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Testing Liquid Castile Soap... not translucent

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jojojojojiu

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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!
 

DeeAnna

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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.
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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.
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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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Rholeen

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Hi jojojojojiu
I have used that recipe with great success for 12 months but sometimes I get the cloudy version as well. The pH and soap suds ups well and no skin irritation.
I am thinking it may be the cheapest brand of olive oil I used that makes it go cloudy as that is the only change
 

rainlily

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If you let the finished soap sequester for a couple of weeks the cloudiness may disappear. I had that problem with my last batch...put it away, disappointed...went back and what do you know?! Clear soap!! Hallelujah!
 

Nibiru2020

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What I do is take 3% of the total batch weight and add that much each of glycerin and isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to reheat the batch up to around 150°F before adding the clearing agents. Nearly all of the time this works for me. You may have to let it sequester for another week or two. I put my liquid soaps into 1 gallon glass jars to store them to keep an eye on clarity. When reheated it will clear up immediately without adding any clearing agents, but then turn cloudy if no clearing agents are added. Sometimes I use a 3% white sugar solution dissolved in same weight of distilled water if the soap is still murky.

Be patient, it takes time sometimes to get to the desired goal. I use Catherine Failor's book MAKING NATURAL LIQUID SOAPS as my guide. Been using it for nearly 20 years now. She goes a little too heavy on the KOH for my preferences, so I use the Soapmaker's Friend Calculator linked above to adjust my KOH levels properly.

WHATEVER YOU DO... DO NOT SUPERFAT LIQUID SOAP! I have had no issues with the soap drying my skin when I use soft oils such as castor oil and olive oil together.
You "might" get away with 1%, but definitely no more than that. This includes the essential oils / fragrance oils amounts btw.
 

linne1gi

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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!
That's a huge amount of soap! Why not make a quarter or even an eighth of that to try it out. I make liquid soap by the CPLS method, which means not cooking. I mix my lye with an equal amount of water - then add glycerin to equal the water I have. It is difficult to super fat liquid soap - so I compensate by adding a little glycerin and it really does make a nice difference. I I were you, I would try with 6 oz, olive oil, 4 oz coconut oil, 2.29 oz KOH, 6.87 oz water (split into 2.29 oz water and 4.58 oz glycerin) - bring to trace - it may take a while, the best method is to stick blend for a minute or so, walk away for 10, come back and stick blend again and do this until you have a trace. Then leave it - (cover it) for at least 12 hours. When you come back it should be a nice paste, which you can start diluting. There is also a FB group called CPLS, which is very helpful.
 

AliOop

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I mix my lye with an equal amount of water - then add glycerin to equal the water I have. It is difficult to super fat liquid soap - so I compensate by adding a little glycerin and it really does make a nice difference. I I were you, I would try with 6 oz, olive oil, 4 oz coconut oil, 2.29 oz KOH, 6.87 oz water (split into 2.29 oz water and 4.58 oz glycerin)
@linne1gi I'd like to try your method. Just to clarify, it looks like you are adding 2x as much glycerin as the water amount (not equal to the water amount as stated). Is that correct?
 

linne1gi

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@linne1gi I'd like to try your method. Just to clarify, it looks like you are adding 2x as much glycerin as the water amount (not equal to the water amount as stated). Is that correct?
Yes, but the slightly different as I forgot to remove the super fat. So for a KOH recipe (90% pure) I used 40% Coconut Oil and 60% Olive Oil. For total of 8 ounces. Lye is 1.91 oz and water is 5.72 (1.91 oz water) and 3.81 oz glycerin. I do add extra water (glycerin) up front because it makes dilution easier.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I make liquid soap by the CPLS method, which means not cooking. ... bring to trace - it may take a while, the best method is to stick blend for a minute or so, walk away for 10, come back and stick blend again and do this until you have a trace. Then leave it - (cover it) for at least 12 hours. When you come back it should be a nice paste, which you can start diluting.
CPLS = Cold Process Liquid Soap
You are one of the few that I know who does cold process. Good for you! It's great for beginners because it takes "the cook" out of the method which is where most beginners run into problems, often cooking far too long.

TIP: When using 1 part water and 2 parts glycerin to make the KOH solution, you can combine the oils and lye when the oils are 160°F / 71°C and lye is hot (180°F / 82°C +++) which allows you to bring the batch to hard trace fairly quickly... in 5 minutes or so with that combo of oils. :thumbs: Once I have hard trace, I leave it covered in the pot overnight and it's usually ready to dilute the next morning. Easy peasy.
 
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