One of my early blog posts was a picture of this soap, and a rant about the evils of palm oil and palm kernel oil and not much information about this terrific soap. Yesterday I sat down and plotted out ideas about making another batch and it occurred to me that I ought  to share the base recipe with my blog and decide if I wanted it square or round along the way (there are pros and cons to both). 

Gardeners Soap

Apricot kernel Oil 15%

Canola Oil 10%

Castor Oil 10%

Coconut Oil 30%

Lard or Tallow 25%

Olive Oil 10% 

14g fragrance (essential oils or fragrance oils) per 500g oils if desired. I like a pine, cedar, woodsy blend with frankincense, birch, and cade for smokiness. Essential oils get expensive, however, so buying a Christmas tree blend fragrance oil gets you something very much the same with 1/10th the cost and hassle. It’s not “all natural”, but if you order from Brambleberry, it’s high quality, paraben and phthalate free. Just a suggestion. That goes for citrus blends, for just about anything. Definitely for vanilla blends.  I have a Cedarwood and Amber fragrance oil I may use this time. It has the added benefit in that it turns your soap a nice, light tan, eliminating any need for colorants.

4% Superfat  and 33% water discount, soap at total room temperature. Room temperature lye solution, room temperature oils. Mixture will be only at light trace when you add pumice and cornmeal and that’s fine. Yes I know I said 4%. And I mean 4%. It’s still perfectly safe in case of lye glitch, but it’s less greasy and gets the excess oils off of oily, nasty, grubby hands. I personally might even drop mine to 3% after I washed my hands in a pinch with a bar of  1% “laundry soap” and had them get super clean when they were particularly gross with grease and charcoal. So 4% it is. You probably won’t be able to tell the difference between 5% and 4%. But you’ll get cleaner.  

Use 1 tbsp fine pumice and 2 tbsp cornmeal per 500g oils. If that seems like more than what you usually hear, it is, but this makes a hard, scrubby bar for taking off oil, paint, and other dirt and grub from hands.  I will also add sugar, 1/2 tsp per 500g oils and kaolin clay, 2 tbsp per 500 g oils. I add the clay to the oils pot and whisk it in before adding the lye. 

As for the recipe itself, you can use avocado oil in place of apricot kernel, and you can use all canola or all olive instead of splitting them up. I’m just having really good results with this particular blend, of 50/50 canola/olive for my bulk liquid oils. Adding some “higher octane” oil like avocado or apricot kernel rounds out the fatty acids and with the hard oils ends up a great bar of soap. 

 What to do if you don’t use lard or tallow? First of all, go read this page I wrote about the topic and then you can make appropriate substitutions. I hate it, but you can use palm oil. You can also use shea butter with a longer cure time. You can even try a hydrogenated vegetable oil, like soy with a much longer cure time. I’m told that works somewhat well. However, nothing quite replaces animal fats in soap. Please read the link. 

How do I know how much lye and water to use? This post assumes you’re at least a novice soap maker who can use a soap calculator and has made soap before. If not, you need to do some research, watch some YouTube videos on soap making… I suggest hitting Soap Queen, Humblebee and Me, and Candle and Soap online and possibly on YouTube for how to instructions and videos. I did a beginning soap blog post but it was truly horrible and I don’t think anyone could learn anything from it. On my “About” page, you can find information about where I buy supplies, what soap calculator I use, etc. Stuff that you may find helpful and/or vaguely interesting. 

I think I will make our next batch in the tube mold. Our tube mold is just 3″ PVC pipe, cut to 12″ section. It holds 1000g of soap. In an odd blend of Imperial and metric, both my molds hold 100g of soap per inch 😉 We have pipe left, I keep meaning to have my husband cut me another, shorter, section since I tend to make smaller batches from time to time. I can put anything from 500g and up in the mold I have now, but if I want a tester batch, having molds that are only  4 and 6 inches tall would be awesome. The log mold is easy to use. You grease it up with mineral oil or petroleum jelly, and seal the end well. I sit mine upright in a coffee can once it’s filled with soap. I know some people actually put rice around it to keep it steady and with a more liquid soap I may need to do that someday but so far I’ve only used it for basic, single colored soaps. I am having a soap making extravaganza very soon, and I will need all my soap molds to make gardeners soap, shaving soap, beer soap, Neem Oil soap, and rainbow rimmed soap all in one day. Maybe two days, lol. 
Enjoy the recipe. Happy soaping! 


Author: scseery

Soap, bath and beauty, jams and jellies, and unique upcycled gifts. That's what I make and talk about here. A lot.

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