Good morning all!
This is just a quick post. The hubs and I decided to try our hand at liquid soap a few weekends back and I’m very pleased with the results. The process was relatively easy and much cheaper than purchasing the safe, corn-free soaps that are available.
- Organic Bariani Olive Oil
- Organic Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil
- Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)
- Berkey filtered water
Tools / Equipment
- Crock pot
- Immersion Blender
- 2 and 4 cup pyrex measuring cups
- Pot (for boiling water)
- Small container for measured KOH
- Chop stick or some other stirrer for the KOH / water solution
I followed the wonderful provided by Cindy from Our Life Simplified. I did change a few of the instructions to fit our situation and ingredients.
- I increased my cooking time from 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes.
- This was to compensate for using Olive oil instead of olive oil pomace
- I also changed the time because I do not have 60 ml 1% Phenolphthalein in Ethanol Solution Indicator (it just screams corn to me…and I have issue with fumes from chemical solutions) and had no intention of testing it on my tongue, so I need to make sure to cook it longer to ensure that it was done.
It is a pretty good soap. It will leave spots on your dishes, similar to what happens if you use the Dr. Bronner’s soaps, but they are not as noticeable.
How to make Quick & Easy Supermild Liquid Soap:
First, weigh the crock pot. This weight will be needed after cooking to calculate the dilution water needed.
Heat measured oils in a covered crock pot on high to 160°F.
When the oil is just about heated, mix measured lye into the measured distilled water. It will naturally heat to the range of 140-150°F. Our goal is 140°F.
When oils are at 160°F and lye is at 140°F, mix the lye into the heated oils slowly (almost a dribble), stirring constantly.
Now, off to trace! Turn the crock pot to low–trace will happen faster when the mixture is at (or around) 160°F. Using a stick blender, use small bursts–on, off, stirring around. Bursts actually bring soap to trace faster than constant blending. Trace with this recipe usually takes about 20 minutes.
Give the blender a rest every few minutes also, this helps prevent overheating (and burning up) the blender and it stopping in the middle of a batch.Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes. Trace is reached, if after setting, there is no separation of the lye (clear liquid at bottom) and oils (usually floats to top). I cover it the crock pot…if there’s no separation, the cook period is beginning now.
- Liquid soap trace is different than hard soap trace. We reach the hard soap trace rather quickly. But keep going!
- It seems to break up into an applesauce-like consistency.
- Then back into a pudding texture.
- And starts to get thick.
- Then, less than a minute later, VERY thick–like a taffy.
- All of a sudden, the blender won’t blend. You’re done.
If there is no separation, turn the crock pot to high and keep covered. This will give a cooking temperature range from 180°F – 200°F.
Stir every 15 minutes. Stirring is important. Unlike hard soap, where I just cover it and let it do its thing, liquid soap paste can trap air, slowing down saponification.
While you’re waiting for the paste to cook, boil the dilution water. This is added after the soap is done, but it needs to be boiling. A 1-pound batch of soap usually takes around 70 ounces of dilution water.
Soon (around 40-45 minutes), the paste takes on a vaseline-mashed-potato appearance.
Test for neutrality. This can be done with the tongue-zap test or with 60 ml 1% Phenolphthalein in Ethanol Solution Indicator. With phenolphthalein, drop 1 drop onto a small amount of soap (out of the pot!).
- If it stays clear, the paste is neutral…and done. To clarify–the paste is done, but you can continue to cook it until it looks more like vaseline and less like mashed potatoes. Either way is fine! The more vaseline-like it is, the more clear the end liquid soap product it is. I was looking for a quick and easy liquid soap. I have no problem if the soap I use here at home is cloudy.
- If it turns any shade of pink, there is excess alkali and it is not done. Continue cooking.
When the paste is done, weigh the crock pot (with the soap in it) and subtract the beginning crock pot weight. The result is the soap paste weight.Pour boiling water into the crock pot (that is still on High). Stir around, breaking up the chunk of paste.
- High olive oil recipes need a 3:1 ratio of water to paste to fully dilute without using an emulsifier. If it’s not fully diluted, the liquid will start to congeal, or thicken, on top working its way down through the soap, leaving a thick mass. Remember, since this is a simple, easy method, we’re not adding anything, so it needs to be fully diluted. To figure the exact dilution water needed, multiply paste weight by 3.
Cover and let sit a few minutes. Stir, break it up some more. You can leave this sit all by itself, but the process will take longer. It’s up to you! This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.
When it is fully diluted, the resulting soap is thin. It is up to you if you want to thicken it or leave as is. I personally like to keep some of the soap thin. I use it in the foamer in the bathroom. Also I keep a bottle at the kitchen sink. One squirt on the scrubby washes many dishes without filling the sink.
To thicken the soap without adding anything, put it in a pot on the stove. This will evaporate the excess water. I know this sounds insane to add all that water then evaporate it back out, but all of that water is needed so it doesn’t congeal. Leave it to simmer, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan, until it has reduced. I use a guide of about 25%…or 8 ounces down to 6 ounces (this fits in a pump bottle well).
You can also add 1-2 ounces of glycerin per pound of diluted soap for a more moisturizing, lathering, and emollient liquid soap. I have not done this. I just use the evaporation method now. BUT glycerin liquid soap is next on my list to try. It’s fast and easy, too! Liquid soap can be thickened with sodium hydroxide, also. Another experiment in the works!
To fragrance the liquid soap, add up to 2-3% of the diluted soap weight of fragrance or essential oil to hot diluted soap. You can add fragrance to the whole batch of soap in the crock pot (or pan if thickening) or pour the soap into individual jars and add a different fragrance to each one. I generally use 1 1/2 tablespoons of fragrance per quart jar. But it’s your own personal preference! This recipe make 2 3/4 quarts un-evaporated soap or 2 quarts evaporated soap.