Extending the shower life... and a honey question

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Mar 31, 2008
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Ok I have now made two batches of soap, the second is curing, about 3 weeks so far. I hope it hurries because Im on my last bar of the first batch.

Olive oil – 340g
Coconut oil – 113g
Whole Milk – 172g
Lye – 63g
Flax oil – 12g added at trace

The first batch I used water instead of milk.

That soap was good, but the I was sitting it outside of the shower after every use and it would still stick and goo up on whatever it was sitting on. Ideally I would like to leave it in the shower, especially if I am going to be giving it away or seling some of it.

Goats milk seems to be the popular shoice of milk in soap but I just used cow's milk in the second batch and it has seemed to get harder quicker.

I looked at sodium lactate but then saw somewhere here that using goats milk that has soured up some does the same thing.

So what should I add?

Also, what does honey do to soap?

The soap was made cp


Staff member
Feb 11, 2008
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Right here, silly!
I just played with your recipe over on SoapCalc's 9-WP page, and it looks to be a Castile-type recipe with 73% olive oil, 24% coconut oil, 2% flax, with about a full water amount, and an 8% superfat (I converted your amounts to percents becqause that's what my mind understands better). This all means that you have just what you said you have- a soap that gets soft and goopy when wet. :D

As Castile-type recipes go, it looks like a good formula, and very close to my own Castile-type recipe, but if it were me, I'd lower your superfat level to 5%. You can do this by keeping your oil amounts the same, but increasing your lye amount to 65 grams instead of 62. Your oil percentages look fine to me and they add up to a very nice amount of conditioning, but the 8% superfat may be encouraging extra goopies, especially with the high amount of olive oil. High olive oil recipes are prone to goopiness because of the high amount of oleic acid present in the olive oil itself, which tends to form a colliodal suspension on the surface of the soaps made with it when they get wet. It's just the nature of the beast, so to speak. There are ways to lessen to goopies, though, one of which you already discovered by adding milk. Adding clays can help, too, as can adding sodium lactate. I like using a combo of goat milk and sodium lactate. I use fresh goat milk as 1/3 of my total liquid amount, and 2 tablespoon of liquid sodium lactate ppo.

Also, when making Castile-types I like to use less water (or milk) than the full, default amount recommended on most online lye calculators. Going lower on the total water or milk amount helps the soap harden and set up quicker because there's less water to evaporate out. Using a full water amount isn't bad per se, but it will mean that you'll need a longer cure to get a harder bar.

If I were making your recipe, this is how I would tweak it:

Olive Oil- 340g.
Coconut Oil- 113g
Flax Oil- 12g
Water or milk- 132g
Lye- 65g

My tweaked water/lye amounts = a 33% lye solution- a good, solid, middle of the road, tried and true solution that's not too steep, but just steep enough to get the job done. I'm able to unmold and cut my Castile-types as little as 12 hours after pour with a 33% lye solution. I still need to cure them, but at least they are not as soft as cream cheese for weeks like my full-water Castile-types were.

As for honey, it adds bubbles and acts as a humectant in soap. It can also cause overheating during saponification if precautions are not taken first. HTH! :)