I've bought some KOH - now what?

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Babyshoes

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I was very excited the other day - I found KOH at our local small hardware store. It's branded from a big soap supplier, and although there is obviously a reasonable mark up on it, it still works out cheaper than paying for delivery. I was surprised to find it there, but apparently they stock it because the owner's mum makes soap, so that's cool. 😁

Anyway, over the last few days I've gone deep into the liquid soap rabbit hole on here and you tube, and have thoroughly confused myself!

I'd like to make an occasional batch of liquid soap, because some of my friends prefer body wash and liquid hand soap.

So, here are some of my thoughts so far:

1. Is CPLS easy enough to get right compared to HP? It seems that it basically swaps the use of time for heat. I don't have a slow cooker I'm prepared to use for soap at the moment.

2. Is glycerine essential? I can get some, but if I can make a beginner batch with my usual CP ingredients, I'd prefer not to need to buy anything until after pay day.
2.1 How do you figure out how much glycerine to use, if you decide to use it?

3. I'm guessing the properties of oils/fats in LS are the same as in CP/HP bar soap? Like coconut creating lots of bubbles but being a bit harsh at a high %, or lard giving a nice skin feel.

Finally, is anyone able to suggest or point me towards a beginner recipe suitable for body wash/hand soap, using some or all of the following: olive oil, coconut oil, lard, shea butter and castor oil? Thank you!
 

DeeAnna

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The advantage of using glycerin is that the soap gets to trace quicker and easier than if you don't use any glycerin. If you want to use a CP method, using glycerin is especially helpful.

Yes, CP uses less heat and more time and HP uses more heat and less time, but another aspect of this is KOH is more finicky about coming to a stable trace compared with NaOH. To get to that point of stable trace, it's helpful to either use heat at least initially or use glycerin. Then its up to you whether to continue to heat to finish saponifying (HP) or let the batter finish at room temp (CP).

For that reason, I recommend using glycerin for your first batch, whether CP or HP. Once you get a better feel for what you're doing, try making liquid soap with only water and see how that goes.

My preference when I use glycerin is to use a blend of 50% water and 50% glycerin. Example -- the total "water" weight is 200 grams. I use 100 grams water and 100 grams glycerin.

You also need to check that the water weight is equal to or more than the KOH weight. Like NaOH, KOH won't fully dissolve if the water weight is less than the KOH weight. I've never had to adjust that, but it's always wise to make sure.

Dilute the KOH in room temperature distilled water first so the KOH dissolves quickly and easily. Then add the glycerin to that mixture. Add the hot lye mixture to the fats -- no need to let it cool down.

Theoretically, yes, you can convert a bar soap recipe into a liquid soap recipe if you want to. But it may not work as well as you'd like, because there are other considerations to think about when making a KOH soap rather than an NaOH soap. You need to account for the KOH purity, limit the superfat, pick fats to ensure clarity (if that's a goal), control the oleic acid content to get good viscosity in the diluted soap, dilute properly to control the chance of microbial contamination, etc. I'll point you toward a couple articles I wrote about these issues: Liquid soap recipes | Soapy Stuff and Liquid soap making | Soapy Stuff

I strongly recommend using the Irish Lass / Carrie-3bees recipe of 65% olive, 25% coconut, and 10% castor as your first batch. Irish Lass explains more here: Soaping 101 liquid soapmaking video?. See Posts 8 and 9.
 
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Babyshoes

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The advantage of using glycerin is that the soap gets to trace quicker and easier than if you don't use any glycerin. If you want to use a CP method, using glycerin is especially helpful.

Yes, CP uses less heat and more time and HP uses more heat and less time, but another aspect of this is KOH is more finicky about coming to a stable trace compared with NaOH. To get to that point of stable trace, it's helpful to either use heat at least initially or use glycerin. Then its up to you whether to continue to heat to finish saponifying (HP) or let the batter finish at room temp (CP).

For that reason, I recommend using glycerin for your first batch, whether CP or HP. Once you get a better feel for what you're doing, try making liquid soap with only water and see how that goes.

My preference when I use glycerin is to use a blend of 50% water and 50% glycerin. Example -- the total "water" weight is 200 grams. I use 100 grams water and 100 grams glycerin.

You also need to check that the water weight is equal to or more than the KOH weight. Like NaOH, KOH won't fully dissolve if the water weight is less than the KOH weight. I've never had to adjust that, but it's always wise to make sure.

Dilute the KOH in room temperature distilled water first so the KOH dissolves quickly and easily. Then add the glycerin to that mixture. Add the hot lye mixture to the fats -- no need to let it cool down.

Theoretically, yes, you can convert a bar soap recipe into a liquid soap recipe if you want to. But it may not work as well as you'd like, because there are other considerations to think about when making a KOH soap rather than an NaOH soap. You need to account for the KOH purity, limit the superfat, pick fats to ensure clarity (if that's a goal), control the oleic acid content to get good viscosity in the diluted soap, dilute properly to control the chance of microbial contamination, etc. I'll point you toward a couple articles I wrote about these issues: Liquid soap recipes | Soapy Stuff and Liquid soap making | Soapy Stuff

I strongly recommend using the Irish Lass / Carrie-3bees recipe of 65% olive, 25% coconut, and 10% castor as your first batch. Irish Lass explains more here: Soaping 101 liquid soapmaking video?. See Posts 8 and 9.

Thank you so much! That's distilled a whole lot of what I've read/watched into the essentials, and helped me to see what I don't know yet...

I'll spend some time going through those articles and video while I wait for glycerine to arrive. 😁
 

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