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liquid soap; in search of the faster dilution

Not too long ago, a couple of people asked me why I don’t make liquid soap..
and I didn’t know the answer.
I love to peruse Etsy, and all things soapy on the interweb.
So much creative and inspiring talent out there!
So after the intriguing question was posed, I started to look for LS specifically,
and wondered why the offerings were so much fewer than for bar soap?

Now that I’ve done some research and made a few batches,
I have a clearer understanding.

I can tell you that from what I’ve learned, the challenge is not in
making the soap itself, (and there are different methods of doing this)
but trying to figure out the proper water to soap-paste dilution rate.
In my experience, this is where things become much trickier..
Oils and lye at the early emulsion stage

Liquid soap begins by creating a soap paste. This calls for Potassium Hydroxide,
as opposed to the Sodium Hydroxide (lye) that we use to make bar soap.
Depending on your method, this can take several hours.
The soap needs to go through different phases,
and then become a thick, clear, honey-like goop.
‘Mashed-Potato’ Stage
Finished Soap Paste

This clear goop cools down into a taffy-like, pliable soap-paste.
This concentrated paste is then diluted, using heat, and/or time..
lot’s of time.

Ah, and herein lies the rub.
As I write this, my 35 oz. of soap paste has been diluting for no less than 6 days today.

I tried a new technique, in hopes of an easier passing from paste to liquid.
~Let Go, Let Go, Let Go~
I ripped off small pieces of paste and flattened then out with my fingers.
I was hoping that this would create more surface space for faster dilution.
Sounds scientific, this just may work!
Soap Paste Chips in Dilution Water
After some ph testing
(I personally go high-tech and use my tongue)
the soap-paste is ready to dilute.
The thing is, every soap recipe dilutes at a different rate.
A soap high in Olive Oil takes a ton of water to dilute properly,
roughly a 3:1 ratio, while a soap high in Coconut Oil takes very little.

Each new recipe tweak requires patience for the long
trial and error method of water dilution.
There are general guidelines, and one expert recommends
starting out at 60% of the weight of the paste in water.

Since it’s easier to add more water than to take it away,
water amounts are adjusted slowly, in ounces at a time.

Sequestered Soap
Successful dilution results in a soap that is clear, not too thin,
and doesn’t form a ‘skin’ on it’s surface when bottled.
In addition, of course you want it to lather well and feel silky and mild.

These are attributes of the perfect, hand-made liquid soap,
and something I’ve been keen on producing for a while now.
Each time I make a batch, it will become easier as I get my
dilution rates down to a science..hopefully 😉

Right now, it is my labor of love, but I’m still learning and experimenting!
The Loverly Finished Product!

That being said, I really like this recipe, that I formulated myself!
Formulated by me, but I have to give credit to people at
some great sites, where I’ve learned  so much.
The Soap Making Forum is the first craft forum
I ever joined. There are many educated, helpful folks there.
And many thanks to my friends over at Let’s Talk About Soap, my daily haunt.
There’s also a particularly informative thread on the
glycerin method of liquid soap making over on The Dish Forum.

If I didn’t have to work, I’d probably spend
way too much time in each of these places 😉

I can’t even begin to tell you how invaluable these forums are
if you are interested in learning how to make your own soap.
Without all the generous sharing of information,
guidance, encouragement and humor I find there,
I probably wouldn’t find soaping to be half as enjoyable as I do.

Not to sound like I’m giving my Academy Award acceptance speech,
but I like to give acknowledgement where acknowledgement
is due. And besides, this craft is so rewarding,

I do, indeed, feel like I won something!

My posts are not meant to be tutorial in nature,
they are just my personal observations and creations.
If you’re interested in specifics, In addition to the forums above,
I’d  like to suggest this  e-book, offered by The Soap Queen.
Catherine Failor’s Making Natural Liquid Soaps
is also a great place to start.

I can see clearly now (you see what I did there?) why this type of soap
is not as abundantly produced, and a little more costly to purchase.
I’m not so sure there is a short-cut to making a fine
liquid soap, but then again, the best things in life
always take dedication and patience,
and are worth waiting for.

hot-process!

I’ve been wanting to try this method of soap-making, and now that I have my
snazzy new slow cooker, I was ready to give it a shot.
The advantage to the hot-process vs. cold-process is time. When you cook the soap, it’s neutral at the end of the cook. Cold-process is generally neutral in about 24 hours, depending on a few different factors, but continues to fully saponify for much longer. This is one of the reasons CP requires such a long cure.
I decided I wanted to do a Calendula flower infusion into my soft oils.
Calendula has some nice qualities that are very soothing to the skin.
I like to do a warm infusion in tea bags, so I let these steep for a few hours
while I did a little cleaning..
HAHAHA!  Ok, I’m lying, for good effect.
I didn’t clean..but I did cook dinner, and I made some
fun melt & pour soaps while I waited for my infused oils to be ready!
The seal-able tea bags keep things really neat, and when it’s done,
I don’t need to strain the hot oil. I infused all my soft oils. Today I used
Olive, Sunflower and Castor:
Using the hot-process, I didn’t even have to wait for my lye-water to cool, WOOHOO!
In the picture below, the soap has been cooking for about 45 minutes.
You want the soap to start to ‘fold in on itself’.
You can see where it is fully cooked around the edges at this point. So exciting!
I also incorporated some older soap shreds that were Tea & Ginger scented.
So hard not to stir, but I was a good girl, and sat on my hands.
The pic below is the ‘mashed potato stage’. It kind of looks Vaseline-y, which means the soap is fully cooked. At this point, I took it off the heat, let it cool down a bit and added some dried Calendula Petals and my fragrance and essential oils. I used an orange scented fragrance oil, and some Litsea Cubeba (citrus) essential oil.
This particular essential oil helps to anchor citrus, which,
to many a soapers’ dismay, is notoriously fleeting.
The finished bars contain the natural goodness of the Calendula flower infusion, and the sweet smell of citrus & ginger. These bars are made with the oils I listed above, plus lard, which offers hardness and creaminess to the bar.
I’ve already used one of these in the shower, because I’m the impatient type..
It’s beautifully mild and lathers quite thickly, I’m a HP fan!
I’m going to cure them for about a week or two, just to let the excess water evaporate, and then these beautiful babies will be ready to come to work with me 🙂

i’m hot and bothered.

And it’s not by 50 Shades. It’s by the weather. It’s hot soup out there today, although I shouldn’t say that, because under the right circumstances, I really enjoy soup.
My face contorts involuntarily each time I must step outside. I’m sorry, but I think it’s disgusting. I’m holed up in my air conditioned house with my dog. She won’t stay outside for any length of time, either.
Now, I know there’s those of you among us that absolutely love, love summer-time. I don’t mean to offend, but I am not one of them. Neither is my son. Just the other day, he was talking about where he’d like to reside when he’s older, so that he can be cool and comfortable all the time.
Go North, Young Man.

Shame on me, but I haven’t been to the beach once yet.
It’s an awful lot of work, packing up all your beach-crap, hauling it all from here to there, and then paying $12 for parking, why? To sit in the skin-sizzling sun all day. I happen to think there is nothing wrong with my pale skin, thank you very much.
Then, there’s the sandy, (and incredibly sticky?) ride home to look forward to.
I’m done pretending. I’ve done it long enough, I’m coming out. I’m not a summer-lover, my apologies. Yes, I have guilt, but I can’t keep up this charade any longer.

As I sit and write this, the sky is darkening. Soon the temperamental summer sky will open up and we’ll have another thunderstorm. For this I am thankful. Thankful that Mother Nature has offered this small token to our thirsty plants and lawn, but also because it takes the edge off of the guilt I feel for sitting so comfortably indoors.

Autumn. Now, that’s a horse of a different color.
Bring on October, please!
Crock-pot dinners and roasted corn. Soft sweaters and wooly scarves, not to mention the heady smell of nearby wood burning stoves.
A Lavender scented bath to warm and relax you before bed.
These are good things, and I’ll take it over summer any day of the week.
I’ll be honest; yes, I realize it’s only July, but I’ve got all things pumpkin on my mind..

Hey, Ma! Look what I made!
Have you ever tried pumpkin soap?
Well, if you haven’t, you should. It’s delightful. They are usually made with pure pumpkin puree, and some type of delicious pumpkin-fall scent. Pumpkin soap is one of my most favorite types of soap to make and use. I make mine with a healthy percentage of Olive Oil, the pumpkin puree, and a fragrance oil called
Frosted Pumpkin by Nature’s Garden for this particular loaf.
It. Smells. So. Heavenly.
NG describes it as “fresh top notes of citrusy lemon, leading to middle notes of creamy pumpkin and hints of nutmeg and ginger; sitting on base notes of maple sugar and vanilla frosting.”

Sounds good, but I describe it as October.
Don’t mind me, I hope you enjoy your summer.

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