If you have never made liquid soap from scratch, and are looking for a natural alternative for commercial options – this might be helpful! To making liquid Soap the easy way you just need a piece of natural soap, water and a pot to boil it in. If you would like to try your hand at making liquid soap from scratch you can start by reading How to make natural liquid soap. Otherwise, keep reading!
The Method, Issues and Solutions
This method is very simple, and I didn’t invent it. Though there are two differences between how I use this method and the way I’ve mostly found other people do it. Here are the two main issues and the solutions I’ve found to solve them.
Issue 1: some soap turns out sticky, lumpy or uneven when its melted into water.
This can partially be avoided by adding more water, but that takes away from the lather (and obviously makes it very thin)
Solution: I use pure Coconut Soap.
Every soap, according to its formulation, has a different diluting point (how much water is needed to dilute it). Coconut Soap has one of the lowest diluting points, as well as an abundant lather, meaning that even when it’s diluted with water it still stays relatively thick and with a great lather.
Issue 2: most recipes call for grating the soap.
Have you every grated soap? It takes forever!
Solution: the same solution – I use coconut soap.
Coconut Soap dissolves fast and evenly, without needing any grating. I simply leave the full pieces of soap in the water and let the heat do its job.
What you need
A pot – it doesn’t have to be a double boiler, just any regular cooking pot
(Optional) Essential oils – any of your own choice
How to go about it
Measure and weigh your soap and water – approximately 1 CUP of water per 100 grams of soap
Simmer it on low heat – don’t boil it, since it might burn (and burned soap smells horrible!)
Stir occasionally – until the pieces of soap have dissolved completely
Put aside – until it has cooled down
Add Essential Oils – until it has the scent you want
How to store it
Keep in an airtight bottle. I don’t make more than I need for a month, so I don’t need to add any preservatives. In case you keep it for more than a month, I would recommend that you only use it for dish wash, laundry and cleaning around the house.
Note: I use this method for personal use only. If you intend to sell or in any other way distribute, I would recommend you use appropriate preservatives.
What to use it for
Coconut soap is very cleansing and is, therefore, makes great for washing dishes, clothes and cleaning the house. As for beauty, make sure the Coconut Soap is properly superfatted (read the article given above) since it will otherwise be too drying on the skin. I’ve heard very mixed reviews on coconut soap as a face and body bar, but I personally love it!
This was all for now. Let me know if you try it out, or have any other tips to making liquid soap the easy way!
Making natural liquid soap from scratch can seem a bit intimidating to some people, but once you get down to understanding the process, it really isn’t much different than cooking a meal. In this post, I will guide you through the process of making Hot Process liquid soap, from formulating a liquid soap recipe to diluting the finished soap.
I will assume that if you’re reading this you have a basic understanding of what soap is and the process of making Cold Process or Hot Process soap (even if you only have experience with making bar soap). If you don’t, please start by reading the post How to make natural soap.
Solid & Liquid Soap – The Differences
Liquid soap, just like solid soap, consists of three elements: fats/oils, water and lye. The main difference between them is that solid soap is made with Sodium Hydroxide, while liquid soap is made with Potassium Hydroxide. Before we start, I would like to note some basic things
Natural liquid soap is a lot thinner than what you might be used to from commercial companies. There are ways to thicken natural soap, but I won’t be exploring any of them since those methods mostly involve adding extra chemicals
Just like it’s important for most solid soap makers to make a hard bar of soap, it’s important for most liquid soap makers to make a clear (non-cloudy) liquid soap. This is purely about aesthetics and doesn’t make the soap better. A common method to do this is to put excess lye and then neutralize the soap after its cooked. I won’t be doing that.
Now let’s get started from the start. Even though solid soap and liquid soap is quite similar in its process, there are some differences in how you formulate the recipe. Let me explain.
How to Form a Liquid Soap Recipe
Again I will assume you have some basic knowledge of making soap recipes, but if not please start by reading How to form a soap recipe. Making a liquid soap recipe is a bit different than making one for bar soap. The basic differences and guidelines are this:
Liquid soap usually has a rather higher percentage of Coconut oil (unless its Castile soap which is pure Olive oil), to ensure the soap foams properly and doesn’t become sticky. You can use up to 90% Coconut oil in your liquid soap, but I prefer using around 50%.
In solid soap recipes it’s important to use oils that will make the soap bar hard, but since that’s not necessary for liquid soap, you can use higher percentages of soft oils like Castor, Safflower and Sunflower. Which is great, because they are much cheaper!
Liquid soap recipes are mostly made of oils with fewer un-saponifiables. What this means is that some oils have fats that can’t be made into soap. If an oil has a high percentage of un-saponifiables it will make the liquid soap cloudy. For that reason, Palm, Tallow and Cocoa butter are usually avoided added in very small amounts. I take this lightly because I don’t care if my soap is cloudy.
Superfatting liquid soap is pointless because the excess oil will just float on top of the soap once diluted since oil is not water soluble. You can superfat with vegetable glycerin at 1% of the full recipe.
I chose to follow the following basic recipe:
50% Coconut oil
25% Safflower – can be exchanged with Sunflower or Rice bran oil
5% Butter like Mango Butter or Kokum butter
50% Coconut oil
20% Safflower – can be exchanged with Sunflower or Rice bran oil
10% luxury oil like Sweet Almond oil or Avocado
I chose to use the first recipe in my example soap and used beer instead of water. For superfatting, I added Glycerin and then finally some natural colorant.
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The method of Hot process liquid soap making is similar to cold process soap making, until the point where you would normally pour the soap into the mold. If you need a detailed list of instruction please refer to the link how to make natural soap. The basic instructions are the following:
1. Calculate the recipe
Unlike solid soap, your final amount of liquid soap will be at least double of your amount of oils, since the soap mass is diluted with water. So before you calculate the recipe you need to take into consideration how big your double boiler is, and then use the percentages above to calculate each oil amount. This is my recipe in the app Saponify:
2. Measure out the oils, Melt the oils, Prepare Lye Water
I measured out my oils. Since I had Mango butter I heated the oils straight in my double boiler until completely melted. Then measured out the lye and beer mixed it, keeping it aside until it turned clear. Note: some people measure the temperature if the oils and lye water, but I simply use the lye mix when it turns clear.
2. Pour the Lye Water in the Oils and Mix
When the lye water was ready I added it to my oils. I blended until it reached trace and then put it on the stove on medium heat. Don’t worry if it looks like its splitting, it will settle down as it’s getting cooked.
3. Cook the Soap Mass on Medium Heat. Stir less.
Cooking the soap mass it actually quite relaxed. Many might feel like stirring the mass all the time, but it won’t burn if you don’t. Actually, it’s better to put a lid on the pot and let it heat. Check once in 30 min. to see what stage the soap has reached.
4. Keep cooking for 2 to 3 hours
The soap mass will start getting more solid and waxy. It differs a lot how long it takes to reach this stage. Be patient.
5. Reaching the Final Stage
When the soap starts turning a lit translucent, you can start checking if the soap is done. The stage is something like gel-phase, that some might know from solid soap making. The mass is sort of elastic and doesn’t clump anymore.
There are different options for checking if the soap is done – personally, I use a PH meter and wait for the soap to reach a PH between 9-10. Though I’ve heard of people using PH strips, or the chemical phenolphthalein which changes color if the soap is not done. Others use the method called the ‘zap’ method – where you put some soap on your finger and touch it to your tongue. If it feels like a small electric current, it’s not done. Though honestly, I don’t use this method, because I can’t feel the difference enough to trust it.
6. Start Diluting the Soap
7. Dilute Completely or Leave Overnight
So how do you figure out how much water to use? I really just take it as it comes, and dilute slowly to make sure I don’t pour too much water.
Start adding 1:1 (As much water as your oil weight) and let me mass simmer, while you mix from time to time. Then add 1/4 water of total oils until it’s diluted. Now I actually added 1:1 to my batch, turned off the heat and let it stand overnight. In the morning I added two times 100 ml over an hour and then it was diluted. It just makes the process a little shorter if it gets to stand on its own over some time.
8. Add your Essential Oils and Colorants if any
9. Voila! Look at it and Feel Happy
My final soap – in the sunlight it looks red, but otherwise, it has a brownish color. Since natural soap is a lot more liquid than commercial soap, it’s perfect to keep in a soap pump or foam dispenser.
This was all I had for now on liquid soap. Leave a comment if you have any questions or corrections – no matter how long I do this, I still have a lot to learn!
Disclaimer: I personally don’t use preservatives because I only use this on myself, so I, therefore, don’t know enough about it to write about. So please do your research on how to use preservatives in liquid soap, and add at diluting stage. If you chose not to use any like me, be sure to ONLY to use it on yourself, and let it be on own risk. If never had any issues but better safe than sorry no?