye crystals in. I had a designed juice jug and labelled it, you don’t need a lid.
Measuring cups and spoons:
Generally all the measuring you’ll be doing will be by weight for the carrier oils, water, and lye. The measuring spoons will be for the scents. Get plastic, the dollar store would be perfect.
You’ll have to get a new one, postage scales will work for up to about 8 lbs, and for around 30 – $40. You don’t need to measure the specific oils, water and lye, all at the same time. But you do need to accommodate for the weight of the pot. If you start making large amounts of soap, you’ll have to upgrade to a $100 model, which measures up to around 30 lbs, and still measures in tenths of ounces – you’ll need that for the lye amounts. And whatever you do, do not drop it! I did this with a brand new $100 scale and it never measured accurate after that.
The soap mold:
You can use almost anything. Make sure it is sturdy as the weight of the soap would push out the sides of a cardboard type mold. Rubbermaid type bins work, except that you’ll get the imprint of the uneven bottom onto the bottom of your soap. I used a small dresser drawer at one time, that worked well. It was sturdy, had a handle. Some of the more professional soap molds have a side that comes off for easy removal. You’ll be okay with small recipes. Leave enough of the liner to pull up on. Article on soap molds here.
The lining for the mold:
I’ve used both freezer paper and cut-up large black garbage bags. Both work really well, so it may just be a matter of preference. The freezer paper is sturdier and fold-able, and the garbage bags are cheaper and sometimes easier to handle while trying to line the mold.
You do not need one for sure, I made soap for months without one in the beginning. But a stick blender will speed up the process of making the soap. Stirring could take half hour to reach the trace phase, yet the stick blender could take 10 mins.
Random things for your soap making equipment list:
Other containers for measuring your ingredients in on the scale. I used old plastic margarine and yogurt containers for years.
Painters green masking tape for holding the mold liner in place, other tapes will react more with the caustic soap base.
Garbage bags again for placing on the top of your soap once it’s poured into the mold, although a lot of soap makers do not do this.
Towels or wash clothes just for the soap making process, use old ones.
The last thing for your soap making equipment list is space to make the soap and have your supplies safely stored. I had a Rubbermaid bin for all my supplies, lid on when storing it. I tried to have a non-food surface for making soap. Not always feasible, so a plastic table cloth on a table works good.
More details on where I got my soap supplies here.
And info on what happens when lye and aluminum contact and react.
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