How to Make Soap From Bacon Grease

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A basic homemade soap recipe is a mixture of three main ingredients: water, lye and fat. Examples of fats that can be used in handmade soap include olive oil, vegetable shortening , lard, cocoa butter, coconut oil or rendered kitchen fats such as bacon grease. (The process of "rendering" means that you will be separating the grease form any bits and pieces of other materials that my be suspended in it.) Using bacon grease as a fat in soapmaking yields a harder bar of soap than other oils that are liquid at room temperature. Saving your bacon grease for use in soapmaking allows you to get use from something in your kitchen that you might have otherwise thrown away.

Things You'll Need

  • Bacon grease
  • Measuring cup
  • Enamel or stainless steel pot
  • Kitchen scale
  • Water
  • Lye
  • Plastic pitcher
  • Wooden spoon
  • Milk carton or plastic container
  • Render the bacon grease. Add equal parts bacon grease and water in a saucepan. For example, if you use 1 cup of bacon grease add 1 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove it from the heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in an additional 1/2 part cold water (in this example it would mean 1/2 cup of water). Allow the mixture to cool until the grease has formed a solid mass at the top of the mixture. Scoop the grease out into a clean container.

  • Weigh your bacon fat on a kitchen scale to calculate the number of ounces you have rendered.

  • Calculate the amount of lye and water you will need for your recipe by entering the number of ounces of bacon fat you have into a lye calculator. These calculators are widely available online. For example, a lye calculator will tell you that if you have 10 oz. of fat, you will need 1.28 oz. of lye and 3 oz. of liquid.

  • Melt your cleaned bacon fat in a pot on the stove.

  • Pour your calculated amount of water into a pourable plastic pitcher and add the predetermined amount of lye. Mix with a wooden spoon.

  • Remove the melted pot of grease from the heat and allow it to cool for one minute. Carefully add the lye mixture to the bacon grease as you stir the mixture with the wooden spoon. Continue to stir the mixture until you see that the path of the spoon is beginning to create lines or ripples (called trailings) in the soap mixture. This can take about 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Pour the soap mixture into a mold. This could be a clean milk carton, old plastic container or wax paper-lined box. Allow it to sit for up to 48 hours.

  • Pop the soap from the mold and cut it into bars with a sharp kitchen knife. Set the bars aside and allow them to dry for two weeks before using them.

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  • Photo Credit handmade soap image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com
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