If one tool could be credited for revolutionizing soapmaking, it is the stick blender. It is a hero of soap and lotion makers the world over. Also called an immersion or hand blender, these tools speed up the process and ensure thorough mixing. In lotion, they assure a stable emulsion
Many types of stick blenders are available with various features and a range of prices. The local thrift store might sell used units for $3. New, they sell for under $20 to around $60. The casings of cheaper blenders are entirely plastic and not removable. Go up in price a bit to find blenders with removable stainless steel shafts.
Which type should I get?
The right instrument for you depends on what you plan to use it for and can afford. My first stick blender was an inexpensive plastic instrument that cost about $10. It served me well for making soap until it was knocked off the counter and broke.
To make soap, any blender is sufficient, but a unit with a removable shaft is more convenient because it is much easier to clean. For lotion and cream, it is a necessity. Stainless steel is easier to sanitize, and the removable shaft allows for deeper cleaning and sanitizing, essential to clean lotion making. It is best incidentally, to dedicate one blender to soap and a separate appliance for lotion and cream.
Another feature that some soapmakers look for is a bell that does not allow air to become trapped as it causes unattractive air bubbles in the soap. A feature that many makers find aggravating is models with safety switches that require one finger on the operation button and another on the safety button. They are clumsy to control.
How do I use it properly?
The correct way to operate a blender is to alternate stirring and blending. Stir for the initial mixing and then use the blender for a short time and then go back to stirring, especially during soap making. Constant blending may result in a burned-out motor. To “burp” the blender, place it in the liquid, lift it up and plunge it in again.
Due to the sharp blades and the high shear (speed) of the blender, operate and handle it with care. Place it in the liquid, then turn it on. Keep it on the bottom of the pot and do not lift the blender out until it is turned off. Unplug the blender as soon as you finish using it. Make sure it is unplugged before cleaning and use a cleaning brush on the blades, not fingers.
As with any appliance, a stick blender is a indispensable for soap and lotion making. Choose the model with the features that meet your needs and take care to use it correctly. It will provide years of reliable service, Indeed, it will be the hero in your lab.