# Using .40 to calculate my soap mold oils ### Help Support Soapmaking Forum: #### Spice

##### Supporting Member
Supporting Member
I was just wondering why some us .40 to calculate the amount of soap oils that are to be used in some soap molds? I read where some use .39 or less. At first I didnt know what the factor .40 came from, being OCD and it took me hours, found out that 1 cubic inch is 0.5541125541126 US fluid ounces (I copied and paste this). Does this factor have anything to do with oil vs other liquids?:think:

• cinnamaldehyde and mintle

#### DeeAnna

##### Well-Known Member
"...1 cubic inch is 0.5541125541126 US fluid ounces (I copied and paste this). Does this factor have anything to do with oil vs other liquids?..."

Depends on how you set up the problem, but yes, you could use this conversion. I re-created the "0.40 rule calculations" a couple of years ago and figured out that someone decided to design a hypothetical soap recipe made with "full water" and a typical superfat. They calculated the volume of soap batter made with that recipe, and correlated this volume with the weight of the oils in the recipe. Factors involved are the density of water and the density of oil, and assumptions about superfat %, water content, and such.

Why would some people use 0.39 (or other number) rather than 0.40? Simple -- this rule is accurate only if the assumptions used to create this rule are followed. It will not be as accurate if the assumptions are not met. The 0.40 rule doesn't account for recipes made with more concentrated lye solution (aka a water discount). This means the level of soap in the mold will be lower if you use a "water discount" rather than "full water". The rule also doesn't account for any additives that add a lot of bulk to the soap -- salt, oatmeal, food purees, exfoliants, etc. A soap batter with bulky additives will fill the mold higher than expected.

#### Spice

##### Supporting Member
Supporting Member
"...1 cubic inch is 0.5541125541126 US fluid ounces (I copied and paste this). Does this factor have anything to do with oil vs other liquids?..."

Depends on how you set up the problem, but yes, you could use this conversion. I re-created the "0.40 rule calculations" a couple of years ago and figured out that someone decided to design a hypothetical soap recipe made with "full water" and a typical superfat. They calculated the volume of soap batter made with that recipe, and correlated this volume with the weight of the oils in the recipe. Factors involved are the density of water and the density of oil, and assumptions about superfat %, water content, and such.

Why would some people use 0.39 (or other number) rather than 0.40? Simple -- this rule is accurate only if the assumptions used to create this rule are followed. It will not be as accurate if the assumptions are not met. The 0.40 rule doesn't account for recipes made with more concentrated lye solution (aka a water discount). This means the level of soap in the mold will be lower if you use a "water discount" rather than "full water". The rule also doesn't account for any additives that add a lot of bulk to the soap -- salt, oatmeal, food purees, exfoliants, etc. A soap batter with bulky additives will fill the mold higher than expected.
my apologies for not being clear on this question, I believe I misled this thread, what I was referring to, and your reply was brilliant in respect to the water discount by the way; I was referring to the calculation that is made when figuring the volume for a soap mold. For example lxwxh, then the factor of either .40 or lower (1 cubic inch to 1 inch...0.5541125541126) to determine the amount of oils that a soap mold will hold.

#### The Efficacious Gentleman

Supporting Member
Deanna also was talking about that. The 0.40 factor and the variations of it take in to account the average densities of things, the basic x cubic inches = y ounces and an average superfat thrown in.

It's not just about the 1 cubic inch to ounce conversion, as that assumes a certain density (usually water) and oils do not fit in to that. 1 litre of water is 1000g, but 1 litre of olive oil is less than 1000g.

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• #### DeeAnna

##### Well-Known Member
"...For example lxwxh, then the factor of either .40 or lower (1 cubic inch to 1 inch...0.5541125541126)..."

The 0.55 fl oz / 1 cu inch is just one part of the conversion. If you think about it ... 0.55 is not remotely close to 0.40 ... so that should be a clue that the 0.55 conversion isn't the whole story. The Gent is on target -- you can't just use that 0.55 conversion and get to where you want to go.

I'll be happy to write up the process of calculating that 0.40 number, if you or others are interested in the details. But I'm issuing a "geek alert" in advance on the explanation -- no whining that it's too much algebra. • Spice

#### Seawolfe

##### Well-Known Member
Water and oil dont have the same density. 1 cubic inch of oil would not weigh 0.5541 ounces - and it would vary depending on the oils used.
And lye + water would also not be the same density of pure water.

• DeeAnna

#### DeeAnna

##### Well-Known Member
The 0.40 rule -- how was it calculated?

ASSUMPTIONS

Assume a basic "full water" soap recipe. Choose a total oil weight of 10 ounces.

A "full water" recipe is based on 38% water as % of oils. If my oil weight is 10 oz, what is the weight of the water?
Water weight, oz = 10 oz oils X 38 / 100 = 3.8 oz (wt)

If using a balanced blend of fats, the lye concentration for a "full water" recipe is usually about 28%. So what is the weight of the NaOH needed?

Here is the algebra that must be solved to get this number:
(X, NaOH wt)/(3.8 oz water + X, NaOH wt) = 28 / 100
X = (0.28 X 3.8 ) / (1 - 0.28 )

X, NaOH weight = 1.48 oz

SUPPORTING INFO

Specific gravity of 28% lye solution is 1.310 (Dow Chemical Co.)
Specific gravity of a typical soaping fat is about 0.92 (various sources)
Conversion from fluid ounces to cubic inches: 1 cu in = 0.554 fl oz (from Spice)

CALCULATIONS

What is the volume of oils?
Weight of oils = 10 wt oz
Volume of oils = 10 wt oz / 0.92 = 10.87 fl oz

What is the volume of the 28% lye solution?
Weight of lye solution = 3.8 wt oz water + 1.48 wt oz NaOH = 5.28 wt oz
Volume of lye solution = 5.28 wt oz / 1.310 = 4.03 fl oz

What is the total volume of soap batter based on 10 ounces (wt) of oils?
Total volume of soap batter = Oil volume + Lye solution volume
Total volume of soap batter, fl oz = 10.87 fl oz + 4.03 fl oz = 14.90 fl oz
Total volume of soap batter, cu in = 14.90 fl oz / (0.554 fl oz/cu in) = 26.87 cu in

RESULTS

A basic "full water" soap recipe using 10 wt oz of oil will fill a mold that has a volume of 26.87 cu in.
That means for every 1 wt oz of oils used in a recipe, the soap batter needs 26.87 / 10 = 2.687 cu in of mold volume.

For any given weight of oil, what volume of mold is needed?
Mold volume, cu in = 2.687 X (Oil, wt oz)

For a given mold volume, what weight of oil is needed?
Oil, wt oz = (Mold volume, cu in) X (1/2.687)

The division problem of 1/2.687 = 0.37 so rewrite the previous equation so it looks more like the "0.40 rule" equation:
Oil, wt oz = 0.37 X (Mold volume, cu in)

CONCLUSIONS

The factor I calculated is 0.37, not 0.40. This means if I had created this rule, I would call it "DeeAnna's 0.37 rule", not the "0.40 rule."

Why was a factor of 0.40 used in the original rule rather than 0.37?

One possibility is perhaps the original person who came up with the "0.40 rule" used slightly different assumptions than I did.

Or perhaps the original person wanted the mold to be a bit larger than needed so the soap batter did not fill the mold right up to the brim. The 0.40 factor increases the mold size a bit -- about 8% -- compared with using 0.37.

If you want some room for a sculptured top on the soap, to allow a lid to be put on the mold and not touch the soap, or just to allow for a bit of error, the 0.40 factor makes sense.

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• #### dibbles

##### Supporting Member
Supporting Member
And .40 is easy to remember. It works for me.

• DeeAnna

#### Steve85569

Supporting Member
The easy answer is that water weighs in at 0.5541 ounces per cubic inch and the amount of oil in a cubic inch of raw soap batter weighs in at about 70 to 74 percent of that. Multiply .5541 by .7 or .75 and see what the result is. 0.39 or0.40 ( or 0.37) gets you close enough to estimating how much oil to use in a given mould.

The formula I use does not tell me how much batter I can put in the mould only how much oil. No matter which number I use I usually would need to make small adjustments to completely fill but no over flow the next time. Don't ask. I keep an oval bar set at the ready.

#### commoncenz

##### Well-Known Member
I use the .40 and then accept the fact that there will be excess batter. So, I have a set of silicone flower molds that I pour the excess batter into (each flower yields about a 3 oz bar of soap). Waste not, want not .. and all that. Plus, I'm finding that the flowers make excellent samples when needed for things such as bribing local suppliers, farmers market managers and family members .. lol • DeeAnna, Steve85569 and Susie

#### cinnamaldehyde

##### Well-Known Member
Just don't do what I did recently and use 0.4 as the conversion factor when measuring in metric...

As I found out, the conversion factor for metric is 0.7, not 0.4. I had some very short slices of soap • Steve85569

#### Spice

##### Supporting Member
Supporting Member
The 0.40 rule -- how was it calculated?

ASSUMPTIONS

Assume a basic "full water" soap recipe. Choose a total oil weight of 10 ounces.

A "full water" recipe is based on 38% water as % of oils. If my oil weight is 10 oz, what is the weight of the water?
Water weight, oz = 10 oz oils X 38 / 100 = 3.8 oz (wt)

If using a balanced blend of fats, the lye concentration for a "full water" recipe is usually about 28%. So what is the weight of the NaOH needed?

Here is the algebra that must be solved to get this number:
(X, NaOH wt)/(3.8 oz water + X, NaOH wt) = 28 / 100
X = (0.28 X 3.8 ) / (1 - 0.28 )

X, NaOH weight = 1.48 oz

SUPPORTING INFO

Specific gravity of 28% lye solution is 1.310 (Dow Chemical Co.)
Specific gravity of a typical soaping fat is about 0.92 (various sources)
Conversion from fluid ounces to cubic inches: 1 cu in = 0.554 fl oz (from Spice)

CALCULATIONS

What is the volume of oils?
Weight of oils = 10 wt oz
Volume of oils = 10 wt oz / 0.92 = 10.87 fl oz

What is the volume of the 28% lye solution?
Weight of lye solution = 3.8 wt oz water + 1.48 wt oz NaOH = 5.28 wt oz
Volume of lye solution = 5.28 wt oz / 1.310 = 4.03 fl oz

What is the total volume of soap batter based on 10 ounces (wt) of oils?
Total volume of soap batter = Oil volume + Lye solution volume
Total volume of soap batter, fl oz = 10.87 fl oz + 4.03 fl oz = 14.90 fl oz
Total volume of soap batter, cu in = 14.90 fl oz / (0.554 fl oz/cu in) = 26.87 cu in

RESULTS

A basic "full water" soap recipe using 10 wt oz of oil will fill a mold that has a volume of 26.87 cu in.
That means for every 1 wt oz of oils used in a recipe, the soap batter needs 26.87 / 10 = 2.687 cu in of mold volume.

For any given weight of oil, what volume of mold is needed?
Mold volume, cu in = 2.687 X (Oil, wt oz)

For a given mold volume, what weight of oil is needed?
Oil, wt oz = (Mold volume, cu in) X (1/2.687)

The division problem of 1/2.687 = 0.37 so rewrite the previous equation so it looks more like the "0.40 rule" equation:
Oil, wt oz = 0.37 X (Mold volume, cu in)

CONCLUSIONS

The factor I calculated is 0.37, not 0.40. This means if I had created this rule, I would call it "DeeAnna's 0.37 rule", not the "0.40 rule."

Why was a factor of 0.40 used in the original rule rather than 0.37?

One possibility is perhaps the original person who came up with the "0.40 rule" used slightly different assumptions than I did.

Or perhaps the original person wanted the mold to be a bit larger than needed so the soap batter did not fill the mold right up to the brim. The 0.40 factor increases the mold size a bit -- about 8% -- compared with using 0.37.

If you want some room for a sculptured top on the soap, to allow a lid to be put on the mold and not touch the soap, or just to allow for a bit of error, the 0.40 factor makes sense.

This is incredible; I dont know where you live, but this makes want to meet you. Genius!

#### topofmurrayhill

Supporting Member
The factor I calculated is 0.37, not 0.40. This means if I had created this rule, I would call it "DeeAnna's 0.37 rule", not the "0.40 rule."

Why was a factor of 0.40 used in the original rule rather than 0.37?

One possibility is perhaps the original person who came up with the "0.40 rule" used slightly different assumptions than I did.

Maybe the .4 was simply determined empirically. Make batter, fill mold, get weight, do arithmetic. That would be sensible because a purely theoretical calculation could be based on incorrect or oversimplified assumptions. One would probably not declare a rule without performing an experiment.

#### DeeAnna

##### Well-Known Member
As you all have been sharing in this thread, some soapers will end up with too much batter from using the 0.40 rule, and some won't have enough. So it's obvious the 0.4 rule is simply a rough rule of thumb. Whether the original person originally came up with this number empirically or by calculation, it really doesn't matter anymore. What does matter is the 0.40 rule has been around for some years now and soapers are still using this rule of thumb, so it is proving to be reasonably helpful for most people most of the time, despite its limitations.

My point in going through the math is that people repeatedly ask how this thing came to be, and Spice wondered about this at a moment when I had the time to answer in detail. It's good to help people better understand what they're doing by showing there really is some useful logic behind some of the odd "rules" of soaping.

Spice -- Glad I could help. I know math isn't your strong suit, so I hope I didn't overwhelm you. I hope you can get your soap recipes tweaked to fit your molds!
Patrick -- Bribes are always good to have on hand! I have been doing much the same thing as you do with my dribs and drabs -- in fact I'm thinking about increasing my batch size a bit so I have extra batter to make more of these handy little soaps -- and make them look a little nicer. #### MsHarryWinston

##### Well-Known Member
I'm so glad I read this because I've been getting super frustrated. I've been trying to figure out pricing costs (especially wholesale) bases on weight and how many soaps I get out of a mold and what width to slice them but nothing is actually accurate. The website says it's a 3lb mold but when I do the .40 calculations I get extra batter. I'll use any extra batter for samples.

• DeeAnna, commoncenz and Susie

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