Miller's Homemade Soap Pages:

What Type of Soaper are You? 

I really think that Rachael from the Latherings Forum should write her own soapmaking book. It would make for a delightful read and she has tried lots of innovative things in her soapmaking with mixed results. I admire her spirit of adventure and experimentation. When I asked her why she had a prejudice against palm oil, this was her response. She has given her permission for me to share it. I hooted more than once while reading it and hope you'll enjoy it as well. Which type of soaper are you? ;-)

Subject: Why palm means so little to me.
Date: 12/13 9:51 PM
From: Rachael

This has been my observation of my fellow soapers. I think that there are a few different types of soapers. They tend to focus on a unique area and strive to fill that need in themselves. There is some overlap of major interest, but most people focus on a given area ...some concentric circles of interest form around the primary one and the rest become secondary. Along with that, comes a disdain for "the rest". It might help to describe my fondness for plastic buckets of canola oil from Costco and not wanting anything to do with the fad of palm oil, and my purchase of fifty dollar fo's to scent 2 batches of soap!--Yes, I have done that!

The Naturalists: EO's (essential oils), not FO's (fragrance oils), and unscented too. No pigments that aren't totally from nature. No sandalwood 'cuz it's endangered, a lot of hemp, recycled paper wrapper with natural inks. These guys equate a shower with their soap with running naked through the hot, dank, primordial jungle of our distant ancestors.

The Veggies: No animal fats. No animal stearic acid. No beeswax. No milk. A lot of guilt with palmitic acid use even. No musk. Hippy soap.

The Ranchers: Tallow and lard. "Why else did God put cows on the planet?"

The Expense Artists: Hundreds invested in box molds and high tensile strength wire cutters and all the fad oils and fats. Well stocked shelves bulging with packages of dyes and pigments, additives and the like. They usually only make one batch a week.

The Castile Makers: Often confused with the Stir Crazy (see below). They tend toward three-day traces and don't buy any other oils but olive. Sometimes one will encounter a lax one who will include some cocoa butter to speed trace and cut the smell level some.

The Oil Investors: Emu oil, shea butter, neem, cocoa butter, fractionated coconut oil.

The Additive Type: Soap without the stuff falling out of it, is no fun. Often they march through the yard, basket in hand, looking for likely victims. The mortar and pestle is their icon.

The Hard Bar People: They probably would love to use tallow, but it isn't in fashion... so they buy palm.

The Stir Crazy: Easy to spot because of the really well developed dominant arm and shoulder. Often these are the Castile Makers. Sometimes they just tend toward the 80% oils to 20% fats. They just love to stir soap. For days and days 'til they get a trace. Kind of a well earned reward.

The Ten-Minute Tracers: "Give me a blender, damit!" The recipe sucks if the owner can't get the bucket of oils to trace in ten minutes or less.

No Blenders Allowed: Self explanatory. Some people hate the use of blenders. I think it just represents change, and they don't do change well.

The Scenters: Soap is a vehicle for scent. A rather obsessive bunch, they tend to sniff alot of things. Very nose governed.

The Colorists: Color is everything to them. Whorls, waves, swirls, marbleizing, blotches, with powdered clays, dyes, spices, herbs, barks and woods, flowers, fruits and veggies, and colored oils.

The Latherists: If you run your finger over it twice and it doesn't immediately start to froth, it needs more coconut, palm kernel, or castor oil. If it didn't dry skin out, their soap would be 100% coconut.

The Namers: When the booth down the hall has Purple Passion Pear, Stud Bubbles and Cleopatra ... and you have Pear, Bay Rum, and Honey-Almond, you know you have run into a Namer.

Group Soapers: They gather in the evening, in the kitchens and basements of our country (and others as well). The group leaders all get the 'funny looks' from neighbors, and no wonder ... when the designated lye stirrer is on the back porch stirring a steaming mixture, and the rest of the crew is gathering over a big pot of something. Chanting is optional.

Are there any other types that you would like to suggest? If so, just email me!


Date: 01/01 8:09 PM
From: Sherry Wersing,

The "LYE"-ARS ~ Those who feel if a desired measure of "lye" is good, then more must be better!

The SOAP-SNOB ~ Those that only will use the soap, if it is wrapped in an elegant wrapping, even if it is only Crisco, oil and lye!

The "COUNTRY WRAPPER" ~ He who wraps all bars in butcher paper, for an "authentic" farm kitchen soap! Really looks good, too! Makes you want a bunch of them! Tie 'em together in rope for effect.

The" SOAP-SCHOLAR" ~ He has read the saponification tables so many times... put him in a party, talking with people and he sounds "GENIUS."

Date: 03/07 1:52 PM

The Reader -- These soapers have made maybe two batches of soap in their lifetime but have read every book out there, twice over. They insist on "fixing" your soap problems with "So and So says to do...."

The Lye-Challenged (AKA No lye for me! Too dangerous!) -- Those wanna-be soapers that want to make soap, have the equipment and the space to do it but are afraid of the lye process. So, they sit on the lists, absorbing the atmosphere and live vicariously through those who have lye spills, animals walking through uncured soap and small children eating lye spoons.

The Recreational Soaper -- The soaper who now has soap up to the knees in the bathroom, living room, spare bedroom. Their friends are refusing soap and they can't give a bar of soap away to save their life. Often closely related to the "Marketing Challenged Soaper."

Marketing Challenge Soaper -- This soaper has the soap, has the recipe and has the supplies but doesn't have the guts to walk into a store with their soap. Wanders aimlessly around various stores for hours hoping to get the nerve up to talk to the manager. Eventually discovers the joys of web sites and is happy forever, typing away at their desk and filling orders for nameless, faceless people. (This sounds like ME!!!...Web orders, huh? -K.M.)

Anne-Marie [Since this post, the owner of]
Brambleberry Soapmaking Supplies

Date: 07/05 5:08 AM
From: Kathy,

What should I do? I just read through your descriptions and 75% of them are me!! Ack! I never thought I needed help, but maybe now....

Soap and Water

PS: Oh, you need to add the "I own a goat and need something to do with all this extra milk." You know, the farmer's wife type. She usually sports embroidered and appliqued chambray workshirts.

Date: 07/26 11:43 AM
From: Elaine McNamara,

---And we are all SOAP-AHOLICS - I find myself relating Creation, Armageddon from a reference frame of soap making. My conversations have become quite boring to all people outside the soap world!!!

Date: 9/16/1999 1:25 PM
From: Carol Jones,

Soaplessly Challenged - Haven't made any soap yet, but in love with the idea of doing for oneself. Scared stiff of everything including expense, difficulty, where to find supplies and absolute failure just to name a few.

Love your page,
Carol Jones
Graphic Artist and College Professor

Date: 10/13/1999 9:02 PM
From: Tree,

THE GUILTY SOAPERS - These are the ones who miss a week of making soap and think it is a sin.

THE LOST SOAPERS - The ones who never write things down and forget an ingredient, wondering why their soap is never the same twice.

SOAP KEEPERS - These soapers have soap everywhere but won't share or sell it because they made it and it is for them. The actual reason is they don't think their soap can cut it, and are afraid someone else wouldn't like it.

Last but not least:

MINE IS THE BEST - No one else's soap is as good as theirs, so everyone should be clamoring to get it.

Date: 01/27 7:04 PM

Hi Gang!

Just ran across your site and your funny descriptions ... what a howl. I didn't notice this one ...

Soaper Teacher!! that's a combo of Marketing Challenged and Soap-Scholar or a case of...if you can't make it in the real world ... teach!! I teach so it's okay to say it. Then there's also Recipe Repressive ... if it isn't a tried and true recipe don't expect me to be making soap.

I'll be back lookin' again,

Colleen Lowe
Mississauga, ON 905-467-6111

Date: 02/03 5:40 PM
From: Teresa McLaren,

Dear Kathy,

You're right - I laughed all the way through Rachael's 'Why Palm Oil Means So Little To Me'. Afterwards, I couldn't help thinking of all the other types of soapers that are out there. I finally had to start writing them all down so I'd remember to pass them on to you!

I have six boys, (yes, they are all from this womb!) ages 4-17. I homeschool all of them except for my youngest who has cerebral palsy and attends a special preschool. My youngest is one of the reasons I started making my own soap. He was born 3 months premature and, when he finally came home from the hospital after his birth, I didn't want to chance anything un-pure touching that miracle skin! The first batch was a total flop and I remember how I was dressed to the hilt with all the protective armor on! I refused to think that I couldn't make soap, so, I went for the second batch. From that point on, I was hooked! I began doing demonstrations for area Historic Societies. People wanted to buy my soap and I was soooooo surprised "You really like it?" Duh...

Last year, I started The Soap Company. My husband and boys are so supportive, albeit a little strange... Just today, I was melting butter and marshmallows to make the boys Rice Krispie Treats for their snack, and my six-year-old, Alex, came up to me and said, "What's for snack?" Then he looked in my bowl and exclaimed, "SOAP?!!!"

Here's my list. Enjoy! [I certainly did!]

SANITY SOAPERS: These try to count their soapmaking endeavors as a medical expense deduction on their tax returns. (They usually have a lot of kids!)

CLOSET SOAPERS: They're coming out in droves now because they need the shelf space for the next batch.

MINDLESS SOAPERS: They lost theirs a long time ago in the craft department at WalMart where they discovered "packaging". Theirs are the soaps with ribbon roses, flocked mini bears, and glass globs hot glued all over them. Glue webs add a unique touch all their own.

THE SOFA SOAPER: That's where they sleep while they're waiting for the lye to cool. (It's also where they wake up - birth control is no longer an issue!)

THE RAINY DAY SOAPER: She saves all her gallon milk jugs for a rainy day. She used to be seen on rainy days (and rainy nights) running from downspout to downspout filling jugs with precious rainwater for making her soap, until her mother-in-law inquired what the boys needed for Christmas.... Now, her boys can be seen on rainy days, posted at the downspouts, filling jugs with precious rainwater for her soapmaking, wearing their bright yellow L.L. Bean raincoats!

THE EMERALD ISLE CINDERELLA SOAPER: Still married, but refuses to give up trying to reinvent that Irish Spring fragrance. Someday she will, and her husband will convert and sell it to all the men he works with, and they'll live happily ever after...

THE CONSIGNMENT SOAPERS: If the soap's not good enough for the bath, it ends up in the pet section of the consignment shop, or the laundry. No exotic scents or swirls. They've never known Patchouli, Sandalwood, Nag Champa, or Midnight Rose. They have no idea how to 'mill', 'reclaim', or 'rebatch' their soaps. Their encyclopedias came from the same consignment shop and the set stops at "L". Donations towards a new set are gratefully accepted. They may be tax deductible (see SANITY SOAPERS above).

THE MIDLIFE SOAPERS: They carry (and sleep with) the 3 P's at all times: Pen, Paper, and Penlight. They've learned not to trust their memories when it comes to a new fragrance or marketing idea. They usually have enough kids to swap evenly with the SANITY SOAPERS and they are often confused with the SOFA SOAPERS.

THE (SUPPOSEDLY) CURED SOAPER: She knows exact dates for when each batch will be cured. Her children think chicken pox, sore throats, and the flu last six weeks and they have her convinced. Birthdays, anniversaries, and vacations are coordinated with batches of soap.

SIGN SOAPERS: They write "For Sale" on their cars, boats, kids' bikes, kids....with soap. They need the money to support their habit. They write "I Love You" on the bathroom mirror with soap. They double their pleasure by cleaning it off and rewriting it every day in the latest fragrance. And of course, their kids never speak bad words... they know that sign when they see it coming!

And last, but not least....

THE UNSUNG SOAPERS: These girls (no self-respecting man would do it) are easily recognized by their inability to stand up straight. They stand for hours, in period costumes, hunched over cast iron pots hung from cast iron tripods, stirring endlessly, at the multitude of Historic Society gatherings throughout the land, in order to promote respect for soap's humble beginnings in this great US of A. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor hail, nor 90-degree temperatures, nor poorly organized shows, will stop them from preserving and carrying on one of America's greatest traditions - the art of SoapMaking.

I hope you'll keep those "Type of Soapers" coming out to us. I just love your site and I visit quite often. Thank you for a great job and the upbeat atmosphere.

Teri McLaren
The Soap Company

Date: 09/17 4:33 AM
From: Jennifer Pingitore,

The Elegant soaper: This kind of soaper needs everything to look, smell and feel elegant. The colours can't be anything darker than Sea Green. They add perfume to every batch and wrap the soap in velvet (mostly pink, purple , or light light light green) and the soaps they make for themselves are never used!!!

Date: 9/28/2000 7:15 AM
From: Jo Ann Diaz/Palm Beach Soaps,

THE TWELVE-STEP SOAPER: Sees a lot of these obsessions in herself. Agrees that there is probably a support group out there, but doesn't really want to be cured!!

Date: 12/24/2000 8:04 PM
From: OgreKitty,

The Paralyzed Soaper: Her first batch ever (a simple castile) came out perfect. Her second batch (cheaply but pleasantly scented with fresh lemon zest) came out perfect. Her third batch, which had a few expensive ingredients, went to h*ll, and now she's really nervous...

Date: 02/05 8:12 PM
From: Tamika Jackson,

eSoaper:---a virtual soaper probably newbie , scary even. ideas bouncing off his/her head in the twilight hours this soaper races to the computer (hence the 'e' ) to find every link imaginable ( as if ) only to write notes about what they have put in their favorites dreaming of the next big soap-site only to find it while surfing when they wake up the next morning! they don't dismay though with all the links they have not seen they are optimistic some day soon not only will they make their first batch of soap they will sell some too!!! lol if you did not guess this is moi !!! LOL! if we don't laugh in spite of ourselves we will crumble in our dismay as we discover our imperfections! -tamika jackson- would be soaper

Date: 02/06 7:19 PM
From: Drew Johnson,

College Soaper: He uses every moment available between classes to make soap, he's taken over every conceivable space in and out of his dorm to use in his endeavor. He even volunteers time as a Lab Assistant so that he can use the lab equipment and not have his RA complain about harmful chemicals in the dorm. He also gets constant comments about how clean his clothes smell because he has to use the shelves in his closet as drying racks.

Date: 03/11 10:09 PM
From: twofeathers,

how about the Wannabe Soaper who for some reason got the idea into her mind only a few days ago while browsing thru a pagan book on incense and other such magickal recipes and since has been searching feverishly all over the web for any kind of instruction given, who has ran out at least one printer cartridge printing out recipes, and is walking in a haze constantly updating soap supply wish list in mind....maybe this goes under the obsessive-compulsive soaper? this will be the kind of soaper who will be chanting over the cauldron...bwwwwwwaaaahahahahahahahaha

Walk in Beauty


Date: 04/15 3:32 PM

The Experimental Soaper: Experiments with recipes trying to make soaps never before seen or thought of. P.S. - My favorite is carrot/tomato/spinach soap.

Subject: Soap Addicts :-)
Date: 06/07 5:33 PM


Some of us on the Rapture Ready message board ( are into soapmaking. I started a thread that was a big hit "You Might Be a Soap Addict If..."


You might be a soap addict if...

You disdain any soap you didn't make yourself.
You have more fragrance oils than you do spices.
The fridge is full of vegetable oils to be used for soapmaking.
You use the stockpot to make soap.
You have more "soap" utensils than you do "cooking" ones!
You own a stick blender, and use it.
You keep coconut oil in the freezer.
Your mate has learned NOT to taste that interesting stuff in the casserole dish!
You get excited when lye goes on sale.
You've bought olive oil in the one gallon container.
You're on a first-name basis with the UPS guy.
Your house always smells like you've swiped the inventory from "The Body Shop".
You give your local UPS and USPS delivery people hernias from delivery vats and vats of M&P base.
You know the names of the Customer Service reps at those companies and they know you.
You immediately jump to this thread to find out how addicted you are.
You carry free samples of soap in your purse, your briefcase and your car, just in case.
You try writing off your "work cupboard" as a home business tax expense.
You denude your lavender bushes before they're ready so that your lavender soap looks right.
Your husband trips over all of the plastic soap molds hastily stacked in the kitchen.
Kitchen? what kitchen? YOU have a test laboratory.
You know the difference between M&P and CP.
You don't have friends, you have test markets.
You view bath salts as an economical way to create room deodorizers.
You see products in stores and recognize which companies sold the molds.
The UPS guy rolls his eyes every time he lugs a box to your house.

Thanks for sharing! We all need to keep our senses of humor... soapers or not! :-)

Date: 10/14/2001 3:00 AM
From: Elizabeth Herbert,

I am the Novice Soaper that thought you just melt glycerine and mix in scents and colors and call it soap. That was until I visited your website tonight and saw just how silly I was to think soapmaking is easy.

Date: 12/21/2001 5:18 AM
From: bodhilotus1,

This is a soaper with some serious psychiatric/obsessions:

The Absent-Minded Allergic Frugal Extremist Soaper...

Absent Minded - One is that the soaps the recipes they make are never written down. They use the same basic recipe and experiment when the mood hits them. They could never tell you how many cups or teaspoons they use. They continue to make soap, despite the fact that they're never able to repeat their progress!!!

Allergic - They are usually naturalist, though not for purity, but because they are allergic to dyes and fragrances.

Frugal - They usually buy their supplies on Food Stamps. Their oatmeal soap is instant from their kids breakfast supplies. They usually ponder how to make all those pine needles outside into a new soap.

Soap Extremist - Every piece of soap is reused to save money, though they have a 10 lb. lifetime supply of lye. They make their own laundry & shampoo soaps, even if it's not tide-quality but dollar store!!!.

Date: 02/11 9:17 AM
From: Michelle Sauer,

How about the SINATRA SOAPER? "I did it my way", similar to the absent minded soaper, but she does it on purpose. Recipes? They're only suggestions! She reads them to get the general idea then mixes and matches and adds her own touch. Even when it doesn't turn out, she learned a new use for it.

Date: 2/17/03
From: Jennifer MacInnis

You see the World through "Mold & Color" Glasses... which means that everything you see, you wonder if you can use it for a mold or as a colorant!

Every type of container that crosses my path makes me wonder if I can use it for a mold!!! And I've got to STOP eating Pringles chips!!!!

Date: 6/11/03
From: "Soapinda"

I call those who are hooked on stick blenders, the STICKLERS,  because I find that my good, old-fashioned mix-master with beaters does just fine and cost me only $2.99 at Goodwill vs. $16.99 and upwards of that for a stick jobbie at Walmart.

That means I'm a real "stickler" because I'm totally hooked on the stick blender... in my experience a normal mixer with beaters is not in the same league. ;-)-Kathy M.

Date: 9/20/2004
From: Rikki

Hi Kathy, Yesterday I made my first batch of soap using the information you so generously provided on this site.

I used "Rachael's Tried and True Recipe" and it worked like a charm!

What type of soaper am I? I was the queen of melt and pour and have done just that for the last two years - making a little money on the side while teaching yoga.

Now I'm the Soaper Overachiever. While making my first batch ever (since M&P doesn't count) I not only committed to a swirl in my clove soap - oh, no not enough challenge..I did the other 1/2 of the batch in Peppermint Chocolate Swirl and used a stick blender to reach trace within nanoseconds. Hence the Impatient Overachieving Soaper. Today I cut, trimmed, and made soap balls out of the trimmings - Soap Recycler. I did all of this while standing in Tree Pose (just kidding).

It all turned out great! Thanks for this great web site.

Date: 2/02/2005
From: Michelle

Hi Kathy!This soap thing is CRAZY!!! In a good way, I mean. I've been doing some research on starting my own gift company. I want to sell those cute slices of fun glycerin soap in fun flavors...and here it begins! INSTEAD of ordering someone else's soap I've decided to make my own!!! Somehow, I ended up on the WEB-infomercial page for this ebook I purchased and one of the links took me to your site. (breathe...)Well, I've devoured your whole site, I am a gardener and a mom, too. I feel like we are good friends-and you know nothing about me!!!!!! weird, huh?!? ... Anyways, why am I writing to you? I really think you should do something with that Soapers Personality list...and I have another one to add!The Poor(Pour) Soaper: I buy and buy and buy but I can't get enough lye, lye, lye.Anyways, you could put that list in a pretty font with bubbles and a bar of soap graphic and a cute border and you could market that list on your website for $2 or something (frame not included, ha ha) is HILARIOUS!!!!!! My husband (who, bless his heart, has no REAL clue what is going on...all he sees are the fragrance oils on the counter and my need for a funnel as I pour oils!!) anyways, we LAUGHED our guts out at 1:30am and neither of us has made a bar of soap, it was that funny!Maybe you already have done this...the postings may be several years old.Well, it is great to meet you (!) I'm looking forward to reading my ebook and finding out how to get myself going. I have a name and everything, working on a logo, etc. Basically, I'm having FUN!!!!Have a great day!Michelle

Date: 6/26/2005
From: Susan

Here's a new one. THE SPEEDFREAK SOAPER.

The cold processed soapmaker obsessed with souping up his/her soapmaking methods so that the soap is ready to cut in a few hours and ready to use or sell in one week.

Susan in Cambridge

Date: 2/13/2006
From: Grace

Hi Kathy. Your site is great. I love the Soaper Labels. How about this:

I am a Teenage Soaper: She who sits in the garage wearing Ugg boots that she lives in, even if she's spilled partly-saponified oil on them, and starts to kick herself for disliking her chemistry class which she took last year.

Hehe... the above soaper.... uhh... hmmm.... could it be... me? Hehe...

Yes, it's true, soapmaking is addicting.

Keep up the great work.


Date: 5/14/2006
From: Kathryn (nice name!) Bellamy

Hi, I was just having a laugh whilst reading your writings on the different sub- species of Soapers. I am yet another, the All over the place like a Mad Woman's foot prints" Soaper. This is the Soaper who wishes to try everything! They read obsessively; web pages, books, groups, and take great delight in every new method, scent, EO, or additive herb they discover. This is a Soaping trait that emerges early in a Soaper's journey in the Way of Perfect Trace. Unfortunately, because they race from each new experiment to the next, they often have foul-ups. You can recognise this Soaper by their intimate knowledge of re-batching.May the Blessings of Saponification be upon you.

-Kathryn Bellamy

Date: 7/21/2006
From: BJ Long

Unfortunately I would be the following 5 types:Chicken Sh*t Soaper, also known as the, Scared Sh*tless Soaper, The type to surf the web for everything and anything related to soap making. Hoard all of the recipes from every corner of the globe. The one same one who has bought all the basic ingredients needed to produce the ever lucid first batch of soap. Has converted their office into a makeshift soap making "factory" But still is too scared to try in fear of failure and the first batch turning out to be a big ol' flop! And fear of seeing all that money going down the drain.Osmosis Soaper they have all the ingredients and they are just waiting for the ingredients to mix themselves and "voila!" produce a batch of soap.Kindergarten Soapmaker the one who has done M&P soap, and a little rebatching, but is still nervous about attempting the CP soap.Catch 22 Soaper, also known as, the Dual Personality Soaper - the one who loves to make soap but complains about how much money is being spent on products, even though most everything has come from the dollar stop or the local DAV; while trying to rationalize the cost and the belief the "it will be made up" once we have "enough" soap to sell.Self-Doubting Soaper, aka, Fear-of-Success Soaper - the one who has everything to make the soap but is either too afraid of failure or too afraid that they might actually be good at to try.

IRS Soaper - the one that can't believe that they actually sold a bar of soap and they know that the IRS is aware of it. And they are now trying to figure out whether to leave the country or assume a second identity.

The Soap Dealer/Pusher - the parent who at every holiday or gift giving opportunity, ie every Friday, sends their kid to school, with some type of homemade soap, bath salt or combination thereof, in hopes of getting all the teachers hooked and wanting more.

Shut-up-And-Do-It-Already-Soaper - usually labeled by their friends, the one who keeps saying their going to make soap but haven't made anything yet.

Ok, I've told enough about myself. Love the website.

Very Truly Yours,

Date: 9/13/2006
From: John M.Bennett

I noticed that your list of soaper types is missing an entry:

The Doper Soaper
Very enthusiastic, because he has a wonderful idea for Dr. Pepper and Oreo soap. Also has a great idea for catfish chili. Adds crayons to the soap for color, because they look so cool when you swirl the mix. Adds more Dr. Pepper because it makes the swirls foamy, and that seems cosmically significant. Drops the hobby after waking up one day to find his soap molds full of week-old catfish chili and his mouth tasting like soapy Dr. Pepper. Two days later, has a wonderful idea for Dr. Pepper and Oreo soap...

John M. Bennett
Irving, TX

Date: 8/14/2007
From: Linda

Hi Kathy –

I'm just sitting here laughing out loud, after reading John Bennett's Dr. Pepper / catfish chili soap description, and the rest of this amazingly funny list .. And I couldn't resist adding my own "very personal" soap moniker:

The Volcanic Extremely-Clean-Kitchen soaper ... This is the one who hasn't yet learned she can mix the hot lye directly into the cold fats – so she's waiting and waiting and waiting ... for her solid fats in the crockpot to heat up, while her carefully mixed lye solution cools, until they're within a few infinitesimally small degrees of each other ... and falls asleep. When she awakes, some short time later, to find that the lye is about 20 degrees cooler than the fats, she thinks, "aw, what the heck" and goes for it anyway (?!) All seems to be well, until application of the stick-blender ... Thereby creating one super-spectacular and totally unexpected, very active volcano in the middle of her kitchen. As she stands frozen and mesmerized watching the eruption to a glorious height of six-inches above the crown of her crock-pot before it gracefully cascades all over the table top and onto the adjacent chairs and finally, lavalike, oozes in all directions onto the floor, she quietly comments, "oh, my. " The resumption of breathing is followed by fits of hysterical giggles until the volcano (finally) blasts itself out ... which is followed, necessarily, by a marathon cleaning Experiment -- which serendipitously proves that immediate use of a failed batch of soap is guaranteed to produce the cleanest table, chairs and kitchen floor ever! I mean, why should she waste a whole crockpot of brand new soap when it has so generously applied itself to the whole kitchen? This particular type of soaper seems to tend toward graduating to new levels of soaping – not wishing to produce this same result more than once in a single lifetime. Hence, she evolves into the "Extinct-Volcanic No-Longer-Quite-So-Clean-Kitchen CP soaper" ... Hopefully...

And that's all I'm gonna say about that ...

~Linda in Virginia ..

Love your turn of phrase! Just a comment from me... the problem here was not the overly cooled lye solution, but the overly heated up fats (while the blissfully unaware was snoozing). :-)

Date: 10/31/2007
From: Maria

Just thought you would like to add to your growing list of people who are able to laugh at themselves.

I am a SELF-DEFENSIVE SOAPER. That is one who won't go near vegetable oils for fear of dry skin bordering on scabs, and might add a carefully chosen natural essential oil or herb occasionally for medicinal purposes, but never a fragrance for fear of blistering rashes. The primary purpose of making soap is to be sure there is no vestige of coconut oil or anything else harsh in the soap. Lather, smather, I want tallow.

I've been a WASTE-NOT-WANT-NOT soaper. That's one who saves every drip of oil and fat from cooking pans to make soap out of, and uses no fussy or fancy ingredients. Maybe a little sugar or borax like Granny used to add.

I'm also a FORMULA SOAPER. No recipes, just a short formula on a business-card sized bit of paper. Sapo number and water ratio is all I need. Anything else can be fudged.

I'll get off my soap box now...


Date: 7/15/2008
From: Annette S.

Dear Kathy,
I have just read your lists on what type of soaper people are, and laughed 'til I had a belly ache with Linda's post a year ago. I am a Recycler Soaper. I have used the same recipe for years which worked using my drippings from the lamb roast we had every week and progressed to using vegetable oils as my income improved. I learned that a mixture of animal and vegetable oils gave me a better lather than using plain animal fats. Mutton gave a hard soap, beef was softer. It was with astonishment that I read on the net that there were other ways of making soap, even snobbery in that there are those who use vegetable oil only, (I have made them and find they are too brittle for my liking). As a recycler I haunt the restaurants where I live and lug the 20 kilogram of used-and-finished-with,-ready-for-dumping 'Blended Edible Animal Oil' drums home. I filter the unknown oily mass with ? bits of vegetables oils in it too, through kitchen paper in case there are bits of carbon from cooked food and have always poured my lukewarm oil into the lukewarm lye, So I am a back-to front-soaper too. My friends like my soap and tourists have even bought it at inflated prices, but I don't mind as I know they are getting a good 'pure' local product.
Best wishes


Date: 8/28/2008
From: Ashley

Gee, how about the “Use-It-All-Lambsy-Damsy-Eco-Freaks”: Never mind soaping with beef tallow or lard or veggie-fats; gotta find a use for every possible lamb by-product when you put one of your lambs “on the menu”: hides/ pelt, fat/soap or candles, horn/carved implements or ornaments, bone/carved tools or ornaments. Soap fits re-use and recycle requirements and gives the soaper a superior ‘tude. Very elitist, but very in-the-trenches – good all purpose model, if you have the stamina and capacity.

Date: 11/18/2008
From: Claudia

Mad Scientist Soaper - This is the soaper who measures everything twice using a digital scale, wears a biohazard suit, has spray bottles handy, filled with acidic solution to counteract any possible lye accident but still can't resist the last minute urge to tweak the recipe (kind of like the genetic engineer gone bad).


Date: 11/18/2008
From: Vicki F.

There is one kind of soaper, I think I fit into that isn't on the list. One of A Kind Soaper... One who makes a different recipe each and every batch of soap she makes.

I love your [not mine, but all of yours] humor here. Yes, we all need it and today was a great day for me to find this site!

Vicki F.

Date: 1/5/2009
From: Suzanne Jordan


Here's one for your site:

The Shoot Your Teacher In The Foot Soaper: This person takes one 3 hour soap class from a teacher who has been teaching and making soap for 20 years and then a week later, shows up at the same farmers markets selling "her" handmade soap that looks exactly like the teacher's! This has actually happened to me. I suppose it would eventually, given that I have taught over 3,000 people to teach soap over my career, but the blatant stepping on my foot was a bit much!

Suzanne Jordan
Good Natured Earthling
Cedar Mountain Herb School


Date: 5/25/2009
From: Lisa Rohan

Hi Kathy,
I have a new sub species for you.....
the soaper who all thru the day at work, thinks of nothing but the batch she's gonna make when she gets home! By the time everythings ready to go, adding this cos you realise you've run out of that, being distracted by pesky kids wanting dinner (drat them!), the hours have zoomed by .... too late to turn back now .... YES, it's The Midnight Soaper!

I love your pages. When I was first venturing into soapworld, your site was a godsend....Thankyou!

Best of Bubbles

Lisa Rohan

Date: 6/17/2009
From: Karen Caprio

Hi Kathy-
I love your site and died laughing at the UPS guy comments, that is me for sure.
I wanted to add one more that I didn't see and this is me: The I Can Use That For My Soap Soaper. I am this kind, I think I can use anything for molds, old dresser drawers, weird boxes, bottoms of plastics, you name it, I can make it into a mold. Everything I see has potential for my soap, things to stick in or imprint or use for wrapping. If it has color or smells, I can use it.

I love your site! Thanks :) for the laugh!!

Karen Caprio

Date: 6/25/2009
From: "sangrador"

The Tyler Durden Soaper: The person that watched Fight Club one too many times and decided to pursue his dream of making and selling soap.

I don't know how many of these are out there, but I'm one of them. :)

Date: 9/25/2009
From: David Conrad

I read with interest your article re: What kind of soaper are you.

Well, I'm a Necessary Soaper. I've been brewing the mixtures since 2002 and haven't purchased a retail bar since. At first it was a curiosity and I even sold a few bars although many many more have been given away and some were Christmas gifts.

I can't say I've ever had a Bad batch, It just did not come out as I had hoped. Lots of trials and experimenting with different oils but have finally settled down and now use only Coconut, Olive, Canola & Cocoa Butter with EO or FO. Since I started keeping records, I've produced over 700 bars.

I usually make 2 batches at a time, one with her favorite scent, and one with mine. The workbook from Chris Mathes has been employed from day one. (Day 1 was June 8, 2002)

Cheers to you and the family,
David Conrad
In Roanoke VA

Date: 3/10/2010
From: Shirley

The Lonely Soaper: No matter how much I... uh, I mean.... she.... talks about soap to family and friends she's met with blank faces with blinking eyes. The only people who truly understand her are her BEST FRIENDS (whom she's never met, nor likely will) on the soap forums.


Date: 11/10/2010
From: Christi J.

Dream Cutters: Those who go to sleep and dream of cutting their soap. They toss and turn with anticipation of getting to cut their soap and see the swirls. They wake up at 4 a.m. in the morning finally giving in. Ahhhh. They can then go back to bed with a big peaceful calming smile on their faces.

Facebook Show-Off'rs: The one who takes pictures of her soap when it is in the mold, being unmolded, and then finally what the cut bars look like. Then has to update her Facebook status every time a new batch is made, and upload all her pictures for her friends and family to comment on.

Look What I Made Soaper: You can't have company over without making them all smell your new soaps! (Even when its your poor kids' friends)

Encroaching on HIS space Soaper: When your husband works away for two weeks of the month and when he comes home, he has to get his socks and underwear from a box in the corner of the room because his sock and underwear drawers are now the new home of curing soap.

Christi J.


Date: 4/5/2011
From: Larraine Brandt

I'm a Holy Soap Teacher: I search for ways to express lessons about God, the saints, and the people of God through different soaps. The formulation of the soap, the color, and even the fragrance have to fit into the idea for the soap. I want my students to be thinking about how Jesus washes away their sins as they are soaping away in the tub. Then, when they're not using one of my soaps, I want them thinking the same thing for any soap they use!

Larraine Brandt

Date: 9/13/2011
From: M. Lawrence

I just found your site. Love to know there are others out there like me. You may want to include the Scientist Soaper. She has kept a careful log of every batch since '95 listing every detail including; date made, exact temperatures, fat combinations, FO, EO, colorants etc....about each batch. Has also separated and labeled 4 bars from each of those batches as physical references to match the log. Has carefully calculated all costs of products then divided the costs by the bars to see exactly how much each bar costs. .61 cents per bar.......then doesn't actually sell the bars, just needs the process of making soap.

She also loves to talk about the molecular structure of the fat and lye being changed during saponification and loves to use this word as much as possible and relates it to language..."saponification is where we get the French word for soap, 'savon' and the Spanish word also derived is, 'jabon'....."

M. Lawrence

Date: 8/17/2012
From: Dave Hajoglou

I have an addition to the "what kind of soaper are you" I used to make soap in the chemistry department of a university I worked for. We even turned it into a fund raiser for the biology club:

I'm an Alchemist Soaper ... Renders his own tallow and lard from suet, collects wood ashes for lye, adjusting ph by evaporation, uses all manner of chemistry glassware and electronic stirring/heading implements, and cures his soap in a laboratory dehydrator (nothing like keeping your cure at 49.5deg Celsius for 12 hours).

Dave Hajoglou


This page last updated 27 August 2012
If you still have questions, please read through the information on the Troubleshooting Help page, MOST Frequently Asked Questions and Modern Procedures. More can also be learned through the Botched Batches and Soapy Success pages. Many common problems have already been addressed on the site and it's difficult for me to keep up with emails these days and get anything else done. If your question involves my looking up information that you can also research, or going over numbers and recipe calculations, I might not respond if in the middle of a project around our home and garden. I apologize for this, since I've enjoyed my correspondence with people and don't like to ignore emails of any kind. Thanks! :-)