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Thickening Liquid Soap

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rldabush

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I have made a liquid soap but I want to thicken it to get to a body wash/shampoo like consistency. I have tried added guar and xanthan gums and it either doesnt thicken enough or gives it a very chunky consistency. I have also been advised to try salt and when I added salt in, the base separated with part of it needing to be skimmed off and the other part still being a very thin liquid.
Any suggestions?
 

FGOriold

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The only thing I have found that will consistently thicken any liquid soap formulation is HEC (Hydroxyethyl Cellulose). Other ingredients may or may not be consistent based on your formulation and pH.
 

cleangrip

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For me, salt seemed to do the trick in any batch I made. I could get the solution slightly thicker, all the way to a thick creamy paste with just salt. If that doesn't do it for you, a synthetic thickener that worked well for me and was easy to incorporate was Crothix. HEC has worked well for me too, but I feel it made my soap thicker but in a "sticky gooey" kind of way. I prefer the way Crothix felt on my hands as well.
 

DeeAnna

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If you don't want to use a separate thickener, then use a recipe high in olive oil (makes a high oleic soap) and dilute the paste very slowly until you get the consistency you want. I will say you are not likely to get a thick strawberry-jam-like gel by just diluting LS paste with water, if that's what you're looking for. The result is going to be more like honey.

If your liquid soap is high in coconut, it's going to be difficult to get a thick soap by just diluting carefully with water. That may need a separate thickener. For high coconut soaps, salt will not work well -- salt works better on a high oleic soap.
 

Ktaggard

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Hi. Do I add salt straight to diluted soap? TIA. And how much would you recommend?
 

Susie

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Hi. Do I add salt straight to diluted soap? TIA. And how much would you recommend?
You need to let us know what is in your soap, what percentage of which oils to be exact. A liquid soap with more than 20% coconut oil will not thicken with salt.

You mix salt with water 1 part salt to 4 parts water(20% solution). I would use hot water to speed dissolving the salt. Then you add 1 teaspoon of salt solution to the soap at the time, stirring gently and waiting a bit between additions.
 

DeeAnna

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Yep, what Susie said. It's a try-it-and-see process because every soap is different. Keep good notes so you can shorten the thickening process for future batches using this same recipe.
 
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Ktaggard

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Thanks. My recipe: 50% Olive, 20% Sunflower, 20% coconut, 10% Castor. Got a little water happy right at the end of diluting when it was a little too thick. I am in the process of making another batch using same recipe. Thought I would make it thicker and then mix with other batch. What do you think? If that doesn't work. I will try the salt technique to thicken up.
 

Ktaggard

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BTW : I love this forum and all you wonderful people!!! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge!!
 

cmzaha

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You dillution was not right. you can thicken it with salt :)
Salt will only thicken Olive Oil LS or one with very high OO. I do not find it a very successful way to thicken even OO LS
I prefer HPMC (Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose) over HEC
 

DeeAnna

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"...Thought I would make it thicker and then mix with other batch. What do you think?..."

I think that is a good plan. If you get lumps or a skin that doesn't want to dilute, but the major portion of the diluted soap is the way you want it, just skim out the lumps/skin and put the good part away. Dilute the lumps/skin separately so you're only messing with the part that isn't quite right.

I have tried salt in a sample of high-olive LS and it seemed to work okay, but I wasn't blown away by the results. Even if I was, I'd rather keep it simple.
 

liquidsoaplady

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If I have a formulation high in soft oils, I use borax. It is the best thickener I have found, helps with lathering and water softening. I add 3 oz to the dilution water before adding the paste. I also add around 1.5 pounds of water per pound of paste. I usually make 6 pounds of paste so this equates to 144 ounces of distilled water for dilution. This make the most wonderful, thick gel type soaps you've ever encountered. I also add 4.5 oz of citric acid to the dissolved soap to act as a chelating agent. Makes nice, thick, lathering, skin softening liquid soap.

If I have a formulation high in coconut oil, I dilute the paste with 9 oz of water per pound of paste. So six pounds of paste takes 54 oz of distilled water to start, if I get a thick crust on top, I add 9 oz at a time until I get the soap diluted, it remains a nice thick soap. Coconut oil is very soluble and doesn't need as much dilution water as soft oils do.

I've never had to use salt to thicken my soaps.
 
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liquidsoaplady

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Borax for thickening

Borax really is a liquid soap makers best friend, it REALLY does enhance foaming, allows higher soap to water concentrations, softens the water and acts as an emulsifier. Adding 3 oz of borax to the dilution water before adding the paste, makes a nice thick soap, with less dilution water needed. Based on six pounds of soap paste...........
 
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Mildreds.naturals

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I have made a liquid soap but I want to thicken it to get to a body wash/shampoo like consistency. I have tried added guar and xanthan gums and it either doesnt thicken enough or gives it a very chunky consistency. I have also been advised to try salt and when I added salt in, the base separated with part of it needing to be skimmed off and the other part still being a very thin liquid.
Any suggestions?
Hello,

You did not post your recipe oil percentages. Oils High in Coconut may not be thickened by salt. I believe I was the one who had originally shared that salt could thicken soap over 2 years ago but if you add too much it will ruin it. I've been away for 2 years so I'm interested to see how things have evolved on the board :)
 
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The Efficacious Gentleman

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............. I believe I was the one who had originally shared that salt could thicken soap over 2 years ago but if you add too much it will ruin it..................
I'm currently playing with salt % and I have it down to somewhere between 10% and 15% for a 50% paste-weight dilution. Would be interested to hear how much you found to be too much and just enough. Of course, paste thicknesses vary, but a guideline figure is always good.

...............I've been away for 2 years so I'm interested to see how things have evolved on the board :)
From what I have seen, a lot has changed in thinking - especially how LS "has" to be made is no longer as hard as it used to be, with some interesting new methods making it a lot easier to get in to.
 

Mildreds.naturals

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I've already seen that people caught on to the using the 2:1 glycerine method instead of water. That really speeds things up! I was doing this following soap 101 tutorials on Youtube that showed how it was done. I'll never make soap LS without it that is for sure!

Also, I just saw someone else in 2011 mention the salt things so I won't take someone else's credit for that haha.

So what i'm understanding is you are trying to see if there is a sort of 'guideline' for how much of a salt solution to use based on how diluted it is?

I understood how oleic oils responded to salt quite easily. I have to go back to look at my notes but I don't remember if it was something like a tablespoon per lb of paste? I'm so behind. I remembered also just taking salt crystals and sprinkling them in and watching the soap thicken up. one batch of 80% olive oil turned into Jello!! LOL

I'm seeing people having a 20% salt solution added and some are adding it hot and others adding it when it's diluted and cold.
 

rldabush

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Hello,

You did not post your recipe oil percentages. Oils High in Coconut may not be thickened by salt. I believe I was the one who had originally shared that salt could thicken soap over 2 years ago but if you add too much it will ruin it. I've been away for 2 years so I'm interested to see how things have evolved on the board :)
Sorry. My formula has about 29% Coconut Oil, 70% Olive Oil, and 1% Jojoba Oil. I am still having trouble trying to get a gel like consistency. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Or have the contact info for someone experienced with making castile shower gels?
 

DeeAnna

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If you want a GEL, as in a texture similar to toothpaste or soft Jello gelatin, versus the syrupy-ness of honey -- no you're not going to get that by using salt or by doing a careful dilution. You need to look at using a separate thickener.

I can't help you with that. Apparently Liquidsoaplady gets that kind of texture with borax (see previous post in this thread). Faith Gratz Oriold has also told you in Post #3 that she gets good thickening with HEC (Hydroxyethyl Cellulose).

Are either of these options appropriate for your problem? If so, have you asked either of these ladies for more detailed advice????
 
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handavaka

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Salt in Liquid Soap

I am planning on making liquid soap. My ideal liquid soap would be a thick viscous type. I currently dissolve salt in water prior to making my lye solution in my cold processed bar soap at 1 tbsp/lb and would also like to use dissolved salt in my lye solution for the liquid soap. Keeping this in mind, would this be the precursor to thickening of my liquid soap? I am planning on making 3 pounds of paste, and diluting at what seems to be a standard rate, from what I have studied.
 

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