Hi folks..I just want to know if there's any ingredient or ingredients one can add to increase the bulk of the batch in cold process soap production.
Any suggestions / tip will be appreciated.
I don't understand why you can't just use less expensive oils? There are some pretty inexpensive options and if you buy in bulk you can make pretty inexpensive soap bars so filler seems unnecessary and will cut your lather down.
Hey there ... maybe AfricanWhiteLotus has very good, understandable reasons for asking this question. I find myself intrigued by the question, but I would really be interested in more background. I don't want the discussion to go too far given the small amount of information that has been given so far, because we're all kind of guessing about the reasoning behind the question at this point.
Would you care to share more of your thoughts, AWL?
I would imagine one could use a cheaper oil like canola as the bulk of a recipe, but you would still have to increase the lye/water to saponify the additional oil. I'm curious as to the background of the question as well.
Well for those wondering where I hail from.. I'm from lagos Nigeria. The most common oil for soap we have here is palm kernel oil. And its quite expensive. I make laundry bars and I supply stores and shops. It cost me a fortune to spend a lot to buy a little oil just to be able to produce few bars. So im looking to experiment on how to get more volume of my product without spending so much on oil.
I hope to do this without necessarily reducing the quality of my bars. I hope this makes sense. Once again I thank you all for your contributions.
However more advice and tips will be most appreciated
Do you have lard (rendered fat from pigs), or tallow (rendered fat from cattle, bears, and many other animals)? If so, you have the base oil for many different recipes. You can even render the fat yourself if you can get the raw stuff from a local meat market.
Fillers that would actually be valuable additions to your soap would be things like washing soda or borax. They add detergency (cleaning power) and would be appropriate additions to a laundry powder.
Other fillers that I can think of, such as the potato flour that Obsidian mentioned, are not going to add to the quality of your soap. They are ingredients that only add bulk and weight to your product and thus reduce its cleaning power. Even water can be used as a filler.
From "Small Scale Soapmaking" by Peter Donkor, 1986, which was written about soapmaking in Ghana:
"...Fillers are used to add weight to the soap without in any way adding to the detergent property of the soap. They increase the bulk of the soap, and hence reduce production cost. They are not, however, used in good quality genuine soaps. A number of filling agents are used as fillers, but the most popular ones are clay, kaolin, talc, starch, common salt, chalk and magnesium carbonate. Soda ash and sodium silicate are also used in large quantities as fillers - sodium silicate when used, also acts as an antioxidant to protect the soap from going rancid. It also improves the smoothness, binding, transparency and hardness of the soap. In the use of fillers, care must be taken for their selection and quality as too much may dampen the washing properties and keeping quality of the soap...." (pages 19-20)
Another way to reduce costs is to look at alternative cheaper sources of fats. Susie mentioned talking to butchers and meat markets for fat from butchered animals. Another source of fats is any place that serves food -- they often have waste grease that can be collected, cleaned up, and used for soap.