A farmer in Russia has revealed a hack that could mean savings for you all year round. But if you want to benefit from his sleek technique, you’ve got to be prepared to do the work. And in this case that means getting yourself the proper safety kit and investing the time that it takes to get it right. So what is this cost-cutting trick? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you go about putting it into action?
Well, this particular hack comes from the Tereshata Farm. The farm, in case you were planning on visiting, is located relatively near to the city of Kamensk-Uralsky in Russia. This area has a population of around 175,000, and as the crow flies, it’s some 1,155 miles from Moscow. Suffice it to say, it’s a little out of the way.
The owners of the farm claim that it exclusively cultivates organic produce, specifically meat and dairy. Indeed, its website emphatically states that no genetically modified organisms or antibiotics are used in its farming techniques. If you’re ever in the area, then, you can be sure to pick up some “ecologically pure” meat and poultry.
But this particular hack has very little to do with producing meat for consumption. Rather, it concerns an item that is likely a staple in most people’s homes – and that many will use every day of their lives. We’re talking about soap.
At this point, you might be thinking, “How much can I really save on soap?” And you’d perhaps have a point. After all, if you were to pop down to your local Dollar General store, you could potentially pick up six bars of Dove soap for just $6. If you didn’t go for a brand name, you could easily get more soap for less money.
But not everybody is suited to using store-bought soap. Indeed, many reportedly claim that regular soap dries out their skin – particularly when it’s used on one’s face. Plus, HealthyWomen.org claims that “fragranced” soap could potentially contain chemicals that are harmful to the body.
This is arguably why some people have turned to naturally-made or artisan soap. But that switch can come with a hefty price tag. For instance, a single bar of soap from “handmade” producer Lush could set you back as much as $15.95.
This is where our Russian farmer and his handy hack come in. You see, this guy has offered up a recipe that shows how you too can create your own soap. And while a little know-how and a lot of patience and care are required, it could end up saving you money in the long run.
So how does the recipe begin? Well, it might be best to check that you have all of the right materials first. And foremost among these should be your safety equipment. At the very least, you should have sturdy rubber gloves – but a respirator and protective glasses are also essential.
Then you can make sure that you have all of the correct ingredients and equipment. For the former, according to the Tereshata Farm recipe, you should get yourself some goose fat, a bit of lye (NaOH) and plenty of distilled water. As an aside, the recipe notes that any kind of fat will do – but that goose fat is best.
On the equipment side, you’ll need an accurate set of scales – preferably digital. The recipe also asks you to get your hands on wooden spoons, a silicone mold, plastic mixing bowls, a hand blender and a thermometer. You could also do with some freezer paper. It’s important to note here that metal or aluminum equipment must be avoided as it could react with the lye.
Now that you’ve got all of your ingredients and equipment, you can get started. First off, measure out everything that you need, placing each item in a separate bowl. It’s best at this stage to consult a soap calculator, too. For instance, thesoapcalculator.com recommends that for a recipe using 16 ounces of goose fat, you’ll need 6.1 ounces of distilled water and 2.1 ounces of lye.
Importantly, when you begin to work with lye, you should do so out in the open or in a well ventilated room. And just as vitally, you must, must, must always add the lye to the water and not the other way around. It’s also advisable that you add the chemical very slowly, being sure not to get anything on your skin. And wear those rubber gloves!
If you do get lye on you, though, you should instantly wash it away with water for at least a quarter of an hour. You should then seek professional medical advice. Similarly, if the lye gets in your eyes, treat them with water as well and get medical aid at once. Any lye-speckled clothes should be removed, too.
So after you’ve successfully added the lye to the water, the recipe states that it should all be thoroughly – though carefully – mixed together with a spoon or spatula. The mixture will get super hot so you’ll need to safely put it to one side to cool to around 100ºF.
The Tereshata Farm website recommends that you run the lye/water mixture carefully through a sieve once it has cooled. Then you can melt your goose fat and add the lye and water mixture into the fat. You’ll want to do this slowly and carefully and then mix it all together with a spoon or spatula.
The solution should now apparently be thoroughly mixed; this is where your hand blender comes in. You’ll still need to be highly cautious at this point, though, so keep the blades at the bottom of the mixture and do not let it splash. The soapy solution is reportedly ready when a trail drips from your spoon and rests on top of the mixture for a moment.
It’s at about this time that you can prepare your mold with freezer paper, if you like. You can then pour the soapy mixture into your mold, which can be formed of either one large block or several smaller compartments. Once this has been done, you should cover the soap with towels and leave it to set.
After around 24 hours, the recipe says that the soap can be removed from the mold. However, it cannot be used just yet. You must first cut or shape the soap into the sizes you’d prefer and then leave them to dry. Indeed, the pieces of soap should be left to air for four to six weeks. You must also wait for 24 hours before cleaning up any of your equipment.
Finally, you should be in possession of your very own soap. Karrie from Happy Money Saver believed making her own soap using a similar recipe set her back around $3.35 for 1.1 pounds of soap. And compared to $15.95 for a bar from Lush, that’s a pretty decent saving.