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Help! making liquid soap
August 28, 2012
7:59 pm
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mistchick
Banty
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Aloha Suzanne,

I stumble across your site and am so happy to read all the generous info you offer in your “How to Make Liquid Soap” which you base upon Failor’s book. I read her book about 4 or 5 times and still fail to make sense of it when I come across your site. I count my tiny blessings!

So, I just finish making my first liquid soap from your recipe in the article. I do the one in which you put coconut oil, olive oil,  castor oil, and lanolin. To make a long story short the soap comes out clear – it is clearing more and more each day-  ( I make it on Sun. and today is Tues.) but it is WAY to thin.

I am unclear how to proceed from here. I add glycerin to thicken it before it cools. Do I just add more glycerin to thicken? If so how much? I have about 6 lbs of diluted soap.

Perplexed, Karen

chicken

August 29, 2012
7:13 am
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CindyP
Hart, MI
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Welcome to the perplexing world of soapmaking!  LOL.  Each recipe of soap, depending on the oils, will thicken differently with different agents.  Borax, salt, sugar, glycerin.  And you can’t just not add all the dilution water, either…it needs all the water so it doesn’t emulsify back together into a skin on top of the soap.  Me?  I take the easy and probably not so frugal way out.  After I fill my jugs with soap that I want thin (I use it at the kitchen sink in a pump for squirting on my scrubby for doing up dishes and in foamers), I simmer a pot on the stove until it thickens up to my liking…about 25%.

 

But this is a good time to play with some thickeners if you’d like!  Take a little bit of your diluted soap and experiment.

 

Did you use any emulsifying or sequestering agents?  How much glycerin did you add before it cooled?

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

August 29, 2012
2:45 pm
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mistchick
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What I do is follow the recipe Suzanne posts for moisturizing shampoo with lanolin.

I use 24 oz coconut oil, 13 oz olive oil, 11 oz castor oil, 2 oz lanolin for oils. I use a lye solution of 11 oz potassium hydroxide and 33 ounces distilled water. I take it to paste and I get about 6 lbs of paste. Then I separate it into 3 batches.

I take 2 lbs of soap paste and add 4 lbs or 64oz of distilled water. So that should be a 20% solution rate. Then I neutralize with a 33% borax solution by adding 1.5oz borax to 3 oz boiling water. Then I add 3Tbs of this borax solution to the soap to neutralize it after which I add my EO’s . Finally  I add 12oz of glycerin to thicken.

 

So are you saying that at this point I can either add more glycerin or reheat and “cook off” the excess water in the soap? In the case of glycerin how do you know how much glycerin to add? do you have to reheat the soap? If I do the “cook off” method how do you know when it is done?<img class="spSmiley" title="chicken" onclick="spjEdInsertSmiley(‘chicken.gif’, ‘chicken’, ‘https://chickensintheroad.com/wp-content/forum-smileys/’, ‘chicken‘);” src=”/wp-content/forum-smileys/chicken.gif” alt=”chicken” />

August 31, 2012
9:30 am
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CindyP
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Well you should be on day 8 (I think?).  Has it thickened at all from the very first?

Glycerin is a funny thing.  There’s a point of adding too much.  And each recipe is different, depending on oils and the amount of water you’ve used.  The more you add, the thinner the soap will become.  I haven’t found any information on the limit of glycerin as it behaves differently with the different oils.

A recipe high in Coconut Oil (this one is almost 50% CO) will not thicken with borax.

They do make thickeners, which are man made products, that I haven’t used and don’t plan on using.

If I were you, if it is too thin for you, I would evaporate it on the stove.  That’s just my opinion!  That’s why I use the evaporation method, it takes the guessing out of it.

Liquid Soap, unlike bar soap, has so many, many variables…there just isn’t a set of rules.

Have you looked at the Yahoo Group, Liquid Soapers?  It is chocked full of information, basically made up of people experimenting and coming up with affects of what works.  Even the people that have been on there for years learn something new all the time.

“Learn all you can from the mistakes of others. You won’t have time to make them all yourself.”  ― Alfred Sheinwold

September 3, 2012
6:03 pm
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mistchick
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Aloha Cindy P

It is still the same thickness. No change. Just more clear- so that’s good for a first time.

Wow, your info is great but a bit daunting, I must say. So basically you are saying that it is a crap shoot just about every time you make soap. I follow Suzanne’s recipe to the “T” and my results are less than satisfactory.

shroomI will do the evaporation method and I will check out the yahoo group site. Sounds very interesting.

Mahalo (thank you), Karen

February 22, 2014
9:32 am
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JedediahGoodson
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I know this a really old post, but I wanted to add that you can thicken liquid soaps with a 20% solution of non iodized salt and water.  I use cheap kosher salt from bulk barn.

I use recipes similar to those posted in this thread – and I use 1 part salt to 4oz water.  I boil the water, and then add the salt once it’s cooled a bit.  

I work with small batches of liquid soap, typically up to 20 oz at a time because I am new to this and like others have said, water allows microbes to brew.  I make what I can use.

Anyway, I add the solution of salt and water by the measured tablespoon to my heated soap, after it’s been dissolved in water.

More clearly, I first take my soap (the concentrated product) and dissolve it into just enough water that it just dissolves.  My recipes generally are 30% soap (mostly the olive oil causes this I think).

Then I cool it to see how runny it is.

I then re-heat the batch slowly. Too much heat evaporates the water and the soap will start to re-solidify.  This is why I wanted to post: evaporating the water may cause this to happen to your soap too.

Adding small amounts of a 20% salt-water solution can thicken liquid soap make with KOH.

It can also add opacity to your soap (which I don’t like personally, I’d prefer to keep it clear).

I can post some pictures of anyone wants. 

 

 

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