Hello, welcome to this blog post listing some of the equipment I recommend for soap making. It has taken me a while to figure out the perfect equipment to use on my day today soap making and I’m here to show you the ones that I found work the best and won’t break the bank.
The Basic Bowl
To start with, you’re going to need something to mix everything together in. Here in the UK, Poundland has a wide range of different mixing bowls that are all microwave-safe and thick plastic so you can mix up your oils. You’ll find plenty of other bowls, some more expensive than others, but in the end they all do the same job!
Measuring cups are another essential piece of equipment that all soap makers should own. You can get plastic measuring cups from Poundland and supermarkets which are quite cheap, but when you’re measuring out lye solution, a glass Pyrex measuring cup is the way to go. Lye solution heats up to very high temperatures and you don’t want to melt plastic. Trust me I’ve done this with melt and pour soap and plastic measuring containers .
What’s the point in heating up your oils mixing in your lye water if you haven’t got anything to actually mix it with? I quickly realised that silicone spatulas are definitely the way forward. Not only are the silicon ones easier to wash but they don’t actually react with any of the soap ingredients like a metal or a wooden spoon would.
These are quite easy to come by as silicone seems to be the up-and-coming kitchen utensil these days. I buy mine from the supermarket but also again Poundland is my favourite friend. You can get them in a variety of funky colours. But do make sure that you keep them separate from your actual cooking utensils. You don’t wanna mix those two.
When it comes to adding your fragrance oils or your essential oils, or anything like that, you need some sort of container to measure them out in. I find that using a plastic pipette like this works a treat. Especially if you’re doing small and very precise measurements. Then when it comes to actually containing the fragrance oil or the essential oil until mixing in with your soap, I used to use a ramekin which at the time that suited me. But as I’ve grown and made soap more often I have found that actually holding it in a measuring cylinder of up to 40ml works better.
The weighing scales I use for measuring my oils are just bog standard digital kitchen scales because everything is to the nearest gram. However when it comes to fragrance oil and lye, I actually bought myself a set of scales like this that can measure to 0.01g. This helps me when working in percentages of essential oils for some of my soaps. When I’m make a batch of soap I need it to be down to the point of a gram for accuracy.
When I first started making soap I had a Kenwood stick blender and food processor. I started using this but only the hand blender and the rest of it I still used for food because I was silly. Now I know never to mix soap making and food making products together. It does not taste nice.
The Kenwood hand blender was quite powerful and at the time I didn’t realise this was causing my soap to accelerate and to go from thin to thick trace really quickly. It took me a while to figure this out. The way I figured it out was that I bought a stick blender on gumtree. I wasn’t expecting much from the stick blender as it was only 5 pounds. But I soon found out that the less power in this one helped me maintain the trace in my soap making. I then did a little bit of research and found out that a more aggressive mixing style does accelerate the trace so I put two and two together and figured it out.
However I have not thrown away my Kenwood blender as I have found that making soap paste with potassium hydroxide needs as much power as you can give it. When making soap paste I do find that i use both blenders and when the motor gets really hot from doing all the work I put it in the freezer to cool them down. Not 100% sure how safe that is but so far so good. #Don’tTryThisAtHome.
Now what would soap making be without the block moulds? My first soap mould was a present from my partner from a company called Nicole. This mould is slightly smaller than the standard size moulds so I use it as a new test batch mould rather than my main one. I now use these moulds as my standard bar size.
With these moulds you have to make sure they’re thoroughly cleaned between uses but they’re also really good popping out of the wooden block. You can even put them in the cold storage freezer to help them release faster when making cold processed soap.
I also have general moulds that you can use for jelly, ice cubes or chocolate moulds for other bits and pieces just to have a bit of fun.
My last piece of equipment that I want to share with you is a slow cooker. I found mine for free on gumtree. And used it primarily to make soap paste when I did hot process method. It looks a little bit like this one. I don’t use this as much now but it still a handy container for a 3L batch of oil mixture. The downside is that it’s pretty damn heavy to move around as it is ceramic. Not very ergonomic ;-).
One Final Recommendation…
So once you’re done making your soap, it’s all been set up, it’s in the mould and you clap your hands together, look at all the work that you’ve done and then you see all the washing up you have to do. But I’m naughty and leave it to my partner to clean up.
I currently don’t have a big enough sink to wash up some of the mixing bowls so yes they do sit in the bath tub to soak.. I’m working on building a purpose-built soap kitchen with a big enough sink, so don’t you worry about that. What ever you do don’t put your soap making equipment in the dishwasher. Not only will it make everything smell like the fragrance or essential oils that you used but you may also break the dishwasher. I have made this mistake a few times, but I have finally learnt my lesson. The way I learnt my lesson was because I put stuff in and noticed bubbles coming out of the bottom. Not ideal.
That’s my equipment recommendations, thank you for reading all the way to the end. I understand those that are not into soap making may not find this too interesting but I wish I had a blog like this I could read before I started buying other bits and pieces for my collection.
Please comment below or add a message if you want any details of the products I have linked. Even better if you know of a better product out there that I could buy to make my life a lot easier.