How much H20 to use in LS?

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froggybean37

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Hi all! So I'm starting to play around with LS again, as I'm generally more of a CP/HP kinda gal, but I've recently been playing around with my Lye Concentrations in those and it has me wondering - what concentration do you use when making LS? I was going to try the glycerin method and feel like I'm overthinking the whole thing now in terms of my water/glycerin. SoapCalc presets to 38% water (as % of oils), about 34.5% Lye Concentration - does this matter so much with liquid soap?

Thanks so much for your help!
Sarah
 

IrishLass

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Yes- your lye concentration matters very much with liquid soap. I myself use a 3:1 water to lye ratio in my glycerin liquid soap, which is a 25% lye concentration. Many people have found out (the hard way) that their liquid soap batches proceed much more smoothly/less problematic with a 3:1 ratio.


IrishLass :)
 

DeeAnna

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If I could make a suggestion -- use lye concentration or water:lye ratio and avoid using "water as % of oils". As you change the fats in your recipe, controlling your water with the "water as % of oils" setting will not give you a consistent lye concentration. This variability will give you less consistent soaping results.

So, back to your question -- I agree with IL; I use a 25% lye concentration (3:1 water:lye ratio) too. It seems to be a sweet spot that works well for most people.

I inadvertently did a LS recipe at 33% lye concentration and found the soap paste to be very thick and difficult to stir and such. But it worked as far as saponifying well -- just hard to deal with.

We've also talked about LS recipes that use more water than the usual 3:1 ratio. I think the consensus of those who have tried more water is that it can be tough to get the soap batter to form a stable emulsion. If I remember correctly, folks started to run into that problem with a 20% lye concentration (4:1 water:lye ratio). I can confirm from personal experience that a 15% lye concentration is difficult to work with.

I usually use a glycerin and water blend as my water phase rather than all glycerin. I dissolve my KOH in the same weight of water, and then add any combination of glycerin and water to make up the rest of the liquid I want in the recipe.

Example:

My recipe calls for 25% lye concentration. That translates to a water:lye ratio of 3 parts water (or water and glycerin) and 1 part lye.
It also calls for 100 g KOH (to pick a nice easy number).

I dissolve the KOH in 100 g of distilled water. There's one part of the water phase that I need.
To make up the other two parts needed, I would then use one of these: (1) another 200 g of water ... or (2) 100 g water and 100 g glycerin ... or (3) 200 g of glycerin.

If I wanted to have a water only recipe, obviously I'd use Option (1).
Either Option (2) or Option (3) will work great for a water-glycerin batch. I don't see a big difference between the two, except for cost.

I hope I'm not being too confusing here.
 
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froggybean37

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IrishLass & Deanna you were just the two I was hoping to get an answer from! This helps a ton - I do indeed use Lye Concentration vs. as % of Oils with CP/HP, wasn't sure if maybe it differed when doing LS, so that's wonderful, thank you!

I was trying to do the glycerin method at the 34.5% lye conc. and made something of a lye/glycerin slushie on the stovetop - as soon as I added the extra glycerin (of the 19.16 oz. of water called for to have the 3:1 water to lye, I added 4 oz. of water and the rest glycerin as I found it helped to move the KOH reaction along.) It is now happily in the slow cooker looking lovely and smooth like lemon curd - can't wait to see the end result!

Thanks again ladies!
 

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