I tried a modified recipe for liquid soap. I doubled the amount of oils, and used a lye calculator to find the amount of lye required. I also found the instructions on this site to be very handy: Learn to Make: Liquid Soap From Scratch. Since I didn’t add extra lye, I didn’t use any neutralizer solution.
After a few years of making soap, I had my first-ever lye spill. I’m usually very careful when handling lye, but I guess this time I was not paying attention. On many fronts. I dumped around 10 oz of lye into a beaker of water, and the thing overflowed. Luckily, I was doing this outside and only a little splashed on my arm and leg. I wasn’t wearing gloves! And I forgot to haul out the vinegar jug to neutralize any lye spills! But, I washed it off with water and vinegar almost immediately, and there was no damage done. Don’t follow my example… Wear gloves, add lye to water slowly, and keep some emergency vinegar nearby to neutralize the spill.
And since some of the lye spilled out, I should have added more lye to replace it when I mixed it into the soap. But of course, I didn’t. And, then I should have just taken a small piece of soap paste and mixed with water to see if the dilution would make a clear or milky solution. But I didn’t. So now, I have a milky mess in my crock pot. I think the milkiness is due to the unsaponified fats in the soap paste (makes sense, I lost some lye). I’m considering adding more KaOH to the water/soap paste mixture to react the rest of it. But the milkiness is just forming a layer on top of the soap, so maybe I’ll just pull that layer off…
This recipe makes about 6 quarts of liquid soap.
*All measurements are weight measurements, not liquid measurements.
- 7.15 oz Coconut Oil (fractionated)
- 10.35 oz of Coconut Oil (76 F melt)
- 32 oz Sunflower Oil
- 30 oz water for the lye
- 10.5 oz lye (Potassium Hydroxide)
- ~90 oz water for the soap paste
- 1 oz lemongrass EO
- 1 oz eucalyptus EO
Base Oil Composition:
- 35% Coconut Oil
- 65% Sunflower Oil
- stick blender
- heat safe containers
- crock pot (free gift from a friend moving out of town)
- potato masher (I found this for $1 at the thrift store)
Make sure you follow all the general safety precautions for making soap before you start.
- Pour the oils in the crock pot and heat them to 160F. The oils should be at about this temperature for the entire process (give or take 20 degrees).
- Pour the lye into a heat safe container with the water. Make sure you’re in a well ventilated area, and mix well.
- Combine the lye water and oils in the crock pot as soon as the lye is completely mixed (clear solution). No need to wait for it to cool! Stir gently.
- Pulse with the stick blender until you reach trace.
- Put the lid on the pot and let the mixture rest for 30 min. If there is any separation, stir for a bit, and replace the lid.
- Return to the soap every 30 min to stir. The soap will go through lots of stages: “thick applesauce”, “custard”, “mashed potatoes”, “taffy”, “chunky vaseline”, and “translucent vaseline”.
- Once the soap has softened and turned translucent, check if it has cooked long enough. Combine 2 oz boiling water and 1 oz soap paste. If the mixture is clear or lightly cloudy, you are on track. Otherwise, if it is milky, cook for longer or perhaps there was a mis-measurement.
- Dilute the paste with the boiling ~90 oz of water.
- Turn off the heat on the crock pot, replace the lid and go to bed.
- If there is a layer of soap paste floating on top of your soap, add more water. Be patient and conservative.
- Once the soap is completely diluted, turn the crock pot on again and bring the mixture to about 180F.
- Add the essential oils. Some essential oils will cause cloudiness. The overall color of the soap is amber, so adding other colorants should account for this.
- Let the soap cool. Once cooled, pour it into bottles or jars. Set aside in a cool place. Cure for 1 week. Particulates should settle to the bottom of the jar by the end of the week.
- Bottle the soaps and enjoy!