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.
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.
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 😉
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.