Introduction to Liquid Soap Week, Day One
|As I mentioned back on November 12th, I have finally found my testing crock pot. During the time that has passed, I’ve been reading the Making Natural Liquid Soaps by Catherine Failor. Here are my thoughts and observations from the first chapter.
Overall, the information from the first chapter of this book is good and I do not have any argument with most of it. However, I would like to clarify a part about preservatives and antioxidants of the “Other Key Ingredients” section. The difference between a preservative and an antioxidant is this: A preservative helps prevent the growth of Yeast, Mold, or Bacteria or a combination thereof. An antioxidant helps slow the oxidation rate of any excess fats. Since liquid soap is diluted, we do need to take precaution if we don’t know the end user and treat our products so. Bar soaps do not need this extra precaution because they are a solid bar and not diluted at all. This would mean that our liquid soaps require the use of a preservative like Liquid Germall Plus. You can also add an antioxidant like Vitamin E or Rosemary Oleoresin (Rosemary Oil Extract) if you desire.
Now, are you ready to start making liquid soap?
Collect needed items:
To begin making my liquid soap, I started preheating my crock pot since according to the book, my oils needed to be around 160° F. This temperature does not need to be precise. As the crock pot heated, I weighed my oils and melted them in the microwave until they had reached the recommended temperature. I poured the hot oils into the heated crock pot and then weighed the Potassium Hydroxide. Now it is time to add the Potassium Hydroxide to the water. When I combined the two and stirred, I was very surprised to hear an odd boiling sound coming from my beaker. This reminded me of the sounds that a canner can make when used to seal jars in a hot water bath during the food preservation process. I was a little nervous at first, but I soon relaxed as the sound stopped after the solution was completely mixed. At this point, the Potassium Hydroxide solution should have cleared out and can now be added to oils in the crock pot. It is best to add the solution in a slow and steady stream to prevent splashing or clumping in the pot.
Now we can start stirring to combine the Potassium Hydroxide solution and oils. I used the immersion blender and began mixing. It takes a longer time to mix together than if I was making cold process soap. At first this odd concoction doesn’t want to mix at all and it looks like a badly behaving soap that has soap chunks with lots of extra water and oil! Yikes! I continued stirring as the book directed and as everything started to mix better, this mess in the crock pot started to thicken and actually resemble a soap batter that had failed and now looked like cottage cheese. The soap was not so fluid any more and then almost instantly the soap turned into a thick, sticky batter. At that point, I saw what Failor had meant of a consistency of “sticky, saltwater taffy.” I would have said the soap looked like a shaggy, sticky quick-bread dough, but the sticky, saltwater taffy description works well and is easily imagined. I could no longer use the immersion blender as the soap was so thick. I grabbed the whisk attachment for the blender, switched out the blending blade for the whisk and continued to mix the soap.
Right after I had switched the mixing attachments, the soap started to puff and I had to stir well to prevent a soap overflow in the blog kitchen! I was able to stir the soap down and the puffing stopped after about 3 minutes. Once the puffing was over, I was able to place the lid on the crock pot and set a timer for 20 minutes. I remained in the blog kitchen working on other projects so I could keep an eye out for any problems with the soap.
After 20 minutes, I stirred the soap. The soap still had an off-white appearance, but I wasn’t worried. I continued to stir the soap every 20 minutes until 3 hours had passed. I watched the soap change from looking like an off-white lumpy mass to look like a translucent chunky petroleum jelly. When the soap reached this translucent stage, I boiled 2 ounces of water and added 1 oz of soap to the water. After stirring until the soap was completely dissolved, I allowed the soap sample to cool. Yippee! The sample was completely clear and I was so excited about having a clear soap sample that I think I scared everyone who was working in the vicinity of the blog kitchen. Whoops!
Once I had the cooled sample, I could start diluting my soap into a liquid soap instead of making a paste. I added 64 ounces of water to the crock pot and allowed the soap to cook for about an hour. This allowed the dilution occur slowly without adding lots of bubbles.
Since I had used a superfat of 2%, my soap did not need to have any adjustments for the pH. I verified this by adding 30 grams of diluted soap to 20 grams of phenolphthalein (fee-nol-THA-leen) and the mixture remained clear. According to the book, this means that there are extra fatty acids that are good for the soap.
The Coconut Oil & Sweet Almond Oil Liquid Soap samples have been sent to the Shipping Department to send out in orders. I’m excited to say I have approximately 100 samples of this liquid soap! I would love to hear your comments about this liquid soap. I hope that anyone wanting a sample soap will request one with their order and if we have any samples we will send them to you.
How cool is this? We’ve just finished our first batch of liquid soap!
Tomorrow I will show you how to make an Olive Oil and Coconut Oil soap that was requested by Amy. She wanted to see a batch that used these oils so she could try making liquid soap again!