Questions about dilution

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Lyma

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Hi there! Hope all of you are having a great time! :)

I'm ready to try my 3rd try for liquid soap (90% OO - 10% CO, 25% lye, 1% superfat).
My first attempt was the cooking method, diluted a bit at a time until i ended up with a great clear and honey thick consistency LS. I was thrilled for the result as a newbie in LS. :)
My second attempt, was with cold process, as i'm a CP soapmaker fan, and to be honest, while everything went perfect until dilution, i had a few issues during dilution. After some trouble i manage to get to the point i wanted, but i have some issues bothering my mind, that could help me in my next attempts.

1. Let's assume from a batch that went all perfect, (adding a few water at a time until we reach the desirable consistency) the dilution ratio was 1 : 1.8 paste to water. That means that in our next batch if we follow exactly the same process and recipe, we can add in advance all the water needed during dilution and just wait do it's job?

2. In case we can add in advance all the water needed for the dilution, can i just add the needed water in warm condition give it a stir and let it sit for 3-4 days, or as long as it needs, without having to shake, stickblending, using crockpots or jars in boiling water?
My problem when i'm puting the pot in heat to speed up the dilution, is that it forms parts of foam and sometimes parts of layers of paste, and makes me add a few water to disolve it, and then it becomes thin. Then i slightly boil it to evaporate a few water and it becomes thick with many tiny bubbles all around the mixture. :mad:

3. In my 2nd batch, while i had a clear honey thick diltuted soap, i split a part to add some EOs. I read that it needs to be warm when adding scent. By the time i put in the heat until it reached 55 C, it started foaming and layers or parts of paste where formed. I added the scent, stirred well enough and bottled. I ended up plenty of tiny bubbles all around the bottle. The consistency is thick and it seems that they won't go away.
How can i avoid this situation, and just warm the soap to add scent without changing it's clearness or forming layers of paste. Can i add the scent to diluted paste while cold?

4. While diluting, how we know that the undisolved parts of paste we see at the top need more time to disolve (as i'm using no extra heat) or just more water.

5. Finaly, suppose that we know in advance the amount of water needed for the dilution. What if we add this water just after trace, before letting it sit and become paste? (i'm always talking about CP method). To explain my self, we reach medium trace with SB, and then add 1/4 of our water needed in dilution, SB to reach the same trace again, and then add the next 1/4 of the water and so on. I suppose that if we add the water after trace, and in small doses and not all at once, we avoid separation and also we will reach trace again in a while.

That's all!
Any help would be much appreciated!!!
 

DeeAnna

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...in our next batch if we follow exactly the same process and recipe, we can add in advance all the water needed during dilution and just wait do it's job?
If I am diluting to a certain viscosity, no I do not do this. Every batch is slightly different in my experience. Maybe not a lot different, but a little. I'd rather have to add more water than try to remove too much water. I will add most of the water I think I'll need to the new batch, then gradually add enough extra water to get the right viscosity. Maybe the water needed will be the same as the previous batch and maybe it won't.

If you are diluting the paste to a specific % of pure soap, regardless of viscosity, then yes you can do the dilution all in one step.

2. In case we can add in advance all the water needed for the dilution, can i just add the needed water in warm condition give it a stir and let it sit for 3-4 days, or as long as it needs, without having to shake, stickblending, using crockpots or jars in boiling water?

You can use this method regardless of whether you're diluting in one step or diluting gradually. That's what I do.

My problem when i'm puting the pot in heat to speed up the dilution, is that it forms parts of foam and sometimes parts of layers of paste, and makes me add a few water to disolve it, and then it becomes thin...

You can spray the foam with alcohol to break the foam. Or just be patient and let the foam dissipate over time. Or both.

3. ...How can i avoid this situation, and just warm the soap to add scent without changing it's clearness or forming layers of paste. Can i add the scent to diluted paste while cold?

Have you tried adding scent to the soap when it's at room temperature? If not, try that and see how it works for you. Some people like me have not had problems with adding scent at room temperature, but others do, so I'm not saying it's a surefire solution.

4. While diluting, how we know that the undisolved parts of paste we see at the top need more time to disolve (as i'm using no extra heat) or just more water.

Experience will help. But you can also skim off the thicker parts and dilute them separately, so you do not over-dilute the whole.

5. Finaly, suppose that we know in advance the amount of water needed for the dilution. What if we add this water just after trace, before letting it sit and become paste?...

It sounds like you are wanting to do a "no paste" method of liquid soap making. You have to do something to keep the soap batter in an emulsified state after adding that much extra liquid at trace. If you don't, the soap will not saponify properly. One method is to slowly but continuously stir the batter for enough hours until saponification is done. This method is used in commercial soap making. For small scale soap making, continuously stirring this long is not practical, so alternate methods have to be used. I believe author Jackie Thompson uses potassium carbonate and glycerin as aids when making liquid soap with a no-paste method.

A general observation --
Problem with your 90% olive oil recipe is the oleic acid content is very high. This type of soap is hard to dilute to a consistent, stable viscosity. The diluted soap will tend to firm up over time. Slight changes in water content will alter the viscosity a lot for this soap, which is why you're having trouble keeping the soap from thickening up as you heat it and all.

I suggest reducing the oleic acid content to around 50%, more or less. You will get a soap that will dilute to a more consistent, stable texture.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Please read this overview of Liquid Soap for Beginners:
http://alaiynab.blogspot.com/2014/07/basic-beginner-liquid-soap-and.html

I appreciate your thoughtful expression of how you diluted your paste. Both methods mentioned are perfectly okay, and as for the last bit, it's probably more trouble that it's worth. Take the soap to hard trace, cover and leave it for 1-2 weeks to fully saponify or cook by whatever method you're comfortable with.

Here are some general rules of thumb for dilution that may explain the conditions you ran into.

100% Olive oil LS requires 15-20% soap to 85-80% dilution water.
100% Coconut oil LS requires 40% soap to 60%% dilution water.
50/50 combo of the above requires 40% soap to 60%% dilution water.
All other combos fall somewhere in between.

TIP: You know you have reached the right amount of dilution water when a skin forms on the surface. Add a bit more water to incorporate the skin and you're there.

That being said, this results in watery LS -- it's just the nature of the beast. I've found the 50/50 combo to have the best viscosity with no need to thicken. Many LS'ers stop at the point where the LS is at a consistency they want and never mind that it isn't fully diluted. It's a matter of preference.

Please read:
What to Expect from Various Oils in LS

You didn't mention it, but it's important to test the paste for excess lye before dilution (see 1st link). First weigh the paste. Then calculate the amount of dilution water necessary. I dilute my paste range top. Pour boiling water over, bring to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down just below simmer. You may need to adjust the heat lower later. It takes 3-4 hours. No need to stir, but may break up clumps along the way.

TIP: Keep a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol handy to spritz down any bubbles or foam. Alcohol has the ability to melt soap.

TIP: When adding fragrance, adding to warm LS as you did is correct. The problem is ya nevah know how the fragrance is going to behave! LOL So it's best to test it in a small amount of LS before doing the whole batch. Sometimes you need to add Polysorbate 80 or 20 (solubizers) to fully incorporate it into the batch.

A final note: There are as many different ways to make LS as there are LS-ers! So don't be surprised if others suggest you try a different method or technique. It's all good. ;)

@DeeAnna You got in 5 minutes before me. LOL Oh well. :)

@Lyma Just wanna make sure you're using 3:1 water to KOH for your lye solution:
Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 10.37.56 AM.png
 
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Lyma

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Thank you @DeeAnna and @Zany_in_CO ;)
Very useful information both of you.

As for my recipies, i use a 25% lye concentration. Yes of course i make a clarity test and zap test before proceeding. Both previous batches went well on that.
Maybe i go down to a 80% OO - 20% CO, but no lower than that. I'm a producer of olive oil, and i use our own.
As i undestand from what i read, OO - CO ratio has a specific minimum dilution rate and gives a specific viscosity. You can get it thinner of course by simple adding water, but you can't get it as thicker as you want cause you'll end up with undiluted paste. The only way to get it thicker, is either by removing the undiluted chunks and dilute them seperately or by adding a thickener.
In the first scenario my problem is that when i still see undiluted paste i can't remove it, cause the rest part is still thin.
And my weirdness is that i would prefer not evaporating the diluted paste (as i did in my 2nd batch) to achieve viscosity or adding any thickener.
At the end of the day i'll decide which oils i prefer to use and the oils will decide how much water they need! ;)
The final thickness will be what will be. It's not a matter οf life if it's honey thick or syrup thin.
At least in my point of view!
 

Zany_in_CO

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@DeeAnna Oh my.
@SirTim I hereby claim my Village Idiot status back. :D
@Lyma You're welcome. ;)

Just an FYI - I have been making liquid soap for 15 years. I, as well as many other LS-ers (NOT on SMF) find Pheno drops to be the most reliable way to determine if there is excess lye in the batch before moving on to the Dilution Phase. To each his own, I say.

I quite like Carrie's video on Glycerin LS where she demonstrates how to use Pheno drops to test for excess lye. That's the way I do it. It's at the 5-minute mark and following.


Since you use your own olive oil, the above method is the way I make high olive oil LS and you may want to try it. But not before you have a few batches under your belt. It is dangerous due to the high heat of the glycerin -- but it really does become soap after 2 minutes!!! There are several safer options for subbing glycerin for the water to make the KOH solution and it has been discussed here many times. Use the Search feature (Upper Right corner of the page) for "Glycerin LS" to learn more about it.

TIP: Remove the glycerin from heat the second you see heat waves rising from the surface. This prevents scorching (a common problem for Newbies) as well.
 

Zany_in_CO

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As i undestand from what i read, OO - CO ratio has a specific minimum dilution rate and gives a specific viscosity.
From my experience, that is correct. BUT there's really more to it than that. There are other methods and additives that allow one to create a specific viscosity. DeeAnna mentioned one, Jackie Thompson's method.
You can get it thinner of course by simple adding water, but you can't get it as thicker as you want cause you'll end up with undiluted paste. The only way to get it thicker, is either by removing the undiluted chunks and dilute them seperately or by adding a thickener.
Actually, the best way to thicken Olive Oil LS is with salt. That's a subject for a whole new thread!
At the end of the day i'll decide which oils i prefer to use and the oils will decide how much water they need!
Exactly. Although one more thing needs to be mentioned and that is lather. Once you try the 15-20% soap to 85-80% water, test the lather. You will be amazed at the feel and consistency. NICE.

Links to a couple of threads that may be helpful regarding viscosity.

Jackie Thompson's No Paste Method
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/no-paste-method.77344/#post-801170

Irish Lass's Method - Go to Post #8
https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/soaping-101-liquid-soapmaking-video.46114/
 
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DeeAnna

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"..Just an FYI - I have been making liquid soap for 15 years. I, as well as many other LS-ers (NOT on SMF) find Pheno drops to be the most reliable way to determine if there is excess lye in the batch before moving on to the Dilution Phase. To each his own, I say...."

I'm sure you make fine liquid soap. No disagreement there.

But your use of phenolphthalein as a "test for excess alkali" is invalid and misguided. This is not a matter of "to each their own". The issue here isn't about opinions, it's about chemistry facts. Enough already.

I refer other people to your thread https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/phenolphthalein-use-in-ls.77349/ where I go into this in more detail.
 

Lyma

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Thank you @Zany_in_CO !
To be honest i avoid glycerine method, or thickening with salt. I've tried this in my first batch and it actually did a very good job on thickness. I prefer to make things simple as they come by their own, even i have to blend a little bit more or to sacrify a little from soap thickness. That's just me of course. I'm not saying this is the right option. This is the way i'm working all these years with the bar soap as well.
In this period with the liquid soap, i just need to fully understand every stage and explain each thing happening, than just following someone's recipe which lead me to a safe and good result.

Last thing, i attach a pic of 2 samples from my last batch. The one which is very clear, is the result when dilution ended with a thin consistency. The other one which is full on tiny bubbles all over, is the result after boiling the diluted paste to evaporate some water and resulted to a honey thick consistency.
It seems to me that these bubbles won't go away.
If so, then this happens because it just needs a little more water, or the bubbles can't move due to it's thick consistency?
May that bubbles formed because i poured hot water in room temperature diluted paste, and couldn't homogenized?

I know that i need to make many tests to have answers to all these, but it's my weirdness to gather as much as more information and have a clear aspect for most of issues, before start testings.
:)
 

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Lyma

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Also i forgot to ask something about the difference between HP & CP.
Suppose we use the same recipe till the dilution. Obviously the HP will end up in a paste with lower water percentage in it than this in CP. That means that we just have to add less water in CP paste during dilution or is there a chance that the higher percentage in water in CP paste will affect the final thickness even if we add less water during dilution?
 

Zany_in_CO

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I prefer to make things simple as they come by their own, even i have to blend a little bit more or to sacrify a little from soap thickness.
Then we are on the same page! That is my preference as well. With the exception of GLS for 100% olive oil castile. It saves an enormous amount of time and effort.
In this period with the liquid soap, i just need to fully understand every stage and explain each thing happening, than just following someone's recipe which lead me to a safe and good result.
I hear ya. Carry on as you are. I will help when I can.
The one which is very clear, is the result when dilution ended with a thin consistency.
Exactly. There you have it. What more do you need to know? I once made 100% almond oil shampoo for a customer. Using the GLS method, and 0% SF. I added ROE and vitamin E to extend shelf life. That shampoo had the viscosity of commercial shampoo and I was amazed at the lather.
The other one which is full on tiny bubbles all over, is the result after boiling the diluted paste to evaporate some water and resulted to a honey thick consistency.It seems to me that these bubbles won't go away.
Interesting. I've never seen anything like that. To me, it seems the process of boiling allowed air to be trapped in the final result.
If so, then this happens because it just needs a little more water, or the bubbles can't move due to it's thick consistency?
Good thinking! If it were me, I would do nothing. The air has to escape somehow and it may do so over time. On the other hand, I might take half the batch and warm it to 140°F (60°C) in a hot water bath to see if that helps the air to escape. In any case, I would never boil the soap to begin with to prevent this from happening.
I know that i need to make many tests to have answers to all these, but it's my weirdness to gather as much as more information and have a clear aspect for most of issues, before start testings.
:)
I understand. It's the same way I approach soap making. If you haven't already done so, I recommend reading:
Making Natural LIQUID SOAPS: Herbal Shower Gels / Conditioning Shampoos / Moisturizing Hand Soaps by Catherine Failor (Paperback)Published in 1999
It's confusing, poorly organized, and her method of processing liquid soap is passé but the explanations at the beginning and the troubleshooting information near the end are very helpful.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Obviously the HP will end up in a paste with lower water percentage in it than this in CP.
Correct. Not a big deal. Whether HP or CP just weigh the soap and figure the amount of water necessary for dilution. Some water will evaporate during the dilution process (about an ounce or so in my experience) so you replace that water at the end.

For my recipes, I know what weight of oils will produce a gallon of liquid soap. So, once diluted, I add enough water to reach that target weight. You'll figure it out after a few test batches.

The key to learning the correct dilution amount is watching for a film to form on the surface.

KEEP GOOD NOTES. :cool:
 

Lyma

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Thanks again @Zany_in_CO
I will start my testings, try also a small mix with KOH & NaOH which is in mind, and other stuff, and hope to have interesting results after all.
For any help i may need i'll be back!
:)
 
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