The Survival Podcast Forum

Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Homesteading and Self Reliant Living => Topic started by: Morning Sunshine on April 06, 2009, 08:21:00 AM

Title: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on April 06, 2009, 08:21:00 AM
I have looked around here, and noticed no one makes soap, or at least, no one has POSTED about making soap, so I figured I would do so.
See, I have ALWAYS wanted to make soap, but was afraid to try it.  Then an online friend made it for the first time, and a IRL friend was game to try with me, so we did, and it could not be easier.  So now I am on a quest to impart this knowledge to any and every one who will listen.  Soap making is fun, homemade soap is very nice on your skin (it has all of the natural glycerin that commercial soapers take out because they can sell it for more elsewhere), and if you buy it from someone, they usually charge you upwards of $3 a bar that costs .33 to make!  nice markup.  Also, great survival skill and barter item if needed (and if SHTF, it WILL be needed...)
The hardest part is finding lye.  Rumors on the soaping sites claim that it is used in meth production, so those of us who are legal law-abiding citizens are yet again forced to pay for the sins of others.  Not to mention, I fit the profile of a meth user nicely - mommy of young children  ::)  .  Lowe's USED to carry it under the brand name "Roebic Heavy-duty crystal drain cleaner", but I have not been able to find it recently.  You might could look at your local Lowe's, just make sure it is 100% sodium hydroxide.  If you order it online, you have to pay hazardous material shipping insurance.  Luckily for me, there is a soap-making supply store in town, so I can order it there (as long as I order 50# at once and pick it up myself instead of shipping)
Mostly, since I soap for for my own families needs, I stay away from additives.  I have added ground oatmeal for scrubby soap (nice indeed) and some citrus scents from essential oils, but that is it.  So, now that I have given some personal thoughts on soap, I will direct you to my favorite soaping sites.

http://www.homesteadblogger.com/wannabehomesteading/40028/  this is the experience of a first time soaper.  there are great links inbedded there, but I will post them here as well.
www.millersoap.com  this has some very nice recipes.  one of our favorites is the Oatmeal and Honey Soap.... mmmm.  we make it to smell like grapefruit.
http://www.pvsoap.com/recipes.htm   if you pick "Cold process Soap," it will not only give you a good recipe for a beginner - nice and easy, it also gives you a list of equipment needed!  How nice is that?

so, there are my soap-making suggestions.  I am VERY happy to answer any questions for you, or even - if you live in northern Utah - you can come over and I'll show you how one day.  I think I will be soaping in June in SLC with a friend, so let me know!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: jetta2337 on April 06, 2009, 08:27:59 AM
Great info! The wife wants to start to make soap so I will check out the sites and try to find some lye around this part of the woods.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Mielikki on April 07, 2009, 11:21:19 AM
Actually, you can make your own lye. All you need is some ash, water and a big container or a kettle if you want to boil it down.

Birch ash is best, but I think you can use any hardwood ash. No conifers though, the sap in them seems to ruin the lye. Just build a fire, let it go out and let the ashes cool and use them, or use the ones in your fireplace. Water can be basically any water you have, rainwater, lakewater, wellwater etc. Container should be something which can be in contact with lye, so either plastic or metal (not aluminium). Snout at the bottom is a good thing to have, but not really neccessary. The kettle needs to be big enough to boil the stuff in, and should NOT be used in cooking (not aluminium either).

There are two ways to make lye, one is easier but slower and the other is faster but more bother.

In the easy one, you put cheesecloth or something like that in the snout inside the barrel, so it will act as a filter later on. Then you put your ashes in the container and pour water (hot will make things faster) on them so that they are covered. Let it stand for few days, and ashes will sink. Add more ash so that all of it is covered by water and let those sink too. At this point, some of the ashes have been in the container for about a week. Open the snout and take some liquid into a cup. Dip a feather in, and if it starts to dissolve, your lye is ready. If not, you can take some of the liquid and pour it top of the ashes and wait a few more days. Rinse and repeat. At some point you will have to take the ashes out but this thing can keep providing a supply of lye for a quite a long time.

In the harder one you just boil the lye down from the ashes. Take your ashes and wrap them into cheesecloth. Put them in the kettle and pour boiling water on them. You should use about 1:10 ash:water. Put the kettle on fire and start boiling the water. When it boils again, you can remove the ashes in the cheesecloth or you can keep them in longer if you want to. Just keep boiling until the water evaporates enough and the feather will start to dissolve. This method can also be used to make "dry lye" or "burned lye" (sorry about the terms, I have no clue what those are in english  ???).

100% organic, 100% natural. Strong stuff, be careful :P
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: ColdHaven on April 07, 2009, 11:27:23 AM
Could always watch 'Fight Club'.

Sorry I couldn't help myself.  ;D
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on April 07, 2009, 11:39:17 AM
Actually, you can make your own lye. All you need is some ash, water and a big container or a kettle if you want to boil it down.
...........

Great info!  I knew one could make lye, but I had only read about it in pioneer type info, stirring ashes in a big pot over a large fire, that kind of thing.  This is great info for any soaper - and how to do it at home in small manageable "modern" ways.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Sister Wolf on April 07, 2009, 12:06:26 PM
There is a great article on how to make soap in the new Wilderness Way magazine.  I don't think you'll be disappointed - it's a GREAT magazine.  ;)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: cohutt on April 07, 2009, 05:30:11 PM
I decided I'd give making my own cast bullet lube a try and discovered lotion & soap making while looking for some ingredients.

I haven't made any lube yet but i have run a couple of batches of incredible beeswax/lanolin/shea balm.   (Mrs and ladies at my office have tested it on heels, lips and cuticles and approve heartily.)

Two great sites for supplies:

www.thechemistrystore.com
www.soapgoods.com

I'll play around with soaps and lotions too- you can make gallons of "premium" goods for a few dollars. 
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: NightOwl on April 16, 2009, 10:32:09 AM
I make soap and sell it at craft fairs.  A dollar per ounce is close to the going rate.  True, it's less than a dollar to make the actual soap.  33 to 50 cents for a bar (depending on bar size, it varies from one seller to another) is about right if you use inexpensive oils, no additives, and no fragrances.  Fragrances add another one-third to the cost.  Another dime at least for packaging.  A bit more for some nicer molds if you want every bar to be a consistent size and shape.

My lye came from an industrial supplier in a huge bag.  Had to subdivide it into zip-top bags and store them in sealed buckets with moisture absorbers.  Still comes out cheaper than Red Devil used to be.

The expensive part is labor, the value of your time making and selling it.  On a good day we come close to breaking past minimum wage.  Comparing the cost of homemade soap at a craft fair with a multi-pack from the store is like comparing old fashioned hand-built oak furniture with something made from particle board in a factory.

I figure our real competition isn't Wal-Mart.  It's the sniffy shops in the mall.

But yeah, if you do it yourself, keep the bars pretty plain, and use no fragrances or additives, you can make soap pretty cheap.  Lots of great books and online resources out there.  That's how I learned.

ETA:  Never seen fight club, no real hurry to run out and rent it either...
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: archer on April 16, 2009, 10:54:37 AM
Complete newbie questions here, how long does it take to get up to speed and how long does it take to make a batch?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: theaccidentalsurvivor on April 16, 2009, 11:19:06 AM
Great info!  I knew one could make lye, but I had only read about it in pioneer type info, stirring ashes in a big pot over a large fire, that kind of thing.  This is great info for any soaper - and how to do it at home in small manageable "modern" ways.

If you have a way to burn some wood, like in a fireplace or grill, then go that route..... also, you dont have to boil it if you dont mind waiting 3 days or so.......

Get two buckets and cut a hole into the bottom of one.... line the hole with coffee filter or cheesecloth...... suspend this bucket over the other...... pour ashes into the top bucket and cover with just enought water to cover the ashes..... this will drain through into the other bucket..... once it does, take this water and pour it back over the ashes.... if you add more ashes it will speed up the process.... repeat these steps until a chicken feather will dissolve in the water...... or if you float an unboiled egg in the water and it floats just below the surface, then you are good...... if it sinks you need to repeat the steps, if it sits on the surface you need to dilute the water

I got the info off the net, but did it and it works!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on April 16, 2009, 11:22:09 AM
Complete newbie questions here, how long does it take to get up to speed and how long does it take to make a batch?

like I said, I soap for my family and for Christmas gifts (neighbors LOVE getting homemade soap....), so I do not do it as much as Uncle Charlie.  I probably make 2-3 batches a year.  From my experience, it takes about 1 hour of actual hands-on time.  And another 3-5 hours of waiting/watching time.  And then 18 hours of leave-it-alone-and forget-about-it time.

See, you mix your lye and water and melt your oils - lye water in one container, oils in your stainless steel pot.  About 10 min TOPS.  and then you wait for them both to cool down to between 90-100 degrees.  This takes A LOT longer in July than November (I soap outside).  you have to check the temp frequently during this time, and have to make sure small children and pets are kept away from it.
when they are ready, you pour your lye into the oils and stir.  Some people prefer the old-fashioned way of stirring the pot by hand for 4 hours.  I do not.  I use a stick blender and stir for about 15 before I hit "trace" (which looks like pudding or thick gravy).  When using a stick blender, though, you have to turn it on for 60 seconds, off for 60, on, off so you do not burn your motor.  still doesn't take very long.  Then you pour it into your molds.  Some people like soap molds.  I use either old silicone cookware (my favorite for "fancy" soap bars) or empty pringles cans (my favorite mold ever!  they make 8 even round bars that fit your hand nicely.  They are not, however, reuseable - you have to tear them off your soap.  but that is okay - most people throw away their cans, so if you can find someone who eats expensive chips, you are set!)  insulate your molds and leave it alone for 18 hours.
remove soap from molds and slice into bars (I use my kitchen knife).  put the bars not touching on an old cardboard box bottom,and let it cure for 2-3 weeks. Voila, soap.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: theaccidentalsurvivor on April 16, 2009, 11:25:24 AM
like I said, I soap for my family and for Christmas gifts (neighbors LOVE getting homemade soap....), so I do not do it as much as Uncle Charlie.  I probably make 2-3 batches a year.  From my experience, it takes about 1 hour of actual hands-on time.  And another 3-5 hours of waiting/watching time.  And then 18 hours of leave-it-alone-and forget-about-it time.

See, you mix your lye and water and melt your oils - lye water in one container, oils in your stainless steel pot.  About 10 min TOPS.  and then you wait for them both to cool down to between 90-100 degrees.  This takes A LOT longer in July than November (I soap outside).  you have to check the temp frequently during this time, and have to make sure small children and pets are kept away from it.
when they are ready, you pour your lye into the oils and stir.  Some people prefer the old-fashioned way of stirring the pot by hand for 4 hours.  I do not.  I use a stick blender and stir for about 15 before I hit "trace" (which looks like pudding or thick gravy).  When using a stick blender, though, you have to turn it on for 60 seconds, off for 60, on, off so you do not burn your motor.  still doesn't take very long.  Then you pour it into your molds.  Some people like soap molds.  I use either old silicone cookware (my favorite for "fancy" soap bars) or empty pringles cans (my favorite mold ever!  they make 8 even round bars that fit your hand nicely.  They are not, however, reuseable - you have to tear them off your soap.  but that is okay - most people throw away their cans, so if you can find someone who eats expensive chips, you are set!)  insulate your molds and leave it alone for 18 hours.
remove soap from molds and slice into bars (I use my kitchen knife).  put the bars not touching on an old cardboard box bottom,and let it cure for 2-3 weeks. Voila, soap.

Great quick and dirty method! +1
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: archer on April 16, 2009, 11:39:49 AM
Wow, thanks! +1. I'll have to try that... Does it smell at all??? have to worry about the neighbors...
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on April 16, 2009, 11:54:04 AM
Wow, thanks! +1. I'll have to try that... Does it smell at all??? have to worry about the neighbors...

are you asking about the lye? cuz I dunno 'bout that....  would like to try making lye, but finding hardwood in Utah, not exactly easy.
as for soaping, no smell.  but I would HIGHLY recommend you do not sit on a busy corner in a hood-ish neighborhood stirring a steaming pot in July.  Especially if you are 2 pregnant women with a total of 4 other children.  that might attract attention.  (ask me how I know...  actually, no one bothered us, but we were slightly worried, since cops are almost always tracking drug deals behind my friend's house on said corner)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Grasshopper2Ant on April 16, 2009, 12:00:25 PM
Great post!  +1
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: NightOwl on April 16, 2009, 12:30:19 PM
The info from Morning Sunshine is similar to my experience.

Summary:  An hour or two of setup and mixing time, a couple days until cutting, and another 3 weeks of drying out.  Figure a month from start to finish if it's for sale.  6 weeks is better, and the longer it ages the harder and better lathering the soap is.  100% olive oil castile is best after at least 6 months in my opinion.

Unless oxidation of residual oil happens and you get the Dreaded Orange Spots...  But that's another topic.

Your first batch will be a disaster.  After that happens you will buy a decent digital scale.  You'll also burn out stick blenders regularly if you really get into it as a hobby.  Check garage sales for spares to save money.

It helps to lick a bar before using any from that batch.  No, really...  If it stings your tongue and it's been aged at least a month, then something went wrong - throw it all out.  If it merely tastes foul, it just means you put some kind of fragrance in it.  Scent your soap with cinnamon and clove essential oils if you plan to do a lot of cussing.  Yum yum yum.  ;D
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: archer on April 16, 2009, 12:38:18 PM
LOL!! Hmm, I've not tasted soap since I.. um.. never mind... +1!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: LvsChant on August 06, 2009, 07:02:06 PM
OK... this is probably obvious to everyone except me... "stick-blender"??? Is that a hand-held blender or some other tool especially for soap-making?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: NightOwl on August 06, 2009, 07:41:25 PM
A "stick blender" is a hand-held wand type blender.  Has a spinning sharp thing at one end and a power cord at the other.  Comes apart in the middle so the business end can go in the dishwasher.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: cohutt on August 06, 2009, 07:45:12 PM
Yes, an immersion blender

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immersion_blender (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immersion_blender)


edit:  damn i swear that post wasn't there when i typed my reply......
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: LvsChant on August 06, 2009, 09:07:36 PM
And... how do you "insulate your molds"?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: 2Caffeinated on August 06, 2009, 09:47:04 PM
does home made soap lather up as well as store bought?

also, does it leave film in the shower?

My wife hates cleaning the shower and likes us to use the liquid soap.  Does anyone know how to make liquid soap that won't leave a film in the shower, or is it just made from a bunch of chemicals?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: NightOwl on August 06, 2009, 09:59:02 PM
I insulate my molds by using molds made out of plastic lumber and then adding a sturdy plastic cutting board on top.  Wrapping the mold in towels helps too.  Usually it's not worth worrying about unless the weather is cold.

Sometimes we don't want the soap to get so warm that it goes through the gel phase.  Milk-based soaps, for example.  In that case the idea is to keep the mold close to room temperature.  But that's sort of an advanced topic.

My soap lathers better than most store-bought, because I fine tuned the oil blend for lathering ability.  Among other things.

Not sure how to deal with shower film.  Personally, I'd rather have good soap and deal with a little haze than have clear glass and itchy skin.  Someone once suggested wiping the shower with a mild acid, like a weak vinegar & water solution.  I'll have to try that sometime.

It is possible to make liquid soap from scratch.  I've done it -- it turns out a lot like Dr Bronner's, thin and watery yet concentrated at the same time.  Awesome in foaming dispensers.  It's a lot of work, and it involves using potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide.  But it's worth knowing how to do.  I don't know what its residue is like, though my guess is that it's probably not much due to being based mostly on coconut oil.  Coconut soap is a powerful cleaner and easily dissolves in water.

Chemically speaking, normal "shower gel" has very little to do with soap.  But it'll get ya clean.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: LvsChant on August 07, 2009, 06:44:18 AM
Uncle Charlie,

Thanks for all the information... more questions... do you use all the special clothing, etc. when you do your soapmaking? goggles, hair covering, rubber gloves, all skin covered up? I saw one website (from an Australian lady) who said that was essential. I think she was doing her soap-making inside.

Also, are the utensils used in soap-making rendered no longer good for cooking once you've done this? It seems like one of the top comments about mixing the lye had a comment about it... in other words, should the soap-making equipment be completely separate from the rest of the kitchen utensils?

50# of lye seems like an awful lot to purchase... how did you first buy lye when you were starting out? is there a way to buy smaller quantities?

At some point in the coming future, I fully plan to get on board with soap-making... I really appreciate all the information.

Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on August 07, 2009, 08:58:34 AM
And... how do you "insulate your molds"?

I place all my pringles cans together in a box, and then wrap that with an old blanket for about 18-24 hours.  When I taught a class for hte ladies from church, I had them all bring a cardboard OJ-concentrate container and an old towel.  they wrapped their soap in the towel and took it home to finish at home.


does home made soap lather up as well as store bought?
depends on the oils used.  there is a great site that kind of defines what different oils do.  Coconut, for example, lathers; olive is gentle; neem has slight anti-bacterial properties.  but olive makes a soft, almost dissolve in your hands soap

http://www.millersoap.com/soapdesign.html (http://www.millersoap.com/soapdesign.html)

Quote
also, does it leave film in the shower?
I cannot tell - the hard water stains are all that I see on my shower walls!  :P

Quote
My wife hates cleaning the shower and likes us to use the liquid soap.  Does anyone know how to make liquid soap that won't leave a film in the shower, or is it just made from a bunch of chemicals?
it is very chemically altered.  I have been meaning to experiment in this area, but have not gotten around to it.  get her a nice smelling bar of homecrafted soap from the farmers market as a special gift, and let her see how nice a bar of real soap is on her skin.   ;)

Thanks for all the information... more questions... do you use all the special clothing, etc. when you do your soapmaking? goggles, hair covering, rubber gloves, all skin covered up? I saw one website (from an Australian lady) who said that was essential. I think she was doing her soap-making inside.
my husband would like me to.  I wear an apron to protect my clothes because lye can fray a hole in jeans in about 3 minutes.  I also wear cheap plastic gloves while I am working with the raw lye while pouring it into the water.  and also when mixing the oils and lye-water.  and pouring the molds so I can touch the soap if I need to.  sometimes I will wear goggles.  not often.  but it makes hubby feel better.
The main thing I do is keep a bottle of white vinegar at hand with some cottonballs ready for dabbing on the lye-burn site.  it stops the burn.  which is interesting in itself for chemical reasons.  I wish I understood what that chemical process is, but chemistry is not my forte.  :-\

Quote
Also, are the utensils used in soap-making rendered no longer good for cooking once you've done this? It seems like one of the top comments about mixing the lye had a comment about it... in other words, should the soap-making equipment be completely separate from the rest of the kitchen utensils?
I have separate soaping utensils, pots etc.  But you would not need it.  my soaping pot still looks brand-spanking new.  someone said she used to use her stick blender for carrot soup, and it was stained orange.  when she started soaping, it turned white again. :)
the main thing would be to get all the soap off before you cooked in it.  the lye in the soap, whether in the pot or in the shower, looses its potency, for lack of a better term.  if you left the pot unwashed for 18 hours while your soap was insulated, and then again for the 4-6 weeks while it cured, the soap in the pot would be soap and you could use it on your body without a problem.  so basically, once the lye goes through the soaping process, it is not lye, but soap.  does that make sense?  I have 2 thermometers for my soap - one is a dedicated lye thermometer.  only used in lye.  the other is for the oils, but it is used in my kitchen for food all of the time.

Quote
50# of lye seems like an awful lot to purchase... how did you first buy lye when you were starting out? is there a way to buy smaller quantities?
50# of lye would last you about, well, 12 oz to a standard batch. so you get 8 batches from every 6 pounds, giving you a bit over 66 batches in a 50# bag.  I make 1-2 batches a year for the needs of my family and gifts.  Like I said earlier, lye used to be sold at Lowe's in 2# bottles.  if you cannot find it, ask at your farmers market - there is probably a soaper there who can point you in the right direction for purchasing it, or even might be willing to sell you a bit so you can try it.  most soapers I have met are very willing to share this knowledge with others, so ask!

Quote
At some point in the coming future, I fully plan to get on board with soap-making... I really appreciate all the information.
this is something I had always wanted to do, but took me  long time to start.  I love soaping now.  and I love sharing this knowledge!  good luck with your attempts, and let us know if you have any questions - there are at least 3 of us here who soap!

edit to include links  :D
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: NightOwl on August 07, 2009, 10:09:22 AM
I use separate dishes for soaping.  Just because I got complaints from the family about how everything served out of one particular container smelled and tasted like rose fragrance for months.

Protective gear:  Gloves, safety glasses, old long-sleeve clothes, a plastic drop sheet on the floor underneath, and a decontaminating shower when done.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 22, 2009, 06:47:11 AM
since there seems to be a good deal of interest in soap, I thought I would bump this up.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: mousemommy on December 02, 2009, 07:30:11 AM
I make goats milk soap from scratch - a little trickier than regular cold process because you have to be careful not to burn the milk with the lye - if anyone has any questions - ask away!! :D
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: NightOwl on December 02, 2009, 07:45:21 AM
Yeah I've made milk soap.  Beer soap too.  Both of them have potential to either get scorched or go volcanic if you don't do it right.  Luckily it's not that bad with a little practice.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: mousemommy on December 02, 2009, 08:38:56 AM
I love using beer in shampoo bars - works great in your hair unless you have really hard water.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: mousemommy on December 03, 2009, 08:00:36 AM
Here is a great book on Soap making:

"Soap Naturally" by Patrizia Garzena and Marina Tadiello
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on December 03, 2009, 08:28:25 AM
mousemommy,

You said you have done goat milk soap.  I have done it once, and had a number of interesting reactions.

I had read that your milk should be still very frozen, so we defrosted it just enough that we could stir it around (which means that a lot of it was totally defrosted so that we could break up the big frozen clump in the middle, but that was very crystal-y still)
as soon as we added the lye, it turned a bright yellow, like an egg yolk (store-bought, not farm-fresh)
I do not know if it was the recipe, or the temperatures - all my other recipes say to get everything to 90-100 degrees; this one said 110-120; would this 20 degrees make such a difference?
It traced VERY quickly once we added the other oils.
when I took it out of the molds - I use pringles cans - a lot of it had shrunk inwards.  I can't really explain it, but there were large air pockets and the soap around the air pockets was wrinkled and contracted, as if it did not like the molds, if that makes sense.

did I do something wrong with it?

it is very nice soap to use.  very soft and gentle.  and the lather!  mmmm.... by far my favorite that I have made so far.  but before I use the rest of the milk in my freezer, I want to know what I did wrong so I can fix it.  and there is very little on soaping sites about goat milk soap.  almost like those who do it want to keep it a secret  :(
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on December 03, 2009, 08:29:29 AM
beer in soap?  that is a new one for me.  do share the recipe - I am looking for a nice shampoo bar.....
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: mousemommy on December 03, 2009, 09:07:01 AM
This is what I do for goats milk soap.  I freeze my goats milk in ice cube trays.  Each cube is approx 1 ounce of milk.  I put a 5 gallon plastic bucket in my sink.  I put all of the goat milk cubes for my recipe in my bucket (still hard frozen).  Then over a period of about 45 minutes I add my lye.  I add a small amount, stir, set my timer for about 7 minutes and continue this process until all my lye is used - again about 40 minutes.  While I am doing that process, I am measuring my hard oils and melting them (just to melting point).  I then add my soft oils - I do not heat this mixture.  By the time I do all of this it usually coordinates that my lye mixture (which will melt the goats milk but really will not heat much thus prevent the milk from scorching and you wont get fumes) is ready to mix with the oils.  My temps on both are around 100-110 degrees.  I use a stick blender to achieve light trace and pour into molds.  Thats it - cure for about 4-6 weeks.  The soap will be a light creamy color and is awesome!!

If I need to clarify anything, let me know... :)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: NightOwl on December 03, 2009, 10:43:29 AM
Goat soap:  If it had a lot of air pockets, then it might have traced so quickly that it was like putting hard pudding in the mold.  Air bubbles would have been trapped inside.  I've seen this with trace-accelerating fragrances.  Try tapping the mold against the floor a few times to settle the raw soap.

Beer soap:  Just replace part of the water with beer.  The darker the better, maybe some kind of stout.  Make sure it's completely flat before adding the lye.  Otherwise it'll turn into a nasty caustic scorched-beer volcano.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: summer98 on December 03, 2009, 11:18:57 AM
I'm a soaper as well. I've recently started selling my products, and they seem to have been well-received. One note of advice I would definitely give to anyone who is doing it indoors is have very good ventilation while working with the lye. The lye-water reaction lets off some extremely toxic fumes. I always have the window open and the fan going, and leave the room for the first couple of minutes after I've finished pouring the lye into the water.
One other tip: always add lye or anything containing lye to anything else, NEVER vice versa.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Herbal Prepper on December 16, 2009, 10:55:04 AM
Thanks so much to everyone for posting their soaping info.  It is one of the skills on our "list" to learn, and thankfully we're progressing enough that it's much higher on that list than last year.  Something that I've noticed, however, is that there is a ton of info available on making bar soap, and much less on things like shampoo, dish soap (handwashing, not machine), laundry soaps, etc.  Has anyone tried making these? 

Also, we are beekeepers, and we have a lot of honey.  We'd like to add more honey-based products when we go to farmers' markets, craft fairs, etc., eventually.  But, for now, we'd like to use the resources we have (honey) to make our own skin supplies.  Any soap recipes/techniques including honey would be much appreciated.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: LvsChant on December 18, 2009, 12:13:47 PM
I don't know anything about soaping with honey products, but know I love the Burt's Bees stuff... if you could learn to make similar home-made things, it would be a beautiful thing. Their Repair creme has comfrey in it...
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: OC Celtic Lass on December 18, 2009, 12:40:55 PM
Thanks for the post!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Keeber on December 18, 2009, 07:52:41 PM
I make my soap in the $1 plastic shoe boxes you can get at any Dollar Store.  Just line them with wax paper, and pour the raw soap mixture in after it comes to trace.  snap lids in place and wrap them in a blanket for 18-24 hours.  I tend to get about 8-9 lbs out of one box. 

+1 on the stick blender.  My first batch of cold process soap took about 2 hrs to reach a trace like state.  I was using an old wooden spoon !

once I get the soap out of the mold, I use an old wire cheese slicer to get my bars to the same size. 

I miss the Roebic for lye, but I still have a few bottles... I don't know how long it would take me to use up a 50# sack of the stuff.
 
As far as Honey,  the heat from the saponification process actually cooks and caramelizes the sugars in the honey and gives the soap a really neat fragrance and texture.  Just be careful about what you put in the soap.   Lots of people are allergic to bee products and nuts ( peanut oil) and the soap does retain some of the natural oil product, especially if it is superfatted or you discount the lye too much.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: ncjeeper on December 18, 2009, 08:24:25 PM
I think you need to put all this info on a dvd and sell it. :)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: NightOwl on December 19, 2009, 03:30:43 AM
Quote from: ncjeeper
I think you need to put all this info on a dvd and sell it. :)

Several soapers have done that, on video and in books.  Search Amazon for "cold process soap making" and see what turns up.  The DVD titles are few enough that there might still be room in the market for something new though.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: OC Celtic Lass on December 19, 2009, 07:28:35 PM
You soaper preps are awesome!!!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Herbal Prepper on December 20, 2009, 09:14:46 PM
All the information here on making soap is really encouraging.  However, does anyone have any info on making liquid soaps, like shampoo, dish detergent, etc?  Thanks :)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on December 21, 2009, 06:44:57 AM
All the information here on making soap is really encouraging.  However, does anyone have any info on making liquid soaps, like shampoo, dish detergent, etc?  Thanks :)

my understanding is that this stuff is not soap.  it is detergent, and is a different kettle of fish.

I know you can turn your bar soaps into liquid soaps.
I know there are recipes for shampoo bars, but I have never found one I was interested in trying.
I know you can make your own laundry detergent.
I have read that someone made her own liquid dish soap, found it too much of a pain, and determined that a bottle from the store was not only the same in cost, but worked a ton better.  I cannot remember where I read that, but I will do a search and see what I can find.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: NightOwl on December 21, 2009, 08:50:25 AM
Making liquid soap is similar to hot-process bar soap, but with KOH instead of NaOH.  Potassium hydroxide isn't as common as ordinary lye.  It is available if you look around, though, at least in big bags from chemical suppliers.  The result resembles Dr Bronner's liquid soap - thin and runny but very potent.  Making it thick like a shower gel is hard to get right.

Book that teaches all about it:  "Making Natural Liquid Soaps" by Catherine Failor

It works great in foaming pump bottles for hand washing.  Works pretty well for laundry too.  Haven't tried it in the dish washer yet.  For bathing I'd suggest just using bar soap.  That or use the liquid soap in a foamer with a wash cloth.  Otherwise it's too runny to use efficiently in the shower.

If you want to test the basic idea before going through all the effort, get a little bottle of Dr Bronner's.  See how that works for you.  Then try making your own if you like it.  Note that a typical batch size is somewhere around 1.5 to 2 gallons. 8)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Herbal Prepper on December 21, 2009, 09:14:47 AM
Making liquid soap is similar to hot-process bar soap, but with KOH instead of NaOH.  Potassium hydroxide isn't as common as ordinary lye.  It is available if you look around, though, at least in big bags from chemical suppliers.  The result resembles Dr Bronner's liquid soap - thin and runny but very potent.  Making it thick like a shower gel is hard to get right.

Book that teaches all about it:  "Making Natural Liquid Soaps" by Catherine Failor

It works great in foaming pump bottles for hand washing.  Works pretty well for laundry too.  Haven't tried it in the dish washer yet.  For bathing I'd suggest just using bar soap.  That or use the liquid soap in a foamer with a wash cloth.  Otherwise it's too runny to use efficiently in the shower.

If you want to test the basic idea before going through all the effort, get a little bottle of Dr Bronner's.  See how that works for you.  Then try making your own if you like it.  Note that a typical batch size is somewhere around 1.5 to 2 gallons. 8)



Thanks for the info.  I'll check out that book.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: CivilDefense on December 22, 2009, 09:37:39 AM
My wife and i used to make tons of soap.. as far as molds.

Cardboard works really well, make it two bars wide and one bar thick. line with freezer paper. The advantage is that after it hardens you can tear away the cardboard without disturbing it too much so it can dry out in one big loaf.

we got all of our fats from the local shortning supply place, palm, soy, palm kernel even for hardness. I loved our tallow soap, and 8 years later it still works great.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Imperial Goat on December 31, 2009, 12:34:34 PM
This is awsome information!!!!

  I just wish I had the time and gumption to take on all the different homestead-type projects I read about.  Maybe someday.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: summer98 on January 08, 2010, 10:25:10 AM
A really great book on making soap some of you might want to check out is "The Natural Soap Book" by Susan Cavitch. Here's the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Soap-Book-Making-Vegetable-Based/dp/0882668889/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262971439&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Soap-Book-Making-Vegetable-Based/dp/0882668889/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262971439&sr=1-1)

It's helped me a lot, though I must admit I haven't tried any of her recipes.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Blu on January 21, 2010, 01:07:46 AM
Not sure how to deal with shower film.  Personally, I'd rather have good soap and deal with a little haze than have clear glass and itchy skin. 

There is glass that is made to not allow a film to develp on the market.  I have seen another brand that makes the glass ultra smoth so there is less pores for gunk to stick too.  Check you local glass shops. 

Here is one company I found on the net.   

http://na.en.showerguardglass.com/ (http://na.en.showerguardglass.com/)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Chris70 on February 21, 2010, 01:51:44 AM
How many bars of soap do you need for a year per person?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on February 22, 2010, 02:17:26 PM
How many bars of soap do you need for a year per person?


I do not know.  if you are making soap, it depends on the recipe.  a pure olive oil soap will last about 2 weeks, used once a day by 2 people.  A bar of plain white soap made from crisco and coconut oil will last my t children in their bath about 3 weeks (but they also leave it sitting in the water and wash the tub with it); the same bar of soap lasts about 3 months at the kitchen sink.  But a lard based soap with oatmeal will last at the kitchen sink 2 months.

basically, I can make 2 batches of soap a year, a nice "fancy" batch for us adults, about 40 bars, and a cheap batch for the kids (about 40 bars) and it lasts about 18 months.  I think.  but I also have gifted bars at Christmas, and had kids see how much of a bar they could stuff down the drain, so I am not sure that my times are correct.

so, I guess I do not have an answer for you  ;D
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: keepitlow on March 01, 2010, 04:18:51 PM
Been recasting my old scrap soap for now to keep $$ down for funding preps.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: CookingtoSurvive on March 12, 2010, 08:55:45 PM
My wife and I are very interested in making soap. Thanks for the great links and the rest of the great information.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Chris70 on March 13, 2010, 05:29:49 PM
Thank you Morning Sunshine.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Ozark Bound on March 17, 2010, 10:49:09 AM
Hi guys,

I have been making soap on and off now for about a year.  It is a fun project.  I actually went to Herbaria and saw how they make their soap.  Was very interesting.  Herbaira is one of the main soap suppliers for Whole Foods. She started out of her basement and now they have a store here in St. Louis.

I will second the book "The Natural Soap Book" by Susan Cavitch.  It is the best laid out book to learn from.

With that said, I am going to share some of my resources.  I did a LOT of searching to find where to go.  But since I am not planning on selling soap (I originally was, but found I liked it for fun instead), I will share some of the best places to get supplies, etc.

Lye - found it easiest to find at local True Value stores.  The smaller mom and pop hardware shops seem to always have pure lye.  Just read the labels.  It will be in the drain clog section. 

Sodium Hydroxide is for hard soap.  Potassium Hydroxide is for liquid soap.  Potassium Hydroxide is what is made with wood ash.

Carrier Oils - By far, I recommend Soapers Choice - http://www.soaperschoice.com/ (http://www.soaperschoice.com/)

Essential Oils - LOVE this place...and they have small samples of TONS of oils so you can try before you buy.  Liberty Natural  http://www.libertynatural.com/ (http://www.libertynatural.com/)  - they also have some packaging, clays, and other things that will be good for soap.

Forums - The two forums to read and get good info are Craftserver http://www.craftserver.com/forums/ (http://www.craftserver.com/forums/)  and  The Soap Making Forum  http://www.soapmakingforum.com/forum/ (http://www.soapmakingforum.com/forum/)

Last but not least, use one of the online soap calculators to know how much lye/oil to make the soap.

Oh, and I will give you one BIG suggestion.

Before you spend a ton of money, go to your local cheap grocery store and buy a big thing of lard.  Then get one bottle of the lye.  Make your first batch with those two ingredients and use a cardboard box lined with freezer paper.  This will give you a good idea of what is involved before spending dollars.

That is what I did and I STILL have lard bars around here.  They are good for washing dirty hands from the garden.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: LvsChant on March 19, 2010, 07:09:34 PM
Great post, OzarkBound! Thanks for the tip about buying lye. Although I have not yet tried soapmaking, I had heard that finding lye could be rather difficult as many places had stopped carrying it!

+1
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: OKGranny on March 19, 2010, 07:31:40 PM
Thank you Ozark Bound, soap making is one of those things I think maybe I'd like to try but have been unwilling to put out the dollars for all supplies if it turned out I would rather just buy someone else's homemade soap. I do enjoy making candles so have a ton of fragrance oils around which is one thing that got me thinking about soap.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: eleniontolto on March 25, 2010, 10:51:06 PM
This is great.  I've been wanting to make my own soap for quite a while.  I would like to try making my own lye too, but one thing I can't find is whether or not the proportions are the same.  Store-bought lye generally comes in a powder form, no?  I'm guessing 13 oz of powdered lye isn't the same as 13 oz of homemade lye water from wood ash.  So how do we convert this?  I've been looking for the answer to this online for some time without much luck.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: fritz_monroe on August 07, 2010, 07:20:39 PM
Bump.  This could also be a good one to write up for Save Our Skills.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: LvsChant on August 07, 2010, 07:43:04 PM
Would any of you soapers consider taking some photos next time you make a batch and post here? It would be so very much appreciated...
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: summer98 on August 08, 2010, 07:00:05 AM
Sure. Here's some pics I took a while back.

My setup, minus the molds and dish towels:
(http://i35.tinypic.com/ncnxxk.jpg)

One of my old molds, lined:
(http://i38.tinypic.com/29cphys.jpg)

Mixing the lye into the water. That's a silicone spoon, not a plastic one.
(http://i37.tinypic.com/1zbdsom.jpg)

The oils melting on the stove:
(http://i34.tinypic.com/zspi8n.jpg)

I don't have any for mixing the oil and lye or pouring the soap. I'll try to take some next time I make a batch. Basically, after the lye and water are mixed and the oil is melted you wait for everything to cool to the right temperature, add the lye water into the oil, and mix until its saponified.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: LvsChant on August 08, 2010, 09:31:16 AM
Thanks! Summer... you've made it look easy... I'd love to see the photos of the rest of the process, plus some of the finished product. I can't wait to try this... it will have to wait until we have moved, though... too much to do in too little time right now. I think we are moving right past you... from Ft. Worth to near Macon GA.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: summer98 on August 08, 2010, 11:29:28 AM
Here's some pictures of the finished product I had my spouse take for the website I'm trying to build. (Trying to build being the operative phrase.) These are a bit more involved than your basic soap, but I have fun doing it. I wouldn't consider any part of the soapmaking process hard. The main thing is that you have to follow a recipe if you want a standard product and that means weighing all of your ingredients. I have a digital scale I bought for about $10 which I absolutely love, but you can use a food scale for homesize batches. I make my soap in 3 and 6 pound increments. One thing you need to be careful of is to not inhale the lye fumes. I open a window before I pour the lye, turn on a fan right after I've poured it, and leave the room for a few minutes. I come back in twice to stir it and the fumes dissipate rapidly. They probably won't be a problem at all if you're making small batches.

(http://i35.tinypic.com/219neh3.jpg)

(http://i35.tinypic.com/2zsb2g0.jpg)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: LvsChant on August 08, 2010, 12:17:42 PM
That soap looks positively yummy.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Aelah on August 09, 2010, 07:33:18 PM
That pic of your soap is beautiful! I've made some soap, but not with that degree of artistry!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: CandyBabyE on August 10, 2010, 03:37:37 PM
Great Posts  ;D My daughter wants to learn to make soap. You all cost me a bet, because I told her no one uses lye in their soaps any more. Dang! Now she gets an " I told you so" moment.

Thanks for the links.

Title: Making soap?
Post by: lmeehan1332 on December 05, 2010, 05:48:14 PM
Soap to me any way is somewhat of a necessity and that would mean being able to make it would be a necessary skill to have. I have done some research on the traditional making of soap and as far as I can tell it seems you take animal fat and heat it in a pot until its liquid close to but not boiling then you add your lye water which is made by pouring water through wood ash in a particular way and then you pore that mixture and let it harden. If anyone could give me more specific directions or point me towards a book or resource it would really be appreciated.
Title: Re: Making soap?
Post by: ncjeeper on December 05, 2010, 05:50:27 PM
I think there is a couple of threads already on this.
You may want to "search" the forum. :)
Title: Re: Making soap?
Post by: Morning Sunshine on December 05, 2010, 07:44:21 PM
http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=10373.0 (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=10373.0)
(she appeared, offered a PDF, and disappeared.  but there is some good discussion there)
http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=4536.0 (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=4536.0)
(the thread I started with some links to first time instructions.  If you cannot find a local soaper willing to tutor you - check the farmers markets), it can be done by yourself.  The first time I soaped was without an experienced soaper.  just be careful and follow the directions.  Let me know when you decide to try, and I will try to be around to answer any questions during the process.  Also, some good discussion about soaping)

and I agree.  I remember as a kid, maybe 9 or 10 I read a book called the Endless Steppes about a Polish Jewish girl whose family is sent to Siberia at the beginning of WWII (that saved their lives, incidentally, because they were gone when the Nazis came through).  I remember her mom refusing all charity from a well-off friend, until he handed her a bar of soap, and she cried over it.  I remember that scene.  Maybe that is why I always wanted to learn to make soap.
Title: Re: Making soap?
Post by: 4bull on December 07, 2010, 08:09:56 PM
Stoped by the drug store and found 1 bar of lie soap 4.97
Miss shaped and ugly, badly raped.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: fritz_monroe on November 23, 2011, 04:08:22 PM
I stumbled upon a decent site on how to get lye from wood ash.  But the best thing is down near the bottom.  There's a link to a PDF on traditional soap making.
Lye from wood ash (http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_ashlye.html)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 23, 2011, 04:53:41 PM
the blog to which I linked in the first post here is almost dead.  they have promised to close the site by the end of the year.  so, I will repost that information here.  It was actually an email from my virtual friend who was guiding me through the process.
************
Ok, here goes the soap thing again! :)

For starters, I would go to www.millersoap.com. This is an incredible website!! From this website I learned that it is almost impossible to ruin a batch of soap. You might have to reheat it and do a “remake” –but from this site I got the confidence that enough effort would bring forth soap. They have a troubleshooting page and a “botched batch” page where people write in about their “terrible” soap that can’t be fixed and throw it away before they read the advice to at least reheat it and try again once before giving up. Lol


#2, If you are interested in making soap, I would go here for recipes: http://www.pvsoap.com/recipes.htm

I used the Cold Process #1 recipe from this site. Not only does it give you the recipe, it also tells you what utensils you’ll need.


#3 My husband made me a soap mold out of a piece of left over cedar wood and some extra wood siding we have for our house. It’s 12” x 11” and 3” deep. Roughly. We just used what we had. You can buy a plastic pan to mold it in, or pvc pipe cut longways,or whatever. You just want to be able to wrap it in a blanket. We lined our mold with a garbage bag and it just lifted right out. I have a piece of cardboard for a lid.


#4 Use a stick blender. I haven’t yet, but it’s supposed to cut the stirring time down to minutes!! If you do use a stick blender, especially for the first time, you want to know what soap “trace” looks like. I had to stop and have my husband stir while I went online and searched for a picture to see what we were trying to accomplish.

http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/coldprocesssoapmaking/g/glosstrace.htm

There, you don’t have to search. Hehehe! I stirred slowly for about an hour. I read a novel and my husband played Risk on the computer and I missed it changing colors but it was a great story so I didn’t mind too much. lol


So, basically, if you want to make soap you are going to mix the lye and water. Mine got to 170 F. So keep away from your kids!!!!! Don’t breath the lye for about two minutes after you mix it. If you accidentally do, don’t worry, you’ll be coughing. Then the odor is gone. Mix oils and heat to blend them. Wait for the lye water and oils to be between 90-100F. The trick is to have them CLOSE together in temps. I think my water was 96 and the oils were 97-98. This will help them blend. Then stir. It will get to the consistency of gravy; mine never got as thick as honey. (Or some people’s gravy, lol!) Then you pour into the mold and put freezer paper on the soap (you don’t have to do this, it’s supposed to keep down ash, but ash isn’t the end of the world, it’s just a white film on top of your soap). I used parchment paper, I’m not sure that did the trick. I put the cardboard lid on and wrapped it up in a blanket and left it alone for 18 hours. That might have been the hardest part for me!

That and waiting around for things to cool off. When both pots reached 120, I started putting them in the fridge for 5 mins at a time, taking them out and stirring and checking the temps. That helped speed it up!

If I do it again, I’ll use a stick blender and heat my mold up in the oven for ten mins so it doesn’t suck heat out of my soap. Then it won’t be a bit darker in the middle, it’ll be more uniform.

Now, my husband, who is a numbers genius/geek figured up that it cost $13.61 (approximately) worth of ingredients to make this soap. All of the ingredients costs me $19, with just over $7 of that being olive oil.

[NOTE: if you go to Millersoap.com, they have a few very neat charts. It will tell you what the different oils do, moisterize, condition, foam, whatever. So, while lard soap would be cheaper, it wouldn't be quite as nice as my olive/coconut/veg shortening recipe. Coconut oil is foamy.]

And, I bought some things, like two thermometers and a kitchen scale, the scale was $7 and the two thermometers set me back $6 apiece! Then I bought a pitcher for $0.97, wooden spoons for $1.37, ect.

So there is some investment. The nice thing is, if you try this and absolutely hate it, you can use the rest of your oils for cooking and pour the lye down the sink to unclog it. I’m not sure what to do with extra thermometers and stuff you don’t want to reuse, but all in all, it’s not too bad. I think I spend $40 in setting up with ingredients and utensils. Most of that is because I’ve only been married less than two years and I don’t have extra spoons or anything like that I could part with to just use for soap. My mom gave me a big pot she didn’t want anymore, so that helped.

I was somewhat surprised at how making it was a lot easier than I expected. I guess that’s why it’s called “cold process” soap. But I expected to stir this hot, bubbling toxic mixture until everything cooked together, and it really wasn’t like that at all. The lye does pretty much everything. When I poured the soap into the mold, it was really cool, like 80F, but the next day when I unwrapped it, it was quite warm to the touch. That’s the lye still at work.

We cut up the soap last night –we used a knife, everything I read said to use a wire and two chopsticks but we couldn’t get that to work—and there is 29 creamy white bars of soap drying on top of the entertainment center now!

Olive oil, coconut oil, and veg shortening, the recipe I used makes a nice white bar. My husband likes it, but I might eventually (I’m not sure I want to mess with this recipe, it worked, you know!) try to find a recipe with canola oil. I read that it lends a pink shade to the soap!

So, anyway, there it is.  easy soap.  and it is such nice soap too….  happy soaping, and let me know if it works for you!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on January 27, 2012, 01:36:31 AM
For goat milk soap, I combine mousemommy's advice of freezing the milk into ice cubes, (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=4536.msg125180#msg125180) with this recipe here:
http://www.thesage.com/recipes/recipes.php?.State=Display&id=98 (I quadruple it so that it is actually worth doing.)  I also get my oils ready and cooling before I start the lye/milk process since that ends up so cold from the milk ice cubes

the milk takes the place of the water with which you mix the lye

I like this soap.  it is very nice on my skin.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: sarababy99 on January 27, 2012, 08:43:31 PM
I have been wanting to start making soap for some time now, this is a great topic and lots of great info! Thanks!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Cocobella on March 11, 2012, 07:24:01 AM
I need advice!! I'm new to this and did not have success with my first batch. For whatever reason,
the soap did not harded (it was like 'pudding' when i put it in the mold). It still looks like pudding after two weeks.  My question is can I save it somehow? Can I remelt and add a little more NaOH or is it a total waste? I have been looking everywhere for troubleshooting on soapmaking and cannot find any sites - any links would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on March 11, 2012, 08:18:44 AM
I need advice!! I'm new to this and did not have success with my first batch. For whatever reason,
the soap did not harded (it was like 'pudding' when i put it in the mold). It still looks like pudding after two weeks.  My question is can I save it somehow? Can I remelt and add a little more NaOH or is it a total waste? I have been looking everywhere for troubleshooting on soapmaking and cannot find any sites - any links would be appreciated.

Have you tried millersoap.com?  I know they have a troubleshooting page.

I have never had this happen, so I cannot advise you.  I would like to know, however, what recipe you were using?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Cedar on March 11, 2012, 09:38:04 AM
For whatever reason,the soap did not harded (it was like 'pudding' when i put it in the mold). It still looks like pudding after two weeks. 

It does look like pudding when you put it into the molds. How long was it stirred for? Often that is an issue. How much oils did you use? That is also an issue. Did you follow the recipe to the letter? Did you weigh it or measure it? Were your temps right on? Did you use any perfume/'essential oil' in it that contained alcohol? Depending on the recipe,  I have seen soaps with a higher oil content or certain oils to take FOREVER to set up.

Can I remelt and add a little more NaOH or is it a total waste?

Can you check the pH? It may be possible to remill it, or to make it into liquid hand soap or shampoo.

Cedar
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: mrdan on March 11, 2012, 10:37:08 AM
In reviewing this thread, I noted that the website that I use is not listed, or at least I didn't see it.

http://www.SoapCalc.net/ (http://www.SoapCalc.net/)

This is the site recommended by Brian over at the Bubbatanicals podcast. I've made 6-7 batches of soap now with no issues. Each batch has been different, with different ingredients and different properties. While it's great to follow someone's recipe, I really like being able to play with my recipe in soapcalc and develop my own. That's especially helpful to me as I was using a BUNCH of beef tallow from a recently processed cow and I really wanted the recipes to include a lot of tallow to use up what I had. It takes a bit to get the hang of the calculator but once you do you can create whatever you want whenever you want, and print the recipes for later use so you can recreate your winners.

Edit: I forgot to add. Here is a tutorial on how to use soapcalc. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS39XbWv1vo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS39XbWv1vo)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on March 11, 2012, 11:09:24 AM
cool.  thanks, MrDan.  I am not yet so bold as to make my own recipes, but I am curious about doing so.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: mrdan on March 11, 2012, 02:08:37 PM
cool.  thanks, MrDan.  I am not yet so bold as to make my own recipes, but I am curious about doing so.

Even if you don't make the soap, it's helpful to play around with soapcalc. Or for fun take a recipe you already know and put it in there. That way you can see what the properties are. Once you've made it that far, I promise you'll start saying, "Hmm, what if I add shea butter, what happens to my conditioning metric?"

And then of course, you'll go all mad scientist and start making all kinds of cool creations!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Frugal Upstate on March 27, 2013, 07:11:42 AM
Just want to keep tabs on this thread, now that I've done my first soapmaking project!

If anyone is on Pinterest, I've started a board w/recipes, etc. . .

Soapmaking and DIY Personal Products (http://pinterest.com/jennfowler/soapmaking-diy-personal-products/)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: heliotropicmoth on April 12, 2013, 02:25:49 PM
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-zUFqXYjXGD8/UWVoDPEi46I/AAAAAAAAA0A/MdGQtBRbb2w/s640/IMAG1177.jpg)

Hey guys and gals,

I recently wrote a blog post on making soap to encourage newbies to make their own soap. Check it out if you are new to soap making, I hope it breaks it down for you. If you are a veteran soap maker, and want to tell me how I am doing it wrong, have at it.  ;)

http://www.littlecountryhouse.blogspot.com/2013/04/soap-making.html

Patrick

Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on April 12, 2013, 02:40:16 PM
oh what pretty soap.  It makes me laugh when people say that soap is too hard, or "why make it - you can buy it so cheap at the store" or when they run away afeared of the lye.  Lye is no more dangerous than bleach.  be careful and keep away from children and pets.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: heliotropicmoth on April 17, 2013, 10:33:12 AM
I agree, lye is dangerous but, with a few precautions it is quite safe to work with. There is something very satisfying about grabbing a bar of soap that you made, instead of opening a pre-packaged store product.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Frugal Upstate on April 24, 2013, 07:47:25 AM
Just FYI, I found a lady who had all the info for SAP values of oils and the formulas for calculating Lye  etc on a spreadsheet you could print out:  http://www.millersoap.com/soapsheetdwnld.html (http://www.millersoap.com/soapsheetdwnld.html)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: heliotropicmoth on April 24, 2013, 08:24:45 AM
Thanks Frugal,

Downloaded and saved. You can't always expect resources like soapcalc to be around when you need them. I always save a recipe on paper when I find one that works really well.

Patrick
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 06, 2013, 08:06:01 AM
by request, my lard soap recipe, adapted from here: http://www.millersoap.com/soapanimal.html#OatHoney

Oatmeal and Honey Soap (Kathy Miller)

32 oz. cold water (4 cups)
12 oz. lye crystals
2 oz. beeswax (melt with fats)
4 pounds lard (64 oz.)
12 oz. olive oil
8 oz. coconut oil
4 oz. cocoa butter
Fats and lye solution between 95-100 degrees, the lye a bit cooler.

[Oatmeal and Honey Soaps]

Add at trace:
2 T. - 1/4 cup honey (I confess, I found out at the last minute, I was short! I would go with the lesser amount for lighter color and better texture, but some folks LOVE their honey! :-)
1 - 2 T. bitter almond fragrance oil (you might prefer to use some cinnamon oil and/or ground cinnamon, or clove oil)
1 cup pulverized (fine) oatmeal or rolled oats - measure AFTER pulverizing


--------------
I made this as written for about 4 years, then decided to try without the oats and honey, and it works great.  It is one of my favorites.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: nkawtg on November 06, 2013, 08:44:58 AM
My adult daughter makes soap and it's quite good. She makes her own laundry soap as well.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: AvenueQ on November 06, 2013, 08:55:23 AM
Actually, you can make your own lye. All you need is some ash, water and a big container or a kettle if you want to boil it down.

So THAT'S why a guy from church asked if I wanted some ashes from his fireplace for soap-making!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: nkawtg on November 06, 2013, 01:46:11 PM
As I understand it, making lye from ash is a bit more complicated if you want consistency.
Here is a WikiHow article
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Lye (http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Lye)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: AvenueQ on November 06, 2013, 02:41:51 PM
Also, are the utensils used in soap-making rendered no longer good for cooking once you've done this? It seems like one of the top comments about mixing the lye had a comment about it... in other words, should the soap-making equipment be completely separate from the rest of the kitchen utensils?

I would definitely have dedicated soap making equipment. I've never made soap (yet), but in general anything that has contained caustic chemicals, especially if they're heated, should not come in contact with food. I know that for dyeing yarn, which involves metal salts and acid dyes, it's best to have a dedicated kitchen in addition to utensils.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Cedar on November 06, 2013, 02:46:48 PM
As I understand it, making lye from ash is a bit more complicated if you want consistency.
Here is a WikiHow article
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Lye (http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Lye)

The pH is really hard to get right. I don't make my own.

Cedar
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Cedar on November 06, 2013, 02:50:08 PM
One thing you need to be careful of is to not inhale the lye fumes. I open a window before I pour the lye, turn on a fan right after I've poured it, and leave the room for a few minutes.

Yikes.  I do all of this part outside.. They recommend you use a respirator when working with the lye and I have not, but I can say you probably SHOULD use one.

Cedar
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: nkawtg on November 06, 2013, 04:11:11 PM
Yep, you should see my daughter in her respirator. Luke, come to the dark side...
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: AvenueQ on November 06, 2013, 09:44:02 PM
SCORE! I just got 3 medium-sized stainless steel washing buckets from work today. I think one will be a dye pot for yarn and the other for making soap...I can use stainless steel, right?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Cedar on November 06, 2013, 10:26:58 PM
SCORE! I just got 3 medium-sized stainless steel washing buckets from work today. I think one will be a dye pot for yarn and the other for making soap...I can use stainless steel, right?

Yep stainless steel is perfect! Nice score..

The first time I made soap I used an old aluminum canner.. DO NOT DO THAT.. thankfully we were in the back yard. It was like 'little Chernobyl' for hours. DO NOT USE ALUMINUM!!!

Cedar
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Frugal Upstate on November 07, 2013, 05:34:48 AM
FYI-in the soap making class I took at the community college several folks just used a plastic pitcher to mix the lye/water in.  We used stainless steel pots for the fat & mixing the soap.  According to the instructor-it is fine to later reuse the pot for other things as it will just be really clean from the soap.

Personally I picked up a cheap pot to use, but just sharing what she said.

Of course I haven't actually made any soap at home yet...it's on my list of things to do this winter.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 07, 2013, 06:35:50 AM
my soap pot (stainless steel) is dedicated soap, and I use a plastic pitcher for the lye-water.  My stick blender is dedicated for soap.  My molds (3" pvc pipe, pringles cans, and silicone bakeware I find at garage sales) are dedicated to soap.  The only things that are not is ONE of my thermometers (the lye thermometer is dedicated; the oil one is not - it lives in my kitchen) and the cutting board and knife I use to slice the soap into bars.  At that point, I figure it is soap now, and I just give it a very good rinsing when I am done.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: archer on November 07, 2013, 06:40:29 AM
and I just give it a very good rinsing when I am done.
after all, it is soap, right? how do you clean soap? use a special soap cleaning soap?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Nicodemus on November 07, 2013, 08:46:39 AM
after all, it is soap, right? how do you clean soap? use a special soap cleaning soap?

With powdered water.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: heliotropicmoth on November 07, 2013, 11:23:08 AM
Lye is so cheap if you are making soap for yourself. I have a book with instructions on how to make your own lye, but its one of those preps that never go bad, and is so cheap, why would you spend the time and from what I have read, headache of making your own. You can put up enough lye to make soap for the rest of your life for less than $400. I get my lye from here in case you are interested.

http://www.essentialdepot.com/servlet/the-2/2-lbs-Food-Grade/Detail

Just make sure you buy your lye in 2lb containers. If you buy it in smaller quantities you will get ripped off, if you buy it in larger containers you will have to pay Hazmat shipping costs, and probably end up on some list.

Let me reiterate Cedars point, DO NOT USE ALUMINUM! Also, please don't mix your lye in the house. The fumes are really bad for you, always go outside and stay upwind from your container. I use a plastic container for mixing lye with water, coffee or milk. Here is a tip I learned from some professional goat milk soap makers. Freeze your milk and then mix your lye with it. If you don't, the milk will reach a temperature that destroys some of the benefits of using it.

Patrick
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: heliotropicmoth on November 07, 2013, 11:28:21 AM
With powdered water.

LOL

On a serious note, cleaning up your gear is simple. It is soap, and most of the Saponification happens in the first 10 minutes while using your immersion mixer. I clean my equipment in the sink right after I make soap, never had a problem.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: TheRetiredRancher on November 07, 2013, 04:12:17 PM
About making your own lye.  It can be made from wood ash.  It is really not too difficult, just time consuming.  However, it will never give you the same results as using caustic soda.  The reason is, Lye is a somewhat generic term.  Caustic soda which is what is commercially sold as lye is pure sodium hydroxide.  Lye made from wood ashes used to be called Pot Ash and is primarily Potassium Hydroxide (the name comes from the term Pot Ash where the chemists first identified it).  The Hydroxide radical is what is needed for the saponification reaction, so either one works.  However, sodium ion disperses small solids while Potassium does not.  Sodium also helps with foaming while Potassium does not.  Therefore the Caustic soda makes a more effective, sudsier soap than Pot Ash.  Also the type of wood and the soil conditions where it was grown can make a difference in the sodium/potassium ratio in the homemade Pot Ash, thus making it more irratic.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Cedar on November 07, 2013, 05:17:59 PM
Your soap also tends to be softer with ash lye.. they used to keep it in a crock.

Cedar
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: busymomx3 on November 18, 2013, 06:42:40 PM
Great thread!  My sister and I want to learn to make soap with Goat's milk since we have dairy goats.  I will be sure to come back to this thread.  Thanks for all the info.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Wanting2Learn on November 26, 2013, 10:17:02 PM
I made my first batch tonight. Once I got the stick blender goin it turnd to thick pudding in less then 1 minute. Is this normal? I used SoapCalc to double check the mix. I went with 8oz extra virgin olive oil, 7oz coconut oil, 1.5oz castor oil, 4.9oz water, and 2.4 lye. I put 4 or 5 drops of lemongrass oil for a little smell goodness.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: heliotropicmoth on November 27, 2013, 07:41:10 AM
Hey Wanting2learn,

According to the soapcalc I did on your values, I came up with 2.753 OZ of Lye to 6.27 OZ of water. If you want your scent to last, you need to use way more than 4-5 drops. Also, don't use extra virgin olive oil, you are just wasting your money. Use the cheapest bulk olive oil you can buy, eat your extra virgin.  ;)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Wanting2Learn on November 27, 2013, 08:29:26 AM
I used Soapgiuld.org to calculate the mix. It gave me the range and I went with the middle.  (My bad thinking I used soapcalc). I looked at so many sights I got the names mixed up. How much essential oil should I use to get a good smell? I told my wife I'd rather have non scented then over kill. Also do you do anything special to wash the stuff that lye has touched? I instantly rinsed then wash with hot soapy water.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 27, 2013, 08:36:06 AM
I always wash my stuff with vinegar - the acid counteracts the base in the lye.  Also, I never start soaping until I have my bottle of vinegar and some cottonballs on the table with the soap supplies
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Wanting2Learn on November 27, 2013, 08:51:34 AM
I did see the vinegar thing in some vids so I had a bottle out and ready just in case. From now on I'll soak a rag and wipe everything down after.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: nelson96 on November 27, 2013, 09:51:30 AM
Freeze your milk and then mix your lye with it.

Can you explain this better?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 27, 2013, 10:04:37 AM
the first time I made goat milk soap, I had my milk "slushy" - as in, it had been frozen, but was mostly thawed with ice crystals floating around.
My milk curdled, and it burned to a deep orange color.  I found help.

So now what I do is have my milk in ice cubes in the freezer.  When I am ready to do goat milk soap, the process is kind of backwards.  I mix my oils first and get them cooling.  Then I "slushify" 4-5 milk ice cubes.  When they are liquid-y, I add the rest of the frozen cubes.  Then I add the lye, stirring well so the lye hits the liquid.  It has to have the liquid to heat up enough to melt the rest of the cubes.  As soon as all my cubes are melted (and it is at this point a pale yellow color, so the milk is still changing chemically), I check temperatures.  If I have done it right, the oils are within 10 degrees of the lye milk - which sometimes is as low as 80.  All my other soaps I mix between 100-110, but the milk is always lower.  It still traces nicely, but I have had a few other issues.

1) tamp down your soap molds after you pour it - milk soap has a tendency to hold air bubbles more than other soaps.
2) leave it in your mold as long as 4 days before you remove it.  If it is a detailed mold (you know, like snowflakes, beehives, etc), I have left it for a few months.
3) let it cure at least 3 months before using.  You can safely use it before this, but it will "melt" faster in the shower.

---
as for scents, I generally use 1-4 Tablespoons, depending on the recipe and the scent.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Wanting2Learn on November 27, 2013, 10:13:03 AM
Hey Wanting2learn,

According to the soapcalc I did on your values, I came up with 2.753 OZ of Lye to 6.27 OZ of water. If you want your scent to last, you need to use way more than 4-5 drops. Also, don't use extra virgin olive oil, you are just wasting your money. Use the cheapest bulk olive oil you can buy, eat your extra virgin.  ;)

The extra virgin olive oil was given to me but I will keep in mind regular works good and saves $ thank you. Do you think the mixture I have setting up in the Pringles can will be okay with the lower amounts of lye and water? What will that effect?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: heliotropicmoth on November 27, 2013, 02:56:23 PM
What morning sunshine said. If you use liquid milk like you would water, you will cook your milk. Freezing milk is the way to go. Your soap may be fine, just let it cure for a month and try it on your hands, a small part of your hand with vinegar near by. Most of the recipe sites have what is called a "superfatting" adjustment, which makes sure your soap comes out on the just fine side not the OMG why did I test this in the shower side. As far as the essential oils go, it is really a preference, I am just saying 4-5 drops will probably not even register in your soap. I make 1/2 pound lye batches and probably use 1-3 ounces of EO (by weight not volume  ;) ) depending on what it is.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Wanting2Learn on November 27, 2013, 07:03:06 PM
(http://i1143.photobucket.com/albums/n624/mattsdad/IMG_20131127_204721.jpg)

I'm very happy they came out in awesome condition. I'll admit I had my doubts. Heck I'm happy I figured out how to put this pic on here. Now the hardest part will be waiting a month. I think I'll do another batch soon and change it up some. I plan on documenting the mixes. I never thought I get into soap making. Heck I even made 18 gallons of laundry soap in the last 2 week's and gave most of it to my friends, family, and neighbors. Feels like I'm being a little more self sufficient. Feels good.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 27, 2013, 07:05:55 PM
soaping is a fun hobby, and folks LOVE it as Christmas gifts.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Wanting2Learn on November 27, 2013, 07:09:12 PM
soaping is a fun hobby, and folks LOVE it as Christmas gifts.

Would you recommend a good recipe that I could do this weekend that would be ready in time for Christmas?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 27, 2013, 07:13:01 PM
um, yeah.  It would be. 

http://www.millersoap.com/soapanimal.html#OatHoney

I have started leaving out the oatmeal, and it makes it better, IMO.  We like a nice citrus scent to this one.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Frugal Upstate on November 27, 2013, 08:51:32 PM
:popcorn:
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Wanting2Learn on November 29, 2013, 11:26:12 AM
I couldn't resist. I used a 3 day old bar to wash my hands just to test it. Besides letting it dry out and having it last longer why do you let it set up/ cure so long? Worked great by the way. I'm amazed at how clean my hands feel.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Morning Sunshine on November 29, 2013, 11:59:01 AM
originally, I thought it was for the lye to have time to settle, but I no longer think that is right.  I read somewhere that it is to let the water in it dry out.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Wanting2Learn on November 29, 2013, 12:14:47 PM
originally, I thought it was for the lye to have time to settle, but I no longer think that is right.  I read somewhere that it is to let the water in it dry out.

So then using it early is kind of a waist. That's the only reason to let it cure so long?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Wanting2Learn on November 29, 2013, 03:03:10 PM
Hey Morning Sunshine. Sorry I  keep asking all these questions that probably seem silly to someone with experience but ... I found everything for the recipe you recommend except bees wax. Do you think it will be okay without it or is there a substitute or should I go the extra  mile (20 mile trip 1 way) to get it?
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Mullers Lane Farm on December 04, 2013, 09:53:10 AM
It has been a while since I visited this forum and this thread immediately caught my interest!

I've been making soap regularly since 1999.  I spent the first two years experimenting with various oils to come up with a recipe that lathers well yet still leaves my skin so I don't have to apply lotion.  I recorded a lot of the fatty acid information of each oil and put these into an Excel based lye calculator so I could experiment with 'what if' when changing recipes.  My Excel calculator was used as the basis of SoapCalc.net 

Since 2002, .I've made exclusively milk soap using 100% whole, raw (frozen) Jersey milk

I've even made potash (from hardwood ashes) a few times and have made soap from it.  Recommendation ... buy your lye!  It is very hard to balance the correct amount of oils & potash to give you a good soap.  Most times you will end up with a gloppy soap that is either lye heavy or heavy with oil.  :o

Couple things I did not see mentioned while quickly reading through the 5 pages is you should always WEIGH your ingredients, do NOT use volume measurements.  Every recipe you find, whether it is in a book or on the web, you should run it through a lye calculator.  Do not use wood spoons to mix your lye solution or soap.  Be careful when using a thin plastic for soap making.  Do not use plastic to weigh your fragrance or essential oils, they have been known to melt the plastic cups!  Eek!

Some fragrance oils (especially floral ones) and essential oils (hot ones like clove or cinnamon) will accelerate the trace.  To help with this, increase the amount of liquid in your lye solution and soap using cooler temperatures.

Make sure the temps you are soaping with are higher than the temperature that will melt your oil.  i.e. soaping at 90*F when using 92* coconut oil will cause a false trace because the oil is trying to solidify.

Milk soaping:  I totally agree that everything thing needs to be lined up and ready (including your oils!) before you start to mix the lye with the frozen milk chunks.  I do not slowly pour the lye into the frozen milk.  I dump about 1/3 of the lye on to the milk and stir to get it starting to melt, add about half the remaining and stir, stir, stir.  Then dump the remaining lye, stir well and then use the stick blender to break up the remaining frozen milk and thoroughly incorporate the lye.  Immediately pour your milk/lye solution into the waiting oils.

Insulation of soaps ... I always insulate by stacking my slab molds and wrapping in a couple of wool blankets.  Some folks will put their molded soap in an oven heated to 150-170 (turn off the oven!) and leave it in there for insulation.  Some folks put their soap in a cooler.  Others use a heating pad (useful when making individual molds) and cover with a towel.  The chemical reaction between the oils (acid) and the lye (base) is exothermic (it produces heat), otherwise known in the soaping world as 'gelling'.  Since my soaps want to gel anyway, I encourage it by insulating the molds.  Saponification is complete when the soap has cooled down and all the active lye has been neutralized by the oils.

Why the 'cure' period then?  It is all about evaporating the excess liquid used in the lye solution.  This makes your soap harder (thus lasting longer) and like a good pot of bean soup or wine, it gets better with age.

In one of the posts, I saw where someone using Pringle cans had 'bubbles' and wrinkles.  This was caused by the soap getting too warm in the mold and actually coming to a slow boil!

In another post, someone stated that the saponification was mostly complete within 10 minutes.  This is so NOT true!  Within 10 minutes, if using a stick blender, your soap will be Emulsified, but definitely NOT saponified!

One last thing I want to touch upon (and I know this has caused many an uproar because of what folks have read or heard).  If you spill lye or get lye or lye solution or unsaponified soap on you, please, Please, PLEASE USE WATER AND NOT VINEGAR!!!

The MSDS (material safety data sheet) for NaOH and KOH clearly states using WATER for lye spills.  I know, I know, I know .... SO many people on the web and in books say use vinegar ... well repeating a lie doesn't make it true or safe.

Water will dilute the lye, making it less caustic, and washes it away.
Vinegar will create a chemical reaction that produces heat which can make a lye burn worse.

Try this simple experiment.  Take a mild base like baking soda and add water to it.  What happens?  Nothing!!  Take this same base (baking soda) and add a mild acid, like vinegar.  What happens?  A chemical reaction that bubbles and froths.  Since the baking soda is such a mild base, it does not produce heat, but you can actually see the chemical reaction take place.  Now a third experiment.  Add vinegar to the baking soda/water mixture.  What happens?  Depending on the amount of baking soda and water, most of the time there is little to no reaction.  Why?  Because the base has been diluted.

I do have a couple of web page pictorials about making soap; a Cold Process (http://www.mullerslanefarm.com/soapmaking.html) and Hot Process (http://www.mullerslanefarm.com/cphpmilksoap.html) (using milk no less!)

The CP page also has recipes and links to suppliers and lye calculators.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Mullers Lane Farm on December 04, 2013, 09:55:16 AM
Wanting2Learn.  Even though I'm a beekeeper, I do not use beeswax in my soaps.  I find it reduces the amount of the lather. I prefer to use oils that create a hard bar like Lard, Olive oil, Tallow, Palm Kernel, Coconut, et al
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: r_w on December 06, 2013, 12:39:08 PM
So then using it early is kind of a waist. That's the only reason to let it cure so long?

Some soap still has active lye--just like concrete is still chemically combining long after it has "set."

My wife touches a bar to her tongue to see if it is cured enough, it will tingle like touching a battery if it has any lye left. 
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Wanting2Learn on February 09, 2014, 04:02:03 PM
I have a quart bag full of some store bought and and home made lye bar soap chunks and pieces. I'm searching for idea's on melting and mixing it. I considered using an old pot to try it and poor it in a pringles can. Has anyone done this? Suggestions are welcome. Please and thank you.
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Frugal Upstate on February 09, 2014, 08:39:23 PM
I have a quart bag full of some store bought and and home made lye bar soap chunks and pieces. I'm searching for idea's on melting and mixing it. I considered using an old pot to try it and poor it in a pringles can. Has anyone done this? Suggestions are welcome. Please and thank you.

That is called "rebatching" soap.  If you google that phrase you will find tons of information.

Here's one set of directions, I'm sure you can find many others, videos etc :)  Soap Making Resource--rebatching soap (http://www.soap-making-resource.com/milled-soap.html)
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: Mullers Lane Farm on February 10, 2014, 09:46:51 AM
Wanting2Learn,
The difficulty you will come up against is the dryness of the soap. 

What you will want to do is shred the soap you have into little pieces.  For every pound of shredded soap (about 2 cups) add about 1 Tablespoon of liquid. Mix this well and leave covered overnight. You want the soap shreds to be damp (not wringing wet!)  Put these in a crock pot on low and allow them to melt.  It could take any where from 15 minutes to an hour.

This will not be liquidy or even pourable, more like a cornmeal mush or mash potato consistency. Spoon this into your pringles can. You will want to 'bang' you can on the counter after every scoop so you minimize the air pockets.  Let it sit this way for 24 hours or so.  Peel off the can, cut the soap and allow to dry.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: slowpoke on February 15, 2014, 08:06:38 PM
You can pick up lye from amazon if you cant find I in your local hardware shops. Just a little tip from a future soap maker












Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: oktheniknow on January 04, 2016, 11:19:47 PM
Wife is very sensitive to fragrances and chemicals and uses soap berries to wash clothes with in the washer. All natural, and can be re-used often. Also, just bought an "all in one" soap from boodaorganics that touts that it can be used as a soap, for shaving, or as a shampoo. Wife likes it, I haven't tried yet, will report back when do. May be an option for those who haven't gotten into soap making yet.
For traveling, I like the idea of taking a bar of soap for bathing, shaving, and shampooing with instead of separate items plus not being hassled at the airport with TSA looking at liquids. 
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: bsteimel on April 30, 2018, 08:44:04 AM
I see there are a bunch of soap makers on the forum here and have posted some great information.  My wife has jumped full on into soap making and has now been making soap for a few years.  In addition to being a full time Mom she runs a home goods and soap business.  She sells her soaps at the local market and online.  We are on the business directory here at TSP.  She really enjoys it and this year our new adventure is liquid soap.  If there are any questions she is happy to answer them about making soap. 

The original post asks where to buy supplies, we get most of our supplies from either brambleberry.com, bulkapothecary.com, or from Amazon.  We get most of our bottling and packaging from speciality bottles.  We got our molds from Amazon and mostly use flexible silicone molds.  The big old wood molds are great, but having a bunch of smaller molds around provides a better flexibility to create small or large batches. 

The original post also mentions difficulty buying lye, we have found no issue.  You can get batches from both of the websites i stated or even just from Amazon.  They also sell lye at your local home center/hardware store under usually a drain cleaner.  Just make sure the bottle says 100% lye.  That kind of lye is usually meant for bar soap, but for liquid soap we usually buy it online.  Someone also stated to test your soap to make sure all of your lye and oil has saponified (the chemical reaction that happens to lye when mixed with water and fats) is to test it with your tongue, I wouldn't recommend this.  You can buy PH strips really cheaply from Amazon or anywhere.  Simply mix some soap with a very small bit of distilled water and get a PH reading.  Usually your soap will be between a 7 and a 8.   Usually soap will completely saponify in a couple of days, but it takes weeks for the water to evaporate out of the soap for it to get hard enough to use. 

To make sure you are making a soap that will work for your application use a soap calculator like soapcalc.  You put your recipe in and it spits out all of the properties like cleansing, brittleness and all kinds of other properties.  This provides a great approximation on how it will work for your specific application. 

One last bit of advice on soap recipes is to double and triple check your measurements.  Always make sure to stick to the same measurement method with all your ingredients.  Ounces by weight and ounces by volume are not the same things and can certainly trip you up, especially when scaling up a recipe.  Don't use recipes that don't specify fluid ounces or ounces by weight and we always like to convert everything to grams to eliminate the confusion.  Get a decent kitchen scale and it will help you make soap and have a lot of other uses in the kitchen and the house. 

I'm Bryan and have been a long listener of TSP and my wife is Alexandra, who has always been a very active member of the conversation that starts with , "So i was listening to TSP today and ..."
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: LvsChant on April 30, 2018, 11:49:59 AM
Bryan, Thanks so much for posting information about your experiences with soapmaking... I really love hearing news like this.

(This was always one of my favorite threads... so glad it got bumped up again).

Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: AvenueQ on May 01, 2018, 09:11:05 AM
One last bit of advice on soap recipes is to double and triple check your measurements.  Always make sure to stick to the same measurement method with all your ingredients.  Ounces by weight and ounces by volume are not the same things and can certainly trip you up, especially when scaling up a recipe.  Don't use recipes that don't specify fluid ounces or ounces by weight and we always like to convert everything to grams to eliminate the confusion.  Get a decent kitchen scale and it will help you make soap and have a lot of other uses in the kitchen and the house. 

I prefer to measure in grams too, that's why I bought the OXO 11 pound scale since it can do both. I've found potassium hydroxide harder to find for liquid soap, fortunately there's a supplier where I used to live in Denver that stocks it: https://www.sciencecompany.com/Default.aspx (https://www.sciencecompany.com/Default.aspx). They have sodium hydroxide too, plus some other supplies that can be useful (glass stirring rods, for example).
Title: Re: Soap Making
Post by: David in MN on May 01, 2018, 10:49:20 AM
Growing up in aerospace education, I report all data as imperial (metric). If you discipline yourself to always report both confusions don't arise.

I did this in industry as well and it really helped on international projects or with other engineers born outside the US.

I tend to prefer doing actual calculations in metric because conversions are cleaner but my brain runs on imperial. My brain can sanity check a pound of flour better than 1000 grams.