I had some great plans for the weekend. First, I wanted to make some liquid castile soap. Next, I wanted to use that soap as the base of a bunch of cleaning products.
So now you know the two things I didn’t do.
I was really excited about making the soap. I was going to photograph my soap making process step-by-step and have all the different things I made from it be subjects for more blogs. Really get ahead. I did some internet research to get comfortable with the idea, which got me all excited about it and I was anxious to start. My husband was gone with the car, and rather than try to squeeze his gigantic truck into the one or two spots that would be big enough for it, I had my dad drive me around to get my ingredients. Just three little ingredients: distilled water, sunflower oil, and potassium chloride – my new nemesis.
First we hit Rite-aid. Everything that I read said that I could get potassium chloride at a drug store; I figured I could find everything else there too. Not wanting to waste any time I went straight to the pharmacist and asked him where I could find it. Only instead of asking for potassium chloride I asked for sodium chloride. He looked at me like I was an idiot, did a quick sideways glance (probably to see if there were any hidden video cameras) and said: “That’s salt.”
My bad. So I replied, yes, sodium chloride is salt, what I need is potassium chloride, I’m sorry, where can I find that?
“What’s that?” said he. And right then I should have known my day was not going to go as planned.
Instead of saying, “I don’t know because I’M NOT A PHARMACIST,” I just said, “I dunno.”
He asked what it was for and I told him I was going to make soap. The sidekickacist next to him said he thought that potassium chloride was Epsom salt. I told him I was pretty sure Epsom salt was not going to work, and I told myself to NEVER get a prescription filled there again.
Once we got back in the car I started telling my dad what happened. So naturally he asked, “Well, what is potassium chloride?”
Well played, sir.
I did a quick Google search and found out that potassium chloride is mostly used as a water softener but also is often used as a salt substitute. Salt substitute. Off to the grocery store.
I ran into the store and started my search, first with the medicine/vitamins, then the spice isle. I found two salt substitutes and checked the ingredients. I was really hoping to see only one ingredient. Unfortunately, there were three, but it was 99+% potassium chloride. Close enough?
I bought the salt substitute and hopped back in the car with my dad. Just as he started pulling out of the parking lot I remembered there were other ingredients I needed. “We gotta go back.”
Right about here, my dad’s kicking himself for agreeing to drive.
I ran back in and started searching for the sunflower oil. No sunflower oil, so I got olive oil instead. And I knew it was close enough because original castile soap was made from olive oil. I grabbed the distilled water and was on my way.
I got home and started mixing and mad-scientisting my way to soaptopia. It said to use a stick blender. I didn’t have a stick blender. But I did have a hand mixer. Close enough?
I mixed for about 10 minutes and decided to give it 10 more. On a side note, during this process I discovered that I can open a bottle of wine with one hand. I only tell you this because I know I’m really starting to look like a dullard with no skills whatsoever.
Ten minutes later, I’m finally at my breaking point. I’ve lost all self-confidence. I’ve come to the understanding that if my husband and I ever do get our homestead we are likely to be very hungry and very smelly and I may as well just throw in the towel.
It took me all the way from the kitchen to the couch to realize I wasn’t ready to give in. So I Googled it people, one more time. This time I watched some videos. The first lady I watched said to mix for 20 to 25 minutes. I shudder to think that I was five minutes away from frothy, sudsy, success. But since it’s doubtful that I was anywhere near anything remotely like soap, I don’t feel that bad about giving up after 20 minutes. But now I get it. I should have watched some videos from the get go.
I have to chalk it up as lessons learned. The stick blender is the way to go. 100% potassium chloride is probably not just a suggestion. Watch videos first, not after. Wine can be opened with one hand. Give up at the appropriate time, but never really give up.
Today will be attempt number two and hopefully tomorrow I’ll be showing you what I did, instead of telling you about what I didn’t. Cross your fingers. Clearly, I need all the help I can get.