my liquid soap is super clear but has PH of 14!!! what did I do wrong?

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TelAvivSoapCompany

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ok. I added the formula in a picture ( olive 45% coconut 20%,castor 15%, palm oil 15%(don't hate me) , palm kernel( don't hate me even more)). my soap came super clear. but the PH tested 14!!! can I reduce the ph somehow? without loosing clarity? how can I add EO without loosing clarity? does it have to be polysorbate? or is there a natural alternatives?
I did cook it for more than two hours. stirring and it did pass the gel phase ( transparent) and also the volcano stage( hope i did it well)
it does work great as soap... I tried it. it also dries my hand and it does feel a bit acidic, though I did the zap test and didn't feel anything . I am puzzled.
can it be it if didn't saponify? or is it possible that I just have too much lye left? as I used only 1% super fat and used koh and about a 1/3 water. I even added water during the cook/stir/volcano process
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A

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I wouldn't rely on pH strips for this. I would get a pH meter, calibrate it correctly, and then test if you really must know the pH of your liquid soap. The more important thing is: does your soap paste pass the zap test? Which you noted that it did. The dryness in your hands may just be the need for the soap paste to age. (or maybe that's more of a cream soap practice? someone with more experience will hopefully chime in.)

I'm not sure what typical ranges for soap paste are, but I would assume it would be fairly in-line with the 9-12 range of bar soaps.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I used SoapCalc to determine the amount of KOH needed to make your recipe. It seems your KOH amount was indeed off. But your water amount is correct. Hmmm.

pH14 LS.png


( olive 45% coconut 20%,castor 15%, palm oil 15%(don't hate me) , palm kernel( don't hate me even more)).
LOL Nobody hates you for using Palm & PKO, but if they did, they'd have to target me too! All of the oils you chose should make clear soap except for the palm which, along with tallow & lard, produces opaque LS. Here's a thread to learn more:

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM VARIOUS OILS IN LS
 

Zany_in_CO

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153g - 102g = 51 grams of excess KOH

Remedy:
I wouldn’t use Borax or Citric Acid to lower the pH.

I would add 33% more oil to absorb the 33% excess lye.
33% of 500 grams = 165 grams of oil (I would use just coconut oil to boost lather)

I would also add more water to accommodate the excess KOH
53g of KOH X 3 = 159 grams of water.

It is best to warm the oils, water and the LS to 140°-160°F (60°-71°C) before combining.
Hand stir thoroughly and maintain the temp at 160°F (71°C) until it is well combined. At this point you will have to trust your own judgment as to whether it's "done" or not. No need cook it, but rather just get it together and shut off the heat after a while and let it rest over night.

Sorry to tell you, if this works, your lovely "super clear" LS will probably be a tad cloudy due to the palm oil. There isn't much you can do except allow it to sequester for 2 weeks before passing judgment. Maybe the excess KOH worked some kind of clarifying magic on the palm oil. If so, then we will all learn something here. :thumbs:

NOTE: I hope other LS’ers weigh in on this. My Thinking Cap is a bit askew this time of the evening. 🤔
 
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ResolvableOwl

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Some things don't fit together here.
I've tried to reconstruct where you got that 151.14 g KOH from. It seems like the amount for 500 g coconut oil, saponified at 1% SF with KOH of some 84% purity. These numbers are reasonable if and only if you're using pure coconut, but change (usually decrease) if you use other oils.

You've written 153 g (good thing that you're bookkeeping everything, otherwise we'd be at a loss here!), so with your oil blend, you have excess lye (-27% SF instead of +1%), and super high pH, stripping/irritant when used as soap, and (reasonably) clear soap paste after cooking/dilution – but then why isn't the soap zappy as hell too? Are you sure you have conducted the zap test and know what to expect from a positive zap?

I'm with @Zany_in_CO that the most sensible remedy is adding more oils. Be sure that you don't “waste” too much soap by dilution/discarding and on the walls of your containers, or at least estimate how much you have lost already (introducing even more uncertainties definitely won't help). Combine all of your paste and wash test/pH sample, dilute to a honey-like viscosity.

The following is based on the assumptions that you have 100% recovery and 85% pure KOH, and aiming for 1% SF (but you'll have to adjust with your actual numbers): your oils need 102.02 g of KOH (pure), but you added 130.05 KOH (85% of 153 g), so 28 g are still to be eaten up. That's some 150 g of additional liquid oils. If you're aiming at clear LS, I'd recommend not to replicate the original oil blend, but just use olive and castor for this step:
Gently, but thoroughly stir in 100 g of olive oil into the soap honey, and let it sit for a day or two, covered, with occasional stirring if needed (CP liquid soap process). You might conduct a zap test when there doesn't seem to happen anything more, all the oil and cloudiness gone – my guess is that it is still slightly zappy. Then add 50 g of castor oil (and water if it is too thick to stir) and do the same again. Now you're nominally close to 0% SF, and you might be lye-neutral or not; if not, add a bit more castor oil.
An advantage is that you're lowering the PO content, which helps with clarity. PO is a viable oil to make LS from, but not so much if you aim for full clarity. I've once made a LS with 20% PO, and I was happy how clear it was nonetheless, but a day later it has turned murky … just as an anecdote. If you're planning to dilute your soap paste (for use in foamers and/or thickening with salt or thickening agents), this will become less troublesome, but still PO isn't first choice for LS. If you aim for cheap filler oils, use whatever liquid oil is easily available for you.

You notice I haven't given numbers for water – too many unknowns for me from a distance, and in the end you'll have to find the consistency you like.

Another “hate” (not really 😉) is PKO. There is just no reason to use both coconut oil and PKO in one recipe. They're too similar to detect a difference. Go either 25% CO or 25% PKO next time, unless of course you have an irrational affection to the act of weighing out ingredients.

Finally, an annotation to your tools: I've noticed that you are using glassware. Even lab-grade borosilicate glass isn't indefinitely stable against lye. Okay for prototyping/a small test batch every now and then, but there are reasons to go for PP plastic whenever posible with soaping dishes. (And if it's only that, in case of the impossible, you will prefer wiping up lye spill over wiping up lye spill WITH GLASS SHARDS in it)
 

Zany_in_CO

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then why isn't the soap zappy as hell too? Are you sure you have conducted the zap test and know what to expect from a positive zap?
:thumbs: I wondered why that too.
If you're aiming at clear LS, I'd recommend not to replicate the original oil blend, but just use olive and castor for this step
dilute to a honey-like viscosity.
TIP: 50% or more Coconut oil is better for achieving a honey-like viscosity.
50% or more olive & castor, diluted to the "perfect measure" (see link) results in watery LS that can be thickened with salt aka brine solution.

DILUTION RATES (based on my 17 years experience)

A good way to demonstrate this is:
Make a 12 oz. batch of 100% coconut oil, 0% SF = 16 oz. paste (approx)
Make a 12 oz. batch of 100% olive oil, 0% SF = 16 oz. paste (approx)
Divide the 16 oz. paste into four portions, 4 oz. each.
Use 3 portions for varying ratios of soap to water: 15:85 - 40:60
Combine 1 portion of each, coconut oil & olive oil, and do the same ratios.
Thereby you will have a foundation for diluting future batches. :thumbs:

An advantage is that you're lowering the PO content, which helps with clarity. PO is a viable oil to make LS from, but not so much if you aim for full clarity.
:thumbs: True. Palm Oil LS tends to be opaque. Aiming for 0% SF also helps to promote clarity. While it's true that you can soap at 3-4% SF to offset the necessity of neutralizing excess lye, your soap is likely to be less clear. Some LS-ers are fine with that. It's all good.
 
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TelAvivSoapCompany

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I used SoapCalc to determine the amount of KOH needed to make your recipe. It seems your KOH amount was indeed off. But your water amount is correct. Hmmm.

View attachment 60122


LOL Nobody hates you for using Palm & PKO, but if they did, they'd have to target me too! All of the oils you chose should make clear soap except for the palm which, along with tallow & lard, produces opaque LS. Here's a thread to learn more:

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM VARIOUS OILS IN LS
I used SoapCalc to determine the amount of KOH needed to make your recipe. It seems your KOH amount was indeed off. But your water amount is correct. Hmmm.

View attachment 60122


LOL Nobody hates you for using Palm & PKO, but if they did, they'd have to target me too! All of the oils you chose should make clear soap except for the palm which, along with tallow & lard, produces opaque LS. Here's a thread to learn more:

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM VARIOUS OILS IN LS
I used a different soap calc... but I will check again the formula on it. That wierd... since even in my recipients I added 2g extra of oil and fixed the amount of koh as well.(I spilled 2 g extra of coconut oil.
But I will check again and reply on this
 

Zany_in_CO

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@TelAvivSoapCompany wrote:
I used a different soap calc... but I will check again the formula on it. That wierd... since even in my recipients I added 2g extra of oil and fixed the amount of koh as well.(I spilled 2 g extra of coconut oil.
But I will check again and reply on this
Perhaps you could transfer your written notes to the Soap Calc you used and post it here for all to see?
 

TelAvivSoapCompany

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Some things don't fit together here.
I've tried to reconstruct where you got that 151.14 g KOH from. It seems like the amount for 500 g coconut oil, saponified at 1% SF with KOH of some 84% purity. These numbers are reasonable if and only if you're using pure coconut, but change (usually decrease) if you use other oils.

You've written 153 g (good thing that you're bookkeeping everything, otherwise we'd be at a loss here!), so with your oil blend, you have excess lye (-27% SF instead of +1%), and super high pH, stripping/irritant when used as soap, and (reasonably) clear soap paste after cooking/dilution – but then why isn't the soap zappy as hell too? Are you sure you have conducted the zap test and know what to expect from a positive zap?

I'm with @Zany_in_CO that the most sensible remedy is adding more oils. Be sure that you don't “waste” too much soap by dilution/discarding and on the walls of your containers, or at least estimate how much you have lost already (introducing even more uncertainties definitely won't help). Combine all of your paste and wash test/pH sample, dilute to a honey-like viscosity.

The following is based on the assumptions that you have 100% recovery and 85% pure KOH, and aiming for 1% SF (but you'll have to adjust with your actual numbers): your oils need 102.02 g of KOH (pure), but you added 130.05 KOH (85% of 153 g), so 28 g are still to be eaten up. That's some 150 g of additional liquid oils. If you're aiming at clear LS, I'd recommend not to replicate the original oil blend, but just use olive and castor for this step:
Gently, but thoroughly stir in 100 g of olive oil into the soap honey, and let it sit for a day or two, covered, with occasional stirring if needed (CP liquid soap process). You might conduct a zap test when there doesn't seem to happen anything more, all the oil and cloudiness gone – my guess is that it is still slightly zappy. Then add 50 g of castor oil (and water if it is too thick to stir) and do the same again. Now you're nominally close to 0% SF, and you might be lye-neutral or not; if not, add a bit more castor oil.
An advantage is that you're lowering the PO content, which helps with clarity. PO is a viable oil to make LS from, but not so much if you aim for full clarity. I've once made a LS with 20% PO, and I was happy how clear it was nonetheless, but a day later it has turned murky … just as an anecdote. If you're planning to dilute your soap paste (for use in foamers and/or thickening with salt or thickening agents), this will become less troublesome, but still PO isn't first choice for LS. If you aim for cheap filler oils, use whatever liquid oil is easily available for you.

You notice I haven't given numbers for water – too many unknowns for me from a distance, and in the end you'll have to find the consistency you like.

Another “hate” (not really 😉) is PKO. There is just no reason to use both coconut oil and PKO in one recipe. They're too similar to detect a difference. Go either 25% CO or 25% PKO next time, unless of course you have an irrational affection to the act of weighing out ingredients.

Finally, an annotation to your tools: I've noticed that you are using glassware. Even lab-grade borosilicate glass isn't indefinitely stable against lye. Okay for prototyping/a small test batch every now and then, but there are reasons to go for PP plastic whenever posible with soaping dishes. (And if it's only that, in case of the impossible, you will prefer wiping up lye spill over wiping up lye spill WITH GLASS SHARDS in it)
Did the zap test twice! On the paste and a piece melted in water. Wierd! But I will take everyone advice and dilute it with oils and etc it sit a bit . Will post my results. Thanks for everyone's replies.

I m starting to think I signed that my log is 90%pure...while it actually isn't and therefore received such a large difference in koh to oil.

One more point. My olive oil was extra saturated twice! In mint! Sat for a month than took the mint out and added bulk of grinded mint for another month. Than filtered. . Do you think this also require adjusting the KOH?
Thanks guys
 

ResolvableOwl

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Maybe your tongue is just used to other strongly spicy things than lye-heavy soap??? Idk, it seems as your zap test somehow isn't reliable for some reason.
If you are able to saponify another 100 g or 150 g of oils into your soap paste (to positive clarity test), then you have had excess lye in any case, regardless what the zap test tells you. And though pH strips are not ideal for soap, they can't be that off to mistake a soap with apparent pH 14 as skin-safe.

Well, that's another point that hasn't been addressed yet: as long as you haven't clarified this excess lye/high pH issue, your soap is not skin safe/not safe to give out of hand, even if you have the impression that it isn't overly harsh. Good thing that you asked here!

The mint infusion can't cause anything noticeable to the lye balance.
 

TelAvivSoapCompany

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Well personally I wouldn't sell anything less then perfect :) but I will experiment on it. I did take a shower with it and it doesn't have any harsh effect. I m puzzled. Will try what you guys offered here and will report back :)
 

ResolvableOwl

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I'd describe a positive zap test (lye-heavy) like drinking sparkling water after a meal seasoned with ample of chili and szechuan pepper.
 

Zany_in_CO

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FWIW, I stopped using the ZAP test my first year of soap making (2004). While it is handy to have in my soapmaker's tool box, I seldom use it. I rarely recommend it, especially for liquid soap batches.

I have seen many Newbies go from the ZAP test immediately to the Dilution Phase and then they wonder why there's a layer of milky soap at the bottom of the container after the 2-week sequester. It would have been better to wait for a day or two or more before diluting to make sure the paste was fully saponified. ;)

Like many long-time LS-ers I know, I always test my LS with phenolphthalein drops to make sure the batch is fully saponified. I find it to be the most reliable method. It is not the SMF method of choice, so there's that. But, for me it works. Here's a video that demonstrates how we do it. Forward to the 5 minute mark to see. :

GLYCERIN LIQUID SOAP

NOTE: That method is NOT for Beginners due to the high heat of the lye and the possibility of toxic fumes from the KOH if overheated and scorched. It's an interesting tutorial, made in 2011, and the basis for subbing glycerin for part of the water used to make the lye solution.

ETA: I have used that tutorial several times for liquid soap high in olive oil or similar. It never fails to delight me when it becomes soap in all of 2 minutes! I test at that point and the drops are fuscia. I wait an hour to test again and it tests clear -- it just amazes me how that works!
:nodding:
 
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Susie

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Did the zap test twice! On the paste and a piece melted in water. Wierd! But I will take everyone advice and dilute it with oils and etc it sit a bit . Will post my results. Thanks for everyone's replies.

I m starting to think I signed that my log is 90%pure...while it actually isn't and therefore received such a large difference in koh to oil.

One more point. My olive oil was extra saturated twice! In mint! Sat for a month than took the mint out and added bulk of grinded mint for another month. Than filtered. . Do you think this also require adjusting the KOH?
Thanks guys
I would trust your zap test more than anything else if you aren't absolutely sure what % purity your KOH is. Zap is NOT a spicy feel. It is a mild electric shock. Impossible to mistake for anything else.

There is also no need, whatsoever, to heat glycerin to mix with KOH. You just mix equal parts KOH and water, and then dump the remainder of the water amount as glycerin into the oils.
 
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I would trust your zap test more than anything else if you aren't absolutely sure what % purity your KOH is. Zap is NOT a spicy feel. It is a mild electric shock. Impossible to mistake for anything else.

There is also no need, whatsoever, to heat glycerin to mix with KOH. You just mix equal parts KOH and water, and then dump the remainder of the water amount as glycerin into the oils.
Susie, I can use ALL Glycerin instead of water, if I Want though, Correct? Meaning, mix the KOH With just the Water Amount, but in Glycerin instead of water, as I really love Glycerin. I know it costs more than water, but I like it. I just want to make sure here, as I bought some liquid soap made with Glycerin awhile back, and I liked it so much. I want to try making liquid soap myself, with Glycerin and not any water, accept to dilute it later.
 

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I want to try making liquid soap myself, with Glycerin and not any water, accept to dilute it later.
You can sub glycerin for the water to make the KOH lye solution for LS but that is an advanced technique. It is not recommended for beginners due to the high heat and toxic fumes that may occur during the process. However, many LS'ers use glycerin + water to make the KOH lye solution. It is much safer doing it that way.
Here is a good recipe to learn how to make LS:

BASIC BEGINNERS LIQUID SOAP

That recipe uses water & glycerin to make the lye solution. It's best to make several small batches at first. You will need to become familiar with a calculator like SoapCalc to resize to 12-16 oz. (400-500g) batches because most online recipes are huge. If mistakes happen, you'll spare yourself the expense of making a larger batch. 12 oz. Oils = 16 oz. paste which you can then divide into 4 portions to play with.

HAPPY SOAPING!
 
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You can sub glycerin for the water to make the KOH lye solution for LS but that is an advanced technique. It is not recommended for beginners due to the high heat and toxic fumes that may occur during the process. However, many LS'ers use glycerin + water to make the KOH lye solution. It is much safer doing it that way. Here is a good recipe to learn how to make LS:

BASIC BEGINNERS LIQUID SOAP

That recipe uses water & glycerin to make the lye solution. It's best to make several small batches at first. You will need to become familiar with a calculator like SoapCalc to resize to 12-16 oz. (400-500g) batches because most online recipes are huge. If mistakes happen, you'll spare yourself the expense of making a larger batch. 12 oz. Oils = 16 oz. paste which you can then divide into 4 portions to play with.

HAPPY SOAPING!
You made my day!!!! No, You really did :) THANKS ZANNY!!!!
 
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You can sub glycerin for the water to make the KOH lye solution for LS but that is an advanced technique. It is not recommended for beginners due to the high heat and toxic fumes that may occur during the process. However, many LS'ers use glycerin + water to make the KOH lye solution. It is much safer doing it that way. Here is a good recipe to learn how to make LS:

BASIC BEGINNERS LIQUID SOAP

That recipe uses water & glycerin to make the lye solution. It's best to make several small batches at first. You will need to become familiar with a calculator like SoapCalc to resize to 12-16 oz. (400-500g) batches because most online recipes are huge. If mistakes happen, you'll spare yourself the expense of making a larger batch. 12 oz. Oils = 16 oz. paste which you can then divide into 4 portions to play with.

HAPPY SOAPING!
Ok Zanny, unfortunately I did get a tad confused by the directions. Let me post here what PART of the directions stated, and then I will post my thoughts/questions:
In the LINK That you provided for the Basic Beginners Liquid Soap, It states this:

"As you get a handle on making liquid soap, you can venture into using different liquids for your lye water, different oil combinations to get the properties you are looking for in a soap and so on in formulating for your own creations. "

ok, the question I have was about the part where it stated that I could venture into using different LIQUIDS For my Lye Water.....
So, does this mean if I wanted too, I could use ANY Liquid, as in specifically Aloe Vera Juice???? Oh that would be wonderful!!
Thanks for the Help Zanny and to anybody else as well :)
 
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