Monday, February 10, 2014

Liquid Soap: A Conquest!

Diluted hand soap
In the great quest to expand my products, and in my boredom over winter break, I began toying with the idea of making liquid soap. Liquid soap is made using a different process than bar soap, and is made with a few different ingredients. With bar soap, you use sodium hydroxide dissolved in water to create your soap. However, with liquid soap, you use potassium hydroxide dissolved in either water or glycerin to create a soap paste, then dissolve the paste in water to make a viscous soapy liquid.

I've been watching tutorials on YouTube, mainly this one by Soaping 101 and this one by Carrie Petersen, but this blog post from is a gem of a find! I reference that blog post almost daily!

So, early-January when I made my big lye order for the first half of the year, I got brave and added a jar of Potassium Hydroxide to my order. Kiddo was sent to Grandma's house for the weekend, and my first attempt at liquid soap making went down.

In short, it was a disaster.

I thought that bar soap was trying on my patience, but I've never experienced anything like making liquid soap! After combining the lye and glycerin and oils, it cooked… And cooked… and cooked… and I thought I was going to lose my mind! I was constantly checking on it, constantly checking for clarity (how see-through the soap is when diluted with water) until I finally got the perfect consistency!

So, by the time I was ready to dilute the soap paste, I was so excited to add in my green apple fragrance that I added it in with the water instead of after the dilution phase (oh crap!), then panicked and threw in an emulsifier when I realized that nothing was mixing together (oh crap!), then bottled the lot before the dilution was finished (oh crap!) and ended up with this mess below.

My first batch is in its second week of sequestration, but I am starting to think that nothing is going to save it.
First batch: Grade A disaster!

After a few tears and loads more research, I decided to stop checking and just let the soap do it's thing. I made a second batch, then left it in the crock pot without checking, and voila, it cooked perfectly! Then I set it up to dilute overnight and boom!, it turned into perfect liquid soap! All it needed was a bit of citric acid to neutralize it, some scent, and it was ready to go!

Here's my cherry almond liquid soap, one week after sequestration:

Second Batch: Fabulousness! 
I'm really happy with the results that I am getting now. I've just learned that I need to back away from the soap and let it do it's thing. I am Helicopter-SoapMaker no more! I've got my testers using the soap and I am getting back rave reviews... A little more testing and the soap should be good to go!

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1 comment:

  1. Nice job! Not something I've tried yet - but it definitely seems a lot more complex than CP soap to me. Very impressed that you nailed it on only the second attempt!