Simple Liquid Soap Recipe

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Shelbyw

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I am just starting soap making. Does someone have a simple liquid soap recipe?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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There are some very good threads about making liquid soap in this section, with full details and instructions. Just have a leaf back through the first 5 or 6 pages and you'll have a great basis
 

lsg

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Glycerin liquid soap is the simplest recipe that I have found.
 

topofmurrayhill

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I am just starting soap making. Does someone have a simple liquid soap recipe?

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Follow the instructions in that thread except for dissolving the potassium hydroxide in glycerin, because that is a foolishly dangerous approach. Just dissolve it in water (50/50 by weight) and combine it with the glycerin for the same results.
 

lsg

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I have never had a problem with using all glycerin to dissolve the potassium hydroxide.
 

IrishLass

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I have never had a problem with using all glycerin to dissolve the potassium hydroxide.
I've personally never had a problem dissolving the KOH in glycerin either- it's always gone well for me. :thumbup:

To the OP: Having said that, though, I do understand the concerns about danger that TOMH raises. The danger lies in how one goes about heating the KOH and glycerin. There's a right way and a wrong way to do it....

They way in which I learned how do it is the right way, which is to first combine the KOH and glycerin in my pot while they are both at room temp, then (and only then) do I place the pot on the heat to bring things to a boil in order to force the KOH to dissolve. For what its worth, the only way that KOH will dissolve in glycerin is if the glycerin is hot/boiling. This particular method of dissolving the KOH in glycerin instead of water is called 'The Pharmacist's Method' because it was utilized by pharmacists back in the day when they wanted to make their "green" soap paste (which they used for several things) in a quick/timely fashion without having to cook/stir the soap batter for hours to get to the paste stage.

The foolishly dangerous way is to bring the glycerin to a boil first and then add the room temp KOH to it. The reason why is because doing so causes much hissing/popping and splashing up of the boiling solution, which has the great potential of landing on your skin and causing a thermal burn. If you've done much of any reading of soaping blogs at all on the vast interwebs, you've probably seen many that dissolve their KOH in glycerin this way, but its a very bad idea. Don't do it that way.

To continue with my dialog of doing it the correct way...... Once my pot of combined glycerin/KOH is at a boil (underneath an operating hood vent on high speed...and wearing all my protective gear), I never leave its side. I keep stirring and periodically removing the pot from the heat whenever it looks like it might boil over. Although I do keep it at a boil, I never let it boil so violently that any of it is able to splash up or out. Usually between 10 to 12 minutes, all of my KOH is dissolved and the solution is completely clear.

If doing it the (correct) Pharmacist's way makes you nervous, TOMH is absolutely right that one can still make liquid soap via the glycerin method without having to dissolve the KOH in glycerin.....

The last time I made a batch of glycerin liquid soap, I did it by first dissolving my KOH in an equal amount of distilled water by weight (it took all of 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve, if that) before pouring my full complement of room temp glycerin normally called for by my formula into the dissolved solution. Then, when thoroughly mixed with my oils, it came to the paste stage (off the heat) in 23 minutes.

Of course, using that bit of water up front to dissolve the KOH into meant that I had to adjust my amount of dilution water later on when diluting the paste to make liquid soap out of it, but I was able to get my water/paste ratio all worked out rather quickly without any problems, and my soap finished out beautifully with the honey-thick consistency that I prefer.


IrishLass :)
 

topofmurrayhill

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I have never had a problem with using all glycerin to dissolve the potassium hydroxide.
It's more difficult and (depending on exactly how you do it) either more dangerous or way more dangerous than dissolving the KOH in water.

Like oil, glycerin can be heated to very high temperatures. The water content of KOH introduces the possibility of splattering or boil-over. This procedure adds the danger of thermal burns and other accidents to the usual danger of chemical burns. Anyone getting splashed with this stuff is going to be in a much worse world of hurt than normal.

The SMF community professes a high degree of safety-mindedness. To popularize this procedure, especial with new soapers, is contradictory. We should consider this more realistically.

I would distinguish between the technique, which is good, and the procedure, which is terrible. The technique is to introduce a solvent to facilitate the saponification reaction so that making the soap paste doesn't require much effort or attention. The procedure is that you combine 1 part KOH with 3 parts glycerin and dissolve the KOH at a high temperature. That's the problem.

You can take the same weight of KOH and glycerin, make a 50% aqueous solution with the KOH, then add it to room temperature glycerin and it will work just as well. That would be 1 part KOH, 1 part water, 3 parts glycerin.
 

lsg

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Yes, it is better to be safe than sorry.:)
 

topofmurrayhill

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If doing it the (correct) Pharmacist's way makes you nervous, TOMH is absolutely right that one can still make liquid soap via the glycerin method without having to dissolve the KOH in glycerin.....
Somehow I failed to see your response before I posted mine. You provided the details of what I referred to as "way dangerous" versus simply "dangerous".

I agree with your right way of dissolving KOH in glycerin if that is necessary for any purpose. Thing is, I don't really think this has anything to do with whether the procedure makes someone nervous. It's about whether there is any reason at all to do it. If there was a result you could only get by dissolving the KOH in glycerin, maybe there would be an argument for it. But if you can get the same result by dissolving KOH in water and mixing it with room temp glycerin, that is flat out the only procedure we should be discussing.

Creating a liquid that is highly caustic, scalding hot, and prone to boil over isn't just an optional approach. We should retire it if it doesn't serve a purpose and not suggest it. It may be actually the most dangerous procedure suggested in the modern history of artisanal soaping, and it really contradicts the usual safety mindedness of the community.

A name like the "pharmaceutical method" gives it credibility as a thing. To tell the truth, at the moment I have doubts that it's an actual thing. In the vast expanse of the Internet, there appear to be no references to it.
 

mzimm

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Shelbyw, I hope it is not lost on you that this thread has thoroughly introduced you to the level of quality and integrity you'll always find on this forum! The answers that have been provided for your "simple" question provide education for anyone who is truly looking to learn.
And BTW, welcome! :wave: Where do you hail from? What are your soapy interests?
 

Susie

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Shelbyw-welcome to the forum. Please ignore the hijack of your thread. I assure you that this is not the normal behavior of our esteemed soapmakers.

I make cold processed liquid soap. Which is as simple as it can get as I abhor extra steps. Here is an abbreviated version of my current process for hand soap, it is actually IrishLass' recipe with a very minor change, to get the full version you can read the thread linked above. Be very sure to weigh everything carefully, and always use gloves and goggles. This has a 3% superfat.

Coconut Oil 25% 8 oz
Olive Oil 65% 20.8 oz
Castor Oil 10% 3.2 oz

KOH 7.1 oz (set calculator to 90% purity)
Water 10 oz
Sugar 1 tablespoon
Glycerin 11.3 oz

Melt and mix the oils. Add the glycerin to the oils.
Mix the KOH in small increments, stirring vigorously, with the water. (Save a tablespoon out to mix with the sugar, then dump that into the oils.)
Once the KOH is completely dissolved, add it to the oils.
Stickblend until you get an applesauce, you will then think it is ready, it is not. Continue to stickblend, it will go back to liquid, but once it is liquid, be prepared for either flying bubbles or almost instantaneous paste. I have had it do both on the various batches I have made. Either way, you are done stickblending. Cover the pot and walk away. I usually clean up all my soaping stuff and wash the dishes. Once you have taken a break for half an hour or more, start checking the paste. Once you see it looking like vaseline was mixed in, you can zap check it. If it is zapless, you can begin dilution. My theory is that the hotter your oils and your KOH/water mixture, the less time it takes to hit gel stage, but I have no proof. I have had this take as little as 20 minutes, and as long as 4 hours.

I then add Sodium lactate 1.2 oz, but this is purely optional.
I dilute with 46 oz water. It will need some stickblending at the end to mix in the final lumps of paste, but it will be a lovely thick liquid soap.
TOMH-please start a separate thread with a discussion on your concerns regarding the safety of the glycerin/KOH mixing procedures. This is not the place.
 
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lsg

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I agree Susie.
 

Cindy2428

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Shelby you may also want to check out Soaping 101 on you-tube. The "Teach" has an excellent video for LS making
 

Rusti

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Shelbyw-welcome to the forum. Please ignore the hijack of your thread. I assure you that this is not the normal behavior of our esteemed soapmakers.

I make cold processed liquid soap. Which is as simple as it can get as I abhor extra steps. Here is an abbreviated version of my current process for hand soap, it is actually IrishLass' recipe with a very minor change, to get the full version you can read the thread linked above. Be very sure to weigh everything carefully, and always use gloves and goggles. This has a 3% superfat.

Coconut Oil 25% 8 oz
Olive Oil 65% 20.8 oz
Castor Oil 10% 3.2 oz

KOH 7.1 oz (set calculator to 90% purity)
Water 10 oz
Sugar 1 tablespoon
Glycerin 11.3 oz

Melt and mix the oils. Add the glycerin to the oils.
Mix the KOH in small increments, stirring vigorously with the water.
Once the KOH is completely dissolved, add it to the oils.
Stickblend until you get an applesauce, you will then think it is ready, it is not. Continue to stickblend, it will go back to liquid, but once it is liquid, be prepared for either flying bubbles or almost instantaneous paste. I have had it do both on the various batches I have made. Either way, you are done stickblending. Cover the pot and walk away. I usually clean up all my soaping stuff and wash the dishes. Once you have taken a break for half an hour or more, start checking the paste. Once you see it looking like vaseline was mixed in, you can zap check it. If it is zapless, you can begin dilution. My theory is that the hotter your oils and your KOH/water mixture, the less time it takes to hit gel stage, but I have no proof. I have had this take as little as 20 minutes, and as long as 4 hours.

I then add Sodium lactate 1.2 oz, but this is purely optional.
I dilute with 46 oz water. It will need some stickblending at the end to mix in the final lumps of paste, but it will be a lovely thick liquid soap.
TOMH-please start a separate thread with a discussion on your concerns regarding the safety of the glycerin/KOH mixing procedures. This is not the place.
This was super helpful, thanks Susie!
 

IrishLass

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Somehow I failed to see your response before I posted mine. You provided the details of what I referred to as "way dangerous" versus simply "dangerous".

I agree with your right way of dissolving KOH in glycerin if that is necessary for any purpose. Thing is, I don't really think this has anything to do with whether the procedure makes someone nervous. It's about whether there is any reason at all to do it. If there was a result you could only get by dissolving the KOH in glycerin, maybe there would be an argument for it. But if you can get the same result by dissolving KOH in water and mixing it with room temp glycerin, that is flat out the only procedure we should be discussing.........

A name like the "pharmaceutical method" gives it credibility as a thing. To tell the truth, at the moment I have doubts that it's an actual thing. In the vast expanse of the Internet, there appear to be no references to it.
I've been thinking a lot about this since my response yesterday, and of course, what you say above makes absolute logical sense.

The Pharmacist's method- for what it's worth, probably better known as the "USP XIII glycerin method" because it originates from the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) XIII manual- was how I was taught from the very beginning of my liquid soap-making endeavors.

A little back history: My 'teacher' of the method if you will, was/is a retired medical doctor who had been using the method for many years to make his own glycerin liquid soap at home (Silverdoctor over on the Dish forum). He happened to be the source that inadvertently started the whole glycerin liquid soap-making craze back around 2010 amongst the community over at the Dish.

Anyway, he actually was not a member of the Dish at that time, but there was another member of the Dish (Tarafotty) that had seen the USP recipe that he had posted on About.com and began using it herself with very good results and she told someone else about it..... and then it pretty much took on a life of its own over at the Dish from there.

Silverdoctor eventually joined the Dish when much talk began to be generated over it (in that very looooooong glycerin method thread over at the Dish), and the rest, they say, is history.

Anyway, you know what they say about old habits dying hard- I had suckled at the breast of the USP/Pharmacist's method from the very get-go of my GLS endeavors, and since I was taught the correct way by an excellent teacher and had never experienced a single problem during my execution of it, I never looked into there being an alternative/better/safer way of doing it..... so, for better or for worse, that's my excuse for my continued postings about the method.....

And also for better or for worse, the fact that many GLS soap-makers old and new continue to dissolve their KOH in glycerin because of the instructions on a myriad of blogs and videos out there, I will continue to post about it, if for no other reason to make sure that those that attempt to do it that way, will do so correctly.......but I will no longer post about it without also posting the alternative/better/safer way.


IrishLass :)
 

topofmurrayhill

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I've been thinking a lot about this since my response yesterday, and of course, what you say above makes absolute logical sense.

The Pharmacist's method- for what it's worth, probably better known as the "USP XIII glycerin method" because it originates from the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) XIII manual- was how I was taught from the very beginning of my liquid soap-making endeavors.

A little back history: My 'teacher' of the method if you will, was/is a retired medical doctor who had been using the method for many years to make his own glycerin liquid soap at home (Silverdoctor over on the Dish forum). He happened to be the source that inadvertently started the whole glycerin liquid soap-making craze back around 2010 amongst the community over at the Dish.

Anyway, he actually was not a member of the Dish at that time, but there was another member of the Dish (Tarafotty) that had seen the USP recipe that he had posted on About.com and began using it herself with very good results and she told someone else about it..... and then it pretty much took on a life of its own over at the Dish from there.

Silverdoctor eventually joined the Dish when much talk began to be generated over it (in that very looooooong glycerin method thread over at the Dish), and the rest, they say, is history.

Anyway, you know what they say about old habits dying hard- I had suckled at the breast of the USP/Pharmacist's method from the very get-go of my GLS endeavors, and since I was taught the correct way by an excellent teacher and had never experienced a single problem during my execution of it, I never looked into there being an alternative/better/safer way of doing it..... so, for better or for worse, that's my excuse for my continued postings about the method.....

And also for better or for worse, the fact that many GLS soap-makers old and new continue to dissolve their KOH in glycerin because of the instructions on a myriad of blogs and videos out there, I will continue to post about it, if for no other reason to make sure that those that attempt to do it that way, will do so correctly.......but I will no longer post about it without also posting the alternative/better/safer way.


IrishLass :)
That all makes good sense. I figured you and at least some others would continue doing it the way you're used to. I think maybe new people shouldn't be encouraged in that direction, which might be the main thing to consider. And perhaps being careful to express the dangers realistically. When this seemed like the only way, maybe the risks got slightly underplayed. In reality, dissolving KOH in glycerin really stands out for its riskiness compared to other soaping procedures.

Thanks for the reference for the glycerin method. I've been trying to find the original source for some time without luck. So far I still can't find anything about it, but maybe you've gotten me closer. If you happen to know where to look, please let me know.
 

likesoap16

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Hi All,
Informative posts! Thank you! I've been making my soaps by the Failor methods for like ever since her book came out. That is the only method I'm well versed in. I've got it down to a science by now! LOL. I keep hearing about this glycerine method. I admit I've never tried it. I have read Thompson's book, and her method of the no paste way. I admit I'm set in my ways. Is it really easier and quicker with the glycerine, no paste method? After reading the posts, it just seems like A LOT of work to me. Depending on the oils I use, I get to a paste in less than 30 minutes most days. I rarely if ever add glycerine to my soaps, maybe as an additive for clarifying and extra emolliment. I don't necessarily have to cook my paste for 4 hours either. Each oil and batch have their own characertistics and at times I have a batch done in less than two hours. I make wonderful thick gels, using primarily soft oils and some borax. Am I missing something? If the glycerine method is really quicker and easier, please fill me in!
Thanks!
Lisa
 

topofmurrayhill

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Hi All,
Informative posts! Thank you! I've been making my soaps by the Failor methods for like ever since her book came out. That is the only method I'm well versed in. I've got it down to a science by now! LOL. I keep hearing about this glycerine method. I admit I've never tried it. I have read Thompson's book, and her method of the no paste way. I admit I'm set in my ways. Is it really easier and quicker with the glycerine, no paste method? After reading the posts, it just seems like A LOT of work to me. Depending on the oils I use, I get to a paste in less than 30 minutes most days. I rarely if ever add glycerine to my soaps, maybe as an additive for clarifying and extra emolliment. I don't necessarily have to cook my paste for 4 hours either. Each oil and batch have their own characertistics and at times I have a batch done in less than two hours. I make wonderful thick gels, using primarily soft oils and some borax. Am I missing something? If the glycerine method is really quicker and easier, please fill me in!
Thanks!
Lisa
Everyone has their way of doing things. :)
 

Susie

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I did try the Failor method first. I did not like it at all. I see no need to use lye excess, then neutralize. I love the method I described above. It is no cooking, ever. And no need for the borax step at all. You should try it. If you then do not like it, you will at least know what we are talking about.
 
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