Cold Process Coconut Liquid Soap

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

baspaos93

New Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
So I'm trying to make a heavy-duty coconut liquid soap with lye for general cleaning purposes.

First I mixed 2 kilos of coconut oil with 2 kilos of NaOH solution (480 grams NaOH) and 2 kilos of water in the usual cold-process style. Also added 250 grams of soda ash to act as a water softener. After an hour or so, it turned into very thick paste (as in my-stirring-rod-getting-stuck kind of thick). I was (and still am) trying to aim for a gravy-like consistency so I added even more water (around 3 kilos) and eventually it did turn all mucky (with some small chunks). But after a few hours, it became pretty thick again, almost having the same consistency from earlier (it just looked more bloated and maybe a tad bit softer, which perplexes me since 3 kilos is A LOT of water, and I already added a lot of water initially). Should I just keep adding water until it permanently stays in a semi-solid state?

I would also love to ask if it would be possible to make liquid soap without resorting to using any heating (like with a crockpot). I understand putting more than the usual NaOH makes the soap harder, but I was planning to use the soap for things like heavy-duty kitchen cleaning and I want the soap to have an extra punch against grease.
 
Last edited:

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,471
Reaction score
19,386
Location
USA
First off, you can't make true liquid soap with NaOH, sodium hydroxide. That makes solid soap, not liquid soap. You must use KOH, potassium hydroxide. And adding the sodium carbonate (soda ash) complicates matters.

And I don't know why you'd need a soap with a -25% or more lye excess just for general purpose cleaning. A 100% coconut oil soap at zero superfat is plenty strong enough for general cleaning and much safer to use besides.

I can appreciate that you are perplexed about why this is turning out the way it is, but the problem is less that the soap is misbehaving and more like you haven't done your homework. Have you studied how to make real liquid soap before you tried this? What is your basis for this particular recipe -- are you following someone else's tutorial or just trying this recipe just to try it?
 

toxikon

Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
1,382
Reaction score
1,767
Location
Canada
Using over 4lbs of coconut oil without having a very solid understanding of the product you're trying to produce is very startling to me. :shock:

I've personally never made liquid soap, but there is a wealth of information on it here on the forum. Make sure to do some research before attempting your second batch and make it a lot smaller (.5 - 1lbs of oil is pretty standard for a test recipe) to save yourself some money! I hate to see wasted ingredients!

And of course, welcome to the forum. People here are very generous with their information, so please stick around, listen to their wise advice and have fun in your soap-making journey.

This looks to be a good read on what you're trying to achieve: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=49852
 
Last edited:

baspaos93

New Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
First off, you can't make true liquid soap with NaOH, sodium hydroxide. That makes solid soap, not liquid soap. You must use KOH, potassium hydroxide. And adding the sodium carbonate (soda ash) complicates matters.

And I don't know why you'd need a soap with a -25% or more lye excess just for general purpose cleaning. A 100% coconut oil soap at zero superfat is plenty strong enough for general cleaning and much safer to use besides.

I can appreciate that you are perplexed about why this is turning out the way it is, but the problem is less that the soap is misbehaving and more like you haven't done your homework. Have you studied how to make real liquid soap before you tried this? What is your basis for this particular recipe -- are you following someone else's tutorial or just trying this recipe just to try it?
Well I made liquid soap by mistake one time when I tried shaving into little pieces different kinds of soap (all coco-based) and mixing it in water. It felt like liquid jelly (after some of the water evaporated) but it was kind of nice to use. I have read some posts and blogs online were they used NaOH to make liquid soap (they did use different oil mixes while I only have coconut oil), plus I have like two sacks of the chemical so it's something I wanted to make use of. Oh, and the NaOH is not 100% pure, probably around 85%. I just wanted a little more NaOH for grease-cutting.

Using over 4lbs of coconut oil without having a very solid understanding of the product you're trying to produce is very startling to me. :shock:

I've personally never made liquid soap, but there is a wealth of information on it here on the forum. Make sure to do some research before attempting your second batch and make it a lot smaller (.5 - 1lbs of oil is pretty standard for a test recipe) to save yourself some money! I hate to see wasted ingredients!

And of course, welcome to the forum. People here are very generous with their information, so please stick around, listen to their wise advice and have fun in your soap-making journey.

This looks to be a good read on what you're trying to achieve: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=49852
I honestly kind of regret not splitting the oil I used into smaller amounts and doing a little bit more testing. I was feeling optimistic and I just kind of tried to shoot for the stars. Well, I could still slowly rework this by adding a little to hard-bar batches, so it wouldn't be that much of a waste.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,471
Reaction score
19,386
Location
USA
Just because you read something on the internet doesn't mean it's right or that it works. There are people who report amazing success with their "NaOH liquid soap," but if you read the fine print, most writers have not given their experiments enough time to stabilize. Or they have low expectations about the quality of their "liquid soap" -- they rationalize that it's okay if the soap firms up into unpourable jello, is unpleasantly stringy and gloppy, or ends up being water thin.

The liquid soapers on SMF have done enough long-term experiments to know. Our findings show the results of diluting NaOH soap with water are unpredictable and unstable and usually not very pleasant to use. Only KOH makes consistent, reliable liquid soap.

To answer your first question -- Yes, you can keep adding water until your "liquid soap" has the consistency you want. Don't be surprised, however, if it changes consistency over time, either firming up or becoming overly thin. That's what NaOH "liquid soap" does.

To answer your second question -- Any cold process method you prefer will work fine. You're making NaOH soap, after all! Have fun.
 

baspaos93

New Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Thank you so much for this, I will try to get a hold of some KOH and experiment with it for making liquid soap with coconut oil. I've read posts that a purely coconut-based liquid soap never thickens, but it's something I have to roll with I guess.

Also interesting to note the unpredictability of NaOH in making liquid soap. Anyways, since I already have the mistake of having a batch made, I'll just try tinkering with it and see how it goes.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,471
Reaction score
19,386
Location
USA
If you want to have a honey-thick liquid (KOH) soap made from pure coconut oil or other non-oleic fat, you probably won't be able to achieve that thickness just by dilution carefully. You will probably have to look at a separate thickener such as xanthan gum or HEC or whatever.

That is the reason why most recipes for liquid soap contain some % of high-oleic fats (fats such as olive, avocado, high oleic sunflower, HO safflower, etc.) Oleic-based liquid soaps form a thicker gel over a reasonably wide range of water content. With some % of oleic soap in the mixture, a person can get a thicker product by just carefully diluting.

Edit: But you can go too far the other direction -- too much oleic acid in a liquid soap recipe will cause other troubles. There's a happy middle ground. http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=62483
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top