Soap: The Making Of

Have you ever wondered how soap is made? You love a nice fresh bar, but where does it come from? There are so many soap varieties today that sometimes we forget what the purpose of soap actually is: to clean. Added moisturizers, sanitizers and fragrances can sometimes take away from the natural goodness of soap, but not at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop. Made of all natural ingredients, essential oils and healthy shea butter moisturizing properties, these soaps are just what you need to stay clean and feel refreshed, and they are all proudly made in the USA. Hand cut into four ounce bars and cured for four weeks, these are the ideal mild soaps.

Milk & Honey Bar Soap

Sturbridge Soaps

Milk & Honey Bar Soap has an old fashioned vanilla and oats scent, just like milk and honey. If scented soaps aren't your thing, then consider Unscented Soothing Bar Soap. Featuring the same moisture and healthy ingredients, this soap is perfect for someone with more sensitive skin. An added detail for these soaps is the exclusive label featuring various country designs that will work well with your current decorating style, whether in your kitchen, bathroom or for giving as a gift to a friend. If you love all things apple, try Harvest Apple Soap with festive crow imagery.

Unscented Soothing Bar SoapHarvest Apple Soap

Lavender Oatmeal Bar Soap

The Simplified History of Soap

Early soap making began in Ancient Egypt around 2800 B.C. near Babylon. The formula used consisted of water, various vegetable and animal fats and alkaline. Even from the very beginning, soap makers understood the chemical properties needed to create a shaped, durable piece of soap that would hold its form and be most effective.

Ancient Egyptians with means would bathe regularly, thus soap was in high demand. Later on in Rome however, soap was a luxury usually only given to men.

The Continued Use of Soap

Soap making was a lucrative business throughout Europe starting as early as the 8th century; following suit with the basic combination of animal fat, or tallow, and other oils. It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that we began to see a finer, less rough soap in mass production. During this time, we also note an understanding by the mass public of the necessity of hygiene. Soap was the answer to that need, as advertised in many of the first successful advertising campaigns around the turn of the century; including none other than a thriving brand still today, Palmolive.

 Honeysuckle Bar Soap

The Basic Soap Making Process

To begin, varying temperatures can be used to create different outcomes in the consistency of the soap. There is the option of cold, semi-boiled or hot processes.

1. All soap requires the use of lye (alkaline), water and fats, or oils.

2. The exact measurement of each depends on the desired saponification: the chemical reaction that creates the sodium or salt needed in the formation of soap.

3. The lye is easily dissolved in water and the oils are heated up separately.

4. Once both have reached the appropriate consistency, they are combined.

5. At this step, fragrance and other essential oils that create desired properties are added.

6. The entire mixture is thoroughly blended and it begins to thicken.

7. The soap is poured into molds of the desired size, and then left to dry or "cure" for up to 2 days.

8. Remaining excess water will evaporate as the soap hardens and meets the accurate saponification. The majority of water must be removed in order for the soap to hold its shape.

9. Bars of soap could remain in this last step for up to 6 weeks, again based on the desired outcome.

Soap Making Notes

The only difference between completing the above process for a cold or hot process is the temperature at which the water is at before lye is added. The higher the heat, the faster the saponification process occurs.

Experienced soap makers and many in the soap making business say that a hot process is preferred to create a "neater" and smoother soap. Though in contrast, many at-home soap makers, producing smaller batches, prefer the cold process due to its natural appearance.

Kitchen Bar Soap

Wooden Soap Dish

How To Store Your Soap 

Once you have your soap, it's important to take care of it properly. Soap dishes provide a non-slippery surface to store your soap and allow the soap to dry out again between uses; providing a longer soap life. Wooden Soap Dish is made of an all natural bamboo wood, with grooves to allow water to drain and your special soap bar to dry out.