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HowieRoll

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I tried my hand at making liquid soap today, and it's been a roller coaster of emotion. I'm currently in the befuddled stage and am hoping for some expert advice...

Recipe (used SoapCalc, checking the 90% KOH purity box. 3% SF)

10oz Olive oil (50%)
4oz Coconut Oil, 76 deg (20%)
3oz Sweet Almond Oil (15%)
3oz Castor Oil (15%)

4.3oz KOH
9oz Distilled Water
3.9oz Vegetable Glycerine (it's all I had on hand)

Oils were melted in crock pot on HIGH. Meanwhile, I mixed KOH with 2x water until fully dissolved, then added remaining water/glycerine (totaling 3:1 liquid:KOH).

Here is where I kept notes of process:
12:07pm Oils at 125 degrees, added lye mixture. Mostly whisked but also used SB (did a combo throughout entire process). Crock pot still on HIGH.
12:17pm Mixture starting to get applesauce-y
12:19pm Looks like curdled milk
12:20pm Mixture starting to get really creamy/pudding-like
12:21pm Flying Bubbles! So very exciting. Fully removed SB, used spatula to clean it up, set it aside, and went back to play with flying bubbles, but...
12:22pm Paste hard as a rock. Poked at it, then let it be. Turned crock pot to LOW.
12:36pm Tried stirring, but it is one solid mass. Can stick spoon into middle and pull up entire disk. Broke it up into chunks, stirred it around a bit, let it be. Noticed very small amount of what looks like oil in bottom of pot (maybe 1/2-3/4 tsp)
12:39pm Panicked. Removed entire thing from heat.
1:15pm Warily looked at it again. Nothing has changed. Tentatively zap tested different areas on tongue. No zap. Feels a little rubbery.

Is it possible it cooked fully, from start to finish, in about 30 minutes? Here is a photo of where we stand now, and I certainly appreciate any and all guidance. Thank you!

P1140015.jpg
 

IrishLass

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Looks like success to me! :)

At 12:22 you reached the paste stage (yay!) and should have turned the crockpot off, stopped stirring (absolutely no need for heat or stirring once the paste stage is reached- it's akin to beating a dead horse), and checked for zap. FYI- 30 minutes is not out of the ordinary to reach paste stage from the start. Some folks can reach it in less than 2 or 3 minutes from the start.

If no zap, it's ready to dilute, or store away until you are ready to dilute.

For future reference, if you do get zap, just cover your crockpot and turn off the heat- really no need for any added heat at this point) and let it sit for a bit, checking every so often to see if zap is gone yet (it can take up to a few hours).

Either cover/store your paste or start diluting! :)


IrishLass :)
 

IrishLass

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Oh- I forgot to mention- if you are not sure of how much dilution water to add to the paste in order to get your desired consistency of thickness in your finished liquid soap, start out with a ratio of 1 part paste to 1/2 part water and work your way up from there until you've reached your desired consistency. And don't forget to take notes so you can repeat it the next time!


IrishLass :)
 

HowieRoll

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Thank you so much for your reassurance and additional tips!

The solid mass disk, which seemed to form in an instant, was just so startling. I was expecting the soap paste to be a little more like the vaseline/mashed potato-type consistency that comes at the end of a HP soap cook, and I thought something had gone horribly awry.

Aaaahh, soaping... that endless adventure.

Again, a HUGE thank you for these responses as well as the many tips you've given on LS making! Off to dilute because, well, I just can't wait to see what happens next.
 

DeeAnna

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Yep, what IL said! Congratulations on your first LS!!

If the soap paste sits for some days, it may gradually soften and become more like waxy library paste rather than a rubbery rock. But whether it softens or not, it's fine.
 

HowieRoll

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Thank you, DeeAnna! It is quite rubbery now, and I'm in the process of diluting 3oz of paste. Looks like this might take a while. Trying to be patient, not a strong suit. But this isn't nearly as bad as waiting for that first batch of CP soap to cure, so there's that. :)
 

kchaystack

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Thank you, DeeAnna! It is quite rubbery now, and I'm in the process of diluting 3oz of paste. Looks like this might take a while. Trying to be patient, not a strong suit. But this isn't nearly as bad as waiting for that first batch of CP soap to cure, so there's that. :)
It took me several days to get my soap diluted. I started at 2 part soap to 1 part water and ended up close to 1:1 but not quite.

I would add water, stir, walk away, come back, stir, add a little water, stir...
 

HowieRoll

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It took me several days to get my soap diluted. I started at 2 part soap to 1 part water and ended up close to 1:1 but not quite.

I would add water, stir, walk away, come back, stir, add a little water, stir...
That's good to know, kchaystack, because I had visions of having it bottled and next to the kitchen sink by the time my husband came home these evening. Looks like those expectations need to be managed a bit. haha... Now I see why a lot of online resources recommend starting the dilution process at night and leaving it well enough alone until the next morning, so people like me will stop monkeying around with it.

Thanks, Susie! I've read many of your posts on the subject (as well as IrishLass, DeeAnna, kchaystack, and many others), and really appreciate the time and energy you all have spent answering questions and educating people like me.
 

Susie

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We get our jollies when we read posts like yours, I assure you. It makes me feel good when folks succeed, and I know I had some small part at helping them.

You can dilute in a crock pot or stainless steel pot with heat and be done diluting in a couple of hours. It all depends on how long you want to take. I use my crock pot and stick blend the last of the lumps so I can be done in a couple of hours, I assure you.
 

HowieRoll

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We get our jollies when we read posts like yours, I assure you. It makes me feel good when folks succeed, and I know I had some small part at helping them.

You can dilute in a crock pot or stainless steel pot with heat and be done diluting in a couple of hours. It all depends on how long you want to take. I use my crock pot and stick blend the last of the lumps so I can be done in a couple of hours, I assure you.
It makes me laugh, because as a 40+ year-old, soapmaking gives me quite a few jollies these days, which is certainly a far cry from how I got them in my 20s. :)

Diluting has been a little challenging, as I put 3oz paste into a stainless steel pot with 1.5oz distilled water over low heat, uncovered. I think a bunch of the water may have steamed out, so I added a total of 1.6oz more, have covered the pot, and was alternating between heat/no heat (I just couldn't decide, but will lean toward more heat now). The paste is still very taffy-like and showing no signs of giving in, but I have every intention of winning this battle.

Photos will be forthcoming one way or the other!
 

Susie

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It makes me laugh, because as a 40+ year-old, soapmaking gives me quite a few jollies these days, which is certainly a far cry from how I got them in my 20s. :)
We all made that transition, LOL. Soapmaking makes me happy, too.
 

HowieRoll

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As promised, below is a photo of the diluted soap. This is, however, Round 2 of dilution because Round 1 was a complete disaster (and wound up in the garbage). Diluting, it turns out, is tricky business. I thought the hard part was making the paste. I thought wrong.

The good news was for both rounds I only used 3 oz of paste, so not much was wasted. For Round 2, I ended up using 3.5 oz of water total and it is very runny, so I think this week I'm going to try another 3 oz paste in a jar with 2.25 oz water to start. Then I'm going to try to forget its existence for a few days and see what happens. And if I monkey with it, well, then that just proves I'M the biggest soap gremlin in the house!

P1140018.jpg
 

Susie

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Please try 3 oz of paste and 2 oz of water. You can always add more water if needed.
 

Dana89

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What was wrong with the jar you threw out? If you added too much water you can add more paste in there. I have done that twice and adding paste thickened it back up.

ETA-I always make a little extra paste just in case, diluting is never an exact science, it can depend on your recipe, dissaption, probably even the humidity level.
 
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ngian

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Or if the dilution came out very runny and there is no paste left, then you can leave the lid open for the excess water to evaporate in the expense of not understanding the final dilution rate.
 
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Susie

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Don't ever throw out soap until you ask us. Most can be saved. This goes for both NaOH soap and KOH soap.
 

HowieRoll

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Hi everyone, and thank you for your input/advice! I am on my way out the door, but will write a more detailed explanation later this evening of the Round 1 fail (it was all my fault, for sure). But there is some good news, as I wrote above that Round 2 was runny but that judgement was based solely on my swirling it around in the jar. I scented/used it last night a few times, and it turns out it's thicker than I thought! Aaaah, liquid soap... you fickle beast...
 

HowieRoll

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Ok, here are the details of the failed Round 1. I put 3oz paste into a small stainless steel pot and added 1.5oz water. I put it onto the stove top on Low, but it's an electric stove top and Low seems to still get pretty hot (throughout this, I would also move the pot 1/2 off the heat element to try to not "cook" it so much, but I think it still got too hot). Anyway, I'm fairly certain a bunch of the initial 1.5oz water steamed out, so I added another 0.8oz, then later another 0.8oz, at which point I put the lid on the pot. All that kept happening was the mixture was getting very, very sticky and it was thick and white (never amber). At one point it was the consistency of thick, very sticky mashed potatoes and seemed to be re-forming chunks. I was convinced I had made bionic paste that was taking on a life of its own.

All told, 6oz of water was added to this mess before I gave up and went to bed, letting it sit overnight. The next morning it was still very thick, white, and sticky (and a bit chunky), at which point I decided starting back from square one with fresh paste was better than trying to salvage it. It may have worked better in the stainless steel pot if I had been diluting more at once, instead of a scant 3oz portion, and/or used a smaller pot. As an aside, the pot I used has had kind of a white film on it for years from hard water staining, and it cleaned up beautifully and looks shiny and new again!

So for Round 2, I used the IrishLass method of putting paste/hot distilled water into a lidded jar and putting that into a pot of gently simmering water. I think this worked better in this situation because the paste wasn't being directly exposed to the heat element. If I ever dilute more than small portions, I will also try Susie's crock pot method, because that will be a more gentle heat, too, much more gentle than our too-hot stove.

And I meant to add earlier, that, as DeeAnna predicted might happen, the paste has softened up and is pliable, not rubbery like it was initially.

Thanks again - you all have been so helpful with this initial foray into liquid soap!
 
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