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.
 

tomatoes

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Hi,
I just found this forum, and found many informative topics.

I also have the same problem, didn't get translucent paste as I finished my liquid soap ( Olive 70%, Coconut 30%, Superfat 3%, 30% Lye solution)

Logicaly make sense to me if we add superfats it will contribute cloudy liquid soap, so shall we remove superfats % and replace it by adding glycerin to get translucent paste ?

I have cooked my soap for 4 hours and still not translucent.
 

linne1gi

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Hi,
I just found this forum, and found many informative topics.

I also have the same problem, didn't get translucent paste as I finished my liquid soap ( Olive 70%, Coconut 30%, Superfat 3%, 30% Lye solution)

Logicaly make sense to me if we add superfats it will contribute cloudy liquid soap, so shall we remove superfats % and replace it by adding glycerin to get translucent paste ?

I have cooked my soap for 4 hours and still not translucent.
I have never made liquid soap by cooking it. I have always used the cold processed method. I use half water and half glycerin to dissolve my KOH, 1% super fat and soap is always clear. Hope this helps.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I also have the same problem, didn't get translucent paste as I finished my liquid soap ( Olive 70%, Coconut 30%, Superfat 3%, 30% Lye solution)
I would use 0% Superfat for LS high in Olive Oil to fully saponify the oil.
KOH solution should be 3:1 ratio of water to KOH
KOH in LS.png

I also have the same problem, didn't get translucent paste as I finished my liquid soap ( Olive 70%, Coconut 30%, Superfat 3%, 30% Lye solution)
That's a nice balance of Olive to Coconut. Because OO takes the longest to trace (45 minutes ?) and coconut traces fairly quickly (12-15 minutes) I would up the balance to 50/50 for the best result. ;) High % of coconut oil is offset by the amount of olive in the formula and is not likely to be drying as happens when making hard bars.
Logicaly make sense to me if we add superfats it will contribute cloudy liquid soap, so shall we remove superfats % and replace it by adding glycerin to get translucent paste ?
A little history about making LS. When Catherine Failor first published her book in 1999, we've come a long way. Failor's first recipes contained KOH amounts at +10% KOH, 3:1 Water to Lye ratio, 0% SF, and required neutralization with a 20% solution of boric acid or citric acid or 33% solution of Borax. Along the way, someone discovered that 1%-3% superfat eliminated the need to neutralize. This is still true today, depending on the fatty acids used in the formula.

Glycerin serves one of two purposes.
1) Using glycerin to make the lye solution which allows you to soap hotter and the batch traces quicker. You can use it as 100% replacement for water to make the lye solution (NOT recommended for Newbies due to the high heat and potential of toxic fumes if overheated.) More popular is using part water and part glycerin to make the lye solution (or some variation thereof). The safest approach is to use a portion of water to make the lye solution; add the glycerin portion to the oils. :thumbup:

2) Along with small amounts of alcohol and sugar, glycerin is considered a solvent. Add glycerin to finished soap (NOT paste) to clarify residual cloudiness.

I have cooked my soap for 4 hours and still not translucent.
It's perfectly OK to stop there, put it away and let the soap do its thing. It will continue to fully saponify over time -- unless some other issue is in play, such as a mistake in formulating, mis-measurement, adulterated olive oil, etc.

There is good basic information in this thread:

LIQUID SOAP ADDITIVES

HTH and Happy Soaping!
 
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tomatoes

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I would use 0% Superfat for LS high in Olive Oil to fully saponify the oil.
KOH solution should be 3:1 ratio of water to KOH
View attachment 59714

That's a nice balance of Olive to Coconut. Because OO takes the longest to trace (45 minutes ?) and coconut traces fairly quickly (12-15 minutes) I would up the balance to 50/50 for the best result. ;) High % of coconut oil is offset by the amount of olive in the formula and is not likely to be drying as happens when making hard bars.

A little history about making LS. When Catherine Failor first published her book in 1999, we've come a long way. Failor's first recipes contained KOH amounts at +10% KOH, 3:1 Water to Lye ratio, 0% SF, and required neutralization with a 20% solution of boric acid or citric acid or 33% solution of Borax. Along the way, someone discovered that 1%-3% superfat eliminated the need to neutralize. This is still true today, depending on the fatty acids used in the formula.

Glycerin serves one of two purposes.
1) Using glycerin to make the lye solution which allows you to soap hotter and the batch traces quicker. You can use it as 100% replacement for water to make the lye solution (NOT recommended for Newbies due to the high heat and potential of toxic fumes if overheated.) More popular is using part water and part glycerin to make the lye solution (or some variation thereof). The safest approach is to use a portion of water to make the lye solution; add the glycerin portion to the oils. :thumbup:

2) Along with small amounts of alcohol and sugar, glycerin is considered a solvent. Add glycerin to finished soap (NOT paste) to clarify residual cloudiness.


It's perfectly OK to stop there, put it away and let the soap do its thing. It will continue to fully saponify over time -- unless some other issue is in play, such as a mistake in formulating, mis-measurement, adulterated olive oil, etc.

There is good basic information in this thread:

LIQUID SOAP ADDITIVES

HTH and Happy Soaping!
Thank you for the quick respond, i will let my batch to sit in next 24 hours before diluting.. and will try new recipe as you suggested. Its very challengin to formulate OO LS for beginner like me.

Have a great day and stay safe.
 

tomatoes

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I have never made liquid soap by cooking it. I have always used the cold processed method. I use half water and half glycerin to dissolve my KOH, 1% super fat and soap is always clear. Hope this helps.
Thanks you, I will try this as well.
 

Susie

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Hi,
I just found this forum, and found many informative topics.

I also have the same problem, didn't get translucent paste as I finished my liquid soap ( Olive 70%, Coconut 30%, Superfat 3%, 30% Lye solution)

Logicaly make sense to me if we add superfats it will contribute cloudy liquid soap, so shall we remove superfats % and replace it by adding glycerin to get translucent paste ?

I have cooked my soap for 4 hours and still not translucent.
I find I get opaque paste when I stick blend too much (puts bubbles in). Doesn't matter. You will still have clear soap. I always use 3% superfat, and never cook soap any more. Cold process is quick and easy and so very much less stress.
 

Zany_in_CO

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i will let my batch to sit in next 24 hours before diluting..
Actually, you need to test the paste to be sure it's fully saponified before diluting. I use phenolphthalien drops because I find that method to be the most reliable. Other options are the ZAP test and soap-in-water test.

Go to #12, 13, 14 in this tutorial to learn more about the Dilution Phase.
BASIC BEGINNER LIQUID SOAP

Also, you may find this thread helpful:
ADVICE ON DILUTING LS
 

penelopejane

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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.
linnie,
I've just made my first tester liquid soaps one of which is 100% OO.
I made them cold processed and the OO soap took a while to come to trace but eventually (following the SB for 5 mins, leave for 10 mins method) it did. The next morning it was a solid green transparent paste. I took 60g of paste added water to dilute it I left it for ages then used a SB on it and it's 1cm of liquid and 3 cm of fluff. But the liquid seems to be growing. Does this sound right? No heat so far. What is the advantage of heat over cold processed? Other than the fact that cold process is a bit of a waiting game. Is that it - just the time factor?
 

Susie

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I prefer CP because I can get it done and bottled in a little over 2 hours. OR I can get it to trace, walk away, and come back when it is convenient for me. HP just traps you there minding your soap and hoping it doesn't burn.

There are much easier recipes to get to trace than 100% OO.
 

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