Bigger masterbatch idea..will it fly?

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

Rick Jarvis

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
67
Reaction score
52
Location
Bothell, WA
So moving ahead with my production levels..taking it up a little notch. I have been "masterbatching" individual containers of lye and oils that make one batch for me. I make up around 12 sets at a time which lasts less than a week and is a huge pain to replenish. 12 containers of lye and 12 of mixed oils is a lot of measurements and is tedious.

So I am thinking about ramping up. Here is my idea. Make a batch of about 3 gallons of oils and the corresponding amount of lye water. Mix the oils and put them in gallon jugs and set them in my sous vide setup to keep them warm. Same with the lye...put the corresponding amount in a HDPE carboy and then when it's time to make a batch....pour out the right amount of oils into a container and then the lye and poof I have everything at the right temp and right amount of oils for one batch. I make 4 or 5 batches a day.

This seems pretty straightforward and should work. A lot less time and measuring. However there are wise soap wizards that live in these pages. Am I missing anything, doing it as I propose?

Thanks for your input.
 

AliOop

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
5,087
Reaction score
8,663
Location
US
I do something similar to that, only my oil mix is kept at room temp in an HDPE bucket that I purchased at a food service store. Although the bucket has a spigot, the cooled oils are too thick to come through it. So first I use a big stir stick or paint stirrer attachment on my drill to mix them up well. Then I scoop them out into a bowl for weighing, and microwave them to warm up just enough to avoid false trace.

My master-batched lye is a 50% solution. Although I almost always use a 40% lye concentration, master-batching at 50% at leaves me room to add water for dissolving sodium citrate and sorbitol, which I use in every batch except my ZNSC soaps. The soapmakingfriend calculator does all the math for me with the master-batched lye and additional liquid, UNLESS I'm also using vinegar. Then the calculator doesn't work correctly, and I have to calculate the additional lye myself.
 

Carly B

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
446
Reaction score
625
Location
Baltimore
That's what I've been planning on doing once I retire in a couple weeks. I have master batched lye for a while, but this weekend I'm going to the Restaurant Store near me and getting a 6 quart bucket with lid, I'm going to melt and mix everything and put it in the bucket, and I can scoop out as little or as much as I want. 6 quarts may not seem like much, but I usually make soap a pound at a time, so it will last long enough.
 

AliOop

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
5,087
Reaction score
8,663
Location
US
Recycled and cleaned laundry detergent containers make excellent lye solution storage containers. They are opaque with no-drip spouts, and each one holds about a gallon.

I actually mix the lye solution in a bigger RubberMaid container that has a mouth big enough to allow for easy stirring. When the solution has cooled, I place the laundry detergent container in my deep laundry sink, and put a funnel in the pour spout. With PPE on, I pour slowly from the mixing container into the storage container. Using the sink means that any splashes or drips are contained and easily washed down the drain.
 

Tara_H

Mad scientist
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
1,149
Reaction score
3,435
Location
Ireland
Recently I've taken to keeping the oils in smaller bottles - I was using a big bucket and scooping from it but I found it a bit hard on the back. Given that I had a bunch of empty olive oil bottles, I just poured the mixed and melted oils back into those. That lets me remelt just a bottle at a time and weigh out what i need by pouring from the bottle.
 

AliOop

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
5,087
Reaction score
8,663
Location
US
BTW @Rick Jarvis congrats on scaling up - sounds like business is going well for you. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
 

Rick Jarvis

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
67
Reaction score
52
Location
Bothell, WA
Recycled and cleaned laundry detergent containers make excellent lye solution storage containers. They are opaque with no-drip spouts, and each one holds about a gallon.

I actually mix the lye solution in a bigger RubberMaid container that has a mouth big enough to allow for easy stirring. When the solution has cooled, I place the laundry detergent container in my deep laundry sink, and put a funnel in the pour spout. With PPE on, I pour slowly from the mixing container into the storage container. Using the sink means that any splashes or drips are contained and easily washed down the drain.
WOW great idea..I just recruited one of my laundry jugs for the exact same purpose..thanks for the idea.
 

jcandleattic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
4,052
Reaction score
3,739
Location
Stuck in my head
I do basically what AliOop has said - I masterbatch 200 lbs of my recipe oils at a time, and store in 8 large 5 gallon buckets (each will hold about 25 lbs of my recipe) stacked on top of each other in 2 rows, 4 high.
For my lye, I masterbatch 12 lbs of a 50% solution (so I can adjust depending on size of batch I make) in a 3 gallon bucket and then let that sit overnight to cool down. Next day I add any extra water that may have evaporated out, and then transfer to a large well cleaned out laundry detergent jug.

I do it this way because then at time of soaping there are only 4 measurement weights I need to do - my batch oils for the size I want to do, my lye solution, and the extra water to get it to the solution it needs to be, and finally my scent ratio weight.
Super easy, and I can make roughly 8-12 3 lb batches of soap within an hour.
 

Rick Jarvis

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
67
Reaction score
52
Location
Bothell, WA
I do basically what AliOop has said - I masterbatch 200 lbs of my recipe oils at a time, and store in 8 large 5 gallon buckets (each will hold about 25 lbs of my recipe) stacked on top of each other in 2 rows, 4 high.
For my lye, I masterbatch 12 lbs of a 50% solution (so I can adjust depending on size of batch I make) in a 3 gallon bucket and then let that sit overnight to cool down. Next day I add any extra water that may have evaporated out, and then transfer to a large well cleaned out laundry detergent jug.

I do it this way because then at time of soaping there are only 4 measurement weights I need to do - my batch oils for the size I want to do, my lye solution, and the extra water to get it to the solution it needs to be, and finally my scent ratio weight.
Super easy, and I can make roughly 8-12 3 lb batches of soap within an hour.
So just to be sure. If my former single batch mix had x amount of water and x amount of lye= my lye water. When I make a masterbatch of 6x of lye and 6x of water when I go to pour off 1 batch worth of the lye water mix...it is the total of water and lye amount for a single batch that I would use right? I want to make sure the "weight" of the lye water is the same as the lye and water mixed together. Sorry for such inelegant wording/
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
8,777
Reaction score
9,852
Location
Western Illinois, USA
I want to make sure the "weight" of the lye water is the same as the lye and water mixed together. Sorry for such inelegant wording/
When you NaOH weighs 100 grams and you mix it with 100 grams of Water, your lye solution weighs 200 grams. The only time it will weigh differently is IF some water evaporates off and you don't add it back in, OR if you leave your solution uncovered in a very humid environment and the lye attracts more water to it from the atmosphere. (Or you pour some off to use it, of course.)
 

AliOop

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
5,087
Reaction score
8,663
Location
US
So just to be sure. If my former single batch mix had x amount of water and x amount of lye= my lye water. When I make a masterbatch of 6x of lye and 6x of water when I go to pour off 1 batch worth of the lye water mix...it is the total of water and lye amount for a single batch that I would use right? I want to make sure the "weight" of the lye water is the same as the lye and water mixed together. Sorry for such inelegant wording/
@Rick Jarvis I believe what you are asking is whether the 50% lye solution can be used as-is, right in your soap batter. Well yes, technically it can, but most soapers use something between 30%-40% and find that easier to soap with.

If one is starting from a 50% solution, how do you determine the amount of additional liquid to add to your master-batched lye solution for any given recipe? The easiest way is to use the soapmakingfriend lye calculator. In section 1, select YES for masterbatched lye, and put in 1:1.

Then in section 3 (entitled "Amount of Liquid in Recipe"), enter your target lye concentration. For instance, if your typical recipe calls for a 33% lye solution, you would enter that, or a 2:1 liquid:lye ratio, since they are the same thing expressed two different ways.

Then put in the rest of your oils and additives. When you look at the final recipe, it will provide you with a masterbatched lye solution weight, and an additional liquid weight. Ta-da!

You can also do these calculations manually, but I'll let someone else explain that if you are interested in figuring that out.

The other option is to masterbatch your lye solution at exactly the same ratio that you use in your recipes. If you always use a 33% solution, and don't need additional water for dissolving sugar, salt, or other additives, then by all means, make your masterbatch at 33% instead of 50%. That means for every one ounce of lye, you would mix it with 2 oz of water. You would still select the masterbatched lye solution option in SMF, but you would show the ratio in Section 1 as 2:1 instead of 1:1. You would use that same ratio in Section 3, below. Then your recipe will show just a masterbatched lye solution total, with no additional liquid.

If you are using another calculator that doesn't have a masterbatch option, you would simply add the lye number in the recipe with the water number in the recipe, and that would be the weight of your masterbatch solution.

Make sense? :)
 

Rick Jarvis

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
67
Reaction score
52
Location
Bothell, WA
When you NaOH weighs 100 grams and you mix it with 100 grams of Water, your lye solution weighs 200 grams. The only time it will weigh differently is IF some water evaporates off and you don't add it back in, OR if you leave your solution uncovered in a very humid environment and the lye attracts more water to it from the atmosphere. (Or you pour some off to use it, of course.)
Ok that makes sense. I don't have at present more than one recipe. I love the one I have. So off I go..thanks.
 

Rick Jarvis

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
67
Reaction score
52
Location
Bothell, WA
@Rick Jarvis I believe what you are asking is whether the 50% lye solution can be used as-is, right in your soap batter. Well yes, technically it can, but most soapers use something between 30%-40% and find that easier to soap with.

If one is starting from a 50% solution, how do you determine the amount of additional liquid to add to your master-batched lye solution for any given recipe? The easiest way is to use the soapmakingfriend lye calculator. In section 1, select YES for masterbatched lye, and put in 1:1.

Then in section 3 (entitled "Amount of Liquid in Recipe"), enter your target lye concentration. For instance, if your typical recipe calls for a 33% lye solution, you would enter that, or a 2:1 liquid:lye ratio, since they are the same thing expressed two different ways.

Then put in the rest of your oils and additives. When you look at the final recipe, it will provide you with a masterbatched lye solution weight, and an additional liquid weight. Ta-da!

You can also do these calculations manually, but I'll let someone else explain that if you are interested in figuring that out.

The other option is to masterbatch your lye solution at exactly the same ratio that you use in your recipes. If you always use a 33% solution, and don't need additional water for dissolving sugar, salt, or other additives, then by all means, make your masterbatch at 33% instead of 50%. That means for every one ounce of lye, you would mix it with 2 oz of water. You would still select the masterbatched lye solution option in SMF, but you would show the ratio in Section 1 as 2:1 instead of 1:1. You would use that same ratio in Section 3, below. Then your recipe will show just a masterbatched lye solution total, with no additional liquid.

If you are using another calculator that doesn't have a masterbatch option, you would simply add the lye number in the recipe with the water number in the recipe, and that would be the weight of your masterbatch solution.

Make sense? :)
Thank you so very much. For now I have just the one recipe and I like it..so off I go to make more soap appreciate the time you took to explain.
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
2,006
Reaction score
3,228
Location
Oregon
Make a batch of about 3 gallons of oils and the corresponding amount of lye water. Mix the oils and put them in gallon jugs and set them in my sous vide setup to keep them warm. Same with the lye...put the corresponding amount in a HDPE carboy and then when it's time to make a batch....pour out the right amount of oils into a container and then the lye and poof I have everything at the right temp and right amount of oils for one batch. I make 4 or 5 batches a day.
Don't use gallon jugs for your oils/butters. You can't scrape them out and cleaning them is going to be a major PITA! You also don't have to keep your MB 'liquid' to be able to use it. Mine sits at room temp in my kitchen, it's the consistency of cornbread batter during the winter and up to pancake batter during the heat of the summer. Doesn't take hardly any time to weigh out and pop in the microwave.

Here is what I have and what I do:

I have two Master Batches...one for my Regular Soap (Olive, Coconut, Palm and Castor Oils, and Cocoa and Shea Butters) and one for my Goat Milk Soap (Olive, Coconut, Palm and Castor Oils, and Shea Butter). I use 5-Gal Food Grade Buckets and mix up 40 lbs of Oils/Butters at a time (I could do 50lbs, but 40 is comfortable for me to handle). I also make it up 10 lb 'lots' because that is the max amount of hard oils my 'dutch over' can hold.

For my Lye Solution my preference is for 'ready-to-use' and I will go ahead and make up around 21 pounds (20.9375 to be exact) and divide into 2-1 Gallon Food Grade Jugs once it has cooled. I then make sure that the lids are tight and store them inside the back of my soaping cart (rolling kitchen island).

On the wall above my soap cart is a spread sheet. On it is a list of every mold I own, along with how much Oils/Butters and Lye Solution each needs. I also include amounts for multiples, up to six. To make a spread sheet like this, you need to know how much your mold holds and you need to account for the weight of your additives. When I say 'additives', I'm not talking about scent (that is accounted for) or anything that is part of your liquid (water) portion of your recipe, but stuff that is going to add more than say an ounce. And it's stuff that you add all the time, like sugar, honey, salt (to harden) or Sodium Lactate, various milk powders, clays, liquids used to disperse colorants, colorants, extracts, etc. But with that said, if you are making a soap with embeds or shreds, or an exfoliating soap with coffee grounds, shells or seed, or a salt soap, you will need to account for the weight of them too.

So how you do this is you sit down in front of your soap calculator, enter your base recipe, lye concentration, super fat (if any) and average of FO used (oz per lb); then comes the fun part. Say you have a 10" Silicone Loaf Mold holds 50 oz, start with 60% of that as your "Weight of Oils" and then "Calculate" and "View Recipe". Soap Weight before CP cure is 44.44 oz, so back to the main page and adjust the "Weight of Oils". It'll be a bit fiddly, but 33.75 oz comes out to 49.99...close enough for government work. So you would put 33.75 under the Oils/Butter column and then you would add up Water and Lye ...14.13 oz and put under the Lye Solution column.

Now it time to make soap. Even though my Soft Oils have kept my Hard Oils from re-solidifying (the whole 'cornbread to pancake' batter consistency, I have a strong Stearic Acid profile in my recipe and it's heavy and tends to sink. So I have one of those commercial paint stirrers off Amazon and give my bucket a good mix...making sure I go up and down, go all around the outside and cover all the bottom. I would recommend this regardless of the Fatty Acid profile.

I then tare out my mixing container and using a ladle that holds approximately 4 oz, I then scoop out how many number of ladle full of what I need (33.75 / 4 = 8.4375 or 9 scoops.) I then put the container back on the scale and add or subtract. Once done, I put the lid back on my bucket (never forget to do this, it's like always putting the lid back on your mica) and pop my bowl in the microwave. Having done this a lot, I know that it takes approximately 20 seconds per pound to melt my oils/butters to the temp I want. While the oils/butters are melting I will weigh my Lye Solution, add the Sodium Lactate and disperse my Kaolin Clay. Then it's time to make soap.
 

Vicki C

Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
470
Reaction score
1,615
Location
New Hampshire
Question to anyone, is it ok to add sodium lactate to masterbatched lye, or is there a reason not to?
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
2,006
Reaction score
3,228
Location
Oregon
Question to anyone, is it ok to add sodium lactate to masterbatched lye, or is there a reason not to?
I honestly don't know...might be a question for @DeeAnna, if it would degrade either the Lye Solution or the Sodium Lactate. I haven't done it because I'm too lazy to weigh out 1 tea teaspoon. It's just as easy to the same teaspoon I use to measure out my Kaolin Clay and then round to the closest pound of oils/butters used.
 

jcandleattic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
4,052
Reaction score
3,739
Location
Stuck in my head
Question to anyone, is it ok to add sodium lactate to masterbatched lye, or is there a reason not to?
I don't see why not, however, I just add it to the individual batches. It's much easier that way, and then if I want to change up the percentage of the SL used (or not use it at all), it's an easy adjustment, whereas you wouldn't be able to do that in a MB.
 

Vicki C

Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2020
Messages
470
Reaction score
1,615
Location
New Hampshire
I don't see why not, however, I just add it to the individual batches. It's much easier that way, and then if I want to change up the percentage of the SL used (or not use it at all), it's an easy adjustment, whereas you wouldn't be able to do that in a MB.
That’s a good point. I forget to add it about every fourth batch so I’m trying to make my system smoother.
 

Latest posts

Top