What equipment do you need to make soap at home?
Contrary to what you may expect you can make soap with very little that you won't already find in your kitchen.
As a guide if you can gather together a couple of 1 litre food grade plastic jugs, a 3 litre food grade plastic jug, kitchen weighing scales, a silicone spatula, gloves and goggles the only things you may need to buy are a stick blender and a digital thermometer. The stick blender is common place in larger supermarkets and the thermometers are easy to find online for less than £10.
You don't even need to buy a mould - just line a cardboard box with greaseproof paper and you are good to go. If you prefer to use something a little more robust then silicone cake moulds are ideal. In fact anything silicone is perfect and moulds come in so many different shapes and sizes now you can find pretty much anything that you might want from simple rectangles to hearts, skulls and unicorns!
Ingredients vary depending upon your chosen recipe but you could start with a simple olive oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter recipe which is the one I use on my soap making classes. The butters and oils you can find in the supermarket or wholefood shops are absolutely fine to use and I use tap water. You may see other resources advising distilled water but I have always used tap water as do many other soap makers within the UK with no problem at all.
The one common factor which is required for all soap making is sodium hydroxide also known as caustic soda or lye. This is readily available to purchase on line from soap ingredient suppliers or alternatively you can source it in hardware shops such as B & Q - you just need to ensure it is pure and not mixed with anything else.
Hot process soap making is very similar but you do need a slow cooker for that method. And a stainless steel or silicone spoon to scoop your soap in to the mould.
But as hobbies go it is fair to say you can set yourself up relatively cheaply.
Can I use the same equipment for soap making as I use for my food preparation?
I would suggest that you do the first time - rather than invest in new things not knowing if you will carry on. Just once won't do any harm as long as you wash everything thoroughly before using for your food but long term you will need a set of dedicated tools to avoid any cross contamination
If you are keen to find out how you can learn to make soap I offer a wide range of learning options from hands on workshops to online courses. Details of all these are available via the home page.
Looking forward to helping you take that next step. :) Keri