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StarsRUs

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Hey everyone. I'm new to this forum but not new to soap making. I make soaps based on animal fats, I always use the HP method because I like the authentic feel and look of it. So last month I tried to make my first liquid tallow soap. Pure tallow, no oils. I noticed that after a few days the water and soap started to separate.. I was like okay, that's fine, a little shake before use should fix it and I'm okay with that. This photo was taken back then. Right now it's just half a bottle of soap and half water. And the soap seems to be a bit on the harder side now. I really want to make liquid soap but don't really know what to do now without ruining another batch. I bought glycerine and am thinking about replacing the water for my lye solution with glycerine, do you think this is a good idea? I don't want to use any additives cause I want to keep my soap as pure and natural as possible. So I read that glycerine helps with separation. I'm desperately looking for help because I'm afraid I might mess it up again. Is replacing the lye water with glycerine a good idea or do I need to make it with just water and add glycerine later? And if I need to add it later, how do I know how much I need?

For anyone reading this and helping me out. You are so so so appreciated 🙏🏼

Hugs, Bianca
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lsg

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Did you use any fragrance oil in the soap? Here is a thread discussing the issue.

 

DeeAnna

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We need more info. Share your recipe, ALL ingredients and ALL in weights. Yes, I know you only used tallow, but that isn't the recipe. Also what is the purity of the KOH you used?

I've made liquid (KOH) soap with added glycerin and without. I can't say I've ever found glycerin to prevent separation. Especially the major separation you're seeing in your soap, which points more to low purity KOH or too-high superfat or some additive that reacts with alkali. I highly doubt adding glycerin will solve your problem. Regardless, I'm curious about who is offering this advice -- care to share a link to the source?

Also tallow is high in stearic and palmitic acids, both of which can cause liquid soap to be cloudy and/or form a thin layer of floating solids.
 

StarsRUs

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Did you use any fragrance oil in the soap? Here is a thread discussing the issue.

No fragrance, just beef tallow, water with powdered sugar and lye.

We need more info. Share your recipe, ALL ingredients and ALL in weights. Yes, I know you only used tallow, but that isn't the recipe. Also what is the purity of the KOH you used?

I've made liquid (KOH) soap with added glycerin and without. I can't say I've ever found glycerin to prevent separation. Especially the major separation you're seeing in your soap, which points more to low purity KOH or too-high superfat or some additive that reacts with alkali. I highly doubt adding glycerin will solve your problem. Regardless, I'm curious about who is offering this advice -- care to share a link to the source?

Also tallow is high in stearic and palmitic acids, both of which can cause liquid soap to be cloudy and/or form a thin layer of floating solids.
I know that there can be some separation with tallow soap, I just wasn't expecting this much. It basically became half solid and half watery substance lol.

I don't remember exactly where I read the advice of glycerin helping with separation, I think it was on reddit in the subreddit called soapmaking.

I've added a screenshot of the recipe. I didn't dilute the soap in hot water though but in cold water for 48 hours. I'll dilute it next time with hot water to make it go faster. The soap indeed looked a bit cloudy. Would you recommend me using castor oil with my tallow for making this soap instead of just pure tallow? I really want to do it without though but if it results in separation again, then maybe castor oil will help too.
 

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DeeAnna

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You put in zero superfat and 90% purity, which are both reasonable choices. But my suspicion is your KOH is less pure than 90%. Or the saponification value of your particular tallow is lower than what the soap recipe [email protected] is assuming. More likely the KOH purity, though.

The solution for this problem is to add more KOH to saponify the excess fat / fatty acids.

Why do you think castor oil will prevent separation like this? I'm not following your line of thinking here.

You can use warm/hot water if you like, but that only makes the dilution go quicker. It won't prevent separation, although I realize you already know that (just saying this for others who might wonder.)
 

StarsRUs

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You put in zero superfat and 90% purity, which are both reasonable choices. But my suspicion is your KOH is less pure than 90%. Or the saponification value of your particular tallow is lower than what the soap recipe [email protected] is assuming. More likely the KOH purity, though.

The solution for this problem is to add more KOH to saponify the excess fat / fatty acids.

Why do you think castor oil will prevent separation like this? I'm not following your line of thinking here.

You can use warm/hot water if you like, but that only makes the dilution go quicker. It won't prevent separation, although I realize you already know that (just saying this for others who might wonder.)
I followed this recipe from a YouTube video. The lady had that recipe linked. Her soap turned out great. My KOH is 85%+ it says on the bottle. I thought I added superfat but I didn't looking at the recipe now. And by using castor oil, I thought it would help since tallow is high in stearic acids, so adding castor oil would decrease it a bit. I could add more oils but I want it to be a tallow soap. That's my line of thinking 😅😅 hope it makes sense
 

DeeAnna

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...My KOH is 85%+ it says on the bottle. I thought I added superfat but I didn't looking at the recipe now. And by using castor oil, I thought it would help since tallow is high in stearic acids, so adding castor oil would decrease it a bit. I could add more oils but I want it to be a tallow soap. That's my line of thinking 😅😅 hope it makes sense

Your recipe is based on KOH at 90%. Given that your KOH is not that pure, that's most likely the reason for your problem with major separation.

Any fat low in stearic or palmitic acid will certainly reduce the proportion of those fatty acids in the finished soap. Problem is adding castor won't solve the problem of having too much free fat in the soap. The free fats are separating out of the diluted soap and simply changing the fats won't solve this problem.

You need to adjust the KOH purity to be more siimilar to the KOH you actually have. You can't just do exactly what the other person did unless you have the same ingredients the other soap maker had. Liquid (KOH) soap is not as tolerant of high percentages of superfat as bar (NaOH) soap is.
 

StarsRUs

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Your recipe is based on KOH at 90%. Given that your KOH is not that pure, that's most likely the reason for your problem with major separation.

Any fat low in stearic or palmitic acid will certainly reduce the proportion of those fatty acids in the finished soap. Problem is adding castor won't solve the problem of having too much free fat in the soap. The free fats are separating out of the diluted soap and simply changing the fats won't solve this problem.

You need to adjust the KOH purity to be more siimilar to the KOH you actually have. You can't just do exactly what the other person did unless you have the same ingredients the other soap maker had. Liquid (KOH) soap is not as tolerant of high percentages of superfat as bar (NaOH) soap is.
Ah thank you!! I am using soapee.com as my calculator. I can adjust my purity there so I will hopefully have a great batch next time. Thinking about trying it tomorrow, I will still replace the water for glycerin to make the soap feel less stripping (pure tallow feels very stripping), thank you very much for your help. I now have my answer I think. I'll let you know how it goes!! Thank you again ❤️🙏🏼
 

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Good point, @AliOop.

Find the KOH weight you used for the batch. Recalculate the same recipe except set the KOH purity to 85%. Note the KOH weight for the lower purity. Find the difference between these two KOH weights.

The difference is an estimate of the extra KOH you might need to add to the batch of soap. I wouldn't add it all at once because you don't have an accurate purity % -- all you know is the KOH purity is somewhere between 85% and 90%.

So you might dilute about half of this KOH in an equal weight of water, carefully stir the KOH solution into the soap mixture (at the very least, wear eye protection when you do this), let the soap sit for 24 hours or so to let the alkali saponify, then test the soap to see if it is zappy to the tongue.

The goal is to reduce the amount of floating fatty material but not add so much extra KOH that the soap becomes zappy to the tongue.
 

StarsRUs

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You can probably save this batch by adding more KOH solution, a bit at a time.
Do you suggest me to mix it in the same weight in water and then stir it in to my failed batch? Do I heat the soap beforehand? Or do I just mix it in and wait a day for it to saponify? Or do I wait longer than a day? Cause this seem like a good idea to save this batch. Thank you
 
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Do you suggest me to mix it in the same weight in water and then stir it in to my failed batch? Do I heat the soap beforehand? Or do I just mix it in and wait a day for it to saponify? Or do I wait longer than a day? Cause this seem like a good idea to save this batch. Thank you
Hello @StarsRUs definitely give it a try! LS is much easier to fix than bar soap. I would follow @DeeAnna's directions in post #10, above.
 

DeeAnna

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Do you suggest me to mix it in the same weight in water and then stir it in to my failed batch? Do I heat the soap beforehand? Or do I just mix it in and wait a day for it to saponify? Or do I wait longer than a day? Cause this seem like a good idea to save this batch. Thank you
Yes, same weight in water -- "...dilute about half of this KOH in an equal weight of water..."

Heat or don't heat -- it's your choice. I don't usually heat the soap, but I'm not usually in a rush to see results.

Yes, wait at least a day -- "...let the soap sit for 24 hours or so to let the alkali saponify..."
 

StarsRUs

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Yes, same weight in water -- "...dilute about half of this KOH in an equal weight of water..."

Heat or don't heat -- it's your choice. I don't usually heat the soap, but I'm not usually in a rush to see results.

Yes, wait at least a day -- "...let the soap sit for 24 hours or so to let the alkali saponify..."
Ah thank you. You're amazing. Thank you so much for your help.

Yesterday I tried to make liquid soap using the glycerin method. That didn't go as planned. The warm glycerin and KOH thickened like crazy and turned into a hard crystal like mess. Tried it twice the exact way as many do in their videos on YT, but for me it didn't work so I made a batch with distilled water and KOH and added glycerine later to the batch when I was diluting it with hot water. I really hope that now that Ive got my KOH purity right, that this soap won't separate like the first batch. It's currently still diluting. Started last night with a 2:1 ratio and I've added another 1:1 cause it was very gel like this morning. After this I'll add 100grams of water if the soap is still to thick to my liking. Fingers crossed!! 🤞🏼
 

StarsRUs

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Yes, same weight in water -- "...dilute about half of this KOH in an equal weight of water..."

Heat or don't heat -- it's your choice. I don't usually heat the soap, but I'm not usually in a rush to see results.

Yes, wait at least a day -- "...let the soap sit for 24 hours or so to let the alkali saponify..."
Do you perhaps know why there's this white cloudy layer on top of my liquid soap? Should I scoop this off? Will it dilute eventually? I've been keeping my soap on the lowest heat possible to make the diluting go faster and I stick blended the large gelly chunks. Overall I think the soap looks great and I've used it on my hands and it feels amazing. I'm just not sure what this white stuff is.
 

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DeeAnna

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Do you perhaps know why there's this white cloudy layer on top of my liquid soap?...

That white layer is what I've been discussing all along, so you already know my opinion about what it is. A thick white floating layer is usually excess fat or fatty acids.

If you want the white layer of fats/fatty acids to become actual soap, you have add more KOH so the fats and fatty acids can actually saponify. If you just want the problem to go away without actually learning anything, then yes, you can discard the white stuff into the trash (not down the drain) and just keep the clear layer of actual soap.

I'm pretty sure I'm not communicating well about this issue, so I am bowing out of the conversation. I hope others will step in to help you.
 
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@DeeAnna You were very clear about what to do when there is excess fat or fatty acids, and your explanations were very helpful.

My guess is that the OP was confused because the white cloudy goo in this new batch appears to be a different problem than the solid mass in the first batch. We know that in reality, they are symptoms of the same problem (lack of sufficient KOH) presenting in slightly different ways. But I can see where the OP might not have realized that.

@StarsRUs based on the floating mass of unsaponified oils/fats, somehow you are still not adding enough KOH to your recipe. Are you sure that you didn't add a superfat, and that you adjusted for lye purity? Whatever the reason, the solution is the same as it was for your first batch: mix up a 50% KOH solution and add it a bit at a time, till everything saponifies.
 
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Don't mix the hot glycerin with the KOH no matter what the video shows. Here is a beast of a thread that is loaded with good liquid soapmaking information.

 
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Hey everyone. I'm new to this forum but not new to soap making. I make soaps based on animal fats, I always use the HP method because I like the authentic feel and look of it. So last month I tried to make my first liquid tallow soap. Pure tallow, no oils. I noticed that after a few days the water and soap started to separate.. I was like okay, that's fine, a little shake before use should fix it and I'm okay with that. This photo was taken back then. Right now it's just half a bottle of soap and half water. And the soap seems to be a bit on the harder side now. I really want to make liquid soap but don't really know what to do now without ruining another batch. I bought glycerine and am thinking about replacing the water for my lye solution with glycerine, do you think this is a good idea? I don't want to use any additives cause I want to keep my soap as pure and natural as possible. So I read that glycerine helps with separation. I'm desperately looking for help because I'm afraid I might mess it up again. Is replacing the lye water with glycerine a good idea or do I need to make it with just water and add glycerine later? And if I need to add it later, how do I know how much I need?

For anyone reading this and helping me out. You are so so so appreciated 🙏🏼

Hugs, Bianca
View attachment 68238
Hi Bianca!
I've bem working on making liquid soap from tallow and lard as well! So excited about this!
Coild you keep us posted with your progress and give us your tips?
The only tip I could give you is take your time with the soap and keep it in the slow cooker until you're happy with it. I keek mine for 3 days sometimes, I let it do it's thing, reduce to keep warm or turn it off and see how it behaves, i find it more work if I have to put everything back in the slow cooker.
Last few batches I made (I make small batches 350g because I like experimenting, koh, citric acid 5%, sugar, lard and or tallow) I added 10% extra of the lye amount given in the recipe, that means if it asks for 150g of KOH I add 165g, yes the soap was lye heavy of course, I leave it still cooking for a few hours, then I keep adding small to very small amounts of fat until it is no longer lye heavy. I keep usind the ph strips and testing often, and give it time in between, I'm often surprised how little fat it takes to make it no longer lye heavy, I find it's easier to do this then adding more lye if I have too much unsaponified fat.
The consistency of the sosp made with lard and tallow is so good, I often use my soaps for dishwashing and it works wonderfully and it's not harsh on the hands
 
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@Lidiacgarcia testing with pH strips does not tell you whether the soap is lye heavy. Also, the strips are very inaccurate for even telling you the actual pH of the soap. The more serious issue to me is that by adding excess lye to your recipe, you are adding completely unnecessary steps to the normal LS process. That's fine if you want to play around (as you have mentioned in other posts).

However, it really isn't kind - and is actually quite confusing - to suggest that such experiments are suitable "tips" for newbies. Most folks who are learning how to make LS don't want to waste ingredients when a batch fails. Many also lack the science background to know how to troubleshoot.

@StarsRUs I hope you will continue to work on making LS with the recommended amount of lye for your specific recipe, which should always be run through a lye calculator using the actual amounts of the specific oils you plan to put into the soap pot. Once you have successfully made and diluted some batches of LS, then it can be fun to play around.
 

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