Testing Liquid Castile Soap... not translucent


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New Member
Apr 5, 2020
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Hong Kong
I've followed a recipe online to make Liquid Castille Soap
  • 24 oz weight (680 grams) olive oil
  • 16 oz weight (454 grams) coconut oil
  • 9.35 oz weight (265 grams) Potassium hydroxide lye flakes
  • 32 oz (4 cups | 907 grams) distilled water, for lye-solution
It calls for cooking it for 3 hours and it will turn translucent. I think mine only turned translucent after 9 hours of cooking. Whenever I do the doneness test, my diluted solution is always merky, non oil floating on top and pH level of 9.5. But it will not go clear. So I try to cook it further as recommended, but it doesn't do the trick! I've tried this recipe 4 times and none of it passes the doneness test. What should I do?

Please help! Thank you!


Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2013
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Northeast Iowa, USA
Your recipe seems fine -- about 3% superfat assuming your KOH has a 90% purity. You should check the purity of your KOH just to make sure and adjust the KOH if needed. Purity can vary from about 85% to 95%. If your KOH is below 90%, your soap is likely to be cloudy because you have a little more superfat than is ideal. No amount of cooking will solve this problem by the way.

It's unfortunate that most tutorials don't discuss all the reasons why liquid soap can be cloudy. It isn't just that you need to cook it longer -- that's actually far less necessary than most tutorials would have you think.
Do not get hung up on looking for the visual stages you supposedly should see. Some authors provide detailed descriptions and photos of the various texture and visual changes their soap goes through as it saponifies. These changes may or may not happen to your soap. If you do not see every stage shown in the tutorial, do not fret. Just keep moving forward with the process, and your soap will very likely turn out just fine.

There is no need to cook liquid soap for hours and hours, even though I realize many recipes are written that way. Most liquid soap is fully saponified within about two hours, especially if you are adding heat, and quite often the soap is done within one hour.
I recommend that people NOT use the method of dissolving KOH in hot glycerin as Irish Lass describes in the first part of Step 3 in her Creamy Coco Shea thread (see link in Penelopejane's comment above). Read and follow her directions in RED toward the end of Step 3 where she explains how to dissolve KOH in room temperature water. Much easier and safer.

Irish Lass wrote another tutorial that I think is an easier to follow introduction to the cold process, superfatted method of liquid soap making. Irish Lass's other tutorial: https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/soaping-101-liquid-soapmaking-video.46114/ See posts 8 and 9

Susie provided another good tutorial on the superfatted CP method for making liquid soap. I think Susie's contribution is under-appreciated. Susie's tutorial: https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/cold-process-liquid-soap.49852/

Another good resource: https://milesawayfarm.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/liquid-soapmaking-where-to-start/
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