Feeling discouraged- soap making is hard!

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Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2019
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Something I want to add. I got into soap making because I wanted to make Goat Milk Soap. I used to buy it from this old gal, then she retired and the new gal...just didn't like her product.

Surprisingly, there really isn't a whole lot of really good information about making GMS available on the Internet which is why I started with Regular Soap. And when it came time to make GMS, I didn't know anyone who had goats and didn't know you could buy goat milk in the store or that there was powdered goat milk, so I used Meyenberg Evaporated GM from the baking section. Mind you, nothing wrong with it.

First things first...I knew that you had to freeze the milk...which is what I did; poured the can straight into an ice cube tray. Then I weighed out as close to 9.54oz and made the difference with Distilled Water. Slowly added Sodium Hydroxide so I wouldn't burn the milk. Added it to my oils, whizzed to about a medium trace, poured it, covered the top with Saran Wrap, wrapped it in a blanket and put it in the garage.

Uncovered it the next day and O! M! G! It was...wrong. It was this awful dark tan color. It has a layer of oil sitting on the top. It was spongy. And it smelled...like burnt spoiled milk. I fired up my computer and ended up finding this place and was very nicely advised about all the mistakes I had made and possible solutions to try and salvage it. Mistake #1...I didn't dilute the milk so I had massive amounts of fat and sugars. Mistake #2...it was a good 90F in the garage and I wrapped up the soap and so it overheated and separated. Solution...let it sit in the mold for a week to see if the oils would reabsorb. And they did...until I went to cut the soap and it just ooozed out. I tossed the soap.

Since then...I've learned a lot more about making GMS and today produce a lovely creamy bar that is a joy to behold (is that too much?). LOL I've made GMS with Evaporated GM, store-bought GM, and fresh from the source GM. I have some powdered GM to try next. Once I do that, then I'm going to publish how to make GMS using the various methods so folks wanting to make GMS don't have to go through what I did. I'm a big believer in knowledge not shared is knowledge that is lost. It's why we still don't know how the Pyramids were built.


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Jan 5, 2020
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United States
op - your experience makes me smile because its somewhat similar to mine.

I had gotten a "beginners" book about soapmaking from a friend. The first recipe that caught my eye was for a goat milk and honey shampoo bar. It was an EPIC fail, because I used fresh goat milk and it certainly wasn't cold enough to counteract the lye, and then I added honey and the whole thing was just a total and absolute disaster. I had also purchased some random fragrance oil or essential oil on amazon. It was so bad, like there was false trace, the soap was a dark brown (due to scorching I imagine) and there was an entire puddle of liquid (oil I assume) at the top. I figured I could just runoff the residual liquid and use the soap underneath...I'm lucky I didn't burn off my skin!

BUT, that fail didn't make me want to give up. 95% of the time, if I'm not good, or at least competent right away, I don't want to do it again (please see me trying to ride a bike again after I turned 30). But with even that first horribly failed batch of soap, all I wanted to do was try again, and again, and again. My first two batches were unutterable fails.

For me, it helped a lot to research online and through forums like this. I'd start with a simple recipe without any sort of goat milk or honey. People on this site are so very willing to help with recipes and you can find them on youtube as well. I formulate my own, but I think you just need to get a W under your belt at this point. Its really hard to keep doing something when you invest your time and don't see anything for it.

ETA - I don't want to give the impression that you cannot or should not work with fresh goat milk, I see from the comments that people can have great success with fresh goat milk, but I think for me, a new soaper going off a beginner book....was part of the reason the whole thing went so very, very wrong.

I haven't touched that beginners book in a long time, and I now think it was more of an aspirational book with really nice pictures, than an instructive text for beginners.

Anyhoo, keep with it and good luck!