Author Topic: Soap Making  (Read 48429 times)

Offline Frugal Upstate

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #120 on: November 27, 2013, 08:51:32 PM »
:popcorn:

Offline Wanting2Learn

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #121 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.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #122 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.

Offline Wanting2Learn

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #123 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?

Offline Wanting2Learn

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #124 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?

Offline Mullers Lane Farm

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #125 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 and Hot Process (using milk no less!)

The CP page also has recipes and links to suppliers and lye calculators.

Offline Mullers Lane Farm

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #126 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

Offline r_w

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #127 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. 

Offline Wanting2Learn

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #128 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.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 04:22:16 PM by Wanting2Learn »

Offline Frugal Upstate

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #129 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

Offline Mullers Lane Farm

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #130 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!

Offline slowpoke

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #131 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













Offline oktheniknow

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #132 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. 

Offline bsteimel

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #133 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 ..."

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #134 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).


Offline AvenueQ

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #135 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. They have sodium hydroxide too, plus some other supplies that can be useful (glass stirring rods, for example).

Offline David in MN

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Re: Soap Making
« Reply #136 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.