I got started on this weird hobby of soap making because that stuff you buy in the market for
Strange multi-syllabic chemical names and weird un-placeable scents and bizarre colors added in had rendered my hands into a cracked, dry, and bloody mess in winter.
I moved down here to Florida and that helped my tortured skin a lot. It wasn't perfect so I searched.
Going onto the web I realized that making soap at home is a trivial task. Oh sure, you look like you are Walter White in Breaking Bad wearing goggles on the front porch with gloves on the hands and an industrial apron that probably is overkill while mixing chemicals and trying not to breathe them. Then you bring that stuff inside, using your fractional gram scale and weighing the "product", you are able to create soap.
Did I mention I'm easy to notice since I'm a bruiser of a guy who looks like the High School Football Coach you had who is subbing for the Chemistry Teacher?
So I can throw a batch of soap together in under 30 minutes. Big deal you say, you can get a brick of 24 Ivory bars for under $5 and wash your stanky butt for months and not have to go through all that work.
Uh ... Huh... you're missing the point but I digress.
Since I'm going for quality and a moisturising and cleansing soap, I get to play with recipes. Coconut Oil will give me a hard cleansing soap that is ready to use faster. Olive Oil makes your skin soft and is the basis for Castille soap. A little Shea Nut Oil or Grape Seed Oil to make your skin silky and moisturized. An ounce of Essential Oil for scent to 20 ounces of soap and we're done.
I batched this up and found out not everyone uses bar soap. Right, My Sister?
I don't get the fascination with liquid soaps but I was making this partly to give away as gifts.
Then I researched the "real" way to make liquid soap and truly it is heinous.
However that $10 bottle of Liquid Soap has really about $.50 or less of soap in it, and for someone making it at home, you're really talking about a massive $1 to $10 Mark Up in Price.
Instead of Sodium Hydroxide Lye (NaOH), you use Potassium Hydroxide (KOH). A lot more KOH than you would NaOH because it's less efficient.
KOH doesn't just convert fat to soap, it crackles, pops, spits, and makes a LOT of heat.
NaOH is a comparatively mild reaction with your oils to make soap.
I mix my lye in water and then that goes into the oils because NaOH will make some pretty noxious smells, and it may indeed be toxic. I also live in South Florida and there's a lot of breeze coming off the ocean on any given day. Colder Climates will have to make soap under a strong stove hood to draw off the gasses.
Yay Science! Yay Chemistry!
I don't want to attempt that with KOH.
So what to do. I truly want my sister to enjoy herself, so I did some further research.
It turns out that KOH gives a less firm soap than NaOH. You end up with a goo instead of a nice firm brick. Add extra water and you get a liquid soap.
Oh and a lot more time. As in around 4 hours of cooking and a hot process instead of my 30 minutes or less and a cold process with NaOH.
Can't I just add water to a bar and hope for the best?
That is a big - Maybe.
This is what I just did to test the theory and the drawbacks are that you have to judge for yourself how much water to add back.
You know? At Your Own Risk and Your Mileage May Vary?
Also it is possible that your specific bar of soap may be one where the chemistry turns your liquid soap back into a gel that may be too thick for the pump bottle. Err towards it being a little thin. Mine was, and it was a nice hand lotion thickness the next day after the bubbles popped and the soap turned from white to translucent.
It is also introducing water to the soap which will dilute it and make it possible for the soap to spoil. If you start seeing orange spots, your soap has turned.
But my process was simple.
- Weigh the bar of soap so you know how much water to add in. (I had 80 Grams or 2.8 oz)
- Grate the bar of soap to shavings.
- Add the soap shavings to a mixing container.
- Boil your water. It will help deter spoilage of the liquid soap.
- Add an equal weight of boiling water to the soap so that it is a 1 to 1 ratio. ( I had again 80 Grams or 2.8 oz)
- Get a stick blender and mix this until it is fully smooth.
- Remix the soap and water longer than you did because there will always be chunks leftover.
- At this point I had a product that looked like a good Icing for a Cake.
- Now from here on it is a judgement call:
- Add a tablespoon (14 grams) of boiling water.
- Use the stick blender and reincorporate the water into the soap.
- Repeat this water/mix cycle until the soap is at a proper liquid soap consistency.
- My lotion ended up a little wetter than a commercial liquid soap and I used a total of 1.5 parts water to 1 part Soap.
- Yes, it can be as much as 1.5 parts water to 1 part soap.
It worked great the first day, and I may have cheated and got what my sister wants. The second day I ended up with a clear soap with the remnants of bubbles on top.
If that's the case, Pat, yes, I can send you liquid soap. I believe you liked Orange Scent.
Just use it fast. I can't guarantee that this won't give Orange Spots.