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Hydrosol yields/recipes?

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Darnol91

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Does anyone on here have experience maki their own hydrosols/EO’s via distillation? If so, please send me a message as I have some questions. I’m more so interested in the hydrosols than the EO’s, but I am building a 20L still currently and I’ve been researching everywhere to find yields and/or ratios for water to plant material. I would prefer to use dried plants, as they are easier for me to access, but I can work with either. I’ve found some yields on fresh plants, but not on dried. Can anyone give me some advice for someone just starting out? Is my still a good enough size? How are you currently sourcing your plant material? Any yields for dried plant material, etc. all advice will be greatly appreciated.

I made an account on Swiftcraftymonkey, and purchased the premium membership on here, but still haven’t found anything of value. If you’d prefer to talk in private, please dm me.

if this should be posted in a different forum section, please let me know.
Thanks in advance!
 

DeeAnna

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What do you mean by "ratios for water to plant material"?

There's a reason why you aren't finding much info about using dried plant material. The quality of the distillate is much lower if you use dried material compared with fresh. Maybe there are a few plants that are the exceptions, but if you want quality, you need to be working with fresh plant material.
 

Darnol91

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What do you mean by "ratios for water to plant material"?

There's a reason why you aren't finding much info about using dried plant material. The quality of the distillate is much lower if you use dried material compared with fresh. Maybe there are a few plants that are the exceptions, but if you want quality, you need to be working with fresh plant material.
Thanks DeeAnna! That honestly what I thought regarding the dried plant material, so thanks for clarifying. What I mean is how much plant material and how much water you would add to the still. I know stills are different sizes, so I don’t mean exact measurements, but like a 1 to 4 ration plant material to water by weight or something along those lines.
 

DeeAnna

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The ratio of water-to-plant-material is not particularly important.

I'm going to guess you're wanting to mix the plant material directly with the water. You need to rethink this if you want the best quality hydrosol. Yes, I know some DIY methods do this, but that doesn't make it an optimum method.

You need sufficient water in the bottom reservoir to produce steam while you're distilling. The total amount of water needed will depend on the ambient temperatures, how hard you boil the water, and where you define the end point of the distillation.

The total amount of plant material does have some effect in that the steam must also heat the plant material up to temp, but this is not nearly as important as I think you're thinking it is.
 

cmzaha

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I personally do not think you are going to make enough to make it worthwhile. Purchasing hydrosols are not that expensive and hydrosols will not fragrance soap. It is also not a great option for use in lotions as water replacements because any botanicals are hard to preserve. So you need to think about the end result and purpose for your use of hydrosols.
 

DeeAnna

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You make some good points, Carolyn.

Hydrosols are far more practical to make by the home distiller than EOs. Even so, distilling hydrosols is a do-able thing as a hobby, but as the basis for a business, not so much.

I will say there are some hydrosols that are nearly impossible find on the open market, so that might be a reason for distilling your own. For example, I've made a hydrosol from sweetgrass that is nicely fragrant, but I've only once seen this particular hydrosol for sale.
 

Darnol91

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The ratio of water-to-plant-material is not particularly important.

I'm going to guess you're wanting to mix the plant material directly with the water. You need to rethink this if you want the best quality hydrosol. Yes, I know some DIY methods do this, but that doesn't make it an optimum method.

You need sufficient water in the bottom reservoir to produce steam while you're distilling. The total amount of water needed will depend on the ambient temperatures, how hard you boil the water, and where you define the end point of the distillation.

The total amount of plant material does have some effect in that the steam must also heat the plant material up to temp, but this is not nearly as important as I think you're thinking it is.
Thank you so much for the advice. I do not plan on doing it for business purposes or to sell. Mainly to supplement my current projects that I make mainly for gifts for friends and coworkers.
As Carolyn said, I know it is nearly impossible and definitely not worth it to make EO’s. I only plan on using the still to make hydrsols.
 

DeeAnna

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Just remember that anything that's not pure water will grow cooties. Many people somehow think hydrosols are immune from growing bacteria and fungi.

I freeze for long term storage. For storage at room temp, I either add enough ethanol to preserve or use a broad-spectrum water-soluble preservative like liquid germall plus.
 

Darnol91

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Thanks so much DeeAnna! I don’t think this is against the rules, but if it is - mods please remove.

with that disclaimer being said, do you mind sending me where you source your hydrosols/EO’s/do’s from?I do have a tax certificate I can use for legit whole sellers (although, it’s not related to the soap/lotion industry) you can direct message me if you don’t want to share here.

again, I read the rules and don’t remember it being mentioned that I couldn’t ask for this, but I will delete if it is against the rules or in bad taste.

thanks!
 

DeeAnna

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There are many reputable sources of EOs and hydrosols. I've bought from New Directions Aromatics and liked them well enough. People discuss their favorites fairly frequently, although this info can be buried in the discussions.

Here's an older thread with lots of suppliers -- essential oil suppliers

You might also want to check the supplier list in the SMF Fragrance Oil Review, since some of them also sell EOs -- SMF Fragrance Oil Review
 

Basil

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Just remember that anything that's not pure water will grow cooties. Many people somehow think hydrosols are immune from growing bacteria and fungi.

I freeze for long term storage. For storage at room temp, I either add enough ethanol to preserve or use a broad-spectrum water-soluble preservative like liquid germall plus.
Hi DeeAnna, when I made the juniper hydrasol, I used the home method. It smells good, but I used a lot of needles and berries. I wondered about the “cooties” and rinsed everything pretty well before starting. I put the jar in the refrigerator and thought I’d try it later. I can see where it wouldn’t add much scent to the soap, but thought it might enhance some way by adding juniper essential oil. I’ve been wondering if it will cause problems in the soap later since it was the DIY method and since I saw this post, thought I would ask. It was fun making it. I was planning on making, then watching it to see what happens. I hope it’s ok to use this thread to ask.
 

DeeAnna

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The point I'm making about the "cooties" is more important when people want to use a hydrosol as-is (like as a room spray) or add it to something like a lotion. You HAVE to work as sanitary as possible AND use some kind of broad spectrum preservative AND control the amounts of ingredients that microorganisms use as food.

If you want to use a hydrosol as-is, then the hydrosol and water are the main ingredients. The method of preservation could be refrigeration (short term) or freezing (long term) or ethanol or another type of broad spectrum preservative.

In a lotion, fats and water are the main ingredients, so you have to minimize the hydrosol and some kind of preservation such as refrigeration (short term) or a broad spectrum preservative. Ethanol and freezing aren't suitable for preserving lotions.

The situation is different in bar soap. This concentrated soap is highly alkaline and will kill or inhibit the growth of most microorganisms within the structure of the soap. In effect, the alkaline nature of bar soap is the preservative. Bacteria can and do grow on the surface of a soap bar, but they are regularly removed simply by using the soap and washing the "cooties" away.

Sometimes people put largish pieces of vegetable material, such as rolled oats or flower buds, on top of or in the soap. These pieces of "food" can mold, because there is not enough soap to inhibit microbial growth within or next to those chunks.

Rinsing the vegetable materials before distilling isn't all that necessary as long as the veg matter is reasonably clean to start with. The hydrosol as it comes out of the still is what is more important.

In the still, the hydrosol is sanitary because it's been heated to the boiling point of water. It's what happens after the hydrosol is removed from the still that really matters. Collection jars should be sanitized. Well washed hands. Sanitary work area. Etc.
 
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Basil

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@DeeAnna thank you. That all makes sense . I did all the above as you said, altho I did rinse the material since I just picked it and I wasn’t sure. I did get a lot through the steaming / dripping from the lid and altho it smells strong it was hard for me to believe I got that much from watching videos. However, I watched it drip from the lid into the bowl- lid being glass. I understand about flowers etc being on top of soap as I did that a few years back with sunflowers, and mold did grow on top. Do you mind if I ask if you use a still? Is the hydrosol ‘more’ concentrated that way? Sounds like it is more effective. Thanks for your patience and time . I would like to try this more.
 

DeeAnna

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A homemade pot still -- kettle of water, bowl to catch the hydrosol, inverted lid with ice -- can make hydrosol every bit as nice as a "store bought" still. In fact, it can be better, since you can control the length of distillation to suit your nose.

A lot of the hydrosols made commercially are a by-product of essential oil distillation. If you distill for EOs, the veg material is often cooked longer than is ideal for making hydrosols. This overcooking creates a hydrosol that smells "brown" or hay-like. For example, I bought a white sage hydrosol some years ago that smelled more like dry, sun-bleached hay than sage. That was a real disappointment. Lesson learned!

The homemade pot still has it limitations, but the price is right for hobby use. Some of its limitations --

The amount of veg material you can process is limited by the size of the kettle. That's also true of many of the hobby-sized store bought stills.​
It's hard to monitor the quality of the hydrosol because you have to stop the distillation, empty the catch bowl, etc. A dedicated still has the hydrosol draining from the still as it's made, so you can easily monitor quality without disturbing the still.​

Some methods for using a homemade pot still have you put the veg material directly in the water. I don't recommend that. It's far better to suspend it in a steamer basket so only steam touches the veg matter, not liquid water.
 
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