Liquid Castille Separating

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joy.

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I'm having some trouble with liquid castille soap separating after diluting. I don't make much liquid soap-this is my first attempt at castille- but I make a lot of hot process bar soap. I'm not sure if my issue is related to the way I made the paste, or if I just need to find the right dilution rate?

Recipe:

16oz Olive Oil
8.7oz Distilled Water
2.95oz KOH (3%SF according to soapcalc)

Added a pinch of Tussah Silk to lye water
Added 1 tbsp raw honey at trace
Cooked until no zap. looks like a high 9/low 10 on a pH strip
Sat 4 weeks with no separation in the paste
No fragrance added

I've tried diluting at 1 part paste:1 part distilled water, 1 part paste:2 parts distilled water, 1 part paste:3 parts distilled water and 1 part paste:1 part salt water (1/8 tsp table salt dissolved in 1oz distilled water+1oz soap paste). I keep getting separation with a clear tan liquid on the bottom and opaque cream liquid on the top.

I've used the same method and superfat with 100% coconut oil and it worked perfectly, but I didn't add the silk and honey to that batch. Do you think the additives are the problem, or do I just need to keep diluting this more until it stops separating?
 

DeeAnna

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What Coffeetime said. Soapcalc assumes your KOH purity is 100%, unless you specifically choose the 90% purity setting. Unfortunately, most KOH is usually 90% to 95% pure, sometimes even less. The net effect is there's not enough KOH in your soap -- in other words, your soap may have more superfat than the 3% max that is most people's rule-of-thumb. That may be why you're seeing separation.

This doesn't really relate to your separation problem, but since this is a new recipe to you, I'll also suggest that you start at a lower initial dilution than 1 part water to 1 part soap. You may only need, for example, 0.8 part water to 1 part soap!

Also, you may want to sneak up on your dilution a little more carefully. By simply increasing the water:soap ratio by 1 (1:1, 2:1, etc), you're increasing the water a lot each time you increase the ratio, especially at first. It is entirely likely you will end up diluting too much that way. Once you see less and less soap paste floating in your diluted soap, you should be increasing the water slowly -- maybe no more than an additional 5% of the starting paste weight for each increase. I'm kind of picking an arbitrary number when I say "5%", but I hope you are catching my drift.

Last, you may want to leave the salt out at least for now. You don't know what the optimum dilution is for your soap, but you're adding a thickener which can have variable results. This way, you'll never know what really works. Dilute first, find the optimum for water dilution only, and then tweak with the thickeners or other additives.
 
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joy.

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Could your superfat be off? What was your KOH purity?
That's a good question. It may be. My KOH does not have a purity listed on it. I did not check the 90% box in soapcalc as that gave me a higher amount of KOH and I wanted to err on the side of caution.

I used the same bottle of KOH when I made the 100% coconut oil at 3% superfat and didn't have this issue though. Although, I made that with a 2:1 water:lye ratio rather than the almost 3:1 I used for the olive. Would that make a difference?
What Coffeetime said. Soapcalc assumes your KOH purity is 100%, unless you specifically choose the 90% purity setting. Unfortunately, most KOH is usually 90% to 95% pure, sometimes even less. The net effect is there's not enough KOH in your soap -- in other words, your soap may have more superfat than the 3% max that is most people's rule-of-thumb. That may be why you're seeing separation.

This doesn't really relate to your separation problem, but I'll also suggest that you start at a lower initial dilution than 1 part water to 1 part soap. You may only need, for example, 0.8 part water to 1 part soap!

Also, you may want to sneak up on your dilution a little more carefully. By simply increasing the water:soap ratio by 1 (1:1, 2:1, etc), you're increasing the water a lot each time you increase the ratio, especially at first. It is entirely likely you will end up diluting too much that way. Once you see less and less soap paste floating in your diluted soap, you should be increasing the water slowly -- maybe no more than an additional 5% of the starting paste weight for each increase. I'm kind of picking an arbitrary number when I say "5%", but I hope you are catching my drift.

Last, you may want to leave the salt out at least for now. You don't know what the optimum dilution is for your soap, but you're adding a thickener which can have variable results. This way, you'll never know what really works. Dilute first, find the optimum for water dilution only, and then tweak with the thickeners or other additives.
Thank you - this helps. When I used 3 parts water to 1 part paste, I ended up with way more opaque cream on the top and less clear on the bottom - didn't know if I was making progress or making it worse. I'll give it a try at a lower dilution rate and see what happens.
 
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Susie

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You have two separate issues here.

First issue is that separation. That has to do with your superfat. You have too high a superfat. That is why you have the opaque creamy layer on top. You did not click the "90%" button, which made you use too little KOH for your recipe. To fix this, mix 69.67 g KOH with 139.12 g of water (assuming you used 1 oz paste in each dilution mentioned above), then add it to the remainder of the paste in a slow cooker and cook it until it is incorporated. You can mix a small amount of KOH with double the amount of water and add it slowly to the already diluted soap to get it "un-separated" if you like. But you must click the 90% pure button on Soapcalc to avoid separation issues.

The second issue is dilution. You need to start with half the paste weight in water and add small amounts until you get it diluted. Record how much water each recipe requires to dilute it for future use. It is rather a slow process on the front end, but when you KNOW how much water a recipe requires, you can add water to the paste and walk away for it to dilute itself (mostly anyway).
 

joy.

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Tried some out at 1/2 part water:1 part paste and it's sticking together much better. It's actually a nice thick, creamy consistency, which is nice. I have a feeling it will still separate over time.

When I diluted 3:1, it separated very quickly. If I just skim the cream-colored stuff off the top, are both halves OK to use? Is the bottom layer technically the "soap" layer? I stuck my finger in the top layer and it lathered lightly in my hands like I'd expect from a castille, which confuses me if that's just the fat layer separating out.

I should mention, the paste is kind of an opaque tan color (I'm assuming due to the silk, honey and/or accidental superfat overdose).

ls.jpg
 

pickled78

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hi,
i dont superfat but sometimes i get clear liquid at bottom and cloudy at top (half and half) when diluting, all i do is add borax (approx 1/2 teaspoon to a pint) best to add borax to small amount of hot water, let dissolve then add to the main dilution.

I dont superfat because it goes over my head lol, but funny enough i came across some info that says you should not superfat liquid soap coz causes cloudyness and seperation! Here is a quote (& link to) from site i was on this morning.
http://summerbeemeadow.com/sites/al...or_help_popup_processes.html#AnchorLiquidSoap

"Superfatting is not needed in making liquid soaps to ensure total saponification (as it is in solid soap making), as this is controlled during neutralization of the final product. Superfatting of liquid soap can result in cloudiness that may be indistinguishable from cloudiness due to unfinished saponification and excess superfatting will result in oils content that will separate in the final product*. We strongly suggest using 0% superfatting in liquid soap making. You may enter "0" or simply leave this field blank or if you wish, enter percent superfatting desired.
*Hint: Superfatting can be provided by adding 'turkey red' oil. This is a modified castor oil that is also 100% soluble in water, without clouding. "

The Summer Bee Meadow Advanced Soap Calculator [v2.0] ( summerbeemeadow.com )
 

DeeAnna

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"...I dont superfat because it goes over my head lol..."

Do you make bar (NaOH) soap? If you do, superfat (lye discount) for bar soap is exactly the same thing as superfat for liquid soap. Just keep your superfat at 3% or less for liquid soap, and you should be fine. Neutralization of a lye heavy soap (no superfat) is far more troublesome.

You may be getting separation because you're not taking your KOH purity into account. Why deal with separation at all? Summerbeemeadow lye calc assumes the KOH purity is about 95%. KOH purity from many suppliers is often closer to 90%. If your KOH is older it may be even lower. Better choices for most KOH are Soapcalc with the 90% KOH purity option checked or Soapee.com where you can enter a specific purity.
 

Susie

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^ What they said.

Also, I get the same issue every time I use borax. I stopped using borax, and keep my superfat at 3% or under, and no more separation. I have also stopped using summerbeemeadow entirely, and started using Soapee.com. It has all the benefits of using the other calculators, with none of the drawbacks. I set my KOH purity at 90%, and have perfect soap every time.
 

pickled78

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Sorry ive only just got into this (loads & loads of reading, but only on 3rd batch tonite) the thing with reading is its produced so many differing opinions that my heads abit woozy trying to comprehend .. hence the super fatting going over my head.

I only chose summerbeemeadow because all i have is caustic soda at moment but read people had success and i did untill ...BORAX!! it now appears to be, thanks guys. but adding vodka brought it back together and is nice to wash hands with.

But tonight ill use your method and superfat. ive got some lanolin left from herbal creams i make and read earliar that it is a superfat and not to use more than 10%, do you think i should just add this as the extra for superfatting at 3% or would it be ok to add the other 7% into the main mix too? ive got 78g coconut oil so the rest will be olive oil...i like hemp but ran out hence the lanolin.

oh not tried bar soap yet, went with liquid coz fell in love with dripak liquid soap flakes due to not smelling of chipfat (ebay) and big bonus no palm oil. I just add peppermint oil and use for hair, soap, laundry and washup liquid.
Thanks for yr tips and advice :)
 

topofmurrayhill

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Tried some out at 1/2 part water:1 part paste and it's sticking together much better. It's actually a nice thick, creamy consistency, which is nice. I have a feeling it will still separate over time.

When I diluted 3:1, it separated very quickly. If I just skim the cream-colored stuff off the top, are both halves OK to use? Is the bottom layer technically the "soap" layer? I stuck my finger in the top layer and it lathered lightly in my hands like I'd expect from a castille, which confuses me if that's just the fat layer separating out.

I should mention, the paste is kind of an opaque tan color (I'm assuming due to the silk, honey and/or accidental superfat overdose).
Sorry to tell you after all this, but that layer on top is not separation of anything except undissolved soap. Fatty acids don't float to the top of soap. They would simply cloud it. If you took some of that clear soap from the bottom and combined it with a little oil, good luck waiting for it to separate.

As you can see, it lathers. Someone else used vodka to get rid of it, and why does that work? Because alcohol is a much more powerful solvent for soap than water. When you make transparent soap you get the same foamy layer of undissolved soap that steadily vanishes as you mix in ethanol.

It takes a lot of water to dissolve olive oil soap. When I made a recipe that was very high in oleic acid, it took well over 2 parts water to dilute it. Using 100% olive oil you have about 70% oleic acid.
 

joy.

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Sorry to tell you after all this, but that layer on top is not separation of anything except undissolved soap. Fatty acids don't float to the top of soap. They would simply cloud it. If you took some of that clear soap from the bottom and combined it with a little oil, good luck waiting for it to separate.

As you can see, it lathers. Someone else used vodka to get rid of it, and why does that work? Because alcohol is a much more powerful solvent for soap than water. When you make transparent soap you get the same foamy layer of undissolved soap that steadily vanishes as you mix in ethanol.

It takes a lot of water to dissolve olive oil soap. When I made a recipe that was very high in oleic acid, it took well over 2 parts water to dilute it. Using 100% olive oil you have about 70% oleic acid.
That's what I was wondering. I left that little 1/2 : 1 dilution sample sitting until this past weekend and it never did separate, but it was really thick. I ended up mixing it with some nice & clear diluted coconut oil ls, and it separated like crazy. Maybe I need to add more water and not less. I'll give it a try! Thanks.
 

topofmurrayhill

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That's what I was wondering. I left that little 1/2 : 1 dilution sample sitting until this past weekend and it never did separate, but it was really thick. I ended up mixing it with some nice & clear diluted coconut oil ls, and it separated like crazy. Maybe I need to add more water and not less. I'll give it a try! Thanks.
Sure. If you like, I imagine you could test it by diluting just a spoonful of the foamy goop to confirm that it disperses in distilled water. Then if you don't want to waste anything just pour it back.
 

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