Liquid Soap Thickening Issue

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DeeAnna

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I'm with BG. I dilute soap paste pretty much like I make it -- largely hands off and at room temperature.

I don't mean for this to sound like my way is the only way, but my bias as a former process engineer makes me scratch my head about methods that require more effort and resources to get from Point A to Point B than is really necessary.
 
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Zany_in_CO

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Would this work?
It would work if you want to clean your range top! LOL Boiling liquid soap creates copious bubbles -- I can just imagine them spilling over onto your stove.

It would be better to weigh the paste then factor in the amount of dilution water needed. The amount of dilution water depends on what oils are in the soap.

Example:
Paste weight: 20 oz.
Water weight for 50/50 coconut /olive LS: 30 oz (40% soap/60% water)
Water weight for 80% olive; 15% coconut; 5% castor LS: 60 oz (25% soap/75% water)

As BG suggested, you don't need to do anything more than add the boiling water to the soap in the pot, cover and let it sit until it dissolves, hopefully overnight. OR heat it on med/low to low for 3-4 hours to speed the process up if you prefer. Checking once in a while to break up the pieces with a spoon. The less you fiddle with it, the better.

Patience is the first rule of soaping. I think you'll be much happier if you go take a bath, do your nails, or have a glass of wine and let the soap do its thing. ;)
 

catweazle

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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.

View attachment 30151 Hope this helps someone. :)
I am at my third attempt at making soap. First one was hot process hard soap . Second one awaiting re-melt and this current liquid soap is very luxurious 100% olive oil of which I also sell as Olive oil. It is an exceptional oil and I find it incredible that remains a thick paste at 3 water to one paste. You are saying I could easily double the water of what I have already and more. !! As yet , I have used only olive oil, Potassium hydroxide and distilled water . Am I missing something or should I just add water until i get the "honey" ?
 

Zany_in_CO

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I find it incredible that remains a thick paste at 3 water to one paste.
As others have said, the viscosity of your finished LS is a matter of preference. If you're happy with 3 waters to 1 paste, then there's no need to do anything more. :thumbs: ;)
I could easily double the water of what I have already and more.
No. Doubling the water amount would be too much. :p
Currently 3 parts water + 1 part paste = 4 parts finished LS, 75% water, 25% soap.
If you doubled the water: 6 parts water + 1 part paste = 7 parts LS, 86% water, 14% soap
it would be very thin soap that you would then need to thicken with salt brine.

A better option would be
4 parts water + 1 part paste = 5 parts finished LS, 80% water, 20% soap.

OR, you could divide the current batch into 3 portions and add 1 part, 2 parts, 3 parts water respectively to each portion to see how you like the result. :)
 

DeeAnna

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I agree with Zany about not adding too much water. That usually doesn't work well.

A 100% olive oil soap has a fairly high percentage of oleic acid, and that makes the soap want to return to a jelly-like semisolid texture. I once had to dilute one batch of high oleic soap to less than 10% pure soap before the soap would remain a flowable liquid. By that time, the soap content was so low it didn't perform well as a cleanser.

I have a rule of thumb I use when I want to make a liquid soap that dilutes to a honey-thick consistency with just water -- no added thickeners. I keep the oleic acid content of the recipe around 50%, more or less. A lot lower than that and the diluted soap will have a watery texture no matter how concentrated it is. A lot higher than that and the soap is likely to have a jelly-like non-pourable texture even with a lot of water added.
 

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