Latest posts in Queen of Green
Will you make soap in March with me?
Week 1: Learn about lye, saponification and cold-process
Week 2: Supplies and ingredients (oils, fats and essential oils)
Week 3: The method, step-by-step
Week 4: My favourite recipes
Week 5: Troubleshooting and your questions answered!
Let's dive into the ingredients and equipment you'll need to make your own soap!
• Oils and fats (listed below)
• Lye (purchase at soap-making store, online or at your local hardware store)
• Water (tap is usually fine but distilled is safest)
• Essential oils (optional)
• Additives (optional): honey or exfoliants (listed below)
• Colorants (optional): cinnamon, turmeric, beet powder or cloves
• Apron, rubber gloves, eye protection (goggles or glasses)
• Stainless steel pot (large), stainless steel bowls (small and medium)
• Heat-resistant glass container
• Digital thermometer (18-105 C)
• Digital scale (metric)
• Hand blender/emersion stick blender
• Whisk, silicone spatula(s)
• Wooden soap block, molds or baking pans
• Parchment paper, towel, scissors, tape, steel cutting blade or knife
• Cooling racks
• Coffee grinder (optional)
• Ice cubes (for an ice bath to cool lye and water or the fats and oils)
I make soap. You can, too.
Over the past few years I've made 35 batches of soap. Here's why you might try:
- You like DIY projects and want to learn another
- You hate DIY projects but want to learn about ingredients in store-bought soap
- You like cooking and baking, i.e., experimenting with endless combinations of oils, fats and additives like oats, orange peel, honey, clay and essential oils
- You hate scouring store-bought soap ingredient lists to avoid toxic chemicals like PEGs and parfum (fragrance)
- You're scared of lye (also found in foods like bagels and olives)
- You like chemistry
To make soap, you need an acid and a base to react with one another and neutralize into a salt—that's saponification. Soap is a salt.
The cold-process method uses lye as a base, fats and oils for acid, water and reaction heat only (no external heat). Ask your Grandma. She probably used animal-based fats like lard or tallow to make soap! I'll teach you how to make all-vegetable soaps — without palm oil.Continue reading »
I was super sad to find my favourite 100 per cent cashmere sweater — a $20 consignment score — full of tiny holes last fall. I also had mould growing on my clothes. (Yuck.)
I'd been storing garments in an open basket at the top of my bedroom closet. I've known to avoid toxic mothballs — made of naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, both carcinogenic — for years. If you smell them, you're inhaling pesticide.
And because mothballs look like candy, children and pets are at risk of eating them. Save yourself a call to a poison control centre or a trip to the vet — get rid of any mothballs today.
Then try these less toxic ways to prevent moth and mould damage on stored clothing:Continue reading »
It's week three of "Bedroom Month"!
To help you remember to G-rate (for "green") your sex life, here's eco-contraception in three f-words: fish, flush and free (of parabens):
Can your synthetic estrogen-laden pee, once it's flushed into waterways, turn male fish into females?
University of Calgary researchers found a cocktail of chemicals skewing sex ratios in native minnow populations. Gender-bent fish are on the rise in Alberta's Red Deer and Oldman rivers. (Similar studies have found this in other Canadian waterways, too.) Compounds detected included synthetic estrogens (like those found in birth control pills), as well as bisphenol A (BPA) and natural and synthetic steroids which are byproducts of agricultural run-off and raising cattle.
I'm not saying you should get off the pill, but here's a list of hormone-free options.Continue reading »
February is "Bedroom Month" where I dish on all things bedroom-y!
Week 1: Pillows. Check.
Week 2: Mattresses
Week 3: Birth control
Week 4: Clothing storage
Fart jokes aside (for now), nighttime gas in the bedroom is not cool. Especially volatile organic compounds (VOCs) off-gassing from polyurethane foam!
Avoid nightmares about VOCs, fire retardants, antibacterial protection (some made with nanosilver particles) and stain-resistant finishes.
Dust mites and fire resistance
Conventional mattresses tackle these with chemical treatments and toxic compounds, but wool naturally repels dust mites and natural latex foam is fire-resistant.
Remember PBDEs — synthetic chemicals added as fire retardants? They're not produced in Canada, but imported by manufacturers and in consumer products (e.g., televisions, furniture and carpets).Continue reading »