Liquid Soap Thickening Issue

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Sahil Doshi

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Hi all,

I have been watching the Soaping 101's Liquid Castille Soap video. Here is the link to her video:



Now, i tried to recreate the same recipe and all went well till the dilution point. As per instructions, the dilution ratio was 3:1 ratio, that is 3 parts water to 1 part paste.

Somehow, I just couldnt get the right consistency. Now, the only difference in method was that as per the video, the dilution process involved adding boiled water and then turning the crockpot on low and it was left overnight.

What I did was that I instead took the same amount of water as per the ratio, put it in a pot and boiled it on an induction cooktop and then added the soap paste and let it simmer and break down.. I am getting a runny watery consistency even after hitting about 30-40% concentration as compared to the 25% concentration followed in the video.

I don't see how the change in method can cause the thickness to change.. Any help will be really appreciated!
 

jcandleattic

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How long after your dilution was completely liquid have you waited? Some take up the 24-48 hours to completely finish and get to the final thickness...
 

Sahil Doshi

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How long after your dilution was completely liquid have you waited? Some take up the 24-48 hours to completely finish and get to the final thickness...

I have waited for upto 4 days with it.. no signs of thickening. Although if i leave it open, then due to the normal atmospheric evaporation of water, it thickens to the point where it goes solid again
 

DeeAnna

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... if i leave it open, then due to the normal atmospheric evaporation of water, it thickens to the point where it goes solid again

This fact is telling you there's too much water in the soap as you've diluted it. I can't explain why there's a difference without a chemistry lab to analyze the fatty acids in the soap. It honestly doesn't matter, however. What matters is the getting THIS batch to the thickness you desire, not blindly diluting according to what the written instructions say.

My LS dilution rate is often different too from batch to batch, but I don't stress about it. I just deal with it.
 

Sahil Doshi

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Nope. absolutely no fragrance oils or essential oils

What would be the ideal dilution ratio for this? Any suggestions?
 
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DeeAnna

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I have not a clue what the "ideal" dilution is for your particular soap. The ideal dilution is whatever water is needed to get the thickness you desire. Every batch can be different, so you have to experiment. I know that sounds trite and not very helpful, but it's the only method that I know will work.

"...As per instructions, the dilution ratio was 3:1 ratio, that is 3 parts water to 1 part paste...."

Obviously this was wrong for your soap. So why not try 1 part water to 1 part paste and work up from there? Add smaller and smaller portions of water until the soap has the right consistency. You have nothing to lose, right?
 

Sahil Doshi

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I have not a clue what the "ideal" dilution is for your particular soap. The ideal dilution is whatever water is needed to get the thickness you desire. Every batch can be different, so you have to experiment. I know that sounds trite and not very helpful, but it's the only method that I know will work.

"...As per instructions, the dilution ratio was 3:1 ratio, that is 3 parts water to 1 part paste...."

Obviously this was wrong for your soap. So why not try 1 part water to 1 part paste and work up from there? Add smaller and smaller portions of water until the soap has the right consistency. You have nothing to lose, right?

Let me try it out and let you know about it soon! One more question, in the link below, IrishLass used a Jar method to dilute the soap?

https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/soaping-101-liquid-soapmaking-video.46114/

How exactly does that work?
 

DeeAnna

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She explains it in her tutorial -- I thought it was pretty clear. What do you not understand about her method?
 

IrishLass

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Hi Sahil Doshi!

For me, the beauty of the canning jar method is that it greatly reduces the amount of water loss to evaporation while heating the paste & water to dilution, because the screw-top lid keeps everything nicely contained. This helps in two ways:

1) When figuring out a dilution rate for whatever formula, less water loss helps you to be able to arrive at a good dilution rate for that formula that's to your liking, with a more pinpoint-type of accuracy, and...
2) It helps to make subsequent dilutions of that formula to come out to that same thickness on a fairly consistent basis.

Sometimes subsequent dilutions of your formula can still turn out slightly more thin or thick due to whatever minute variations of this or that are going on, but they won't be grossly thicker or thinner. They'll remain in a good, satisfactory ballpark.

Figuring out the dilution rate for a particular formula/recipe that's to one's liking is the most difficult & frustrating part of making liquid soap. It's real easy to get a thin dilution, but if you're like me, I prefer mine on the more viscous side.......but more viscous is more tricky to achieve without a skin forming on top. :eek:

I have no idea what would be a good dilution rate for the recipe in the Soapmaking 101 video since I've never made her recipe. She says she is adding 3 times as much water as per paste because the olive oil in her recipe requires a higher dilution rate. While that may be true, 3 times water as per paste for that amount of olive oil sure seems like a whole lot of water. One of the two glycerin liquid soap recipes I normally make contains 65% olive oil (Soapmaking 101's recipe contains about 80% OO) and I dilute mine using only .75 times water as per paste and it makes for a lovely, pourable, honey-like dilution. And I know of a fellow who makes 100% OO liquid soap using the glycerin method that dilutes his with only 1.8 parts water as per paste.

If you have any of the paste leftover, I would try making a dilution using 1 part paste to 1/2 water to start, and see how that goes. If you find it needs more water after a day or so, add 25% more water and wait a day to see how it goes. If it looks like it needs more, add another 25% more, wait a day, etc... Make sure to take notes of how much water you add each time so that you'll have a record of your own custom dilution rate for when you make another batch of that recipe.


IrishLass :)
 

asmita

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A thought - once we arrive at the consistency we like, wouldn't it be easier to know how much water was needed to dilute the paste if we had weighed the paste before the dilution process and then weighed it again after dilution? Then the difference will be the total amount of water needed for dilution?
 

DeeAnna

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Yes, you can do that. Whatever is easiest for you.

The catch is that the water content in the paste can easily vary from batch to batch. That is one reason why I never blindly assume the dilution ratio I used for a previous batch is the correct dilution for a new batch.
 

BrewerGeorge

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Just as an outside-the-box idea, don't neglect the idea of a foamer bottle with it's thinner consistency.

I think we all try for that perfect honey consistency and celebrate when we get it. Then we watch it dribble out of the pump, dry up and make soap 'boogers' and generally get wasted when each pump uses enough soap for three hand washings. I think it was Zany who got me started on the idea of thin soap, which has progressed into using the foamer bottles which I love now.
 

DeeAnna

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Reduced soap waste is another argument for foamer bottles or for using thickeners like HEC and HPMC that don't rely on the rate of dilution. Soap that's thick from dilution alone can be 30% or more pure soap. You don't need that much soap per pump to get plenty clean -- something more like 10% to 20% pure soap would work fine. So a lot of liquid soap goes down the drain without providing any benefit. That would be especially true with kids or adults who aren't mindful of their soap usage.
 

IrishLass

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- something more like 10% to 20% pure soap would work fine.

I never really considered that before, but I've been seeing the truth of that with the emulsified oil cleansers that I've been experimenting with lately- they have surprised me with how little soap/emulsifier is needed to get my face completely clean of make-up.....without any scrubbing, no less......only as little as 5% to 10% emulsifier to oils.


IrishLass :)
 

Sahil Doshi

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Thanks a lot for all the ideas guys! I will try these ideas out and reply here to know what works! Thanks :thumbs:
 

Zany_in_CO

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I know I'm considered "old fashioned" and a minority of one on SMF, but this is based on my experience over the past 13 years and it may help someone.

IME thin liquid soap is just the nature of the beast. Once you understand that and focus on the lather created, that beast turns into a beauty. A good example is 100% olive oil LS.

The amount of dilution water needed depends on the oils used. For example:
100% coconut oil LS dilutes best at 40% soap to 60% dilution water.
100% olive oil LS dilutes best at 15% soap to 85% water. Thin, to be sure, but wonderful lather! It can then be thickened with salt brine. A better option is to add castor and/or coconut for a better viscosity to the finished LS. (BTW, this also works for 100% almond oil.)
All other oil/fat combos fall somewhere in between, altho 50% coconut oil to 50% liquid oil does dilute quite nicely at 35-40% soap to 65-60% dilution water. The end result generally has the viscosity of commercial shampoo.

So, unless and until you try it, you will be amazed at how much lather you get from a 15:85 ratio for 100% olive oil. You may prefer a molasses type consistency, and that's fine if that's your preference. No worries. BUT your thick OO LS takes far longer to rinse off and a lot of soap is wasted down the drain.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you will know the LS is at the perfect dilution rate when a skin forms on the top. Add a bit more water to dissolve it back into the batch and you're done.

Because there isn't enough head room in a crockpot, I dilute the paste range top in a large SS pot. I chunk up the paste, add it to boiling water, turn it down to med/low or low, put the lid on and let it do its thing over 3-4 hours, stirring gently every once in a while to break up large pieces. The idea is not to cook the soap, but rather to get the water to absorb the soap over time. Dilution happens "all of a sudden" when the soap reaches 160°F. (The water may be hotter than that, but it takes time for the soap to reach that temp.)

ETA: I also use only water, no glycerin, to make the lye solution for most of my batches. Just my personal preference based on my experience. The exception is when I make LS high in olive oil or other liquid oils. Then I use Carrie's GLS method, subbing glycerin for all the water in the lye solution. Using 16 oz. oil, this turns into soap in all of 2 minutes using a stick blender -- just like it shows in the video. It does indeed test clear with a drop of pheno solution after a one-hour rest. Way better than the first time I made OO LS -- it cooked 10 hours (!) before the paste tested clear.

2¢ Worth.gif
Hope this helps someone. :)
 
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Sahil Doshi

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I have a question guys. Can i do this?

I take a open vessel and take 2 part water and get that to a boil. Then i add 1 part paste to the boiling water and heat the whole thing and using a masher, break it down and since i know that the thickness i want is somewhere north of 50%, i keep weighing the vessel continuously until that much water has evaporated such that it makes it 50%.

Then i keep boiling to increase the percentage till I get to a point where I like the thickness.

Would this work?
 

DeeAnna

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Well, sure. But why do you want to do that? It's very wasteful of time and energy. Also prolonged heating encourages oxidation which can lead to rancidity.
 

BrewerGeorge

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Honestly, the biggest thing to learn to accept about dilution is that it doesn't need you. Leave it alone. Wait.

Put the calculated amount of water into the paste and give it a good stir. Then hide it somewhere that you can't see it for 24 hours. Maybe have a kid or SO hide it from you if you can't make yourself stop futzing with it. ;)

Check and make adjustments after a day.
 
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