Planning my first soap!

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milky

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This is my first season of milking goats and I have a bunch of milk in the freezer that is begging to be soap.

First, I've been having trouble finding lye. Lowe's had it but not anymore as of very recently. :( Where's a good source that's pretty cheap?

Second, I want to make soap with grocery store oils. What's a good combination to use with goat milk? I read in separate places that milk accelerates trace and that Crisco is slow to get there so maybe combining them will be good? Or should I use lard (never bought it before but saw it at Walmart a while back)? I want it to be a really nice soap so I need some idea of what works well together.

How are canola, soybean, and olive oils different in soaps?
Peanut is bad, right? Corn?

Last thing, really: I have a little bottle of castor oil that I got for moisturizing but I think it was intended to be a laxative. It's a bit thick and sticky which I thought was weird for an oil. Is that how it's supposed to be? Didn't see ingredients on bottle.

Thanks!
 

Susie

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Hey and welcome!

I buy my lye (NaOH) from Essential Depot. You can buy 4 lbs with shipping for what you will spend for 2 lbs at Lowe's. Here it is: http://www.essentialdepot.com/product/NAOH-4-FOOD_GRADE.html

I buy most of my oils at Walmart or the grocery store, so you can be assured that you can, also! I only buy coconut oil online, but I bought that at Sam's or Walmart until then. Here is what I order for coconut oil: http://www.essentialdepot.com/product/COCONUT-2-GAL.html

I use the Castor Oil from Walmart in the laxative section. That is exactly what you need.

I use mostly 4 oil recipes. Lard, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, and Castor Oil. I have been through the phases of trying every ingredient possible and learned I like the simple recipes the best.

Here is my basic recipe:

Lard 65%
Olive Oil 15%
Coconut Oil 15%
Castor Oil 5%

Superfat 5% for summer, 8% for winter.

I would strongly suggest you use a 3 or 4 oil simple recipe for your first attempt, as additives (like milks) can cause issues that you don't need for the first try. After you get the mechanics of making soap down, the sky is the limit.

If you must use goat milk, mix half the water amount as water with your lye. Then mix the rest as goat milk into your oils. This should avoid the whole milk scorching issue.

If you have not already, you need to go get very familiar with a lye calculator. I use Soapee.com. Others here like SoapCalc.net.

After that, please be sure you watch videos on making soap. Ignore anyone who tells you that you can avoid cure by hot processing. They have other bad habits like no gloves or goggles.

You also MUST have some goggles and gloves. These are not optional. Also not optional is a good digital scale. Get one that will weigh grams and at least 0.1 oz. You need to be sure it will handle weights up to 7 or 8 lbs.

You will also need a stickblender if you do not intend to be mixing it a very long time.
 
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milky

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Thank you Susie!! That helped a ton! :)

Yeah, maybe someday I'll try more complicated recipes but for now I want to keep the ingredients short n' sweet. Will be having enough of a challenge with using milk. Thanks for sharing your recipe and tips!

The way I saw to incorporate milk before was to freeze it and then add the lye slowly to that to create the lye solution. Doing it your way, do you freeze the milk and water part? When you mix the lye liquid with the oil and milk, are they supposed to be the same temperature or does it not matter?

I do have gloves, goggles, a stick blender, and a scale. I'm worried about the scale. It gets iffy and doesn't register weights sometimes. That's mostly with small amounts of stuff like yeast and salt though.
 

snappyllama

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Excellent post from Susie - as usual. :)

Congratulations on getting started with soap making!

When soaping with milks in Susie's method...

Take your recipe and note the water weight (let's say 250 gms). Note the lye weight (let's say 120 grams). You HAVE to have at least as much water as lye to ensure the lye fully dissolves. So you would mix together, 120gm lye into 125gm water. Then you would put in the remaining liquid amount (125gms) as milk into your oils.

I just made up those numbers, you'll need to look at your own recipe to get the actual ones. The important thing to remember is that the weight of the liquid within your lye solution has to be as least the same weight as your lye.
 

snappyllama

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I should have mentioned... the other method of freezing the milks works just like you described.

Slowly add lye to frozen liquid cubes (milks, aloe, whatever). Keep stirring all the time to ensure that the first bit of lye is fully dissolved before you add more. I like to keep my container sitting in an ice bath while doing this just to be on the safe side. The fats in your milk will start to saponify. That's normal, but it can get to a pudding-ish consistency and be hard to tell if your lye is fully dissolved. Because of that, I like to strain my lye solution to make sure everything dissolved.
 

Summi

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@snappyllama
What percentage do you superfat milk soap? I ask because milk contains some fat, unlike water. Lye calculators calculate lye with water as solvent without accounting for the milk fat.
 
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Susie

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Not Snappyllama, but most people use 5% superfat. There is usually not enough extra fat in the milk to affect it much. However, if you are overly concerned, you can check the nutritional label of the milk (or go online and find one if you milk your own animals) and find out how much fat is in there, then adjust accordingly. This subject has been well discussed on this forum, here's one thread I found by searching "milk": http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=59695&highlight=milk+superfat
 
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Summi

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Thanks Susie,
I actually tried my first milk soap today. And I was wondering if I should have adjusted the lye.. Luckily I go with the Soapcalc defaults : 5% superfatting, 38% concentration etc., so no harm!!
 

earlene

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I'm worried about the scale. It gets iffy and doesn't register weights sometimes. That's mostly with small amounts of stuff like yeast and salt though.
How long has it been since you have calibrated your scale? If you have not done so, and don't have calibration weights, here are a couple of links to help at least evaluate your scale's accuracy:

How to check the accuracy of your scale
This one has specific information for using Canadian coins.
Information about other Canadian coins for testing scale accuracy
 

Susie

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You may also need to check your battery. I am assuming you are using a food scale or soaping scale rather than a postal scale.
 
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