Question about utensils and soap making.

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

MapRef41N93W

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
19
Reaction score
3
Greetings all,

I have decided to go ahead and start making my own soap as of next week after my honey soap made from Dr. Bronners turned into mead (check the thread out here for why you shouldn't follow random recipes on the internet http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=59055) . I am gathering everything I still need to do the pharmaceutical method of soap making and have run across an important question that I can't find an answer for.

When you make soap, are the utensils used for making it (pots, pans, stick blender, spoons, etc.) ever usable again for food? I ask this mainly because I have an expensive stainless steel immersion blender that I use on a regular basis with food that I figured I would use for tracing my soap in order to save money and not have to buy a second stick blender. Will that stick blender ever be safe to use with food again after coming into contact with the corrosive mixture? The same question would also apply to anything else used during the soap making process such as pots.

I am already planning on spending a lot of money on buying bulk oils so saving some money here or there is a definite bonus for me if that stick blender would end up being fine after use.

And a second question I had. What type of pots can I safely use to dissolve my potash and glycerin? Is there any type of pot I should avoid?

Thanks
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,240
Reaction score
11,058
Location
Right here, silly!
For what it's worth, and speaking only for myself, all my stainless steel pots and utensils that I use for soap also pull double duty for food use in my household just fine. My plastic or silicone utensils, however, do not. I keep those separate and 'for soap only' because the FO scent 'sticks' to those.

As far as what kind of pot to dissolve your KOH and glycerin- use a stainless steel pot. Stay away from aluminum, non-stick, etc...


IrishLass :)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
8,980
Reaction score
9,076
Location
Austria
You want stainless steel for this, or a "crock pot" - something that can take a lot of heat and punishment. You also want stainless utensils, as the plastic could melt with these temperatures. Could they be used again? Very likely, especially early on. With time they might look worse for wear. But for me the biggest thing is getting them all really clean enough from the greasy feel and the scent smells, so I use mine only for soaping. In an emergency I will take a kitchen item to use, but rarely.

As for buying in bulk, will you be able to use enough of the oil to use it up before it goes off? The money saved is then more than wasted if you have to throw rancid oils away. LS can last a very long time indeed, so it can be a while between batches.

I would also call it KOH instead of potash - potash can refer to a number of different things. If you are specifically talking about liquid soap, you can also just say "lye" as people will assume you mean a KOH solution.
 

dixiedragon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
4,903
Location
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
For the most part, yes. Especially stainless steel and glass. Silicone seems to hold on to FOs. I have switched my silicone spatulas back and fourth (though I try not to) but once I use a silicone mold (such as a silicone muffin tray) for soap, it is for soap forever more.

IMO, you need to run things through the dishwasher to get them clean enough to be food safe. Soap is greasy and even after vigorous handwashing, spoons, etc are still a bit greasy.
 

MapRef41N93W

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
19
Reaction score
3
For what it's worth, and speaking only for myself, all my stainless steel pots and utensils that I use for soap also pull double duty for food use in my household just fine. My plastic or silicone utensils, however, do not. I keep those separate and 'for soap only' because the FO scent 'sticks' to those.

As far as what kind of pot to dissolve your KOH and glycerin- use a stainless steel pot. Stay away from aluminum, non-stick, etc...


IrishLass :)
Great. I saw one guy using stainless steel for his solution, but thought that I had heard in the past that it would react with KoH so I wasn't sure on that.

You want stainless steel for this, or a "crock pot" - something that can take a lot of heat and punishment. You also want stainless utensils, as the plastic could melt with these temperatures. Could they be used again? Very likely, especially early on. With time they might look worse for wear. But for me the biggest thing is getting them all really clean enough from the greasy feel and the scent smells, so I use mine only for soaping. In an emergency I will take a kitchen item to use, but rarely.

As for buying in bulk, will you be able to use enough of the oil to use it up before it goes off? The money saved is then more than wasted if you have to throw rancid oils away. LS can last a very long time indeed, so it can be a while between batches.

I would also call it KOH instead of potash - potash can refer to a number of different things. If you are specifically talking about liquid soap, you can also just say "lye" as people will assume you mean a KOH solution.
I'm only going to be buying 7-8lbs of each oil and the cost isn't really that much more than buying 2-3lbs of it elsewhere. You can buy 7lbs of Coconut Oil (76 deg.) on Bulk Apothecary for $15 or buy 53 ounces (roughly 3-3.5lbs) of Louanna coconut oil on Amazon for $23... seems like its a much better call there to me. Same goes for Pomace Olive, Palm, Castor, Sweet Almond, etc. The only place I haven't found a good source of for an oil I want is Jojoba and apparently it's due to mass shortages or something?

Most of the soap I'm making is actually going to be used for a local natural cleaning business that is being started up by me and a couple of friends so I should definitely be able to use all of it up before anything goes rancid.
 

Seawolfe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2014
Messages
3,272
Reaction score
2,996
Location
So Cal
Except for my mixing buckets and lye containers, I cant think of a single utensil that hasnt been inadvertently used on food at some point to no ill effect. Soap and lye rinse off, and my EO's dont stick to the glass I use for measuring (hubbys cocktail glasses - shhhhh).
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,451
Reaction score
19,286
Location
USA
I'd invest in a $15-$30 stick blender -- Hamilton Beach (walmart), Cuisinart, or the like -- and use it for soaping.

I have an expensive Bamix stick blender. I used it for two batches of soap as a newbie. I originally thought the bell around the mixer was stainless like the shaft and the impeller/mixer. The bell is not SS -- it's a casting made from zinc, aluminum, or some lightweight alloy -- and it discolored a dark gray from the lye. I still use it for food (and only food!)

Many of the more $$$ stick blenders have seals at the base of the shaft (right above the bell) to prevent liquid from migrating up inside the shaft. The stainless steel in your expensive SB will be fine with concentrated lye (KOH or NaOH), but the seals may not withstand that kind of chemical abuse. My Bamix has these seals, and I expect its life to be shorter than if I hadn't used it for soap. The less expensive ones don't have those seals.
 

RobertBarnett

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2015
Messages
132
Reaction score
55
I would strongly suggest buying a moderately priced stick blender for just your soap making. I too have an expensive one and decided I didn't want risk it and bought a nice one for $30. The chances are once you start making soap you will be hooked. It is a lot of fun.


Try Soapers Choice for oils too. I get most of mine from them. http://soaperschoice.com I also get my tallow from Essential Depot http://www.essentialdepot.com

Robert
 

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,694
Reaction score
9,181
Location
Texas
I hate to rain on your parade, but you have not made a single batch of liquid soap, and you are already planning on using it in a business? You probably would be wise to wait until you have a few batches under your belt before making the commitment to use it in a business.

Also, you do not need jojoba or sweet almond oil for cleaning soap. That is strictly for people soap, and I would not use it for that. I would only use those for leave on products. They are going to be washed down the drain pretty quickly, and not stay on the skin.
 

MapRef41N93W

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
19
Reaction score
3
I hate to rain on your parade, but you have not made a single batch of liquid soap, and you are already planning on using it in a business? You probably would be wise to wait until you have a few batches under your belt before making the commitment to use it in a business.

Also, you do not need jojoba or sweet almond oil for cleaning soap. That is strictly for people soap, and I would not use it for that. I would only use those for leave on products. They are going to be washed down the drain pretty quickly, and not stay on the skin.
It isn't exactly rocket science. I do stuff for other hobbies that is far more advanced than making soap is. The sweet almond and jojoba oil are for my own personal stash at home. Will be using coconut and palm oil for cleaning potentially with some soybean to cut costs of each batch down some. We will also be using Dr. Bronners at first since I have nearly a gallon of that leftover which gives plenty of time to develop a good soap.
 
Last edited:

cerelife

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2010
Messages
772
Reaction score
811
It isn't exactly rocket science. I do stuff for other hobbies that is far more advanced than making soap is.
But yet you are asking for help (not so much on this post; but more so on the link you cited) since your one single foray into making soap was a failure?
It may NOT be rocket science; but despite your other accomplishments, you obviously have yet to master soapmaking.
I personally have multiple science degrees and make great soap - but I suck at making a decent biscuit from scratch. Sooo not rocket science either, but would I sell (or even ask anyone other than my husband) to eat my crappy gut-bomb biscuits? Of course not...but I'll keep trying to get them right.
I agree with Susie.
 

SuzieOz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2016
Messages
372
Reaction score
309
Location
Tasmania, Australia
Stainless steel - my bamix I keep for food and use cheaper blenders for the soap.

Crock pot - the insert of mine is ceramic and it smells like soap! - so one for soap and one for food.

Silicone - I keep them separate but they have been known to swap sides at times and the kids have noticed! (ie. "this tastes like soap") ... ooops.
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,240
Reaction score
11,058
Location
Right here, silly!
It is true that soapmaking is not rocket science- the mechanics of making a simple batch is actually quite easy, but the trick is coming up with a formula that works well for your skin and/or for the skin of others, and/or for other cleaning purposes, and is consistently good each time you make it.... which is not always as easy as it sounds, and may actually sometimes be as difficult as trying to understand rocket science. LOL

Anyway, once you have those 2 above things down, then comes the testing time where you challenge the soap by placing it under different stresses (i.e., varying heat/humidity/general usage scenarios) to see how it holds up, and for how long it holds up. The general consensus as to the span of time spent testing a lye-based soap that one is planning to sell, is roughly about a year. That might seem a long time to someone who wants to start selling, but the nature of lye-based soap is such that more testing time you give it, the better off you'll be. That's because problems in lye-based soap (such as DOS/rancidity, scent morphing, color morphing, etc..) don't always show up right away, but usually a few months down the road after the soap is made. You'll want to make sure you have all these bases covered before presenting your soap to the buying public.


IrishLass :)
 

MapRef41N93W

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
19
Reaction score
3
But yet you are asking for help (not so much on this post; but more so on the link you cited) since your one single foray into making soap was a failure?
It may NOT be rocket science; but despite your other accomplishments, you obviously have yet to master soapmaking.
I personally have multiple science degrees and make great soap - but I suck at making a decent biscuit from scratch. Sooo not rocket science either, but would I sell (or even ask anyone other than my husband) to eat my crappy gut-bomb biscuits? Of course not...but I'll keep trying to get them right.
I agree with Susie.
I didn't make soap. I made shower gel out of Dr. Bronners and it turned into mead because I followed a bad recipe I found on the net. I'd say honestly that making soap appears easier than making hollandaise sauce from scratch. Especially using the pharmaceutical method.

It is true that soapmaking is not rocket science- the mechanics of making a simple batch is actually quite easy, but the trick is coming up with a formula that works well for your skin and/or for the skin of others, and/or for other cleaning purposes, and is consistently good each time you make it.... which is not always as easy as it sounds, and may actually sometimes be as difficult as trying to understand rocket science. LOL

Anyway, once you have those 2 above things down, then comes the testing time where you challenge the soap by placing it under different stresses (i.e., varying heat/humidity/general usage scenarios) to see how it holds up, and for how long it holds up. The general consensus as to the span of time spent testing a lye-based soap that one is planning to sell, is roughly about a year. That might seem a long time to someone who wants to start selling, but the nature of lye-based soap is such that more testing time you give it, the better off you'll be. That's because problems in lye-based soap (such as DOS/rancidity, scent morphing, color morphing, etc..) don't always show up right away, but usually a few months down the road after the soap is made. You'll want to make sure you have all these bases covered before presenting your soap to the buying public.


IrishLass :)
Understood, but I won't be selling my soap. I don't (and can not acquire) a cotton law license (which has strict laws in Florida requiring specific kitchen setups and no animals in or around the facility). It will only be used in cleaning products which will be mixed weekly for our business. If I was selling it I would absolutely be taking the time to perfect it and the such (which I will be doing for my homemade batch). The soap for the business is just to cut costs (as cleaning soap can be made for much cheaper than purchaing Dr. Bronners, Meyers, etc.)

I do appreciate the warnings from you all, and apologize if I came off as being arrogant, but I feel confident that the soap for cleaning will be just fine as its not even coming into contact with peoples skin. I will be taking the proper procedures to ensure the soap is fine before use.
 
Last edited:

MapRef41N93W

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2016
Messages
19
Reaction score
3
Bumping this to make sure I've done everything right here. Ended up finding a great deal on a large cast iron dutch oven and decided to use that for making soap. Apparently that's what soap was made in in the old days, but just to be sure cast iron won't react with KoH to make hydrogen gas right? Also I have 18/10 stainless steel utensils, these are safe for stirring the KoH/Glycerin solution? 18/0 isn't required is it?

Going to start making soap this weekend.

Thanks
 

Latest posts

Top