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Soapmaking Info, Questions, Problems, Etc.
March 21, 2012
11:33 am
mammaleigh
NW Georgia
Mighty Chicken
Forum Posts: 457
Member Since:
November 9, 2010
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You can get any kind of lye just as long as its 100% lye. I have found some at a grocery store that is so small it is only here. I know you can buy it at Ace but you have to order a large amount, much more then what you need for personal use, IMO. You can buy it online and have it shipped, normally you have to sign a weiver that you are not going to use the lye to make drugs with…arg, cant get away from the drugs down here.

"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living.  The world owes you nothing.  It was here first."  ~Mark Twain
March 21, 2012
1:35 pm
Nana Sandi
Lufkin, Texas
Big Chicken
Forum Posts: 55
Member Since:
April 18, 2011
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I order my lye from essentialdepot.com   I get palm & castor oils from them too and they have some really nice deals with free shipping

March 23, 2012
2:41 pm
lifeisgood/ Melinda
Louisiana
Mighty Chicken
Forum Posts: 136
Member Since:
June 6, 2010
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I have searched all over the town I live in to find a glass 4 cup measuring cup in order to start making lye soap. The largest I can find is a 2 cup glass or a 4 cup plastic. Having never used lye before I was afraid to get the plastic one for fear it might melt when I add the lye to the water. Anyone have advice? Is the 2 cup large enough? Will the plastic one work? Should I just break down and order one online? 

March 23, 2012
2:55 pm
BuckeyeGirl
N.E. Ohio
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February 10, 2009
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We used plastic at last year's retreat!  (I'm NOT an experienced soaper, so hopefully others will speak up too)

I think the biggest thing about getting glass is it is able to be used for other things because it can be cleaned extremely thoroughly.  (correct me if I'm wrong everyone!)

Located in N.E. Ohio
March 23, 2012
4:42 pm
CindyP
Hart, MI
Admin
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October 17, 2008
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BG is right!  Don't buy anything special!  Find something in your cupboard.  Glass or stainless steel I wouldn't worry about using again after it's all washed out.  With plastic, the lye may leech into it.  The lye water gets hot, but it hasn't melted anything I've tried yet.  Stainless steel does seem to get hotter than the plastic though.  If you have a handle on it, it wouldn't matter.

I have a dedicated old tupperware pitcher that I use.  At last year's retreat, we used dollar store 16 oz plastic cups (you know the heavier kind).  Depending on how much soap you're making at a time determines how big of a container you'll actually need.  The 16 oz cups worked just fine for a 2# recipe.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold
March 23, 2012
8:39 pm
lifeisgood/ Melinda
Louisiana
Mighty Chicken
Forum Posts: 136
Member Since:
June 6, 2010
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Thanks so much for the replies and information. I bought a 2 cup glass measuring cup after reading these and feel good about using it now. Thanks again!

March 26, 2012
12:27 pm
snowlady
Banty
Forum Posts: 3
Member Since:
November 20, 2011
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I have made melt and pour. It is ok. But I want to make Hp soap. I need a easy start recipe to see if I am going to like making it this way. Any suggestions? I love reading everyones posts, but since I don't know much about soaping it can be confusing. Thanks for any suggestions.

March 26, 2012
2:04 pm
lifeisgood/ Melinda
Louisiana
Mighty Chicken
Forum Posts: 136
Member Since:
June 6, 2010
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Somewhere on Suzanne's archives she has a post about making homemade milk soap….she  used a pringle can for a mold in the post I am referring to…

I am finally ready and tomorrow is the day! (Today was going to be the day but I had to babysit one of my four year old granddaughters) Hopefully it will go smoothly and I will be amazed at myself! 

Snowlady…I really think if you will go review Suzanne's posts on soaping you will feel brave enough to try hp. That is what has convinced me I can do this!

April 6, 2012
10:46 am
snowlady
Banty
Forum Posts: 3
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November 20, 2011
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thanks lifeisgood.  I did check out the page and gave hp a try. I made sandalwood. It turned out great.  Now I want to try cp soap. I think I will try a veggie kind with no animal fats. I have lots of soap recipes I want to try. happy-feet

April 14, 2012
11:22 am
sco_oter
Hatchling
Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
April 14, 2012
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530

Has anyone made their own Lye?  My husbands mother used to make her own and he is wanting to make it again.  Curious if anyone has tried making it instead of buying it.

August 2, 2012
7:04 pm
lavenderblue
WNY
Mighty Chicken
Forum Posts: 259
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February 3, 2010
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531

Suzanne's crock-pot soaping has re-sparked my interest. Of course I will have to buy more lye because mine went to unplugging drains. But one of my questions is can I use a cheap brand of shortening instead of Crisco?  Also ibpallets mentioned vanilla beans in her soap. Can I put the vanilla beans left over from my homemade vanilla or will the alcohol it's been steeping in effect the soaping process. I just feel it is so wasteful to throw those beans out, even though I intend to soak the very last smidge of vanilla flavor out of them, so will probably have to put extra vanilla scent in the soap anyway.

Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.  Ogden Nash
August 2, 2012
11:21 pm
Amerayl
Stuttgart, AR
Mighty Chicken
Forum Posts: 123
Member Since:
February 15, 2011
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532

Hi lavenderblue,

Sure you can use the cheaper shortening. I've done it. Soapcalc has an entry for it, so I tried it. I like the Crisco because it does have palm in it and I love my recipes with it in it. I'm gonna try to use the store brand shortening that has beef tallow in it next to see how well that does in soap. LOL, I don't seem to repeat a soap recipe very much as I like to experiment. As to the vanilla beans, I could see them being ground up and used as an exfoliant in soap. If you use the hot process and add them at the end of the cook, it might not cause a problem. You might want to test it on a small batch. I wonder if you could cook the alcohol out. Hmmm, something to think about…

September 5, 2012
1:24 pm
54R4H
Sand Mountain, AL
Big Chicken
Forum Posts: 15
Member Since:
January 4, 2012
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533

I have made soap twice with great success.  It is a great feeling to make something homemade and natural for your family and have it be economical as well. I have been using Soapcalc to help me with measurements.

 

I have some questions about fats for soap.  We have a small homestead and keep chickens and rabbits, and I have a large bag of mixed fat from both of these animals.  I have been saving and saving to make lard eventually.  In soapcalc, it is very specific when you select a fat.  There are choices for chicken fat and rabbit fat separately and a choice for lard (pig tallow).  Does anyone have any thoughts about me melting down and using a mix of the rabbit and chicken fats?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

 

As for scents I have made a lavender, a "fresh rain", and peppermint.  Everyone's favorite is the peppermint (I prefer lavender though).  Thank you!

September 5, 2012
2:18 pm
CindyP
Hart, MI
Admin
Forum Posts: 7942
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October 17, 2008
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I ran a recipe through Soapcalc using rabbit fat on the first one, then chicken fat on the other.  The difference in lye needed was almost nothing…rounding, I would have used the same amount no matter which fat I was using.  But rabbit fat does need more lye.

Figure your recipe with first one then the other and see the difference in lye.  Depending on the difference, if it's too much, I would use the rabbit fat calculations and maybe up the superfat a percent (depending on what you figure the superfat in your recipes).  If you're going to use it for a cleaning soap, I wouldn't bother and figure it at 0% superfat and use the rabbit fat calculations.

 

I hope that helps and not make you more confused!  LOL!

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold
September 5, 2012
5:10 pm
54R4H
Sand Mountain, AL
Big Chicken
Forum Posts: 15
Member Since:
January 4, 2012
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535

Oh this is great news!  Thanks so much.  I guess I should have thought to run them both through Soapcalc, oh well :)

December 7, 2012
9:54 am
54R4H
Sand Mountain, AL
Big Chicken
Forum Posts: 15
Member Since:
January 4, 2012
Offline
536

I am still trying out different soap recipes to find the one my husband and I like best.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a nice hard bar (not crumbly – which my last batch was and I don't know why) with a nice lather?  I mostly just use 3 types of fats in a recipe.  Most commonly I use coconut oil, crisco, and olive oil.  But I have also used lard in place of the crisco.  I normally do a pound of each.

 

I am looking for suggestions for additional (easy to find) fats to add or ones to replace one of the others I use.  Any suggestions at all are welcome.

December 7, 2012
10:11 am
Nana Sandi
Lufkin, Texas
Big Chicken
Forum Posts: 55
Member Since:
April 18, 2011
Offline
537

Here's one I use often

 

Castor Oil 10%

Olive Oil 35%

Coconut Oil 17%

Walmart Shortening 38%

 

It has a really nice lather. 

December 8, 2012
7:30 pm
lovemypets00
Banty
Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
August 5, 2012
Offline
538
I bought a 48 oz bottle of Pompeian OlivExtra and wondered if I could use it in soapmaking?  It's 70% canola oil, 20% olive oil, and 10% grapeseed oil, which all have different INS values.

Could I use the SAPValues spreadsheet, enter the number of ounces proportionally for each of these three oils, like 7 oz, 2 oz, 1 oz, and then the other fats like palm kernel oil or coconut oil, lard, etc. to come up with the total amounts of lye and water needed?

I have Anne Watson's Smart Soapmaking book, and have been using recipes on this site as well.  What a wonderful hobby!

December 9, 2012
9:26 am
lovemypets00
Banty
Forum Posts: 9
Member Since:
August 5, 2012
Offline
539

About the OlivExtra, I dusted off my math skills (LOL) fired up SoapCalc, and gave it a spin.  Here's what I came up with.  I'm going to give it a shot!

 

These 3 together (as OlivExtra) Canola Oil 11.2 oz, Grapeseed Oil 1.6 oz, Oilive Oil 3.2 oz (total 16 oz)

Coconut Oil 9.6 oz

Palm Kernel Oil 2.4 oz

Cocoa Butter 0.8 oz

Castor Oil 3.2 oz

Water = 12.16 oz with 4.587 oz Lye

December 12, 2012
5:26 pm
Louise
Banty
Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
November 16, 2011
Offline
540

I was at the Chickens in the Roads workshop on November 3rd where we made hot process soap. Does anyone know the name of the product that Suzanne used to test the soap to see if it was ready? She used a liquid that she dropped onto a tiny amount of the soap and if it was not ready the soap had little pink specks in it. I would like to get some but I don't remember what it was called.

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