Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Making Liquid Soap with Glycerin

Traditionally you would have to use water to dissolve KOH (potassium hydroxide) then mix with melted butter and oil in a crock pot.  Then you have to go through hours of "cooking"... erg... that's why I don't make it often because it's such a pain in my axx.  I would make a big pot and save the paste to use for months until I have to do an other pot.  Then one day, I heard you can make liquid soap using glycerin instead of water to dissolve potassium hydroxide, and this will shorten the "cook" time by more than 50%!  Ok, I'm totally in for this, sign me up!  Time for experiment!

Heat up glycerin and dissolve lye (I don't know why it turned a little amber color)

Melted butter and oil in a crock pot:

Mix in the glycerin lye solution:

It got very bubbly:

Getting translucent about 10 minutes and thicken up:

I turned on the crock pot on low and let it "cook" for a couple hours.  Turned it off and let it cooled down, it feels like really thick taffy :
Viola!  Liquid soap paste!  I'm in love with glycerin made liquid soap method now!  I can never go back to the traditional way!  I'm doing a little silly dance in my kitchen right now...

25 comments:

  1. What a great experiment and your photography captures each phase just so beautifully. I see taffy!

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  2. Oh that's a great article and I love seeing all the processes in pics! Cheers for that.

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  3. Hi! Any chance of getting the recipe? I would love to try that. Thank you for a great post.

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  4. Nice pics to see the process and great article! I would like to know how much of the ingredients did you use for this batch? Thank you for a great post!!

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  5. As this is now September I don't think the above questions are going to be answered. I'm going to say any recipe for liquid soap would work. Simply replace water with glycerin and proceed as above. Dilution may be slightly different, so experiment a little. Have copied and pasted this little tip from the wonderful little youtube link below.
    "start with 1 part paste to 0.75 part water. you can always add more water, but it's a pain to thicken up if you added too much."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6brP--yQpU

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  6. You say liquid soap "paste". Are you supposed to add water to make it liquid soap?

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  7. @ Debbie, yes, you make liquid soap paste first (like really thick taffy), then add distilled water to the concentrate to thin it down to normal liquid soap. I use 1:1 ratio of water to paste because I like my liquid soap thick. But there's to a point the paste won't dissolve in the water anymore and that's when you know it's as thick as it can get. Have you made liquid soap from scratch before? If not I suggest you not to try the glycerin method first.

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  8. This is very cool, thanks for the post! I tried making it today for fun and for some reason I couldn't get the paste to be get translucent in 10 minutes. It was still very murky. Do you maybe know what the temperature of the glycerin and the oils? Or does that even matter? hmm...

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    1. The hotter the temperature of the lye and oil the faster it gets done. Unless your recipe has a lot of oil/butter that contains high unsaponifiable content, that could be why it's not translucent. Take a break, put your crockpot to low and go back to stick blend again.

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    2. Wow! thanks for your quick response!

      So if I got this right, I only have to stir the KOH in the glycerin until it's just dissolved (but the temperature of the glycerin does not have to exceed 200F to melt the KOH?) and apply that to room temperature oil to slow down the process? On my last batch, I've used coconut, olive and castor oil and with both oil and glycerin w/KOH near 170F for both. Maybe decreasing the temperature and stick blending will help?

      It sounds crazy, but I made two batches today without much success. Please help~ :(

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    3. Theoretically it should work but I never tried that low of temperature. The point of using glycerin is to make instant liquid soap, no reason for me to slow down the process by soaping cool. I don't measure temperature but I know it's really hot, KOH won't melt nicely if the temperature of glycerin is not high enough. Decreasing temperature will not help your process, only slows it down. If your 2 batches didn't get saponified, meaning not transparent, either your recipe calculation is incorrect, or you slowed down the saponification too much. If everything is measured correctly, it may just need more days to finish it's process. Or try to cook it in low for hours to see if that speeds up.

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    4. Wow, you're awesome with your quick responses! I tried to make another batch today and I guess the glycerin (at 200F) wasn't hot enough since the KOH flakes weren't dissolving. I see that your KOH glycerin batch is clear but mine was gelatinous and white. I guess I should heat the glycerin more?

      But the good news is that the overall batch (minus the small bits of KOH flakes) is looking good in my crock pot. It's getting clearer as it sits on low for longer. I'll be doing the clear water test soon. Wish me luck!

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  9. Hi I have tried to make this but it didn't get to that lovely clear honey stage that you got! I don't know why. Did you blend continuously through the phases with a really fast stick blender? I've just got a cheapo one and wonder if that was my problem. I've let it sit for a while, but it's not as lovely and clear as it should be. What temp should the oils be before you put the lye/glycerin solution in? Help. I really want to get good at this, as I love Dr Bronner's but my bank balance doesn't.

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    1. Your lye glycerin should be hot and so are your oils. And yes, stainless steel stick blender full power. I've tried it with cooler temperature because I want lighter color and it took much longer to get to that clear stage. Temperature does matter, also clarity depends on your recipe and how much you superfat (lye discount). Some oils have more unsaponifiables, for example palm oil, and that would effect the clarity. also if you superfat (lye discount) as much as the cold process soap you are not going to get clear soap, you'll get cloudy or transparent soap.

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  10. I really don't want to mess this batch up, so one more time for the slow kid in class. My recipe calls for 9.45 ounces of distilled water, instead I want to use glycerin. Would I use the same amount of glycerin as the water? And temperature wise, 200 degrees for both lye mix and oils?

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    1. My liquid amount is usually 3 times the KOH amount. I tried less liquid to dissolve KOH but not as successful. You probably need higher than 200F to dissolve the lye. Don't worry so much about high high the temperature gets, just as high as it dissolves but not boiling. Higher the temperature shorter the saponification process. Cooler temperature will still work, just takes longer that's all.

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  11. When do you add colour and fragrance?

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    1. I don't add color, just let it stay at golden amber. I add fragrance before I need it.

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  12. When making soap paste I usually put an excess of lye. (when I make bars of soap I super fat)
    How do you calculate the amount of lye?

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    1. I don't use excess KOH, because if I do I have to readjust the pH level after. I usually superfat both bar and liquid soap. I use online soapcal for calculating my formulations.

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  13. Houston we have a problem. My second time around and I had no where near the results I had the 1st time. I did everything I did before, even got to the gel phase and translucent, but I continued stick blending because I got distracted. Next thing I know I've got suds, bubbles and liquid. I let this batch cook for 3 1/2 hours and still liquid, but suds and bubbles are gone.

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  14. Okay....This is an update to my toooooo liquid, liquid soap. I was so disgusted I left my liquid suppose to be paste in the crock pot and went to work. I came home to find that the whole thing solidified. What now, do I dump this batch or start re heating and add my distilled water?

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    1. Sorry to reply so late, I have been traveling with limited internet access. It is perfectly fine for the paste to solidify, all you need to do is add water to dilute it. I would try 1:1 ratio first and add more water (distilled) if you want it thinner. If you want to store it away for future use then don't dilute it, just scoop and pack in a container and put it away in a dark cool place away from sunlight.

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