Once again I feel I know nothing


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Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2008
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Columbia, South Carolina
I have been making soap for a couple of years now and have been feeling pretty cocky. Now that I am spending more time "learning" about soap making I realize my knowledge is in the shallow end of the pool.

For my question: Where does everyone get these hardness, lathering, conditioning etc.... numbers?? Thanks for all of the help you all give.


Hi Michael, and welcome to the nut house.

But i was the same way, felt i was making a really good bar of soap until i got my hot little hands on that soapcal website. Now I use it for so many things, not just soaping because of the % number option.

anywho, http://www.soapcalc.com/calc/soapcalcWP.asp

I wrote this up for another purpose but i'm posting it here.

Soap Cal is a unique lye calculator and for making CP soap with lye it's the only one I use. (However for making liquid soap with KOH i find another that is better.)

I like this one unless your using more oils then you will want to click the soapcal 18 at the top of the page. But for most, this one works great.

When you first open the page you want to look at the top in the middle where it says "total oil weight". And convert your recipe into the weight you prefer to use. I personally use ounces, however when I go to weigh all my oils out I use grams because it's more accurate.

I personally don't adjust the water amount but you can adjust the superfat amount as on the right side of the page. 5% superfat is the most common so i tend to leave it right there for most bar soaps. (I do alter it for specific purposes.)

Now if you look on the left side of the page you see soap qualities. And a space for the individual and the combined amounts.

When you have your recipe and you compute it, you want to look at the combined row to decide how you want to tweak your recipe.

And if your trying to decide what oils to use in your recipe you want to look at the individual row.

Creating your own recipe isn't as difficult as it looks. And it's best to stick with the % option rather than the pounds/ounces/grams option. Now when your creating your recipe in terms of % you need to remember that you need to have a total of 100% to make your recipe. If you have to much or to little soapcal will remind you of this before it can compute your recipe.

Simply highlight one of the oils and click on the + sing to add it to your recipe. Next decide the amount you want in your recipe. And repeat until you have your entire recipe entered.

For example if you put this page and the soap cal page side by side so you can see and work both pages at the same time, it will make it a little easier since I'm going to use examples.

For this purpose I entered the following:
I chose these oils because they can be purchased at your local grocery store and/or wal-mart.

Crisco 29%
Lard 15%
Coconut Oil 24%
Castor Oil 6%
Olive Oil 26%

And you then look at the combined numbers and they read :
Hardness 37
Cleansing 16
Conditioning 58
Bubbly 22
Creamy 26
I personally don't worry about the Iodine or the INS

But what exactly do these numbers mean? If you click on the FAQ at the top it will tell you quite a bit. But just what are the best numbers to have? Well it also depends on what your looking for.

But this is a general guide.
you can read more about it here http://www.soapcalc.com/SoapQualities.asp if you want to learn more.

Hardness : 36 - 50
Cleansing : 14 - 22
Conditioning : 45 - 80
Bubbly (lather) : 14 - 33
Creamy (lather) : 16 - 35

Now that you know that information how can you use it to help you out.

If you look at the recipe I just gave above you can look and see how that recipe works with the guidlines for what those numbers should be. And they are all in range to make a good bar of soap.

But say you weren't happy with those numbers and wanted more bubbly lather. How you would go about doing that is tweaking your % numbers up and down but still totalling 100% until your happy with those numbers.

So by changing them to the following:
Crisco 20%
Lard 15%
Coconut Oil 30%
Castor Oil 8%
Olive Oil 27

The numbers go from
Hardness 37 to 39
Cleansing 17 to 20
Condition 58 to 55
Bubbly 22 to 27
Creamy 25 to 26

So these slight changes did make a difference in the outcome of those numbers.

Now once your happy with those numbers you need to decide how big or small you want your batch to be. Maybe you want to start with a smaller size or jump straight into a larger amount. But that is the advantage of writing your recipes in terms of a %. You can make as little or as much as you want. And still have the same recipe and the same quality.

So go back up to the top under total oil weight and figure out just how much you want to make. This is the weight of the oils and does not include any other additive such as lye, liquid or anything else you may add to your soap.

Now that you have your recipe, remember to weigh carefully and have fun.


Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2007
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I am bowing down to you Faithy!!!! Well said. Michael, I think this is one of those trades you never stop learning! k


Well-Known Member
Nov 28, 2007
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I concur with GalleryGiry.. Faithy you have explained it very well. One word comes to mind to describe your describing.. Exceptional!


Well-Known Member
Jan 3, 2008
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gallerygirl said:
I am bowing down to you Faithy!!!! Well said. Michael, I think this is one of those trades you never stop learning! k
THat's why I say everything I need to know I learned on the internet! LOL :lol:


Only to glad to help ya'll.....

I'm going to post this in the tutorial section, so don't forget to check out the others that I wrote and put there as well.

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