Uughh, what went wrong?

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JenBen

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Hello,

This is my first attempt at liquid soap. Based on several post, I calculated 3% superfat and a 25% lye concentration. Soapcalc gave me:
250.79 grams of water
83.60 grams of lye
453.59 grams of olive oil

I put the oil in the crock pot at 160*. Once warmed, I mixed the lye solution and added it. I kept the heat on and stirred on and off for five hours. It seemed to be drying out, so I added more water. It eventually cooked out. The soap never got past the “cottage cheese” stage. After turning off the heat and letting it sit overnight it looks like this.
DE93370D-8F86-47C7-A2A0-6B62B8A7399F.jpeg

What did I do wrong?

Can I fix it?

How should I improve my second attempt?

Thank you all.

Jenifer
 

lsg

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Did you use KOH lye?
 

Jor224

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5 hours of cooking? I think that's too much. I've never tried hot process, but read a book on hot process in the past, it was around 30 mins - 2 hours. In cold process, with pre-heated oil and warm lye water, you can get full saponification for dominantly olive oil soap paste in 1 day.
 

shunt2011

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It’s overcooked. Shouldn’t take anywhere near that long. Cooked all the liquid out.
 

DeeAnna

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Is this a tutorial you're following? If so, did you follow the author's recipe and method as closely as possible or did you improvise?

If you created your own recipe and/or adapted the author's method, be aware that the visual stages the paste will go through might not be the same as what the author shows.

Liquid soap is often fully saponified with about 30 minutes of cooking. In fact, you don't even have to cook the paste and the soap will probably be done in about the same 30 minutes. And even if it wasn't fully saponified at that time, you could cover the paste to reduce water evaporation, turn off the heat if using, walk away, and the paste would finish saponifying at room temperature without any further help or heat.

I agree with the others -- the water content of your batch is very low. You can try diluting it and see what you get -- it's soap, after all, even if overly dry. Hopefully you didn't follow a method that required neutralization? If so, that problem will also have to be solved, but only after you get the soap into a liquid state.

Be aware that a 100% olive oil liquid soap might be hard to dilute to a stable, pourable consistency. It will seem okay right after dilution, but the diluted soap will firm up as time goes on. That is one reason why people don't make a 100% olive oil liquid soap. The other is very poor lather.

How to prevent these issues for your next batch? Ask us for help.

Also, might want to use a slightly smaller batch size next time until you decide you've got a recipe you like. 450-ish grams of fat makes a LOT of liquid soap.
 

JenBen

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Thanks for the additional feedback.

I used soapcalc to reduce to 16 ounces the amount of oil I was using in order to follow a recipe posted on nwediblelife. I have since watched even more videos. I found another recipe on The Spruce and ran that through soapee. I’m on my second 16-ounce batch. In both cases, the soap never reaches the translucent gel stage.
Because I’ve never successfully made liquid soap, I’m trying to make a smallish batch of simple soap with no additives.
Thanks again for all of your responses.
 

JenBen

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Is this a tutorial you're following? If so, did you follow the author's recipe and method as closely as possible or did you improvise?

If you created your own recipe and/or adapted the author's method, be aware that the visual stages the paste will go through might not be the same as what the author shows.

Liquid soap is often fully saponified with about 30 minutes of cooking. In fact, you don't even have to cook the paste and the soap will probably be done in about the same 30 minutes. And even if it wasn't fully saponified at that time, you could cover the paste to reduce water evaporation, turn off the heat if using, walk away, and the paste would finish saponifying at room temperature without any further help or heat.

I agree with the others -- the water content of your batch is very low. You can try diluting it and see what you get -- it's soap, after all, even if overly dry. Hopefully you didn't follow a method that required neutralization? If so, that problem will also have to be solved, but only after you get the soap into a liquid state.

Be aware that a 100% olive oil liquid soap might be hard to dilute to a stable, pourable consistency. It will seem okay right after dilution, but the diluted soap will firm up as time goes on. That is one reason why people don't make a 100% olive oil liquid soap. The other is very poor lather.

How to prevent these issues for your next batch? Ask us for help.

Also, might want to use a slightly smaller batch size next time until you decide you've got a recipe you like. 450-ish grams of fat makes a LOT of liquid soap.
Hi,

Thank you for your detailed response. My attempts at liquid soap have been so discouraging.
Could you please tell me what your favorite recipe is for making liquid soap?

Thanks again,

Jenifer
 

DeeAnna

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I don't have a favorite recipe -- it depends on my mood. And honestly most of the people having problems with liquid soap don't need yet another recipe, they need better guidance about what to do.

So what generally works better for beginning liquid soap makers is for them to tell us what recipe they use and the method they followed, and explain how the soap turned out. Then we can troubleshoot the soap maker's experience and hopefully get the person on the right track.

And many times (not always, but often), what a beginner liquid soap maker thinks is a failure is simply a bump in the road, not a roadblock.

That's why I asked what tutorial you followed or the method you used. You need to understand what went astray and how to build on that experience.
 

JenBen

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The first recipe I used was from How To Make DIY Liquid Castile Soap | Northwest Edible Life

  • 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
I tried to adapt it to 16 oz. of oil. The result is in the photo above.


I’ve had another batch in the crockpot for 3 days. For this one, I reduced by half a 100% olive oil recipe from Olive Oil Liquid Soap — Adventures With The Sage

32 ounces Olive Oil
6 ounces Potassium Hydroxide
12 fluid ounces Water

It hasn’t yet shown a translucent “gel”.
 

Obsidian

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Don't get hung up on the stages, sometimes they are hard to see and easy to miss. You probably had gel and went right by it, cooking it dry in the process.

Are you stirring a lot? Stirring can incorporate bubbles into your paste and make it appear lighter, making it even harder to see gel.

Looking at the tutorial from the sage, I would have stopped cooking at the 20 min mark, covered and checked back every 30 min or so.
The residual heat should be enough to finish cooking and even if it doesn't, the paste will still saponify and be just fine.

One member here makes liquid soap without cooking at all, using a cold process instead.
 

JenBen

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Don't get hung up on the stages, sometimes they are hard to see and easy to miss. You probably had gel and went right by it, cooking it dry in the process.

Are you stirring a lot? Stirring can incorporate bubbles into your paste and make it appear lighter, making it even harder to see gel.

Looking at the tutorial from the sage, I would have stopped cooking at the 20 min mark, covered and checked back every 30 min or so.
The residual heat should be enough to finish cooking and even if it doesn't, the paste will still saponify and be just fine.

One member here makes liquid soap without cooking at all, using a cold process instead.
Thanks so much. That’s reassuring. I’ll try to dilute a lump of it in water and see how it goes.

XOXO,

Jenifer
 
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