Need help with Dilution and Color: My liquid soap is clear but dark, I didn't use dark oils

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j163j

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Hi all,

I need help with the color of my liquid soap, please. I would like it to be a lighter, yellow color. But it is a darker, amber color. I'll post my recipe below after I explain a few things.

I use a variation of the Irish Lass glycerin method. I cook in a stainless steel pot on a hotplate because my batches need to be a lot larger so I don't use a crockpot. I do keep the lid on the stainless steel pot but it doesn't like lock on there or anything. After I cook, because I'm making such large batches, I dump my soap paste into a 10gal stockpot, add my boiling dilution water (1:3) and turn it on the lowest heat to dilute over the stovetop. I am trying to get it to dilute quicker by doing this (because I tried letting it dilute aturally and after almost a week in a 5gal pail it still had a ways to go), but I think this might be what makes my soap darker. I'll periodically turn this heat off so it isn't on for the entire time it takes to dilute, which is longer than I'd like it to be. After the heat does it thing, I add more water to make up for the evaporated water during the dilution process.

My soap paste itself isn't dark, it's a yellowish color. And I do the clarity test (and pH test) to see if my soap is finished and the paste is a light yellow and clear. But then again, with my clarity test I'm not specific about the dilution ratio and it's certainly waaaay more diluted than my finished batch because I use salt to thicken my soap so I can't have it be too diluted or otherwise it will take way too much salt solution to thicken.

What I'm asking you all is if there's any way to keep my soap lighter and still dilute it fairly quickly given the volume of soap that I make? Also, is there anything that can help my dilution go quicker that isn't direct heat like I'm doing now? I do use 3% SL PPO like Irish Lass suggested but I can't tell if that actually makes a difference with my production volume.

Lastly, I know this partiuclar recipe can be lighter because when I was making my trial recipes with this formula they were all a light to medium yellow color and very clear (when I add the salt, my soap is no longer clear but I'm trying to tackle on problem at once 🥵, I'm considering HEC for thickening but right now I'm just sticking with the salt). These trial recipes yielded about 1/4 gallon of diluted soap. But, when I make it in these scaled up batches (about 10 gal worth of finished soap), I have this dark color problem. I do think it's the heat, but I can't wait a week or two for my soap to dilute. I really can't.

Here's what I'm working with:

80% sunflower oil
10% castor oil
9% coconut oil (76)
1% palm kernal flakes

I use SBM to calculate, but it's about a 1 : 1.19 oil to lye ratio

And on the lye mixture side:
~25% potassium hydroxide
~25% distilled water
~50% glycerin

When making, I use a stick blender until it becomes trace (which at that point it usually becomes a paste) and then I cook it on low on the hotplate in a stainless steel pot. Once it's that clearish, glazed consistency, I do a clarity test and pH test. I cook for the soap for quite a while, like 4 - 5 hours for about 160 ounces of soap paste. Is it possible that I cook the soap paste too long, too?

Please let me know any suggestions you have. Thank you so much!
 

Tara_H

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It's midnight here so I can't write a long post but I found that moving to cold process liquid soap (CPLS) helped immensely with getting a pale golden colour rather than dark amber. There are some good threads which you should find if you search on those words.
 

j163j

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It's midnight here so I can't write a long post but I found that moving to cold process liquid soap (CPLS) helped immensely with getting a pale golden colour rather than dark amber. There are some good threads which you should find if you search on those words.
Thank you for taking the time to reply. I will look into these threads for CPLS.
 
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Why are you making such large batches on an untried/untested recipe to you?

Neither the pH nor clarity test will tell you if your soap is lye heavy. So, if you are doing that in the name of safety, stop.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Why are you making such large batches on an untried/untested recipe to you?
I believe the OP tested the batch before upscaling it.
I know this partiuclar recipe can be lighter because when I was making my trial recipes with this formula they were all a light to medium yellow color and very clear
 

DeeAnna

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Thank you for taking the time to reply. I will look into these threads for CPLS.

You say you're cooking the soap for 4-5 hours, but you also mentioned, "...I use a variation of the Irish Lass glycerin method...." That puzzles me because the tutorial she has provided on this forum uses a CPLS (cold process liquid soap) method. Might want to try her tutorial as written?

The times I've made her coconut-olive-castor recipe with a cold-process method, the diluted soap has a golden yellow color. I think she even includes a photo of her diluted soap in her tutorial. Her soap is about the same color as mine.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Might want to try her tutorial as written?
:thumbs: My thoughts exactly.

@j163j Whenever @DeeAnna enters the discussion, you want to Stop. Look. Listen. She will never lead you astray. You may want to take an evening or 2 or 3 to browse
DeeAnna's Soapy Stuff
that contains a wealth of information about both hard bars and liquid soap. Then make a batch of cookies to send to her in gratitude. 😂 (Just kidding.)

I noticed that you introduced yourself to SMF yesterday. We're happy to welcome you here. However, as a Newbie who is "new to making soap", you are at that dangerous stage where you know some things but don't know what you don't know. LOL You're obviously NOT stupid but merely ignorant. The difference between "stupid" and "ingnorant" is that ignorance can be corrected. ;)

We're here to help but it will take some effort on your part to pay attention, do some research on your own, make as many small (500 gram) batches as often as you can, and follow through on the advice given until you are confident in the process. And most importantly, take one step at a time to lay a foundation to build on.

Patience, grasshopper. By this time next year (or sooner) you will be the one sharing your experience and giving advice. :nodding:
 

j163j

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Why are you making such large batches on an untried/untested recipe to you?

Neither the pH nor clarity test will tell you if your soap is lye heavy. So, if you are doing that in the name of safety, stop.
Thanks for your response and info. I have tested this recipe. I will find a more accurate test for lye-heaviness.

May I asked if you used a fragrance oil? If so, which one?
You say you're cooking the soap for 4-5 hours, but you also mentioned, "...I use a variation of the Irish Lass glycerin method...." That puzzles me because the tutorial she has provided on this forum uses a CPLS (cold process liquid soap) method. Might want to try her tutorial as written?

The times I've made her coconut-olive-castor recipe with a cold-process method, the diluted soap has a golden yellow color. I think she even includes a photo of her diluted soap in her tutorial. Her soap is about the same color as mine.
Thank you for your response. I'll try her method as written and look into how long CPLS takes to cure. And a better method for lye-heavy testing. I also saw your response to my other post about the problem with using extracts during dilution. I made a batch omitting these and my soap is now that golden yellow color again. I think the chamomile was just too dark. Is there any way to include extracts in liquid soap without risking microbial growth?

May I asked if you used a fragrance oil? If so, which one?
Thanks for your response. I do not use fragrance oils. I do use a combination of essential oils though at a total usage rate of 1% of the diluted soap. The essential oils are lavendar and spearmint. I was using extracts, however--chamomile and aloe. And I think the darkness of the chamomile is what made my soap dark. I was informed that I should not use extracts in dilution water though because that puts the soap at risk for microbial growth.

:thumbs: My thoughts exactly.
Thanks for your response, the informative links, and your advice. I'll try the IrishLass method as written.
 
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Moved to The Oort Cloud...
You state you use a stainless steel pot... does it have a heavy bottom? Is the hot plate accurate with temperature?

I have always had my hot processed liquid soaps turn an amber color, regardless of what I do. I personally, do not find it to be a problem. Is the soap dark, as in dark brown or just a deep amber color?

Are you able to post photos of your soap after dilution and such? I find that the minute quantities of fragrance or essential oils' coloration does not dramatically affect the color of the end product.
 

j163j

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You state you use a stainless steel pot... does it have a heavy bottom? Is the hot plate accurate with temperature?

I have always had my hot processed liquid soaps turn an amber color, regardless of what I do. I personally, do not find it to be a problem. Is the soap dark, as in dark brown or just a deep amber color?

Are you able to post photos of your soap after dilution and such? I find that the minute quantities of fragrance or essential oils' coloration does not dramatically affect the color of the end product.
I am using stainless steel but the bottom wasn’t that heavy so I switched out my pot. Thanks for the suggestion. The hot plate is accurate. Turns out it was just the chamomile making the soap darker, so I’m not using that anymore. The color was more deep amber like you said, and looked darker inside the pot than out lol. The lighter colored soap photo is the soap without the chamomile. Everything worked out well, thanks everyone!
 

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