Making Soap with Goat Milk: What You Need to Get Started

The basic equipment you need to start making soap with goat milk - or any other liquid.

When I brought home my first two weanling goats, Hope and Dream, I really wasn't thinking about making goat milk soap. I might not have known that I could even make soap from scratch. But a friend told me that when my goats kidded and I was ready to use their milk to make soap, she'd help me get started.

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I thought, why would I waste that great goat milk on soap making? Little did I know that I'd have more than enough milk. So much in fact that we could have bathed in it, whether or not we had any handmade goat milk soap.

But I kept her words in mind, and although we moved to Oak Hill before my goats were old enough to be bred, as soon as our first kids were born I was ready to give making soap a try.

If you're in the same boat - "have milk, will make soap" - let's talk about what you need in order to make soap with goat milk, or with any other liquid.

Batter bowls are handy: one to hold the soapmaking oils and another for the liquid base and lye.

Equipment You Need

I started out with the bare minimum; money was so tight. After reading as much information as I could find online, I boiled it down to this:

  • a scale to weigh oils, liquid and lye
  • something to heat the oils in
  • something to make the soap in (must be non-metallic)
  • something to stir the soap batter with (non-metallic)
  • something to use as a mold (non-metallic)
  • safety equipment - very important! Don't skimp on this.

Hubby and I brainstormed and gathered a few items together, but after making a batch or two of soap, I quickly replaced the simple scale I had with something more accurate, added an immersion blender so I wouldn't have to spend hours (literally hours!) stirring soap batter until it reached trace, and graduated to better molds than the cardboard-box-inside-a-plastic-bag I used at first.

That box worked, by the way, but I really wanted bars that were relatively similar in size and shape, and that looked nice. I'll tell you what I replaced the box with in a bit.

I found a set of plastic batter bowls in a shed on our homestead, left by a previous owner. I shopped around for good prices on the rest of the things I needed, and some items (like the scale and immersion blender) were given to me as birthday gifts.

Let's take a look at these items one at a time, so you know what to look for:

1. You need a scale to weigh oils, lye and liquid. The little food scale I used at first wasn't accurate enough, and accuracy is extremely important. Get a digital scale that weighs in grams, which is a more precise measurement. This is a nice scale for under $20. (The scale I use, pictured above, is no longer available at Amazon, which is a shame. It's lasted more than ten years with no problems. I had to replace the 9-volt battery once, but that's it.)

2. Something in which to melt and warm up your oils and fats, but you can use a saucepan or stockpot from your kitchen. As long as you don't use it for mixing your soap batter (which you won't, because that container should be non-metallic), you can continue to use it in food preparation. You can also heat your oils in a plastic container (see the next item below) in the microwave if you are so inclined.

3. Plastic or glass containers to hold your soap ingredients. I have two: one for the liquid (milk or water) and another for my oils. Mine were left in a shed by a previous owner, but if you need to purchase yours, batter bowls with handles and pouring spouts - or this set - work really well. Dedicate these items to soapmaking only; don't use them in preparing food.

4. I use a plastic dish pan to mix my soap batter in when I make a large batch. For smaller batches (that fit one mold), a large batter bowl is big enough. Dedicate this item to soapmaking only.

5. A large wooden or plastic mixing spoon. You might have an extra in your kitchen. Dedicate this to soap making only.

6. Stick blender or immersion blender. This is optional but believe me, it will make your life so much easier! This should also be dedicated to soap making only. (You'll need both the mixing spoon and the stick blender.)

7. Soap molds such as this one. I have two of these; I use one if I'm making a small batch of soap and two if I'm doubling the recipe.

After I ditched the cardboard box, hubby made column (upright) molds for me out of plastic downspout pieces. I liked the size and shape of those molds but the heat from the soap as it saponified melted and warped the plastic downspouts over time, and it became hard to remove the log of soap. I continued to use them for a long time though, then upgraded out of sheer frustration.

Silicon loaf molds work so much better. (This one is more expensive than the other and they seem to be alike. The cheaper one seems to work just fine, but if Amazon is out of stock you might want this one....)

Safety Equipment

Safety when making soap is a big deal. Lye is a scary ingredient, but unless you're making melt-and-pour soap, lye is a necessity.

Lye is a caustic substance, and contact with skin or eyes can result in a nasty, permanent burn. There are horrible pictures on the internet of lye damage, and I don't want to be in one of them. Please take these precautions seriously.

I have a very healthy respect for lye, and I always wear safety equipment. Don't skimp on it, and please don't try to make soap without it. You'll need the following personal protective equipment:

Goggles or safety glasses
A mask 
Rubber gloves

Long sleeved clothing is a good idea, and I wear an apron over my clothes too. Hubby jokes that I look like a strange, mad scientist.

Good planning is essential to making soap safely, so gather these items together before you try making your first batch. We'll talk about ingredients and how to make soap in my next post.

You can find all of these items in my Amazon storefront, where you can browse the items I use every day plus some fun and functional items that I'm sure you'd love to have as much as I would!

You'll find the next post in this series here: How to Measure Oils for Soapmaking.

The images below are affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

The basic equipment you need to start making soap with goat milk - or any other liquid.

Everything you need (and a few frugal substitutions) to make your first batch of soap.

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