What is Hot Process Soap Making?
When Soap Makers think about making natural-soap, the first thing that usually comes to mind is Cold Process.
Almost all handmade natural-soap on the market is Cold Process. Why would anyone want to make Hot process Soap. What exactly is it?
It begins with the same process. The oils are weighed and heated, the water is weighed and the sodium hydroxide is weighed then mixed together. When the oil and the sodium hydroxide/water mixture reaches a certain temperature, they are blended together to reach a state of thickness called TRACE.
This is the point where Hot Process and Cold Process Soap Making go their separate ways.
If you were to follow the Cold Process Soapmaking, you would now add your scent and special oil (such as jojoba) and your color, whether you do a swirl, add herbs or go for one solid color, this is the point where this happens.
You then put your fresh soap into a mold, insulate it with towels so it keeps warm for the next 24 hours. During this time the fresh batch goes through a chemical reaction. The oil molecules attach to the sodium hydroxide molecules. This reaction is called SAPONIFICATION. And it’s where the word soap comes from.
After 24 hours you can unmold it and cut it into bars. Store it for 6 to 8 weeks while it cures. This is the Cold Process Soap story.
If you were to choose to make Hot Process Soap, you would bring the soap to trace, just like in Cold Process, but instead of scenting, coloring and adding your special oil like jojoba, then putting it into a mold, you would take a different approach.
What would this be like if you were to do the saponification before you add the color, scent, and special oil. Most soapmakers know that a lot of natural scents such as essential oils are quite vulnerable to Cold Process Soap Making. Citrus Essential Oils don’t stick. Therefore the citrus scents you smell in most handmade-soap is actually fragrance oils.
Not from natural sources. But what is a soapmaker to do? Hot Process Soap Making solves this problem along with several problems that you can encounter during Cold Process.
Before the Hot process soap has anything added, it is cooked over a double boiler set up. It can be as simple as a smaller pot with a lid sitting in a larger pot of water. Very simple to set up.
The fresh soap is then cooked for about 20 minutes. A full illustration of the process is shown in Hot Soap Making – The Complete Guide. The soap is fully saponified and no matter what color, scent and special oil you put into it, it is going to work perfectly because you have already completed the chemical reaction.
So this is when you add you scent your special oil (like jojoba) and your color. You put it in a mold and as soon as it is cool, it is ready to cut. Most times the same day that you have made the soap. You only need it to dry for a day or 2 and it is ready to use!!
Comparing the 2 processes, it is clear to see the Hot Process Soap Making method has so many more advantages. This would be a wonderful method for all soapmakers to use. It would cut down on the use of Fragrance oils, which are mainly a bunch of chemicals mixed together.
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