Wine Soap: An Adventure and a Half


I had a recent cooking experiment at home that needed part of a bottle of red wine.  While I was cooking, I thought that it would be fun to turn the leftover wine into soap. As you can imagine, I got a little razzing when I showed up at work with a partial bottle of wine in hand and a plan. 🙂

Finished bars of my wine soap.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to make different soaps, and I thought I knew what I was getting into with this wine soap. HA! I was overconfident and my first batch seized while stirring. At first, I wanted to scream at my misbehaving soap, but I was able to salvage my first soap and then make a successful second batch.

I’d like to invite you to come join me today while I share my adventure in wine soapmaking with you. Along the way, I’ll share what I learned to do and what NOT to do.  Make sure you buckle up because you are in for a ride!

Ingredients

Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Water
Red Wine
Sodium Hydroxide
Red Grape & Blueberry Fragrance Oil

Equipment

Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Goggles
Pipettes
Molds (I’m using the Rubbermaid Drawer Organizer #2915 lined with plastic wrap)

First Recipe:

Recipe in Grams

170.1 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
141.7 grams Coconut Oil
141.7 grams Olive Oil
113 milliliters Water
113 milliliters Red Wine
64.3 grams Sodium Hydroxide
12.5 milliliters Red Grape & Blueberry Fragrance Oil

Recipe in Ounces

6 ounces Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 ounces Coconut Oil
5 ounces Olive Oil
4 ounces Water
4 ounces Red Wine
2.27 ounces Sodium Hydroxide
0.4 ounces Red Grape & Blueberry Fragrance Oil

Recipe in Percentages

37.50% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31.25% Coconut Oil
31.25% Olive Oil
Q.S. Water
Q.S. Red Wine
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide
Q.S. Red Grape & Blueberry Fragrance Oil

First Soap Batch:

I began my wine soapmaking adventure with the plan to make this soap using the Half and Half method. First, I prepared the wine by heating it briefly and then leaving it out for 24 hours in a wide mouthed vessel to allow the alcohol to evaporate. (Note: Don’t do this. I’ll tell you why below.)

After letting my wine sit for 24 hours, I began by weighing all of my oils. I heated the measured oils gently until liquid. While the oils were melting in the microwave, I weighed out the lye and mixed it with 4 oz of water. After allowing the warmed oils and the lye solution to cool to a temperature close to 110°F, I added my lye solution to the oils and began mixing. At first, my soap was behaving perfectly, and I was able to reach a light trace easily. When I started mixing after adding my red wine and fragrance, I got my first inkling of trouble when the soap started looking like a separated rice porridge, with chunky bits and clear brown liquid. Gross!

Thankfully, I had the hot water kettle going, and I was able to force my batch of soap to behave by adding about 1/2 cup of boiling hot water. The hot water helped remind the batch to behave by jumpstarting the saponification process. It took some time to get the soap to become a cohesive mixture, but I was eventually able to plop it into the mold. After letting the soap gel and sit for 24 hours, I was able to remove from the mold and cut. Due to the extra liquid, it took the soap a little longer to have the water evaporate and reach “cure.”

What happened?

Remember how I heated the wine briefly? I didn’t get all of the alcohol to evaporate in the short heating, so when I added the wine to the soap, the alcohol and sugars caused the soap to accelerate and rice. If I had boiled (or simmered) the wine for at least 15 minutes, I would have been able to evaporate the alcohol and reduce the water amount. To have a failed batch, despite saving it, was a blow to my pride as a soapmaker and my first thought was to put up my blender and quit. Instead, I decided to make a second batch of soap with a change because I was going to make a successful batch of wine soap.

My second batch of oils next to the beaker with the wine reduction and fragrance.

My second batch of oils next to the beaker with the wine reduction and fragrance.

Mixing the lye solution and oils together.

Mixing the lye solution and oils together.

Second Recipe:

Recipe in Grams

170.1 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
141.7 grams Coconut Oil
141.7 grams Olive Oil
178 milliliters Water
30 milliliters Red Wine reduction
64.3 grams Sodium Hydroxide
12.5 milliliters Red Grape & Blueberry Fragrance Oil

Recipe in Ounces

6 ounces Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 ounces Coconut Oil
5 ounces Olive Oil
6 ounces Water
1 ounce Red Wine reduction
2.27 ounces Sodium Hydroxide
0.4 ounces Red Grape & Blueberry Fragrance Oil

Recipe in Percentages

37.50% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31.25% Coconut Oil
31.25% Olive Oil
Q.S. Water
Q.S. Red Wine
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide
Q.S. Red Grape & Blueberry Fragrance Oil

Second Soap Batch:

I wanted to use a concentrated wine reduction (about 40% of the original volume) in my soap and use only 1 ounce instead of the 4 ounces that I had used in the first batch. To create my red wine reduction, I put the rest of the red wine into a saucepan and brought it to a boil. After that, I let the wine simmer on the stove for at least 15 minutes. I puttered around the kitchen to keep an eye on the stove and was able to whip up a batch of brownies while I was waiting. Once the timer had gone off, I removed the wine reduction from the stove and let it cool to room temperature.

Start by weighing all of your oils. Heat the measured oils gently until liquid. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye, and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your liquid, not the other way around. Your safety is our first concern! Allow the warmed oils and the lye solution to cool to a temperature range of 110°F-120°F.

While allowing your oils and lye solution to cool, I like to put away my buckets of oils and set up my molds and other additions during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils and lye solution are both around 110°F-120°F, add your lye solution to your oils. Don’t worry about having your temperatures match perfectly as that will drive you crazy! I highly recommend no more than a 10°F difference for best results.

Now that your oils and lye solution has reached the ideal temperature, you can gently pour the lye solution into the oils. Pour slowly to prevent splashing! Using your immersion blender, mix the raw soap until you reach a light trace. Once you reach a light trace, add the 1 ounce of red wine reduction and Red Grape & Blueberry Fragrance Oil.

Pouring the wine reduction and fragrance into the raw soap.

Pouring the wine reduction and fragrance into the raw soap.

Ready to start mixing the wine into my soap!

Ready to start mixing the wine into my soap!

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. You can use your soap immediately, but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. It will also keep longer if you store it in an area where it doesn’t regularly sit in a puddle of water. A great aid in determining if your soap has thoroughly dried are our Cure Cards. The best part is you can have them included in qualifying orders for free! If you want a set, let our order desk know, they are fantastic at taking care of special requests. Once the soap has fully cured, package it and give it away or use it yourself.

Blending the wine soap.

Blending the wine soap.

The raw soap after being poured into the mold.

The raw soap after being poured into the mold.

Notes:

I learned a lot about wine soaps, and I loved how my second batch of soap turned out. While the first batch looked horrible, it had very similar lather and feel to the second batch. I think I’d like to try making a new wine soap, but that will have to wait until my next cooking experiment!

Would you try to make a wine soap? Share your ideas and pictures of soaps that you have made with wines. We’d love to see your creativity hard at work!

Andee

 

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About Andee

I'm a thirty-something soap snob. I've grown up with handmade soaps, and I love them! I really like making lotions, soaps, and perfumes. I adore mixing scents to come up with something new. My favorite scent is either Wicked or Cotton Candy. I tend to hoard fragrances, I even have an Earl Grey Tea from the MMS catalog. I won't tell you how old it is, but it sure is good!

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