Frequently Asked Questions
Why use Homemade soap?
Homemade soaps are very different from commercially produced bath products. In fact, most of those aren’t even really soap at all! What, you say? You will notice they are labeled as “Bath Bar”, “Beauty Bar”, or “Body Wash” and so forth.
Commercial bath products are usually made with detergents, hardeners and synthetic lathering agents. Fragrances, deodorants, and colorants can add further irritation to some people’s skin. Dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent also have little in common with actual soap.
Glycerin is naturally created during the soap making process, and it is a huge part of why homemade soap is so good to our skin. It is a humectant that attracts moisture, so it is very soothing. Glycerin is removed from most commercial soaps, as it is very valuable on its own as an emollient. Our soap contains every precious drop of its glycerin!
The best feature of homemade soap is the limited ingredients. We have total freedom over which base oils we use, can modify recipes for different needs, and choose whether or not to use any additives. We frequently use essential oils and natural colorants, and otherwise use skin-safe fragrance oils and micas. We produce a line of unscented soaps for the skin and noses of our most sensitive clients.
Soap making is just as much an art as a science, so homemade is a wonderful creative outlet as well! We provide unique, one-of-a-kind soaps and your purchase supports a small family-run business.
Our products are clearly labeled so you can decide which of our soaps is best for you and your family.
Why use Goats milk?
We raise dairy goats! We try to use the abundant volume of milk our ladies produce in many ways, as we are so grateful for their providence.
Unlike other soap makers, we use 100% goats milk as the liquid in our soap, except in our wine and beer soaps.
Soap making was a natural extension of our homesteading ideals, and it just so happens the goats milk adds an additional layer of decadence to the fabulous properties of homemade soap!
The fats, sugars, protein, vitamins, and minerals in the raw milk enhance the lather and skin nurturing benefits of the finished product, while contributing to the sustainability goals we have set for our little farm. We can’t abide by wasting a precious drop!
Isn’t Lye dangerous?
Yes, it is. It is extremely caustic (pH = 13) and can cause severe burns to the skin, as well as produce harmful fumes when working with it.
However, properly made soap contains NO LYE once the soap making process is complete. We carefully follow proper safety procedures to ensure no harm comes in the production of your soap, and you can be assured there is NO LYE in the bars of soap you purchase from us.
Why do you use lye?
True soap must use lye, in a process called “Saponification”, to transform the oils and goats milk into the fabulous soap we are known for. Commercially produced soaps and “melt and pour” soap bases for crafting all started with lye somewhere in the beginning of their manufacture. There is no soap without lye. Lye has other uses too. It is used to produce olives, hominy, bagels and pretzels as well as a drain cleaner.
What ingredients do you use in your soaps?
Along with our fresh, raw goats milk from our own LaMancha dairy goats, we use Food Quality oils, herbs, and botanicals as the base to our soap recipes.
We add essential oils and/or skin-safe fragrance oils to scent our soaps. We source these from reputable manufacturers that provide batch information and safety tested usage rates for them.
We use several methods to color our soaps. Clays, herbs, spices and botanicals – either infused in olive oil, or added directly to the soap, impart their soft, natural hues. Skin-safe mica colorants are used in some of our soaps, to provide a more fun palette than can be produced otherwise.
We make several soaps that are uncolored and unscented, for those with sensitive skin and noses.
We hand make our soaps in small batches, so each bar is unique and one-of-a-kind.
Our products are clearly labeled so you can decide which of our soaps is best for you and your family.
Did you say beer and wine?
Yes, we make several soaps that have beer or wine in them, along with the goats milk. The sugars in the wine and beer add extra lather to the already creamy, sudsy goodness. Plus they are kind of fun!
This all sounds a lot like Chemistry 101?
Yes, the chemistry is unavoidable but also one of the most interesting parts of soap making!
There are many chemical reactions that constantly occur all around us. Baking is a perfect example – you mix some things together that may not sound too appealing individually, like flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, unsweetened cocoa powder, a few eggs – and you wind up with something amazing – Chocolate cake! Soap is just the same.
Chemicals, reactions, saponification, natural, artificial, etc.
All these buzzwords sound confusing, but nature is alive with chemistry, and we harness that awesome power to create beautiful, gentle soap that you will love. All chemicals aren’t bad, and everything natural isn’t safe (think rattlesnakes or arsenic.)
How did they make soap in the past?
People have made soap for thousands of years. The process was mostly the same, the difference is technology has made the job easier and safer.
Lye was produced by running water through hardwood ashes. The fats of choice (whatever was native and available – lard at hog processing season, olive oil in southern Europe, etc.) were combined in a big kettle over an open fire with the lye solution. It took lots of heat, stirring and time to create the soap. This is why soap making was often done only once a year, and they made enough to do a year’s worth of bathing, laundry, and dishwashing. You may have had elderly relatives share stories of how difficult it was to make, and how harsh the soap was until it aged. Everything was more difficult back then!
We now can purchase pure lye of known concentration, and have mathematical calculations to determine exact measurements to make sure the soap is gentle, safe – and no open fire kettle is required!
How long will my bar of soap last?
Our standard bathing bars usually last approximately 3-4 weeks. This can vary however, based on individual bathing habits. Our facial and shaving soap bars last much, much longer – possibly up to 6 months.
How can I make my soap last longer?
Using a loofah, scrubber or washcloth can extend the life of your soap. Soaping up your hands, then cleansing yourself is next best. You will likely use it up fastest if you rub the bar directly on your body.
Our Felted soaps, covered in 100% wool, last longer as the washcloth is built in.
Most importantly, you must keep the soap out of direct water flow and allow the bar to dry completely between uses. A raised or draining soap dish helps with this. The built in soap areas in many showers remain too wet or in the water flow, so consider this in your own home as you decide where to keep your precious bar of soap!
What is Felting?
Felting is an ancient textile process used to create fabric by pressing and blending wool fibers together. This creates a durable mat of fabric that serves as a built-in washcloth which lightly exfoliates and extends the life of your soap. The felt will continue to shrink as you use it. Allow drying between uses. We provide a felted option for most of our soaps.
How should I store extra bars of soap and how long is it good for?
Soap has a very, very, very long shelf life. In fact, it gets even better with age! Store it in a cool, dry, dark area such as a drawer or linen closet, preferably not in the bathroom where it is exposed to extra humidity. So no worries, you can’t buy too much!
I noticed my soap doesn’t look or smell quite the same?
Each bar we create is unique, and no two look alike or look exactly like the pictures, but they also can change over time. Do not be surprised if you notice some color changes to the bar itself. Since many of our soaps are colored with herbs, botanicals, and clays, they often fade or discolor as time goes on. That is one reason we only use minimal amounts of flowers and herbs on top of or inside the soaps.
You may also notice the scent is not as strong – the fragrance sometimes evaporates off the outer layer of the soap. It will usually refresh once you begin using it. However, some essential oils are famously not very long-lasting. For example, orange essential oil fades to almost nothing within a few months in our experience, so we decided to use a skin-safe fragrance oil for our orange scented soaps. Mint, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Lemongrass, and Lavender essential oils all smell great for a long time.
I have very sensitive skin, which soap should I use?
We offer several soaps that have no added fragrance or color and would be the best to try at first. (link to unscented category)
The most gentle of all is our Castile soap! It is made from 100% olive oil and has a lotion-like lather rather than lots of bubbles. It is creamy, soothing and gentle enough for the driest or sensitive skin.
We cannot address medical conditions directly, but no matter what – a gentle handmade soap should help eliminate further irritation to your skin!
What kinds of soap do you make?
We create standard bar soaps that are good for most skin types in several varieties including unscented/uncolored.
We have designed Facial soaps (link) formulated to either invigorate and deep clean younger skin or gently nourish more fragile, aging skin.
Our Shaving Soap recipe is designed to provide rich, heavy lather ideal for a close shave yet nourish the skin with Hemp oil and Vitamin E.
For heavy-duty scrubbing of dirty hands (or even a pedicure), we have an exfoliating soap that contains loofah, pumice and walnut shells.
We can also provide special soaps as Wedding/Party favors, Corporate gifts, Guest soaps, Wholesale and Private Label. There is a minimum 3 month lead time for custom orders, so please contact us as soon as possible so we can get to work for you! (wholesale link)
Do you make Wedding and Shower Favors?
Yes, we do! We would be honored to be a part of your special day. We can provide custom-made soaps with adequate lead time, or from our current collection if you require a more speedy turnaround.
Please contact us on the Wholesale page, make a brief description of what you are dreaming of, and we will get in touch with you to discuss the details.
Can you create Custom, Wholesale or Private Label soaps?
Yes, we can! If you need Guest Soaps for your B&B or AirBNB, would like to have something special & unique for any kind of event, or want to sell soap but not do all the work – we can help!
Please contact us on the Wholesale page, make a brief description of what you have in mind and we will get in touch with you to discuss the details. Custom orders do require a minimum 3 month lead time. Soaps from our current collection may be available more quickly.
Do you have any questions?
Please contact us if you don’t see your questions answered here! We love soap, to talk about soap, to make soap, and to talk about soap some more! We are passionate about handmade soap. We welcome your suggestions, and would appreciate the opportunity to make it right if you are in any way unsatisfied with your soap from The Laughing LaMancha!
Boring Legal Stuff
The Laughing LaMancha ships all orders within the 50 United States via USPS (United States Postal Service) Mail. All orders ship USPS flat rate, or the most reasonable rate possible. Depending on product availability, orders are packaged usually within 2-3 business days. Most packages arrive within 3 to 5 business days. Accurate shipping address and phone number are required. Your signature is not normally required for delivery.
If your tracking information shows that your package has been delivered and you have not received it, please first contact your local post office. If they cannot locate the package, please contact us.
If you are unsatisfied for any reason, please let us know so we can best determine how to make it right for you. We offer a 30 day 100% satisfaction guarantee. Please contact us before ordering if you have any questions!
For returns: Contact The Laughing LaMancha at firstname.lastname@example.org and state that you would like to return the product.
Refunds will be issued to the same credit card that was charged when ordering the product.
Shipping charges and return shipping charges are not refundable.
The Laughing LaMancha is not responsible for lost or stolen items. We recommend all returned items to be sent using some type of delivery confirmation system to ensure proper delivery.
After the shipping department receives your return, it generally takes 3 business days or less to process your refund. Once a return is processed, it usually takes 2 to 3 business days for this return to be posted to your account, depending on your financial institution. You will receive an email notification when the refund process is initiated.