Liquid soap - Dilution requiring lots of water and a no stir crock pot technique?

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DextrousM

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Hello again all,

So I've been making liquid soap for the better part of this year and I've run into some things I could use clarity on.

I read a newer post on the 'chickens in the road' website stating that you didn't need to stir crock pot liquid soaps every thirty minutes - not at all. I have yet to test and have seen a woman make LS in her oven on low overnight so this makes sense to me but wanted to know if anyone has done this.

Also, the recipe in the new method only used 40% h2o and was 12% superfatted as far as I could tell by running it through soapcalc. Her recipe is for Shampoo, but I am unfamiliar with such things... Is this normal for shampoo? I'm more used to 70% h20 and 0% superfat to start my liquid recipes. Can I get away with 40% h2o as a percent of oils starts with LS?

http://chickensintheroad.com/house/easy-homemade-liquid-soap-shampoo

Also, my usage is for making workhorse soaps for the home. I have trouble with dilution rates being high <= 20% and when I use a 1/2 cup (a cap full of my prior liquid) I seem to get practically no noticeable suds in my front loader vs the tbsp or two I use of the store brand. For this reason I feel my soap may not be performing well (100% coconut). I even added 1c borax and 1c washing soda into my boiling dilution water(for 1250g coconut oil). I always get clear amber soap, but turns cloudy instantly in tap water(white is normal, I guess). I just feel it's too thin and I still may not be using enough soap molecules per load. I end up with soap re-constituting in the top of the pot, so I have to add more water to get it all to stay diluted when cool.

And Lastly, my soap seems to not work as well as I would like for dishes. It leaves ugly white water marks if the dishes aren't rinsed extremely well after washing (we must wash by hand). On top of that I notice a slight oily residue built up on the sink basin, is this normal when using home made LS or is this another side effect of a soap that is too far diluted? I also fear what that is doing to create a clog situation by lining my pipes with the gunk. I have since moved back to a plant derived store brand for dishes until I can sort this out... :(

One curiosity I noticed while fighting with my LS for dishes. I use a heavy rocks glass to keep a super soapy solution for my scrub brush (we have a single basin sink - grrr). With my soap added to tap it turn cloudy, as I think is expected. Well, I added a tbsp or two of an orange based green cleaner (mostly for floors and windows and whatever) to boost the soap. To my surprise, the cloudiness disappeared! As if by magic! Anyone know what that might be in there? Sodium Citrate? (for some reason this 'green' product does not label it's ingredients...

Thanks for reading my long-winded post!
~DM
 
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DeeAnna

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"...you didn't need to stir crock pot liquid soaps every thirty minutes..."

You don't even have to cook the paste. Have you read Irish Lass and Susie's tutorials here about no-cook liquid soap?

Irish Lass: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?p=428988 see posts 8 and 9
and: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=57974
Susie: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=49852

Another good resource is this:
https://milesawayfarm.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/liquid-soapmaking-where-to-start/

"...I have trouble with dilution rates being high <= 20%..."

I would too. I'm assuming by 20% you mean 1 part soap paste to 4 parts water. If so, that's an unusually large amount of water for a 100% CO soap.

"...Can I get away with 40% h2o as a percent of oils starts with LS?..."

A suggestion: You will get better reliability from your soap recipes if you stop using "water as % of oils" and start using lye concentration or water:lye ratio. The last two mean the same thing, just stated differently. They cannot be directly converted to "water as % of oils" without knowing the average saponification value of the recipe. More: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=53642

Specifically for a 100% CO soap, a setting of 40% water as % of oils translates to 33% lye concentration (or a 2:1 water:lye ratio). That lye concentration is certainly do-able for a LS recipe -- I've done it -- but most people use a 25% lye concentration (more water) so the paste is easier to handle. I prefer 25% for ease of handling and diluting, but suit yourself on that -- you'll end up with fine soap either way.

(For her "shampoo" recipe with a mix of fats, the lye concentration she is using is closer to 35% give or take.)

"...I even added 1c borax and 1c washing soda into my boiling dilution water ... I end up with soap re-constituting in the top of the pot..."

With that much borax, you're probably breaking the soap into fatty acids. Free FAs will form a layer floating on the diluted soap.

"... turns cloudy instantly in tap water(white is normal, I guess)..." and "...my soap seems to not work as well as I would like for dishes. It leaves ugly white water marks if the dishes aren't rinsed extremely well..." and "...a slight oily residue built up on the sink basin..."

The milkiness in the water is insoluble soap scum that forms when lye-based soap reacts with hard water minerals. The sticky ring in the sink and the water spots are also most likely from soap scum. More: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=52456

"...orange based green cleaner ... the cloudiness disappeared!..."

Can't say for sure but a guess is that the cleaner is based on synthetic detergents that don't form soap scum in hard water. Or it has a chelator in it that binds up the minerals that cause soap scum. Or the solvent is reacting with the soap scum.

Edit: I agree the CITR recipe does seem to have an unusually high superfat for a liquid soap, but perhaps she's using a high purity KOH rather than the 90% pure KOH that most people assume. Hard to say. She would be the one to ask.
 
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Arimara

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The recipe from the blog OP linked too likely takes into account the KOH being 100% pure. I've only had KOH that was 90% pure but isn't it mighty hard to find KOH purer than 90%?
 

DeeAnna

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My KOH is around 95%. But it seems a lot of KOH sold for soaping is around 85% to 90%.

Another thought -- The CITR author doesn't say what soap recipe calc she used for her recipe, so we don't know for sure, but quite a few calcs don't correct for purity. They assume NaOH and KOH are both 100% pure. The calcs I know of that aren't that way are Soapcalc (90% or 100%), Brambleberry (95%), and Summerbeemeadow (95%).
 

Arimara

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My KOH is around 95%. But it seems a lot of KOH sold for soaping is around 85% to 90%.

Another thought -- The CITR author doesn't say what soap recipe calc she used for her recipe, so we don't know for sure, but quite a few calcs don't correct for purity. They assume NaOH and KOH are both 100% pure. The calcs I know of that aren't that way are Soapcalc (90% or 100%), Brambleberry (95%), and Summerbeemeadow (95%).
Soapee has a setting where you type in your KOH's purity. So if you have one that is 85% pure, it's still not a problem on that site.
 

DeeAnna

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Oh, I forgot about Soapee -- I'm glad you made that point, Arimara.
 

DextrousM

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I guess I deserved a post this size, with lots of rabbit holes to go down... :)

I will give these a look. I think someone may have linked the no cook recipe to a prior post of mine, that I just noticed... Woops, my bad for not reading it prior...

"...I have trouble with dilution rates being high <= 20%..."

I would too. I'm assuming by 20% you mean 1 part soap paste to 4 parts water. If so, that's an unusually large amount of water for a 100% CO soap.
Well, I never could understand what is meant by the dilution percentages provided by the Failor book. They don't seem terribly accurate b/c I think you sometime would cook more water out, or less, depending on how long you keep on cooking after it is done and how much steam escapes during. So 20%, according to her 'Percent actual soap' table is 2lbs of water to 1 lb of paste. 40% 9oz of water to 1lb of paste. I have always hoped to push down to the 40% so that I don't have to use so much of my final product by volume for cleaning tasks.

Specifically for a 100% CO soap, a setting of 40% water as % of oils translates to 33% lye concentration (or a 2:1 water:lye ratio). That lye concentration is certainly do-able for a LS recipe -- I've done it -- but most people use a 25% lye concentration (more water) so the paste is easier to handle. I prefer 25% for ease of handling and diluting, but suit yourself on that -- you'll end up with fine soap either way.
I will have to read the posts on no-cook recipes and go from there. I think I now have to redo all of my laminated recipe print-outs... grrr.. But I think I have a good grasp on why I need to do this now.

And I read your posts on this - someone likes dance parties! And I think I understand it much better now... I thought of water as a neutral facilitator, meaning water amounts in recipes didn't really affect the process, they just provided a medium to get the hydroxide ions to all the oil molecules(I'm certain I read this in a book!). And as such, I didn't realize the complex interactions based on shape and such between the lye and oil molecules. I get it, but understand that I don't understand as much as I thought that I understood... haha I think that makes sense?!? :D I have had soaps overheat(I think) - the got quite hot in the mold and even cracked down the center, luckily settling down and mostly closing before cut time the next day and I am pretty sure they were coconut/olive recipes...

"...I even added 1c borax and 1c washing soda into my boiling dilution water ... I end up with soap re-constituting in the top of the pot..."

With that much borax, you're probably breaking the soap into fatty acids. Free FAs will form a layer floating on the diluted soap.
I apologize for not being clear here. the additives sentence should have been read completely separate from the next one. With just pain water I get the paste to dissolve, but I usually have to fight the 'Dilution Percentage' and max out 2+:1 h2o to paste ratio. I'd like to have a product that is closer volume to volume in efficacy to store bought. The 1/2c of soap I use in the washer doesn't produce as pronounced of the tiny bubbles on the glass of my HE washer as does a tbsp or two of the store bought. This vexxes me. I can't tell if it's truly working as well.

Edit: I agree the CITR recipe does seem to have an unusually high superfat for a liquid soap, but perhaps she's using a high purity KOH rather than the 90% pure KOH that most people assume. Hard to say. She would be the one to ask.
She also then talks about superfatting that liquid soap with castor oil. It's very odd to me, that whole blog post...
 
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Susie

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Having used both the Failor and the CITR recipes/procedures, I learned better and threw both of them out.

IrishLass' recipe/procedure in this thread: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?p=428988 is a dream to make and dilute. The only change I make to it is to mix the KOH with an equal amount of water, then add the balance of the water/glycerin amount as glycerin to the oils. It is what I use for all my handsoaps.

My cold process 100% Coconut Oil, 0% superfat soap is what I use for household cleaning soap. But I have soft water. You will probably have to add a chelator to not have to deal with soap scum. There are lots of folks who can help you formulate a recipe with a chelator.
 
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DeeAnna

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The castor in the recipe is actually sulfonated castor (aka turkey red oil). Sulfonated castor is a water soluble oil, so it mixes into the diluted soap rather than floats on top like a "normal" oil would.

The other interesting/odd ingredient in her "shampoo" recipe is the lanolin. Very little lanolin actually saponifies into soap. I have used it at 5% in a shave soap (thanks, Gent and Lee Bussy!) This is the only soaping "fat" I've used that leaves a noticeable film on the skin after the soap is rinsed off. I'm sure it's due to those waxy unsaponifiables. Lanolin's waxy film is not bad on skin, but I don't know if I'd want that on my hair. But I've not tried it to have an opinion based on experience.

***

"...I'd like to have a product that is closer volume to volume in efficacy to store bought...."

It's not realistic to expect homemade liquid soap to compare directly in function and performance with store bought laundry and dishwashing detergents. Syndets don't function the same as lye-based soap. The difference is especially marked in hard water, which it sounds like you have. The lack of lather you don't like is one example of the difference -- hard water really cuts the suds of a lye-based soap.

***

"...I never could understand what is meant by the dilution percentages provided by the Failor book. They don't seem terribly accurate b/c I think you sometime would cook more water out, or less, depending on how long you keep on cooking after it is done and how much steam escapes during. So 20%, according to her 'Percent actual soap' table is 2lbs of water to 1 lb of paste. 40% 9oz of water to 1lb of paste...."

The tables in Failor's book are based on the assumption that the finished soap paste is about 60% pure soap. If you weigh your finished paste, you can calculate the actual % of pure soap in the paste very easily:

Pure soap % = (KOH wt + fat wt) / (Finished paste wt) X 100

The dilution rate on a pure soap basis would then be calculated like this:

Dilution % = Paste wt X % Pure soap / (Dilution water wt + Paste wt)

That said, most of us don't bother with the math. Even if you do know the pure soap % in the paste, it's all a guess-timate anyway. Additives, normal variations in fat composition, fragrances, etc. will alter the dilution rate.

For a first-try dilution with a new recipe, Susie suggests starting with an initial dilution of 0.5 parts water to 1 part paste by weight. That is approximately a 40% dilution rate on a pure soap basis a la Failor. Adjust the consistency by adding small amounts of water until you're happy. If a stubborn skin remains on the soap or there are chunks that won't dissolve, you can remove those parts and dilute them separately.

Keep good notes and the next time you dilute this recipe, the process should go faster, although it's still wise to sneak up on the final dilution.

I suggest that you don't use borax or other thickeners to complicate this first dilution -- you can play with thickeners later after you first know what an appropriate water-only dilution is for the recipe.

I really don't understand why your 100% coconut oil soap requires so much water. Coconut oil soap doesn't have any oleic acid in it, so it should need less water to dilute to a decent consistency compared with a soap made with olive or other high-oleic fats. The olive-coconut-castor recipe that I learned from Irish Lass takes 0.75 to 1 part water to 1 part paste (30% to 35% dilution rate on a pure soap basis).
 
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Susie

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I really don't understand why your 100% coconut oil soap requires so much water. Coconut oil soap doesn't have any oleic acid in it, so it should need less water to dilute to a decent consistency compared with a soap made with olive or other high-oleic fats. The olive-coconut-castor recipe that I learned from Irish Lass takes 0.75 to 1 part water to 1 part paste (30% to 35% dilution rate on a pure soap basis).
The high water amount for 100% CO soap dilution is from many, many YouTube videos. I had the same mind set until I accidentally "under diluted" and actually watched what the paste was doing. Now I know better.

OP-Do use the half paste weight dilution method to dilute. Then add SMALL amounts of water to get the final dilution. (I "eyeball estimate" the volume of lumps left and use about 1/3 of that in water weight.) A stick blender helps break up the last small lumps without adding additional unneeded water. If I have just a couple of lumps or a skin, I pull those out, pour off the liquid soap, then finish diluting. This prevents you from evaporating more water from the finished liquid soap.
 

Sapo

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A stick blender helps break up the last small lumps without adding additional unneeded water.
Interestingly, I did that to my 70/25/5 CO/OO/HO recipe and it clouded up like a mofo, and persists to be cloudy.

Diluted the same paste with the same amount of water, but gave it more time instead of blending, and it's as clear as a sunny day.

Not exactly important or relevant, but quite unexplainable and interesting.
 

Susie

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The cloudy soap simply has lots of little bubbles suspended in it from the stickblender. I make sure I have enough soap to cover the bell of the stickblender, then stickblend. If you happen to get bubbles, spray with rubbing alcohol and stir to remove the bubbles. Or just wait, they will eventually float up and pop.
 

Sapo

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Even after sequestering for weeks...

I'll attempt to replicate the results in the future, see if it clouds again.
 

Susie

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I have no answers, then. Sometimes soap is a mystery.
 

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