How To

The Dirt on Avocados: How to Make Avocado Soap

Cleanliness is next to godliness and, well, we contend avocados are, too. So, making avocado soap sounds like a no-brainer. With the right tools and materials, and a few simple safety precautions, these DIY avocado soap recipes can be made in your own home.

In order to make hard soap, you will need to use something called sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. This chemical, which can be made from ingredients as simple as ashes and rainwater, can burn the skin or eyes. When mixed with oil, lye reacts to create sudsy solid soap bars, with the chemical neutralized and most of the oils converted through a process called saponification.

If you use too much lye, it won’t all be neutralized and your soap will fail, or worse, burn. If you don’t use enough, the material won’t solidify into soap bars. Soap makers aim for anywhere between 1 to 10 percent “superfat,” and the higher the percentage, the creamier your soap will be.

Soap making is a relatively simple process, but you don’t want to cut corners or take shortcuts. Recipes can be flexible, so play around and have some fun while following these basic directions. When you are using the following recipes, don’t neglect to use a lye calculator like this one to determine the correct amount you will need based on how much lye and water your recipe contains.

1. Set up your work space.

You’ll want to start your soap making adventure in a well-ventilated area with a well-protected work surface. In addition to your fats/oils, lye, and water, you will want:

  • Eye goggles, a long sleeve shirt, and work pants, and heavy-duty rubber gloves
  • A silicone soap mold, or a loaf pan lined with freezer/butcher paper
  • A digital scale with at least one decimal place
  • A stainless steel sauce pot (no aluminum)
  • An immersion blender
  • A candy thermometer
  • Several plastic spoons
  • Old plastic containers
  • A tall glass container (a pitcher or vase works well) for blending
  • An antioxidant to prevent spoilage. Rosemary Oleoresin Extract (ROE) works especially well, preventing oil from going rancid
  • Optional extra ingredients include essential oils, herbs, clay, sugar, charcoal, oats, spirulina, avocado purée, goat’s milk, and natural colorants (Keep in mind that any organic matter will shorten the shelf-life of your soap, but you can extend it slightly by adding an antibiotic essential oil like lavender.)

2. Measure your oils and fats.

Put the fats into the saucepan to melt while you measure your water and lye into two of the old plastic containers. Slowly put the lye into the water (not the other way around, this is dangerous!) and stir until dissolved. Be sure you have a fan running and the windows open if you are indoors. Do not breathe the fumes from the lye water.

3. Mix the melted fat with the oil.

Now, get out your thermometer! The lye water solution is going to heat up. You want to mix your lye water and your fats together, when both solutions are somewhere around 120–130F, within no less than 10 degrees of each other.

4. Get ready to blend!

When the oil is the right temperature, put it into your tall glass container and get ready with the immersion blender. Slowly pour the lye solution into the oil, using the blender to stir without turning it on. Pulse the blender a few times, quickly, until the mixture thickens. This stage, called “trace,” is when you can drizzle some of the soap onto the surface in the container, and still see the outline of it, without it fully dissolving back into the mixture.

5. Mold the mix.

Pour the mixture into the mold and cover with plastic wrap for at least 24 hours. Wear gloves again, as the lye may be active for another couple of days. If you can press a finger into the soap and the surface doesn’t give, it’s ready to remove from the mold. Cut the soap into bars and lay them out on a nonmetal surface to dry, turning them every few days for anywhere from four to six weeks.

Adding avocado pulp to the basic recipe will make your soap extra smooth and creamy. Not sure if the avocados you have on hand are ripe ? With this quick how-to video, you’ll always know when your avos are ready to go thanks to three simple tips: check color, assess the avocado skin’s texture, and squeeze gently.

Try not to go above 3 percent superfat in this recipe, as the avocado pulp adds more oils and moisture. Water content should be about 38 percent of the total oil, with half being actual water and the other half being avocado pulp. Just scoop it out of the skin, throw it in a blender, and add it to the fats when they are melted.

If you’re not sure how to cut up that avocado into blendable chunks, check out this video for an expert’s guide to slicing and dicing those avos just right. First, you’ll want to carefully cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, slice through the avocado meat length-wise and width-wise, creating little squares and, voila, you have a perfectly sliced and diced avocado.

By Avocados From Mexico April 02, 2018

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