Still Trying to Thicken Soap: Xanthan? Guar? Citric Acid

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millerson15

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Has anyone had any success with xanthan/guar as a thickener? If so, can you share your exact process? It's a week later since my last post re: thickening and I'm about in tears spooning thin soap.

Salt Water at 3% of soap weight (20g in 80 gr boiling water) has thickened the soap but leaves a tacky feeling on the skin and inhibits foam.

Thank you!
 

Scooter

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I am a complete newbie myself, and have made just about 30 lbs of soap since July or so...but I have never thought I needed a soap "thickener." What is your recipe like? Under what conditions are you making your soap? Are you using distilled water or tap water?

Scooter
 

Susie

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It's liquid soap being referred to here.

I do not thicken my liquid soap. So, if you have tried cooking it down to reduce too much water, I am out of options for you. In the future, however, try IrishLass' GLS recipe to make thicker liquid soap to begin with.
 

DeeAnna

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"...It's a week later since my last post re: thickening and I'm about in tears..."

You've made two posts about this issue, but you aren't being very helpful. You never explained how much you diluted your original soap paste. You have not clarified your expectations about what is "thick enough" to you. You haven't clarified whether you have tried diluting another portion of soap paste with less water to achieve a thicker result or tried following Irish Lass' advice about cooking down a sample to see if it thickened up.

Not sure I can offer further advice under the circumstances except to say citric acid will NOT thicken liquid soap.

Try researching the forum: https://www.google.com/search?q=hec+xanthan+gum+site:soapmakingforum.com&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
 
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millerson15

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I apologize for seeming unhelpful. I was desiring a soap that has a syrupy texture, rather than a watery one. This is my recipe:

45 oz Olive Oil
10 oz Castor Oil
2.7 oz Refined Coconut Oil (76 degrees)
0.3 oz Jojoba

11.52 oz KOH
35.05 oz Liquids (Glycerin 12.62, Distilled Water 22.52)

I diluted my soap with distilled water overnight at roughly a 4:1 ratio, but added water until there was no remaining paste. I tried evaporating the water and that also didn't help. I use BrambleBerry's lye calculator, which doesn't account for 90% KOH which I am using. Could it be that my soap has too little KOH?

I did try Irish Lass's method, seemed successful, and I got flying bubbles after 10 minutes of stick blending, then let it sit overnight, but when I diluted it down to no paste, or skin, it was thin as water.

Is there some step I am missing or any experience anyone else has with producing watery soap? I don't mind it watery but friends and family are turn up their nose at the texture. In all other functions: skin conditioning, clarity, cleansing power, they are brilliant soaps. I just can't seem to thicken them.

No fragrance or colorants are a factor.

Not sure how to explain the "conditions" I am making the soap under. At my house, I guess.

Thanks again for your help and being patient with someone new to liquid soap and this forum.
 

Susie

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I apologize for seeming unhelpful. I was desiring a soap that has a syrupy texture, rather than a watery one. This is my recipe:

45 oz Olive Oil
10 oz Castor Oil
2.7 oz Refined Coconut Oil (76 degrees)
0.3 oz Jojoba

11.52 oz KOH
35.05 oz Liquids (Glycerin 12.62, Distilled Water 22.52)

I diluted my soap with distilled water overnight at roughly a 4:1 ratio, but added water until there was no remaining paste. I tried evaporating the water and that also didn't help. I use BrambleBerry's lye calculator, which doesn't account for 90% KOH which I am using. Could it be that my soap has too little KOH?
No, you have plenty KOH. I am wondering why you used less glycerin than water, though, and that can have a huge effect.

I did try Irish Lass's method, seemed successful, and I got flying bubbles after 10 minutes of stick blending, then let it sit overnight, but when I diluted it down to no paste, or skin, it was thin as water.
I think you missed one of the most important parts of that recipe, and that was dilution water amount. It is one part paste to 0.75 parts water. Period. I add the dilution water, then when I only have a few small lumps left, I stick blend it together. Then I let it sit overnight to lose the bubbles/lather layer that inevitably forms.

Is there some step I am missing or any experience anyone else has with producing watery soap?
First off, you are making way too much soap for a beginner. Make no more than 32 oz of oil batches until you get something you are happy with.

Secondly, you can get foamer bottles to help everyone love your really thin soap. Just present it as, "Oh, here is this new soap, try it!", rather than, "We must use up this sorry soap." Just add some scent and colorant, and they will completely adore it. Think red food color with peppermint EO, and it will be a wonderful Christmas gift. Or blue or green food color with spearmint EO. Although I would avoid using Jojoba oil, as it will give you cloudy soap.
 

DeeAnna

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What Susie said. You are diluting way too much. Small wonder you weren't getting anywhere with the salt. With that much olive oil, a properly diluted soap should pour about like Dawn dishwashing liquid, or a smidge thinner, with no salt required. No, it won't be shower gel thick, but it definitely should not be watery either.

With a new recipe (or new liquid soap maker), it's always best to gently sneak up on the final dilution for a given recipe, so you don't overdo. Once you know what a reasonable dilution is, you can add about the right amount of water and then tweak it -- but the process will go much faster with experience.
 

IrishLass

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I apologize for seeming unhelpful. I was desiring a soap that has a syrupy texture, rather than a watery one. This is my recipe:

45 oz Olive Oil
10 oz Castor Oil
2.7 oz Refined Coconut Oil (76 degrees)
0.3 oz Jojoba

11.52 oz KOH
35.05 oz Liquids (Glycerin 12.62, Distilled Water 22.52)
Hi Millerson- it sounds like this is a different recipe from your first attempt? If I recall correctly, your first liquid soap batch use BB's Lots Of Suds soap base (for CP)?

I'm with Susie- I'm not sure why your glycerin amount is almost half that of your water amount, but for what it's worth, I believe you would have better success with controlling thickness if the amounts were reversed.


I diluted my soap with distilled water overnight at roughly a 4:1 ratio, but added water until there was no remaining paste.
This^^^ sounds like the biggest culprit right here. A very good dilution starting point with any untested liquid soap recipe is to begin with 1 part paste to 1/2 part water, and then gradually add more in small increments over a period of time until all is diluted. In other words, don't stand over your soap pot and keep adding amounts of water in continuous fashion until you don't see any more paste. You'll want to give things a good waiting period in between each small addition so that you don't miss the 'sweet spot' (patience is key here- for it may take a few days to get the right dilution amount for your preferred thickness). Make sure to take notes of the total amount of water you ended up adding so that in the future, you'll know exactly how much water to use in order to get the perfect dilution for that particular formula each time.

Is there some step I am missing or any experience anyone else has with producing watery soap?
I highly suggest that you make a simple, tried and true recipe before you attempt making any more recipes. If you use the recipe I posted here and dilute it at 1 part paste to .75 pasts water, I 100% guarantee that you will end up with a clear-as-a-bell liquid soap as syrupy-thick as pourable honey.......without having to add any thickeners at all (and it's quite lovely to boot).

Making a tried and true recipe before you try anything else will give you a better feel of how things should proceed when making liquid soap, which will then give you the confidence and the know-how you'll need when attempting to branch out into formulating your own.


IrishLass :)
 

lenarenee

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I've made Irish Lass's ls recipe 3 times so I'm not an expert, but here's my 2 cents:

The purity of your olive oil affects the dilution process. Many brands of olive oil are adulterated
with other oils and the labels often keep that fact a secret. Costco's Kirkland brand of oo was declared pure a few years ago by an independent testing source, and that's what I used.
The very experienced liquid soapers here will tell you olive oil is very "thirsty" and that will affect your dilution process. Whereas adulterated oils will most likely give you a different experience.

I've found an easy way to dilute my stubborn liquid soap paste without taking a lot of time or copious notes - I cheat. I've had perfectly diluted soap poured into bottles that thickened up and became clumpy. I added water, mixed and let it set. No heat, no sb'ing - just a little magic and poof! Problem solved.
 

millerson15

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Thanks for everyone's help

This weekend I will:

1. Run a few 30 oz batches 1) inverting the H20/Glycerin amounts and 2) Try IrishLass's recipe again, using glycerin only to dissolve KOH. This time attempting to dilute a small amount of paste at .75, over a longer period of time. I initially tried .75 and the paste would not budge. However, I was attempting to dilute the whole mass and in less than a day.

2. Put the same amount of paste from the first batch (using water & glycerin) into 4 or 5 different jars to monitor how different dilution rates affect the final product.


I have a lot to learn :) And step 1 may be start small.

One more question, I have been calculating all of the different batches I've tried at a SF of 3%. Any thoughts on how superfatting affects viscosity? And just as a fun Friday question, what are your fave oils to use?

Thanks Soapers!
 
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IrishLass

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2) Try IrishLass's recipe again, using glycerin only to dissolve KOH. This time attempting to dilute a small amount of paste at .75, over a longer period of time. I initially tried .75 and the paste would not budge. However, I was attempting to dilute the whole mass and in less than a day.
At the risk causing any further confusion (for which I apologize profusely), I just wanted to add that I now dissolve my KOH differently in my GLS formulas. Instead of dissolving the KOH in the glycerin, I now dissolve it in an equal amount of distilled water (1:1 KOH/glycerin), then once it has dissolved (takes only a minute or so), I add my full, normal recipe amount of glycerin to the KOH solution before adding the mixture into my warmed oils. Of course, the bit of extra water added up front changes the dilution rate later on, but I have that figured out- I dilute with 1 part paste to .62 parts distilled water. For what it's worth, I added an edit to my post #8 yesterday in the 'Soapmaking 101' thread under procedure #3 that mentions the change.


One more question, I have been calculating all of the different batches I've tried at a SF of 3%. Any thoughts on how superfatting affects viscosity? And just as a fun Friday question, what are your fave oils to use?

Thanks Soapers!
I've never really experimented with trying different superfats to see how they affect viscosity, but I will say this- stearic acid added to my cocoa-shea GLS formula at dilution adds a really nice, thick/luxurious viscosity to that particular formula.

As for favorite oils- so far, I like olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter and shea butter- all the same ones I happen to use in my 2 favorite formulas.


IrishLass :)
 

hlecter

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Hi millerson!

Keep in mind what other members wrote...

Your problem reminds me when i started liquid soap some mounths ago.
My first try was a bit failure. The soap came out beautiful and crystal clear following IL's method (its a must recipe you have to try it) but its lather was poor and its viscosity was almost water...
I was so impatient and inexperienced that i tried to dissolve the whole paste on 8 hours adding too much water resulting in a watery consistency...

Then i realized the problem and tried to make things (and my life :) ) better next time keeping also detailed notes which helped me really much following other members advices. Also i didnt use SL on that recipe which helps break up the paste much more quickly than without... Its a miracle ingredient, but optional :)

I have made about 12 batches of ls so far and i can say that i feel very confident and make good liquid soap nowadays for my preferences, but i still learn and read things on ls making... Its consistency is syropy like , warm honey, which i like and so i avoid salt or other thickeners like xanthan or crothix. I am sure you can do it too :)

As i said patience was the key in my case :)
 
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Susie

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Thanks for everyone's help

This weekend I will:

1. Run a few 30 oz batches 1) inverting the H20/Glycerin amounts and 2) Try IrishLass's recipe again, using glycerin only to dissolve KOH. This time attempting to dilute a small amount of paste at .75, over a longer period of time. I initially tried .75 and the paste would not budge. However, I was attempting to dilute the whole mass and in less than a day.

2. Put the same amount of paste from the first batch (using water & glycerin) into 4 or 5 different jars to monitor how different dilution rates affect the final product.


I have a lot to learn :) And step 1 may be start small.

One more question, I have been calculating all of the different batches I've tried at a SF of 3%. Any thoughts on how superfatting affects viscosity? And just as a fun Friday question, what are your fave oils to use?

Thanks Soapers!
You should use an equal amount of water as KOH to dissolve the KOH, then use the remainder of the "water" amount as glycerin added to the oils.
 

biarine

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I combined my two recipes that I diluted and I thicken them with 20% salt solutions it works like shower gel thickness . But If I don't combine them my Castile type soap it doesn't works by itself. Here's the pic
ImageUploadedBySoap Making1476577794.105906.jpg
 

GGMA

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Hello!

I've successfully used the following ingredients to thicken LS

Kosher Salt-I don't have my exact test notes so you must play with percentages-This is an Excellent Thickener. No, you cannot sub regular table salt as it doesn't work at all as a thickener and may even thin your soap.

Aqua EM-Another excellent thickener- plus adds conditioning-Can thicken to a gel consistency and it feels wonderful on the skin. use in recommended percentages. Aqua EM can also be used to solubilize your F/O & E/O very nicely! Kosher salt doesn't do this as you probably already know. ETA- I've used these thickeners with GMLS(Glycerin Method LS) pure glycerin as well as equal water and lye and remainder glycerin.

Ok, that's all I have. I've got others that are trade secrets:) Oh, you will have to order Aqua EM online at either theherbarie or lotioncrafter- but you can find Kosher salt in any grocery store. Also, it doesn't matter how thin your soap is these ingredients will thicken it and very nicely! I've used these thickeners in various formulas without fail. I prefer Aqua EM over Kosher salt because of it's conditioning properties. Ok, Happy THICKER Soap Making!
 
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