At the request of Susie and DeeAnna, here is more detailed info on how I make my glycerin liquid soap. I hope you're seated comfortably! lol
First, the formula. I have 2 favorite glycerin liquid soap formulas (GLS for short) that I regularly make, and the one I will be sharing is actually the very first liquid soap formula I ever tried making in my soaping life- 3bees~1flower's (Carrie Peterson's) Olive Oil GLS formula that she posted over on the Dish forum and that she also shares on her GLS tute on the YouTube channel:
It's very easy to make and it results in the most gorgeous, clear-as-a-bell liquid soap with wonderful, bubbly lather. And by using a dilution rate of 1 part paste to .75 (or 75%) water, it dilutes out to a sumptuous consistancy that's beautifully thick and honey-like, but not too thick to clog my pump bottle.
Anyway, here is 3bees~1flower's (Carrie's) formula that she posted on the Dish and also on her YouTube video in the link above:
-65% Olive Oil
-25% Coconut Oil
-10% Castor Oil
-Superfatted @ 3% up front using SummerbeeMeadow's Advanced Liquid Soap Calculator
As I mentioned previously, I dilute it at a rate of 1 part paste to .75 (or 75%) water [multiply your paste weight by .75 or 75% to get the water amount].
This next ingredient is optional, but to my dilution water I also like to add 3% sodium lactate (in liquid form) as per the weight of my paste. The SL is my little miracle worker that helps the paste soften/break up easier and more quickly [paste weight X 3%]. In spite of it being a liquid, I don't figure the sodium lactate into my 75% water calculation- I just calculate it as an additive apart from the water amount. In case you're wondering, I've found that with or without the sodium lactate, the finished soap still comes out to a nice, thick consistency, but without it, the dilution definitely doesn't proceed as quickly/easlily.
My procedure in order:
1) I melt my oils in my designated soaping pot and set aside.
2) In a separate, stainless pot that's roomy enough to prevent any accidental boil-over, I add my room-temperature glycerin and KOH together. Yep- that's right- both are at room temp when first combined. I got that important tip from tarafotty over at the Dish. There's no need to heat the glycerin first. Tarafotty said it's actually safer if you don't heat the glycerin first because adding KOH to hot glycerin causes sizzling and splashing, etc... so I just add the 2 at room temp and then heat from there, and it always goes well for me.
3) I turn on my stove's exhaust fan, then I turn my burner to med-high to bring the glycerin/Koh to a boil, stirring all the while with a stainless spoon.
~Make sure you follow the safety protocols that you normally follow when mixing lye solution- wear goggles and gloves, and don't breathe in the fumes! With one hand, I cover over my nose and mouth with a thick cotton diaper (clean, of course),folded over onto itself 3 times to provide a thick barrier against the fumes, and with the other hand I stir.~
The goal is to heat the glycerin to boiling so that the KOH will dissolve quickly and completely. If at any point you find the glycerin/KOH mixture to be boiling up too high and threatetening to spill over the pot, just remove the pot from the heat until it mellows out a bit, and then place the pot back on heat and continue boiling/dissolving/stirring in this manner, until all is dissolved/clear.
You'll notice as it heats/boils that the glycerin/KOH mixture will go through different stages: First, it starts to turn a bit white, then really white and bubbly/cloudy, and then it gradually gets clearer and clearer until all is dissolved and the solution is crystal clear. Near the end, you'll periodically need to take the pot off the heat and stir the boiling solution down to be able to gauge how far things are progressing along.
If near the end you find you have a few stubborn bits of KOH that are taking their sweet time to dissolve, just smash them up against the side of the pot with the back of your spoon to help them break up/dissolve faster, then continue boiling and stirring until all is crystal clear.
It normally takes between 8 to 10 minutes tops for all my KOH to dissolve.
[10/13/2016 Edited to add that I now mix my KOH /glycerin differently than the above. I dissolve the KOH in an equal amount of room temp. distilled water and then add the normal/full complement of (room temp.) glycerin to the lye solution. Doing it this this way makes it so much easier/less fussy to dissolve the KOH. Instead of taking 8 to 10 minutes of cooking in boiling glycerin for the KOH to dissolve, it only takes as little as a minute, and no heating is required. Of course, doing it this updated way changes my dilution ratio because I have to account for the extra water I'm adding up front, but, no worries- I've got that figured out: my new dilution ratio is 1 part paste to .62 parts distilled water, instead of 1 part paste to .75 parts distilled water. To see how things proceed when using my revised method of making the paste, see here. ]
4) Once all is dissolved/clear it's time to pour the hot KOH/glycerin solution into the waiting melted oils in my soaping pot. I use a rubber spatula to scrape/squeegee every drop of the glycerin/KOH solution out into the oils. By the way, my soaping pot is off the heat when I do this (and from here on out as well- things are hot enough as it is!).
5) Once all the solution is in, I start whisking with a stainless whisk. Some people use a stickblender for this part and that's perfectly fine (you'll get to the paste stage much quicker with a stickblender), but please don't do it if your stickblender has a plastic wand/shaft. The glycerin/KOH/oil mixture is so hot that it may melt your plastic stickblender. If you have a stainless stickblender, though, feel free to use that. Otherwise, you can do as I do and use a stainless whisk. A whisk is actually all I've ever used for this step and it works perfectly fine.
As I whisk (off-heat), my batter will look opaque at times, and then clear golden amber with lots of bubbles on top, etc... All of these changes are normal, and I just keep on whisking away until the moment I start to see tiny little bubbles flying/floating up in the air
over the pot or around my head. Some people call this the 'Flying Bubble Stage', but I kinda like calling it the "Laurence Welk Stage" lol. It normally takes all of 10 minutes from the time I start whisking until I see the flying bubbles. When I see them, I stop whisking, even if my soap in the pot is still liquid, which it usually is (still liquid), and with a nice foamy head on it like beer, to boot. In spite of the foamy head and the fact that it's not paste yet, it's all good and there's absolutely nothing to be concerned about. As long as I have the flying bubbles, all is well and on its way, and I can proceed to the next step....
[Edited to add: I should make a note at this point that if you don't see flying bubbles after 10 minutes of whisking.... or ever..... don't panic. Some people actually never see the flying bubbles, and that's okay. I've since learned that they are really nothing more than a just a fun visual indicator that your mixture is proceeding along fine. When in doubt- if you have been whisking for 8 to 10 minutes and you haven't seen any flying bubbles, but the batter is holding together fine without separating into oils and glycerin- it's perfectly fine to proceed to step 6.....]
6) ....which is when I cover my pot and leave it alone -still off the heat- to do its thing and become paste. If you used a stickblender, it will become paste very quickly indeed- as little as an hour or so- but with the whisk method, it normally takes between 4 to 6 hours for mine to become paste. So.... I either go out or I just busy myself with other things during this time. Or if it's bedtime, I'll just leave it to set up overnight and check on it in the morning, or later in the afternoon, or even later in the week if I have other things to do. As long as it's tightly covered, there's no need to worry myself about it or feel rushed. That's one of the beauties with this method- you can be lazy with it, and you don't need to cook it to the paste or neutral stage if you don't feel like it. Just let it rest on your counter for 4 to 6 hours or however long and it will become neutral paste all on its own. At least that's been my experience.
7) Because of the bubbly head that's normally resting on the top of my batter, it's pretty hard to tell if I have paste yet just by peeking into the pot and looking, so I scoop into it with a spoon to see what's what. I know I've reached the paste stage if it feels like I'm scooping into thick, sticky taffy, only the color is a beautiful translucent golden color with somewhat dried bubbles still on top.
8 ) When it's paste, I spoon out little globs of it from a couple of different areas of the pot and apply the tongue test to check for zap. Some people use pheno drops, but I'm kinda partial to the tongue test. It's accurate, instantaneous, easy, and best of all I don't have to shell out any money for it. lol If it doesn't zap, I proceed to the next step- dilution. So far, I've never had a GLS batch zap on me yet, but if i did, I'd just let it sit for ahile longer and test again.
I will have to write my diluting procedure in the next post (below) since I've exceeded my word limit for this post.