If the idea of creating soaps has always attracted you, but you are still not sure if it is really worth it? In this article you will find the main pros and cons of making soap to help you in this decision. But before starting, I wanted to make some clarifications to put into context the data you’ll read below. In this article, I referred to the average costs of raw materials and products for the area where I live (Germany). In soap production with the cold method, I tend to buy ingredients in such quantities that I can make the same recipe several times. Clearly not in industrial quantities but the right middle way also to save a little money. Consider that the smaller the size of the ingredient the more expensive it will be. With these assumptions, let’s start with the pros and cons.
Pros and cons of making soap | CONS
Surely creating soaps at home takes time. This term does not only mean time for execution but also time for preparation and formulation. The search for ingredients, buying materials, and waiting for their delivery if purchased online. And then the search for information for any doubts and uncertainties. Everything takes time. Time, however, strongly reduced if you decide to buy commercial soaps, immediately obtained through a click or a day spent in the city center.
2. Caustic soda
This, in my opinion, is the aspect that holds back most people interested in saponification. Creating soaps with the cold method is not like creating a lip balm or face cream. In this case, the use of caustic soda raises the bar of difficulty considerably. Inappropriate handling of caustic soda can be very dangerous. Absolutely not to be used in the presence of children in the vicinity (personal advice).
The preparation of caustic soda is an important step. It can also be dangerous, if not done with the right precautions. I suggest you to have a look at my mini-course entirely dedicated to this aspect. In my mini-course, you will find the main recommendations and advices to help you properly handle lye. Also, a simple tutorial to show you in practice how to make a simple bar of soap. You can find it here.
3. Initial investment
Starting any hobby has some initial costs. You have to buy the raw materials but especially the tools that will allow us to create our projects. In general, however, the purchase of these tools can be defined as a one-time purchase. It will be a purchase that, although expensive, we will make only once but will allow us to create our soaps several times.
Pros and cons of making soap | PROS
For me the main three are:
Creating soaps is fun and above all satisfying. Creating something from scratch that really works and meets expectations is one of my favorites for this hobby.
Another point in favor is the considerable reduction of waste produced. By creating soap at home, we will reduce packaging and also the amount of ingredients, used in commercial soaps, that will end up in the sewer system. Are they all biodegradable? Where will they end up? Questions to which there is no single answer but which must be evaluated according to where you are.
3. Economic savings
Being able to create something of value and save something on the family budget is definitely a plus. To best explain this, I made some calculations to see if creating soaps were really cost-effective or if it led to a loss of money.
The data refer to a recipe similar to the oatmeal soap, you can see it here if you are interested. In the calculation, I have not included fragrances and colorants because they are optional and can be avoided if you want to save a little bit, at least at the beginning. With the raw materials bought, I spent about 5,55€ for 300g of soap while on the market I would have bought a 100g soap for ~7€ (on average).
You must also consider that, with this recipe and with the same ingredients, you can prepare up to a maximum of 1.2Kg of soap before having to buy back some ingredients. If we wanted to buy the same amount of soap instead of producing it, we would have to spend about 84€ instead of 42.37€ which is the initial cost of all the ingredients. A nice saving!
Clearly, the cost savings will not be achieved in the case of a single trial. In this case, we will have bought ingredients and tools for a few grams of soap, which will make the process not convenient.
My personal advice
If from the analysis of the pros and cons, the pros have prevailed, I wanted to let you know that I have made a course to start to saponify with the cold method (sponsored link). A complete course with all the necessary information to approach this hobby in the best way. Theoretical notions of chemistry and practical advice to make it more than just a tutorial and give you all the knowledge to start saponifying in a conscious way.
Pros and cons of making soap | Conclusion
Before saying goodbye, I wanted to tell you that I found myself in this situation too. When I got interested in do-it-yourself beauty recipes, the idea of starting frightened me because I didn’t want to risk losing money and time in something that I wouldn’t be able to do. But my concern turned out to be wrong! From the moment I started making them, I realized how much I was reducing the amount of plastic and waste and I realized that it didn’t matter that they weren’t perfect, the idea of being a little more sustainable definitely nourished my soul. Now it’s up to you!
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