Handmade Lemongrass Soap -
Oh So Good!
You may recognize the nice scent and flavor of Lemongrass if you have enjoyed (or at least experienced) certain spicy hot Thai soups.
...or if your sweetheart has used it in soap form in the shower, and you walk into that beautiful “citrusy” aroma in the air. It’s a Fresh Awakening in the morning!
Lemongrass (Cymbopogen citratus) is a grass in the same family as citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus). In fact, it is claimed by some to be a mild insect repellent like it’s relative citronella.
Lemongrass Melt and Pour Soap
It's not really Cheating - But it is pretty easy
Supplies and Ingredients
- 1 lb. Clear Glycerin base soap
- Sauce pan
- 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup
- Lemongrass essential oil (fragrance)
- Yellow or Green colorant (you pick)
- 2 tablespoons dried or chopped lemongrass
- I bought my full lemongrass stalks at Harry’s Farmers Market ($2.99/lb). I also saw it at Fresh Market in the fresh herb section. If you can't find it at your local store or Farmer's Market, check an Asian or Mexican ethnic store.
- If you get the full stalks and you are excited to use it for a couple things including cooking, check out how to Grow Your Own.
- Wooden mixing spoon
- Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle
- Start your double boiler boiling (If using a microwave, see below). A quick makeshift double boiler I use is a saucepan with about 2 inches of water, and a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup sitting right in the middle.
- Cut the Glycerin base soap into small (1/4 inch) strips. Place the strips into the Pyrex measuring cup and cover with plastic wrap (or aluminum foil if you're using the double boiler. Ensure you don't put the aluminum foil in the microwave). You can gently break up the clumps of soap with a spoon, but Do Not stir vigorously as this will cause the dreaded Air Bubbles.
After the soap is completely melted, let it cool slightly (2 minutes), then add the other components in this order (there is a reason):
- Conversely, you can melt your soap in the pyrex measuring cup covered with plastic wrap in the microwave. Give it 15 seconds on then stir, 15 seconds on then stir, until it's a nice fully melted liquid
Pour the warm mixture into your clean molds. The molds should not require any additional preparation.Allow the molds to set for a couple minutes allowing any air bubbles to rise to the surface. Spray the surface with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. This will result in a nice clear bar of soap. Once in the molds, allow the soap to sit for approximately 60 minutes (or until it is hard and cool).Remove the soap from the molds. If you are having trouble, place the molds in the freezer for a short time (15 minutes). But do not allow the soap to freeze.
Grow Your Own Lemongrass
- Lemongrass essential oil (fragrance)
- Color (A little at a time. Can’t remove color, so be careful)
- Dried or chopped Lemongrass
- It's easily rooted from the fresh stalks that you can find at a Farmer’s Market. Find a piece that has a bit of the root (even if it is just a cut piece of the base, that's OK, it doesn't need actual roots) left on the bottom.
Place this cut piece in a glass of water, and it will root in about two weeks. Plant it in nice potting mix, then sit back and watch it grow.
It won’t tolerate a cold winter, so I bring mine into my day basement in November through March.
Now for those of you wanting to get into some more advanced soap making, try out this
Cold Process Lemongrass & Green Tea soap recipe:
Things You’ll Need:
- 8.3 oz. palm oil
- 5.5 oz. palm kernel oil
- 6.4 oz. coconut oil
- 2.3 oz. cocoa butter
- 11 oz. olive oil
- 2.8 oz. castor oil
- 4.6 oz. soybean oil
- 5 oz. sunflower oil
- 6.4 oz. lye
- 13 oz. water
- 4-8 tsp. steeped green tea leaves
- 1 oz. eucalyptus essential oil
- 1 oz. lemongrass essential oil
- Yellow and green colorant
- Scale to weigh lye, water and other components
- Safety glasses (absolutely necessary)
- Rubber gloves (absolutely necessary)
- Plastic gallon pitcher to be used with Lye solution
- Jar that will hold the lye (bigger than 7 oz – empty jelly jar, Ball canning jar)
- Shallow pan (e.g. roasting pan)
Note: Basically you can use a variety of essential oil (fragrances) at a ratio of about ½ ounce essential oil per pound of the other oils (palm, olive, etc.) you will use in your soap making.
Try these other combinations. They smell magical as well:
Time to make it:
- Equal parts lemongrass and patchouli
- Equal parts lemongrass, sage, and orange essential oil fragrance
- (This recipe makes a little over 4 lbs. of soap)
- Gather your supplies
- Measure out all your ingredients
- Make up at least 13 oz. of double-strength green tea. Save the steeped leaves for later.
- Let the tea cool completely. In fact refrigerate the Tea.
- Start by making your initial Lye solution
- Put on Safety Glass and Rubber Gloves
- Place the plastic pitcher on your scale and zero the scale
- Weigh the appropriate amount of water
- Place your jar on the scale and zero the scale
- Carefully pour your lye powder into the jar until the scale shows the correct amount for your recipe. Cover your lye jar and set in safe place.
- Slowly add the lye to the water. Warning: Never add water to lye, as it will react violently.
- Gently stir your mixture until it is all mixed. It will warm up and possibly be bubbling. This is ok, just stir gently.
- Place your pitcher of lye solution in a safe place to cool. Label it as Lye and place a CAUTION label on it.
- The Lye solution needs to cool to <100 degrees F.
- Place your lye pitcher inside of a shallow pan such as a roasting pan or in the sink for mixing. If the lye solution does bubble over, this will prevent it from going all over your counter top and floor.
- Make sure that your liquid is chilled before mixing the lye into it. (This is a good practice even if you are using plain water.)
Warning: Warm green tea and lye really stink
- Make sure your work area has plenty of ventilation. The smell of the Tea and Lye is terrible for a while. However in the end, the soap smells fine!
- Add the lye very slowly to the Green Tea steeped water. Stir slowly.
Note: It’s a great idea to document your own experience especially times, weights, drops of essential oils, strength of the tea, etc.
- As trace forms, add in the chopped or dried lemongrass, and eucalyptus essential oils, and add about 1/2 - 1 tsp. of the steeped green tea leaves per pound of oils. (In this recipe, that's about 4-8 tsp. of leaves.)
- Stir well. Add your colorants and swirl them gently
- Pour into the mold of your choice and allow them to saponify for about 24 hours.
- Pop the bars out of the molds and cut as necessary.
- Slice it when it's firm enough to slice.
- Allow the bars to cure for about 3-4 weeks.
- Enjoy the refreshing feel of your Green Tea and Lemongrass soap!
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