If you’re saying to yourself, “Ivory, I don’t wanna to BUY fat to make my soap. I have plenty of fat in my grease can!” then this is the post for you.
So, how do we turn icky, blech-y, Mr. Ivory-should-be-ashamed-of-how-much-bacon-he-eats kitchen grease into glorious, bubbly, clean soap?
a. Put half fat, half-ish water in a pan and bring it to a boil.
b. Remove from heat, stir, and add about ½ as much COLD water as before cooking. (I had a coffee cup of fat, and added a coffee cup of water to boil, so I added a half a cup of cold water at this step.)
c. Let it cool till the fat floats and is scoopable onto a plate. (Fridge or freezer speeds it up. Just don’t accidentally defrost your chicken breasts, K?)
d. If it still seems a little blech to you, do it again. I did.
(Cleaner second time, no?)
2. Weigh and melt fat.
3. Sprinkle the lye into the water and swirl.
[As I mentioned previously, the lye calculators say that for one pound of lard-ish fat, you need 6 ounces of water and 2 ounces of lye–I had 3/4 of a pound of grease after washing, so I needed 4.5 ounces of water (3/4 of 6 oz) and 1.5 ounces of lye (3/4 of 2 oz). ]
4. Wait till both are not smoldering hot and pour lye solution into the fat.
5. Blend with immersion blender.
6. Stop when you can see where you’ve been. (called “trace”)
6b. This is the time to put in the fragrance, if you wish.
7. Pour into custom built soap mold. (HA!)
Let it sit a day and peel off the carton, slice, and cure for a few weeks.
Waa-laa! Soap. Any residual pork rind-y smells will be GONE when it cures.
**Note to self, if the economy goes to heck in a hand-basket, check crystal ball three weeks ahead so that soap will already be cured when the big one hits.
Self-Proclaimed Recycling Queen of October 2008—
SAFETY REMINDER: Lye is caustic–See our discussion of and links to safety for soapmaking here.
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This post has been so popular that we put a rush on the follow-up post Like Bacon for Candles.