This is a pretty universal process for making liquid soap. The way these steps are preformed my vary in certain recipes so pay close attention to detail.
If you’re familiar with hot processing soap, this equipment will come as no surprise. There is a lot of overlap between the two methods and that includes the equipment lists.
Yes. You can make liquid soap without a crockpot. You can find recipes and directions in several books or online. The sheer convenience of using a crock pot far outweighs any objection to using one, so all of my instructions will assume that you are using one.
Strictly speaking, a stick blender is not exactly necessary. You can opt for a good spoon and some elbow grease. I wouldn’t advise it. There is a lot of elbow grease needed to even come close to matching the quality of work a stick blender does.
Whatever you choose to use, it really must be stainless steel. Aluminum will react with the lye and plastic will melt.
This includes a scale and thermometer. Some recipes may be measured with measuring cups and measuring spoons as well. Make sure that everything is heat resistant and non-reactive. Glass, especially Pyrex are a good choice. Otherwise, stick with stainless steel. Aluminum will react with the lye and ruin your soap.
You will need a couple of mixing spoons and a spatula. If you have a potato masher, that may come in handy as well. Again, stick with stainless. Wooden spoons are non-reactive but tend to dissolve in the lye solution. Plastic is also non-reactive, but unless it a high heat resistant plastic, it will melt.
Lye is caustic and dangerous. You should protect your hands with gloves and your eyes with goggles. You should also keep some vinegar on hand for spills and splashes. Vinegar will neutralize the lye solution making it harmless. I like to keep a washcloth soaked in Vinegar within arm’s reach so I can quickly wipe up any accidents.