Salt Bars- Liquid to dissolve lye (and super fat %)

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Feb 14, 2012
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I was reading a few of the treads regarding salt bars, which I have been making at times for several years.
I have been using different liquids to dissolve the lye and was interested to read what other people have done, for instance I think the addition of extra coconut milk power (by Irish Lass and others) is a great idea.
Some of my recipes/ingredients attempts are posted in the forums.

Now I wondered what people are using when for instance they refer to “coconut milk” as their liquid to dissolve the lye, especially 100% coconut milk?
Found in Australian supermarkets:
“Drinking” coconut milk that typically comes in a 1litre (“long-life”) container varies between 8% (Vita Soy brand) and 23% (So Good brand) coconut milk. These often have added sugar or thickeners.
Mixed “drinking” milk for instance coconut mixed with almond typically only has about 2% coconut milk.

“Cooking” coconut milk usually in smaller 270-350ml containers varies between 32 and 80% coconut milk.
I have also used long life goat’s milk in the past, at least that,-if the information on the box is to believed, is 100%

What liquids are others using?
I find adding lye to (frozen) milks is still quite tricky if you do not want the milk to “burn” from the heat created so I still use about 30% ice in my liquid.
If you add additional coconut milk power to compensate for any additional water/ice that you use are you assuming that the coconut milk component is 100%, or do you read the box and see what % coconut milk you have and then add extra milk powder to compensate for both water and boxed milk?

Perhaps it does not really matter and the final product will not be affected by using water or coconut milk or other milk (e.g. goats) but I am still interested to know.

Similarly I guess the “super fatting” also varies more significantly than people suspect. Because different people use different lye calculators and if you compare the exact same recipe (for instance 16% super fat) using say four different lye calculators you will as you know find four quite different lye quantities required.


Supporting Member
Aug 16, 2014
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Near Charlotte NC
I use the canned "cooking" coconut milk (Taste of Thai Unsweetened) or powder. I think the drinking kinds typically have a bunch of sugar added (guessing), and they are more of a coconut water than the milk made from the pulp.

I've done the frozen milk cubes at 100% replacement method and also the split method where my lye solution is just water with a portion taken out to make a double-strong coconut milk powder added to oils. I cannot tell the difference in the finished bar. These days I mostly go for the powder using the split method... I don't have to think about it ahead of time, and it frees up my freezer from have a bunch of little weird milk cubes in ziplock baggies. :)

I use either coconut milk or goat milk is all my soaps. To me, goat milk is a bit creamier with a more lotion-like lather. CM makes abundant, more bubbly lather. For salt bars I go for CM, partially for the performance and partially because I like the theme of High CO/CM.

ETA: I also like aloe water and often do a 50/50 split with my milks for it. It seems to add a silkiness to the bars... cutting through some of the milk creaminess to make bigger bubbles. I've done that with liquid aloe water found at health food stores in the laxative section, but prefer to just buy the powder (see weird little cubes taking over my freezer note above). :rolleyes:
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Jun 18, 2013
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Idaho, USA
I also use canned cooking coconut milk or the powder. If using the powder, I mix just enough water with it to make a smooth slurry then blend this into my oils, if using the canned stuff, I use just enough water to dissolve the lye and make the rest up with the milk which is also mixed into the oils before the lye solution.

I never mix lye with anything besides water or aloe juice. There really isn't any reason to risk burning your milks or having to smell the icky lye mix when using alternative liquides. I also use the split method when using beer or coffee, I cook the beer/coffee down to a concentrated syrup first.

I normally use a 20% SF with salt bars but if I use coconut milk, I drop it down to 15%. I rarely use animal milks but if I do, I don't adjust the SF unless its something really fatty like heavy cream.

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