DIY Natural Soap: Stank Dog Soap
Heidi Corley Barto began to experiment with soap-making when her younger daughter started to experience skin issues. The Natural Soap Chef is the product of those experiments. Homemade soap allows you to control what goes into your soap, so that you can get clean while keeping nasty chemicals out of the environment and away from your skin. This recipe from The Natural Soap Chef is perfect for pet lovers.
Soap Recipe: Stank Dog Soap
This bar will deodorize anyone, canine or human! The idea for the soap came from my Vizsla dog, Penelope. Vizslas are known as Velcro dogs—they like to stick with their humans all the time. Penelope has been known to hop in while a family member is showering. Having a soap that serves double duty—what a brilliant idea!
170 grams castor oil
170 grams palm oil
142 grams coconut oil
85 grams olive oil
79 grams sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
215 grams distilled water
Add at trace
17 grams lemongrass essential oil
4 grams peppermint essential oil
4 grams tea tree essential oil
1. Measure your essential oils into a small glass container and set aside. Measure the oils into a plastic container. Place the container in a larger pot and pour in enough hot tap water that the container begins to float. Set the pot on the stove and turn the heat to warm. Insert a thermometer into the oil.
2. Goggles and gloves on!
3. Measure the distilled water into a heat-safe glass container. Measure the lye crystals into a separate small glass container. Slowly add the lye crystals to the water, stirring with your spatula as you do so. Do not inhale above this container—I really can’t repeat often enough about watching out for fumes. This mixture will heat up quickly. Insert a thermometer into the mixture.
4. Monitor the temperatures of the two containers. You want both to reach 90°F. As needed, refresh the hot water bath or turn the stove burner higher to raise the temperature, or use a cold water or ice bath to bring the temperature down.
5. When both the oils and the lye mixture are at 90°F, pour the lye mixture into the plastic container with the oils. Blend with your stick blender until the mixture reaches a light trace stage (it will drizzle like pancake batter and leave a faint trail that stays on top for a bit before sinking down). Add your fragrance. Blend until the mixture reaches medium trace (it will be like thick gravy, and drizzled trails will stay on the top).
6. Pour into your chilled mold (or a clean, dry, quart size milk carton with the top cut off) and refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator; spray the top with isopropyl alcohol, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
7. Remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature.
8. Unmold 24 hours after pouring into the mold. Cut into bars, spritz with isopropyl alcohol, and place in your curing area.
Makes 8 3½-oz bars
--image courtesy of The Natural Soap Chef
Mixing lye with a liquid causes an exothermic chemical reaction. This means that lye will heat up any liquid to which it’s added. A room-temperature liquid can heat up above 200°F with the addition of lye.
Always add the lye crystals to whatever you’re using as your liquid. Never add liquid to your lye crystals! Adding liquid to the lye will cause a volcanic reaction—the surest way to get burned. This is a major no-no in soap making!
Always store your lye container tightly closed in a cool, dry place out of the way of animals and small children.
Saponification (the chemical reaction in the soap-making process) uses up the lye, so that there is no lye left in the finished soap. You need to leave your soap to cure in order to make sure all the lye has reacted, and that you have a sturdy finished bar of soap.
It is a good idea to reserve a few tools for soap making, such as an immersion blender, and any containers you use for lye and mixing your soap. You don't want to contaminate food with lye or fragrance oils (despite how tasty they may smell!).
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