Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Becoming a Mad Scientist and I Like It

A similar look is required with old-fashioned soap making
If you want to have fun with chemistry, you don't need to become a scientist. Become a soapmaker and have some fun with Lye (a.k.a. Sodium Hydroxide).  Lye (which is really just a form of wood ash if you think about it) is uber dangerous and scary but once it is mixed with oils and the oils become saponified, the lye does disappear and you are left with soap. At least that's what people tell me. When you make soap with lye, you do have to wear a mask, eye protection, gloves and have good ventilation. It sounds very scary, and it is the first few times, but afterwards it becomes a similar task to cooking but with extra protection. I would have never figured myself to be a mad scientist type, but I kinda like it. You are creating something that wasn't there before. When I make soap, I am dealing with rules of science that I don't fully understand. Especially since I was a journalism major.

My favorite essential oil to use in soaps is orange. I should buy stocks in it. 

Another mad scientist item on my agenda is making my own essential oils to use in my soaps. Alas, this requires extra time, equipment and knowledge that may not be able to fit in my brain. I am also pretty sure my husband has banned me from new hobbies - at least from going on mad shopping sprees to support hobbies. That is no fun!

So my initial research about making essential oils has proven my first thought that it would be pretty darn time-consuming to do. I don't know where everyone finds all this time...or storage space. In order to distill essential oils, I would need equipment that sounds both explosive and destructible - a tank, a condenser, a furnace, and a separator. The first article I found is on Wikihow, and it makes it sound so easy - just like Alex Trebek on Jeopardy, he's given all the answers and sounds so grim when someone doesn't know them. Do you really know all the answers, Alex Trebek? I don't think so! But I digress...

There is a draw for me to learn the old world ways - so I'm not the first to keel over if there is ever some crazy world disaster - and learning how to make soap was my first step. It has been great to learn a real world skill that doesn't involve technology. I'd like to explore more natural healing remedies and making my own essential oils would be an excellent idea that I might need to ponder further...what a neat option if this could ever come to fruition!

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to hear what the results are if you do try distilling your own essential oils. Love your soaps!