Transparent soap

Soapmaking Forum

Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Jun 18, 2013
Reaction score
Idaho, USA
I've been thinking about making some transparent soap (not M&P) and have a few questions. Can I use my regular soap recipe or does it require a more specialized recipe?
How do you figure out how much alcohol/glycerin/sugar to use? Any opinion on trying a transparent salt bar?
I havent made transparent soap. However, I have made MP soap out of regular soap and I think similar principles apply. There are some differences.

1. You must use a recipe in mostly hard oils. You are adding solvents to the soap (alcohol, sugar water) so if you use a mostly soft recipe (like a castile) you will end up with mush.

2. If you want it to be transparent, there are certain fats you can and can't use to achieve clear soap. Unfortunately, I don't remember what they are. If my memory serves me, soaps high in stearic acid can make a cloudy bar (I'm not sure exactly though. I'll get back to you on that!)
I would like to use a high % of lard, I'll have to see if I can find a list of what oils/fats work best. I watched the soaping101 video on clear soaps and she uses quite a bit of steric and her soap turned out quite clear but its a recipe for embeds, I don't think it would make a good bath soap on its own.
Ok, so I'm probably wrong on there. You know what I would do?

Make a batch of regular unscented bar soap in a recipe you want to try with transparent soap. Then use it in different pieces to try out different experiments (different amounts of alcohol, sugar, glycerin). Kind of like rebatching but instead of just adding water, you would be adding all of your solvents. This way you can play with different solvent amounts.

And, if it turns out that that recipe doesn't work at all, you still have a sizable chunk of usable hard bar soap. This will help keep waste down during your experiments.

Thats what I've done in the past with some of my soap experiments.
Here is the recipe I came up with after reading Failor's book:

Here is the recipe I have:
25 oz Castor Oil
16 oz Coconut Oil
40 oz Palm Oil
1% lye discount = 11.8 oz Sodium Hydroxide
32.1% Lye Solution Strength = 25.1 Distilled Water

28 oz Everclear Alcohol
8 oz Glycerin
20 oz White Sugar
15 oz Distilled Water

Measure out 15 oz boiling distilled water, add 20 white sugar, stir until dissolved, cover and set aside. Measure 11.8 oz lye and 25.1 oz of water, mix lye water. Add lye water to oils and stir for about five minutes until thick trace. Add the alcohol and stir for another five minutes. This should form a clear solution . I use an extra large crockpot to cook the paste. I put heavy parchment paper under the lid to keep in the moisture. Do not turn heat up too high or the soap will leak out from under the lid. This solution will take two hours or more to saponify/neutralize. After saponification, stir in the glycerin and the sugar solution. Stir for about three minutes. To test put a spoonful of soap onto a cold inverted glass. Once cool, is it clear? If not, try adding two ounces or more of Everclear, which may have evaporated during the cooking. Cover and let set for 15 minutes before adding color and fragrance. Pour into molds. Spray top with rubbing alcohol.
Cool, I didn't even realize this could be done. I thought transparent soap was all MP.

I can envision lots of design potential, but I am curious, what does this process do to the cleansing and sudsing characteristics of soap? Sorry if it's in one of the links; I'm so dang tired I can't even chase soap rabbits!