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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Goat's Milk Soap

So, you want to make Goat’s Milk Soap? Here are a few tips and tricks we have learned while working with Goat’s Milk. Hint: This also works with Coconut Milk!

First, read our post on making Cold Process Soap. The process is essentially the same with two exceptions:

  1. In your recipe, you will be substituting the water in your recipe for Goat’s Milk. You will need to weigh out the Goat’s Milk on your scale and then freeze your Goat’s Milk. You can freeze the Goat’s Milk in an ice cube tray or freeze it in a freezer bag. Because you are adding the extra step of freezing the milk, it is best to start this process the day before you are ready to make soap.
  2. Once you are ready to soap, pull the frozen milk out of the freezer and empty the frozen milk into your plastic pitcher. I like to let my milk thaw a bit at this point until it a chunky slush.
  3. Slowly pour the premeasured lye into the frozen milk and STIR, STIR, STIR. Your iced milk will slowly start to melt. The key is to do this slowly and stir. Your milk may start to turn orange a bit. Continue to stir all the lye into the frozen milk. The lye/milk combination will slowly warm up.
  4. Once you milk is thawed, go ahead and mix your milk/lye mixture into your oils and soap as usual (see the Cold Process Soapmaking instructions).
  5. The other key to making Goat’s Milk soap is once you have poured your soap into the mold and covered the mold with plastic, place your mold into the freezer for the next 12 to 24 hours.

Cold Process Soapmaking

The following are instructions for how we make soap. You will find variance in the procedures people use to make soap. We offer these instructions based on our experiences!

Safety Precautions

Soapmaking can be a safe and fun hobby, but it is important to take proper safety precautions to ensure that you or your loved ones are not injured while making soap and that you do not inhale potentially hazardous fumes. With that in mind, here are a few safety precautions:

1. Please ensure that your pets and children leave the kitchen (or other soapmaking area) while you are making soap. Soapmaking involves working with potentially hazardous chemicals.

2. When making soap, it is important that you wear socks, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and safety glasses (these can be purchased at your local hardware store).

3. Work in a well ventilated area. When you mix the lye and water, fumes will come from the mixture. Try to work with your windows open during this part of the process. Do not lean directly over your lye/water mixture as you stir.

4. Always pour the lye into water – not vice versa.

5. Keep vinegar nearby to neutralize the lye if it splashes on your skin.

6. Always run any recipe you plan to use through a soapmaking calculator to ensure that you are using a safe amount of lye and water in your recipe. A good calculator can be found at

Before You Begin

1. Please ensure that you have read all of the instructions before making your soap.

2. Before you begin, lay out newspaper on your counter tops. This makes clean-up a breeze and protects your counter tops in case of a spill.

3. Collect everything you need before you begin. You don!t want to have to leave your soapmaking area unattended to fetch something you forgot and risk an accident.

4. Run your recipe through a lye calculator and gather all your supplies.

So, what do you need to collect before you begin?

  • All of the oils and lye for your recipe of choice.
  • A plastic jug for mixing your lye and water. (a milk carton is NOT appropriate for this task)
  • Your soap mold.
  • A scale to measure your ingredients. (The ingredients for your recipe MUST be weighed)
  • A candy thermometer.
  • A stainless steel pot. (you can find these at a thrift store, Wal-mart, Target, etc.). You cannot use a copper pot or a pot coated in zinc or teflon.
  • Plastic wrap (saran wrap) to cover your soap.
  • Freezer paper to line your soap mold. (parchment paper works but I prefer freezer paper)
  • A large mixing spoon. (do not use a wooden spoon – you don!t want wood splinters in your soap)
  • A stick blender.
  • A measuring cup. (for your lye)
  • A roll of paper towels.
  • A trash can or paper bag. (for clean-up)
  • Gloves and protective eyewear.


Step 1: Start by measuring the oils and/or butters for your recipe and placing the oils/butters into your stainless steel pot.

Oils and Butters in Your Soapmaking Pot

Step 2: Place the pot on your stove top. Heat your oils and butters at medium heat until everything is melted. This will take 10-15 minutes. Once your oils and butters have melted, remove the pot from your stove top and allow the oils to cool to any temperature below 110 degrees farenheit (use the candy thermometer to measure the temperature).

Step 3: While your oils and butters are melting, it is time to weigh out your lye and water. Your lye should be measured out separate from water. Place your pitcher (with your premeasured water in it) into the sink prior to mixing in the lye. Pour the premeasured lye into the water and use your long handled spoon to mix the lye into the water. Ensure that you stir until all of the clumps have dissolved. Once the clumps have dissolved, leave your mixture in a safe place (I leave the pitcher in my sink) and allow the mixture to cool to 110 degrees or below on your candy thermometer.

NOTE: Do not stand directly over the pitcher once you pour the lye into the water. The fumes are potentially hazardous to breathe in directly. The mixture will heat up to a very high temperature (over 150 degrees farenheit).

Step 4: While you are waiting for your oils and water/lye mixture to cool, it is time to line your soap mold with freezer paper. You will need to fold the freezer paper to fit the dimensions of your soap mold. As you line your mold, ensure that the “shiny” side of the freezer paper is face up.

Lined Soap Mold

Step 5: Check the temperatures one last time to ensure both the lye/water and oils/butters are below 110 degrees. It is now time to mix everything together. With your gloves and protective eye glasses on, carefully pour the lye water into the melted oils. Gently stir the mixture together with a long handled spoon or use your stick blender (without blending) to stir.

Step 6: Measure out your fragrance oil or essential oil according to your recipe. Pour the fragrance oil (or essential oil) into the mixture and stir.

Step 7: It is now time to stick blend the entire mixture together until you reach “trace.” It is best to blend by “pulsing” the stick and stirring occasionally with the stick turned off versus constant blending. “Trace” looks like a thin gravy mixture. A way to test if the mixture has traced is to dip the stick blender into the mixture and pull the stick blender out. If the blender leaves a visible indention or a trail in the mixture, you are at trace.

Step 8: Immediately (but carefully) pour the soap mixture into your lined mold.

Step 9: Once all the soap is poured into the mold, place a layer of saran wrap directly onto the top of your soap mixture (please be careful as you do this – your soap will be VERY hot). This keeps ash from covering the top of your soap.

Step 10: Use paper towels to clean up any remaining soap in the pot. Unplug the stick blender and clean the blender with a paper towel before you wash up everything. Do not pour any leftover soap in the pot down your sink!

Step 11: Place your freshly poured soap in an out of the way location away from children or pets. Your soap will go through a gelling process that you may observe over the next few hours. During this process, your soap will turn translucent and continue to be very warm.

Step 12: After 12 to 24 hours, your soap will become firm enough to take out of the mold. You may cut your soap into bars at this point or wait several days. If you choose to cut your soap at this point, you may want to wear gloves as your soap will be quite harsh. You should also be very gentle when cutting your soap as your soap will still be relatively soft.

Step 13: Your soap will need to cure for 3 to 4 weeks before you use it. Until then, your soap will be very harsh. (While my soap cures, I like to leave it in the box in an out of the way place or on a baking rack).

Cut Soap During the Curing Process

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