*5/8/2013 – I am absolutely flattered and excited by the attention this post has gotten but it is well over two years old now and I am still getting comments and questions, daily sometimes! As much as I would love to answer them all, the bulk have been answered in the comments section below and beyond that I simply cant answer them any further. Between school, a family, kids, new blog posts, and an editor position on a popular local blog, I no longer have the time- thanks for understanding guys*
I love cold process soap, don’t get me wrong… but there is something really nice about squeezing a little liquid soap on a bath pouf and lathering up! Liquid soap isn’t hard to master once you learn the basics, and once you have the basics down you can use soap calculators to design your own perfect recipe! I decided to share a simple recipe that is not only simple to make but cost affective, as all the oils I used can be purchased in small amounts from your local grocer.
PS… if you are unsure of yourself, try a half batch! It will cook a bit quicker, and its less stressful for a first try.
My body soap recipe contains more oils than this, such as castor and some shea, but this is a perfectly acceptable soap for use on the body. This makes a large batch of liquid soap, over 1 gallon. To make an all purpose cleaning or laundry soap, use all coconut! (remember to run through soap calc before making a batch where you substitute any oils because the sap value will change.)
Heat safe container for lye/water mixture
Heat safe spoons for mixing/stirring
Accurate scale (this is a MUST.)
Crock pot (find a used one at the second hand store!)
Large bucket or non corrosive (stainless steel) pot for dissolving soap in after cook
(30%) 14.1 oz coconut oil
(30%) 14.1 oz soybean oil (liquid, not shortening)
(40%) 18.8 oz olive oil
32.9 oz distilled water
9.39 oz KOH (Potassium Hydroxide)
This is a 70% water as percent of oil weight, and a 5% superfat discount. technically because this contains more olive than other oils you could call this a liquid castile soap, but in my book castile means 100% olive oil, so its really up to you!
Here is the video with visual step by step instructions… and below step by step instructions to read along with. Enjoy and have fun!
Melt your oils in your crock pot. I set my pot to 4 hour setting, which would be “high” if yours doesnt have the hour options. Meanwhile (after I put on my gloves and goggles), I mix my KOH flakes into my distilled water (always pour lye into water, NEVER pour water into lye!).
We do not need to wait for our KOH mixture to cool, just pour it right into the crock (slowly) while stirring. From here it is basically the same as making cold process soap, but be careful because this is a hot process, with caustic chemicals, and it is a large batch. Stick blend off and on for about 15 minutes to reach a nice thick trace that I like to call runny mashed potatoes. Your mixture might want to separate, and thats OK. Just keep stirring, it will all come together in the end.
When it becomes too thick to stick blend, start stirring with your spoon and keep the mixture moving. We are entering the taffy stage now, where it begins to get very thick and almost rubbery. Stir until you can stir no more! It helps to have a strong husband nearby, but we’re soapers… we’ve got strong arms! We can take it!
When you cant stir easily anymore, lid your crockpot, set it to 6 hour (or medium) and step away. Dont get distracted and forget about it, but from this point on you have 20-30 minutes in between stirs to get other little things done or watch some TV. Return every 20 minutes to give it a good solid stir, re-lid, and wait again. The whole process from adding the lye/water mixture to the oils to finish should take between 3-4 hours depending on the heat of your crock pot.
Your soap will start turning translucent. When the whole batch is translucent and looks kind of like thick raw honey, you might be done! How to check for sure is simple. Boil 1 cup distilled water and add a glob of your soap. If the water turns cloudy/milky, continue cooking. If the water is clear, you are done!
When the soap is done cooking, plop it all into the bottom of a large (stainless steel only) cooking pot or sturdy plastic pail. Pour 80 oz (5 pounds) of boiled distilled water over the top and allow to sit overnight to dissolve (may take more or less time). When dissolved, pour into whatever jugs you have (distilled water gallon jugs work great!) and let “cure” for 4 weeks. YES you can use it right away, but like most soap, it only gets better with age. I think its best to leave the whole batch unscented and then scent small batches as you need them. Use recommendations from your fragrance oil supplier as your guideline for scenting. (PS… For great fragrance oils, as well as fixed oils such as the coconut, check out Majestic Mountain Sage.
View the results here http://silverfirsfarm.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/liquid-castile-soap-results/ Happy Soaping everyone :)