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Homemade Soap!

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euge:
Per Tom's request I'll start a soap thread.

First thing to know this isn't your dear old Grannie's harsh soap. It is so good I quit buying shampoo and just use the soap instead. Haven't bought soap in 5 years. It is nearly as gratifying as making beer! Almost...

I'll address cold-process soap first. The base recipe is similar to beer. One uses a base fat and can augment it with various other types of fat to comprise a recipe. I like to make Castille soap (100% vegetable based) out of 80% vegetable oil (soy) and the other 20% can be olive oil plus some coconut oil. Or you can add melted lard to the mix- this will result in harder bars- which somehow correlates to "clarity" in beers to me. Just for drawing comparisons. LOL

How it works:

My house soap usually is 1000 grams of vegetable oil (very neutral light oil); 250 grams of olive oil (makes the suds very silky); 300-400ml of h2o; and 161 grams of pure sodium hydroxide (lye) to comprise about 5% excess fat. I don't usually add scents, but have used anything from cinnamon to basil flowers. Tea tree oil is nice.

Dissolve the lye in the water until it is clear. Add to the fat and mix with a stick blender or in a regular blender. Be a grown-up and be careful. It is very caustic at this stage.



Mix well until one begins to see signs of "trace". This is when the mixture comes together and emulsifies. Looks like custard and will leave a line when you sweep the blender through it. There is such a thing as a "false trace" so make sure you don't quit when it initially thickens. I like it super thick before it goes into the mould(s).



It's still not soap yet. It has to saponify. That is to go through the exothermic saponification process which converts itself to soap. Sound familiar? The soap will harden quickly once in the mould. It will look like beautiful creamy soap. It isn't soap yet! In an hour or two it will start to saponify. The appearance will become gel-like and it will begin to put off a significant amount of heat. This is just the chemical reaction. We are not physically heating anything with this method. I like to insulate my moulds which makes for a better finished product.

After a couple days or longer I'll tighten the cap on my mould and use an air pump to push the soap out like a piston. It will look creamy again.




I will then air-dry it in log form until it is firm and dry to the touch. Might be a few days but usually at least a couple weeks or more. Depends on water content. Similarly, like most beer the soap only gets better as it ages. I slice bars off as needed.



Here is a great calculator for making up soap recipes.



tschmidlin:
With the stick blender, is it caustic enough that you need a dedicated stick blender or do you use the same one you use for food?  What do you blend it in?  Just bend it up and pour it into the mold?

What is a reasonable proportion of scent to add from tea tree oil for example?  I could see it varying from one oil to another, just looking for a starting point.

Was there two ends to that tube while it was saponifying?

Where do you buy an air valve?  What did you use to mount it like that?

What do you use to slice it, just a knife or something?

Where do you get lye?  I assume I don't want drain cleaner, but what type of store would carry it?  There's got to be some place around here.

Did you size your batch to fill the tube?  I assume different size batches work fine, just scale linearly?  Does the thickness of the tube affect the saponification time?

Sorry for all of the questions, but I'm going to need to try that soon.  :)

punatic:
I use liposuction fat cells to make my soap.   ;)

euge:

--- Quote from: tschmidlin on May 25, 2011, 11:29:58 PM ---With the stick blender, is it caustic enough that you need a dedicated stick blender or do you use the same one you use for food?  What do you blend it in?  Just bend it up and pour it into the mold?

I bought a $10 stick jobbie from WM, but also have used the bar-blender without it affecting my margaritas. Just run the parts through the dishwasher. What's on it is basically soap. A 2 gallon bucket, and yes- just blend it up and pour. Takes just a few minutes. Have a beer.

What is a reasonable proportion of scent to add from tea tree oil for example?  I could see it varying from one oil to another, just looking for a starting point.

An ounce or two for scents.

Was there two ends to that tube while it was saponifying?

Yes and I used the cheap cap/protector as a base/plug. I seal it with some cling wrap and tape otherwise it will leak. This is my method, but I'm sure there are better. I just peel the wrap/tape off and give it a few psi with the pump. Usually that's enough to piston the cap and soap out.

Where do you buy an air valve?  What did you use to mount it like that?

Autostore. And I drilled the cap out, but no sealant. 

What do you use to slice it, just a knife or something?

A sharp one. Think cheese.

Where do you get lye?  I assume I don't want drain cleaner, but what type of store would carry it?  There's got to be some place around here.

Locally a cleaning supply store in tubs as sodium hydroxide. Not Draino or Red Devil. I thin k it is available online. You want 100% sodium hydroxide.

Did you size your batch to fill the tube?  I assume different size batches work fine, just scale linearly?  Does the thickness of the tube affect the saponification time?

Yes, I calculated out the volume and sized the tubes accordingly to the standard size batch. I like to have a good sized mass so that the exothermic reaction heats it up real good. Chose 3" pvc for this since it's a decent sized round bar and there is a good solid column of solution to heat up. I don't think the walls' thickness matters- it just has to be strong. I used to make blocks of soap with those flimsy cardboard flats that soda six-packs come in. Line it with cling-wrap and dump it out when the soap is done. I've never done individual moulded bars, but suspect that they would saponify poorly.

Sorry for all of the questions, but I'm going to need to try that soon.  :)

My pleasure. I hope you do try it soon. :D

--- End quote ---


--- Quote from: punatic on May 26, 2011, 12:06:43 AM ---I use liposuction fat cells to make my soap.   ;)

--- End quote ---

Medical waste? Eeeeew. Too much lard for my tastes. :P I like my soap vegetarian.

punatic:

--- Quote from: euge on May 26, 2011, 12:14:32 AM ---

--- Quote from: punatic on May 26, 2011, 12:06:43 AM ---I use liposuction fat cells to make my soap.   ;)

--- End quote ---

Medical waste? Eeeeew. Too much lard for my tastes. :P I like my soap vegetarian.

--- End quote ---

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