Olive Oil Liquid Soap

Recently, I was asked to show how to make a batch of liquid soap that was a 100% Olive Oil batch. This batch of soap was easy to make, but definitely a learning experience during the dilution phase!

Collect needed items:

Ingredients
Olive Oil
Potassium Hydroxide
Water (I used Reverse Osmosis.)
Equipment
Scale
Soap Spoons
Gloves
Crock pot or Double Boiler system
Safety goggles, anti fog are helpful
Heavy duty gloves
Immersion blender
Thermometer
Work clothes with long sleeves and closed shoes
Vinegar
Microwave for heating oils (If you are using the crock pot)
Containers for the finished soap
Recipe in ounces:
32 ounces Olive Oil 

6 ounces Potassium Hydroxide
12 fluid ounces Water

To begin making my liquid soap, I weighed and poured my Olive Oil into the crock pot. I turned the crock pot on and waited for the oil to heat. My desired temperature is around 160° F. This temperature does not need to be precise. This took about 10 minutes to heat the oil to 157° F. As this is close enough, I weighed the Potassium Hydroxide and then added it to my water. I’ve made three other batches of liquid soap, so this time the boiling sound did not bother me. Once the Potassium Hydroxide solution was completely mixed, I added it to the oil in the crock pot. Don’t forget to pour in a slow and steady stream to help prevent splashing oil or clumping of the ingredients.

I used the immersion blender and began mixing to combine the Potassium Hydroxide solution and oils. It will take a longer time to mix together because Olive Oil takes a long time to saponify. It actually took about 20 minutes before the soap reached to cottage cheese stage! I would switch my motor for the immersion blender out with another motor to prevent myself from frying the motor. I probably switched between the two motors every 5 minutes.

After the soap finally reached the cottage cheese stage, it still took another 30 minutes just to finally reach that thick & sticky stage that is called the “sticky, saltwater taffy” stage. 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.

This batch of soap was behaving much more slowly than the other batches that I have made so far. Another indicator was that the soap never puffed, which I was ok with. I don’t like worrying if my soap is going to overflow! I continued cooking the soap and stirring every 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 3 hours of stirring the soap every 20 minutes, the soap still had an off-white appearance with some translucent spots. Since it was the end of the work day, I took the crock pot home with me. I continued to cook the soap for another hour I stirred the soap every 20 minutes. After that additional hour of cooking, I the soap was completely translucent. 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.

I turned off the crock pot and allowed to soap to cool completely in the pot. The next morning, I took the soap back to work and dumped it into a large pot for dilution. I added 64 ounces of tap water to the pot and cooked the soap for 1 hour on low heat to allow the soap to dilute slowly. After 1 hour of cooking, there were still clumps of soap, so I added another 32 ounces of tap water. I cooked the soap for another hour and finally the soap was completely diluted. I poured the soap into a 2 gallon pail to cool and covered it. Then I cleaned all of the remaining tools and pots.

I left the pail sitting on the counter overnight and when I came back the next morning, I was VERY surprised to find my soap had become a thick gel that was like in rubber cement in consistency. Ack! What did I do wrong? I asked our Technical Support team and they asked me what water I had used for dilution. Ahh, there was my problem. I used tap water and since we have a water softener, there was a higher salt content to the water. This caused the soap to thicken so much. I asked if it was possible to fix my soap or if I had really messed up. Luckily, I was told that I could dilute the soap gel with either distilled water or reverse osmosis water and have a fluid soap again.

I pulled out my clean pot and scraped the soap gel into the pot and added 32 ounces of reverse osmosis water to dilute the soap. I cooked the soap for 1 hour on low heat to allow the soap to dilute slowly. After 1 hour of cooking, there were still clumps of soap, so I added another 32 ounces of reverse osmosis water. I cooked the soap for another hour and finally the soap was completely diluted. I poured the diluted soap in a clean 2 gallon bucket and covered the bucket. The next day, I checked on the soap and was so excited to find that it was still liquid.

The Olive Oil Liquid Soap samples have been sent to the Shipping Department to send out in orders. I’m excited to say I have approximately 80 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.

I hope you have found this post to be entertaining as well as educational. Stay tuned for some great upcoming posts including a special bar soap for a special person, lotions that are perfect for the spring weather and even some food recipes!

Heating the Olive Oil in the crockpot.

Adding Potassium Hydroxide to the water.
Mixing the Potassium Hydroxide and water.
Mixing the oil and potassium hydroxide solution.
Stirring the mixture.
The soap is beginning to clump.

The clumps are starting to get bigger.

Starting to mix the soap with the whisk attachment.

Stirring the soap paste.
Yay! Translucent spots!
Still diluting the soap.
A full bucket of soap gel.
Completely finished liquid soap!
The soap as it cooks during the first 20 minutes.

The soap after 90 minutes of cooking.
Beginning to dilute the soap with tap water.
Rubber cement soap gel.
Putting the soap gel back in the pot.
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Olive Oil Liquid Soap, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

53 thoughts on “Olive Oil Liquid Soap”

  1. Oh, Andee! You MUST have the patience of an Angel! I don’t know. . . I probably would have dumped it and started all over instead of asking what happened! You are truly a jewel for all your hard work and letting us know not only your mistakes, but how to go about fixing them. This I will remember for a very long time.

    Thanks – Cindy M.

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  2. Congratulations on a successful liquid castile soap! I tried it once, and ended up with slimy SNOT. It was disgusting.

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  3. god, I would love to make liquid soap, but I simply do not have those 15 hours , with stirring every 20 minutes :-)

    good job, Andee, thanks for sharing!!

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  4. Having made 100% Olive oil soap for my first liquid soap six or eights months ago, I must admit it was quite the experience. I had not counted on it taking one hour before the “cottage cheese” effect became apparent. This batch took a total time of five hours for me to cook, and that doesn’t include liquifying some of it for immediate use (I saved the majority in my refrigerator). I have found that this soap takes a ratio of one part soap paste to two parts water for me to get it a my desired consistency. Other liquid soap batches needed two parts soap paste and one part water. Something else that I have noticed about liquid Olive oil soap versus other liquid soap batches, the other batches didn’t take as long to reach “cottage cheese” consistency but took longer to cook than the Olive oil soap. I’m sure that even thought my crock pot was set on high for the temperature, it contributed to how fast my soap needed to cook.
    This soap yields small bubbles and in smaller amounts than commercial soap. It is wonderful to use on the skin though, and I use it to give my dog a bath or as a base to create other “green” cleaning solutions for my house. I love the stuff!
    Keep the liquid recipes coming, I can’t wait to see if you’ll make any shampoo batches.

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  5. I am most eager to try this recipe. I just purchased some KOH and I’m hopefull to have a successful batch. Wish my good luck!

    Is there a way to make this batch with a better lather/bubbles with still keeping this mostly olive oil? Also I plan to sell this soap, Does it need a preservative? And if so what would be a good suggestive ratio?

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  6. Ohhh one more question! I got to thinking…Could I add aloe vera gel to this in replace of water?? And if so would that need a stronger preservative? Or any at all?

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  7. Once I started searching the web it took about an hour to come to HERE to find EXACTLY what (I think!) I am looking for – yippee! I am into backpacking and hope to make a “soap” that I can use on my face, body, hair, clothes and even as a toothpaste. I have heard of such a product, but can’t get in touch with the couple who wrote about it. SO – I am wondering, do you think your olive oil soap is suitable as toothpaste? It certainly sounds eco-friendly, and has all the other apparent uses I think I need.
    If not, do you think you could recommend a do-all recipe?

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    1. I have heard from others that they use liquid soap as a toothpaste. I would definitely only use Flavor Oils or Essential Oils (these must be FCC approved {Food Chemical Codex}.) I have not personally used liquid soap as a toothpaste, but it is possible. The best thing about any handmade soap, liquid or bar, is that it is biodegradable. It does not harm the environment and I think that is what you are looking for.
      I hope this helps!
      Andee

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  8. I noticed that on a SoapCalc.net that the Palmitic and Stearic numbers for this soap would be 14 and 3- I have read that the higher these numbers are, the more likely you are to get cloudy soap. Did you have any trouble with this batch clouding? I’m trying to understand what makes a clear batch- I know there are several factors, the oils being one. Are there any “magic numbers” when it comes to the properties of the oils that will make a clear batch?

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  9. In my research for making liquid soap, everything that I came across indicated that Olive Oil always made clear liquid soap if the Potassium Hydroxide was correctly calculated. In the Making Liquid Soaps book by Catherine Failor, she has a list of oils and she also mentions that oil can contribute to the soap.
    I hope this helps!

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  10. I’ve now made this soap three time and it never seems to get thick. It bubbles nice enough but it’s so thin I can’t use it in a pump. I am not sure what I might be doing wrong. I follow everything exactly and only dilute till the soap completely turns liquid when cool. I’ve tried everything to thicken it too. Salt, Glycerine, Xanthum gum, what ever I hear works I try. Any suggestion on what I can do to improve future soaps? Is there anything I can do naturally to save my watery batches?

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    1. bluebutterflz,
      Liquid soaps are naturally thin and don’t feel like they have much body. That being said, I would try reducing the amount of water you use to dilute the soap paste. As I read “Making Natural Liquid Soaps” in search for an answer for you, I found that you want about 20-40% soap and the rest as water. The more soap, the more likely you are to have a thicker soap. One method listed in the book to thicken soaps is to make a “gel”. This will require a pot on a stove over medium heat and cooking until the soap is thicker. The method in the book mentions using 1 to 1-1/2 oz of either isopropyl alcohol or ethanol and 4 oz of glycerin per pound of paste. Once the paste is dissolved, add 6 oz of water per pound of paste and then cook until the foam transforms to billowy to thick & creamy.
      I hope this helps!
      Andee

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  11. Regarding your olive oil liquid soap, what does the following mean: ‘When the soap reached this translucent stage, I boiled 2 ounces of water and added 1 oz of soap to the water’. What do you do this for? And, when you have used distilled water instead of tap water, is the whole process quicker? And, will any old crock pot do, or should I buy one with more exact temp controls than low, med, high? And, does one exist? Questions, questions, questions! I’m full of them cos I’m a newbie. So grateful if you could help. Oh, and one more, why does anyone use the double boiler method if the crock pots are so good?

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    1. barneyhairball,
      I’m so glad you asked these questions! They are great ones.

      ‘When the soap reached this translucent stage, I boiled 2 ounces of water and added 1 oz of soap to the water’. What do you do this for?

      This is done to test for excess fatty acids in the soap. If the cooled, diluted soap is clear or slightly cloudy, then it is ok to proceed with dilution. If the soap is milky in appearance, you need to continue cooking for another 30 minutes and test again.

      When you have used distilled water instead of tap water, is the whole process quicker?

      Yes! You would be able to shave off about 9 hours and have the soap made in about 5-7 hours.

      Will any old crock pot do, or should I buy one with more exact temp controls than low, med, high? And, does one exist?

      Any crockpot will do as long as it can maintain constant heat. Some of the newer models on the market have a heating cycle to prevent burning of food. Great for food, not so great for soap. :( With a brief search on Amazon.com, I found several programmable slow-cookers “crock pots” with temperature controls. I found a Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker and a Crock-Pot 6-Quart Oval Programmable Slow Cooker in the quick search, so I hope this helps you in your search.

      Why does anyone use the double boiler method if the crock pots are so good?

      The double boiler method allows for a larger batch of soap to be made, which is great for those who want to make and sell their liquid soap.

      Good luck with your liquid soaping!
      Andee

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  12. Please help! My batch will not go translucent. Despite this, after more than 5 hours of cooking in my new slow boiler, my sample test is a medium urine colour (sorry!); not milky at all. As far as I know, I have not done anything wrong, but I must have. The only thing I know of is that I used soft to slightly hard tap water to mix my KOH. For my sample I used distilled. Does it always have to go translucent? Mine is a mashed potato colour, which I can stir without too much difficulty. The sample test does not ‘bite’ the end of my tongue. I cannot get phenolphthalein in the UK for love nor money. Can I heat my batch at too high a temperature? I hope my slow boiler is okay, because the temp at low heat is more than 190F/88C. Too hot?

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    1. barneyhairball,
      It sounds like your soap is ready to dilute. Sometimes, it isn’t always translucent and it has more of a yellowish opaque appearance. Trust your sample and go ahead!

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  13. I have been working my batch for 5 hours. Right now it is very crumbly, not sure if it’s ready for dilution. I tried a sample and so far it is thick and cloudy and it is almost cooled. No transparent phase has occurred yet. I am most concerned at how clumpy it is. Kind of the consistency of bisquit or pie dough.

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    1. Susan,

      Hmmm. Let’s review the recipe. Did you add enough water at the beginning? What amount of oils and Potassium Hydroxide did you use?

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  14. I did follow the directions but the only way I deveated was using sodium hydroxide instead of potassium hydroxide. I ended up diluting it and at first I thought it worked, but then it got hard overnight. The up side is that the next day I diluted it again and found the recipe made about 3 gallons of soap for me. I absolutely love it! Thanks for the post. Thanks also for responding, I have never had anyone actually respond to my question:)

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  15. I am now on my 3rd batch of liquid soap. I have chucked one of C Failors, and the one from this site, ie, olive oil liquid soap. My third is from the following site (a recipe of David Fisher):

    http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/liquidsoap/ss/basicliquidsoap.htm

    For this recipe you’ll need:

    16.5 oz. Sunflower Oil
    7 oz. Coconut Oil
    5.5 oz. Potassium Hydroxide KOH
    16.5 oz. Distilled Water for the Lye Mixture
    40 oz. Distilled Water to dilute the soap paste
    Either 2 oz. of boric acid or 3 oz. of borax mixed into 10 or 6 oz. of water
    Approx. 3 oz. Fragrance or Essential oil, as desired
    Soap dye or colorant, if desired

    Using the first 2 recipes, neither batch would go translucent and neither sample went anywhere near clear. Using D Fishers recipe, my sample is now clear, and I won’t dilute it until I get phenolphthalein which is impossible to get in the UK. I am waiting for a ‘lend’ from a friend of a friend who is a chemistry teacher and who has some to hand. I also bought a crock pot for this batch which maybe is the best help. BUT, my batch never reached the translucent stage. Andee is the first person to say that it doesn’t always get to this stage. Buying coconut oil was easy enough, but the lye calculator at Summer Bee gives a few options of different coconut oils, and I don’t know which one my one is! Another possible mistake. The other error I made was buying the biggest crock pot I could find, ie, 6.5 litre. The batch started to burn at the edges and I had to keep an eye on it. I’ll now buy a smaller one. Will keep you posted.

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  16. I tried this but my soap riced and separated. it wouldn’t combine no matter what i did. Is there something i could do to salvage it? Thanks!

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  17. How can i make transparent liquid soap using olive oil and laurel oil؟؟

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    1. I’m not sure what you mean by Laurel Oil, could you help me define it and this will help me figure if you are talking about a fatty acid or essential oil? From that point, we can determine what you have on hand and what you will need make the soap.

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  18. Hello Andee,

    I am interested in making Moroccan Black Soap, its sort of pasty and is made with oilve oil, potast and eucalyptus. Any idea how to do this? I have not been able to find a recipe for this very unique Moroccan product. HELP!

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    1. It appears that you can use this:

      Olive Oil: bottom of the barrel grade
      Potassium hydroxide as needed
      Water: Add more as the paste cooks

      Thicken with sodium chloride
      Scent with Eucalyptus and color with Rhassoul clay

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  19. thank you for the answer…
    laurel oil is an essential oil …
    i want to use laurel oil and olive oil to make liquid transparent soap .. i want to use laurel oil and olive oil instead of coconut oil and soya oil..
    u can search about laurel in google
    waiting for the answer… thank u

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    1. mooDz,
      Then I would follow this blog post in making a liquid soap with Olive Oil. The Laurel Oil would be added at the time of dilution like any other essential oil. Depending on the recommended usage rates for Laurel Oil, it would be used at no more than 2% of the final diluted soap. Does this help?

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  20. okay…I want to do experiment with the transparent liquid soap that the ratio of 45% olive oil and laurel oil 40% and add 5% other oils do not know what is ..To remain 100% natural soap
    And that these percentages present in the product in the market ..
    And that olive oil and laurel oil is abundant in our country and inexpensive
    And that all soap steel in our country is made ​​of these oils .. And I want to do for but in liquid
    could castor oil be among these oils?
    And what is a mixing way?
    Thank you very much

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    1. mooDz,
      As you are using Laurel Essential Oil, I would use no more than 2%. If you use more, it is not beneficial to the soap. The Sodium Chloride recommended in my previous post is simply table salt. Following your comments, I would recommend the following test batch.

      1 ounce Castor Oil (28 grams)
      15 ounces Olive Oil (422 grams)
      6 ounces water (170 grams) (Additional water to be added as the paste cooks.
      2.85 ounces Potassium Hydroxide at 6% superfat (80.65 grams)

      0.04-0.12 ounces Laurel Essential Oil (1-3.5 grams)

      With the recipe above, follow with the instructions from this blog post.

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  21. Hi andee

    I have never made soap so would it be possible for you to give me a formula I can use for the moroccan black soap?

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    1. Tara,
      As Moroccan Black Soap is simply an olive oil soap using bottom of the barrel grade olive oil. I would recommend you follow this blog recipe and without the dilution process. I think you will end up with a very enjoyable soap paste that is similar to the Moroccan Black Soap. To give a dark color to the soap, you can add clay.

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  22. Hi andee,
    I tried your recipe with a twist after I made the “paste” I blended black olives to a fine paste and added to the soap along with eucalyptus oil. The interesting thing that happened was I made the soap in a aluminum cooking pot which i guess had some extra reaction with the KOH and it turned the soap inky black!!!
    My question is will this have an adverse reaction on the skin? since it was made in a aluminum cooking pot? My family and friends have been using this for the past week and have had no complaints and we love the inky black color but I want to confirm that the aluminum is not harmful in any way.

    thank you
    aneesa (tara kitchen is the name of my restaurant)

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    1. Aneesa,
      Please discard the soap. There has been a chemical reaction between your aluminum pot and the KOH. This has caused the color and probably a soap that hasn’t had proper saponification. I would recommend remaking the soap in a stainless steel pot to not have the problem. I would also add the olives at the beginning of the soap recipe so they can break down and not have a lower potential of causing a moldy soap.
      I hope this helps!
      Andee

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  23. dear andee,

    I had not even thought about the olives getting moldy, what if I soaked the olives in salt for a few days to cure them? also you mentioned I should add the olives in the beginning – i.e. when i mix the oil with the potash? or should i mix the oil and crushed olives heat them and add this solution to the potash?

    all your help is greatly appreciated!!

    thank you.
    aneesa

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    1. Aneesa,
      I would mix the warmed oil and crushed olives. Then I would add the Postassium Hydroxide solution and mix. You will not need a high amount of crushed olives in your recipe.

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  24. thanx alot andee for the answear … but i got one more question…
    How is knowledge ratios weights to be used oils g ratio of potassium hydroxide to these oils and the percentage of water needed to solve the hydroxide and the percentage of water added at the end of the cooking?
    Please give me an idea of how the knowledge of these ratios and give me an example

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    1. mooDz,
      I would recommend using the Lye Calculator to calculate the correct amount of lye for your soap. You can find it here: https://www.thesage.com/calcs/lyecalc2.php. The ratio of Potassium Hydroxide to oils is calculated by the weight of the oil that will be made into soap. The amount of water for dissolving the Potassium Hydroxide is also determined by the weight of the oil. For dilution, you will use anywhere from 1.5 to 2 parts of water per part of soap paste. This dilution process is typically done by weight as it is easier to control.
      I hope this helps!

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  25. Hello!

    so trying desperately to make this, i followed the instructions exactly. I got to a semi-translucent stage and it was late so i turned off the crockpot and decided i’d check it this morning.

    this morning the top layer was all white and crusty and everything under it was a beautiful yellowish green vascilene consistency… but when i test the top with hot water it becomes innstantly milky. Can it be salvaged? Ive turned the crockpot back on… and i’m THINKING the stuff under is sapponified.

    do i have to boil to properly test? will it be milky if i just use hot water?

    thanks!

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    1. Let’s have you test some of the soap underneath. I think you still have some cooking to do, but you can still cook it! Boiling water helps ensure all the soap paste dissolves. If properly dissolved and saponified, it will not be milky when the mixture completely cools.

      I hope this helps!

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      1. Thanks,

        I did cook it longer, and the soap cleared up as it cooled. So I added boiling water to the whole thing, and ran into the same issue as above (it all absorbed and turned to a paste) SO I added more boiling water like above, but im noticing as its desolving the mixture seems cloudy again? Its not fully cooled so im not sure if this is a problem… but im just trying to figure out if it is ok? I don’t have ph strips or anything to test, so i’m not sure how to figure out if i am making safe soap.

        thanks so much for your help!!!

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        1. Did you superfat the recipe? The cloudiness is simply extra fats that haven’t been saponified. The soap should be safe to use. Try using a some of the diluted soap sample to wash your hands. Let me know how that feels and we will see if anything needs to be changed.

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          1. Thanks!

            it seems to be okay! its not burning or anything :) I put a tiny bit on my tongue… it tasted like soap ;) No zap, so i think im okay?

            But I have yet another question… I used tap water, and even though we don’t have a water softener, it turned to paste… so i added MORE water (just like above) but again, i didn’t have distilled… and this morning its a milky paste that isnt quite as thick as it was yesterday. SO! Will it ALWAYS turn to paste if i use tap water? Am I diluting it too much by continuing to add water?

            if i were to go buy distilled today… and add it to the paste, would it be too diluted? I originally added 64 fl oz, then added another 64 when it was paste.

            I’m going on 3 days for one batch, and i hoping when its done i’m going to have a “duh” moment and realize i was being dense this whole time and its not as complicated as i’m making it…

            thanks for your patience with me!

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            1. oh, and about super fatting… i guess i’m not sure. I followed your initial measurements above exactly

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            2. Sounds like the soap is ok. It might be off on the amounts, but it will work! Does your tap water have a high salt content? A high salt content will ALWAYS make a olive oil liquid soap thicken again. Just add distilled water and you will be fine! I did the same thing with this very soap!

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  26. Hi andee,

    I tried adding the crushed olives to the warmed oil but that did not turn out well…instead I found some olive leaf powder that I added when i got to the “gel” stage and it has worked like a charm I am so happy with the final product. Its just like it was in Morocco + my customers love it!!!

    thank you again for all your help
    aneesa

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  27. I have used sunflower oil and coconut oil to make a liquid soap. (Using the recipe mentioned bu David Fisher) I wanted to make it all goats milk, and so used 100% goats milk (frozen) when i mixed the potassium hydroxide. The soap went a horrible brown colour as it cooked, and stayed like it even when i diluted with water! So i tried again, this time mixing the potassium hydroxide with 3/4 of the liquid as water. i traced it, and then added the last 1/4 of the liquid as the goats milk when it was all slightly cooler. As i cooked it it didnt go too brown, but darker than amber! Even when diluted with water the resulting liquid soap is fairly brownish. And not very clear. Any suggestions as to why it goes brown? The amount of goats milk is really tiny (onlyabout 4oz) and so I dont think it could be that? Be really grateful for ideas on this one!

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    1. Sadly, the very sugars that are a part of goats milk means that any and all soaps made with milks turn various shades of brown. This will make liquid soaps brown. The fats and proteins in milk also prevent liquid soaps from being clear. So, to achieve clear and light colored soap, the milk needs to be omitted. If you still want the milk then the color will be brown, but think of that a characteristic, not a flaw. :) I hope this helps!

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  28. Hi Andy!

    I made this soap the other day, and after cooking and letting it rest, it’s turned into a snot-like consistency. Should I add more distilled water to it? I’m already at 96oz.

    I followed your recipe exactly, except for the tap water ;).

    Thanks

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    1. Yep, add more water. Snot is not desirable but lots of soap is so add water and enjoy.

      Tina

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  29. Trying to locate online, anywhere, the usage rate of salt/sodium chloride to use per pound of hot soap paste? I do not want to over thicken my liquid soap; any help is GREATLY appreciated! :)

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    1. Start with 5 grams. I think you will see a thickening to a desired quantity. Keep notes from there.

      Tina

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