Hey /diy/! We've had a couple of successful soap-making threads before, and they actually were a huge inspiration to me, so I want to return the favor. Let's have a general soap making thread!
Post your recipes, learn about the soap making process, and maybe earn a few bucks along the way. I'll share everything I can with you, and hopefully one of the OPs of the previous threads will join us.
Let's have some good, clean fun.
Most people get into soap making as a hobby. They make guest soaps, party favors, or just want to produce a higher quality soap than they could buy at their local grocery store, for half the cost.
Personally, I'm approaching it as a business. I'm very new to it, and maybe it's a bit silly to start a business doing something I haven't done before, but life is all about adventure.
In this picture, you can see a bunch of supplies I ordered from Brambleberry, a really great soap supply company. You can get most of the stuff to make soap at your local grocery store and hardware store. There are also tons of hobby shops out there with soap making supplies.
The main ingredients in soap are oils. You can use virtually any type of oil: coconut, olive, castor, hell even beef tallow. When combined with Sodium Hydroxide (Lye), the process of Saponification begins. This process converts the oils into soap.
I'm getting geared up to start cranking out lots of soap. I bought about 50 samples of fragrance oils, to see what I like best, and a dozen different types of oils, so that I can test the different properties each oil adds to the end product. I also purchased molds, but you can use anything from plastic tupperware containers to muffin pans as molds for your soap.
>NEVER EVER EVER EVER USE ALUMINUM. IT REACTS WITH SODIUM HYDROXIDE.
I've done a lot of studying. Youtube is a great resource, as there are tons of people who show you how to make soap. There's several different ways as well, but if you're making soap "from scratch", you'll be doing either:
>Cold Process Soap
>Hot Process Soap
The methods are very similar, but there is a distinct difference in how the soap turns out, the length of time before the soap is ready, and the amount of work you're putting into it.
How can you trip yourself "Soap Dad" if you haven't even made soap before? Soap enthusiast at best.
I'm a dad and I'll be making soap. I see your point, though. Shall I change it to "Soon To Be Soap Dad"? Or do you mind if I go ahead and start my first batch tomorrow and post pictures of the process and results?
To be honest, I actually am a soap enthusiast. It's been mostly shave soap, but my interest in cold process soap has also grown. I have about 40 different types of shave soap. This is a small order I placed with my current favorite shave soap company, Stirling.
Either way...if I can help others get into it an learn, then why not?
Yeah man. I was making a joke on the play on words. Soap dad could also mean the father of soap, but if you hadn't even made any, how could you claim such?
Anyway, I am very interested in learning to make soap, please do not let me discourage you.
Don't worry...not discouraged. Just realized I came across as kind of defensive. Wasn't my intention. I was gonna go by "Shave Dad" but then I realized that could come across as an instruction instead of an interest.....
The process of making soap is fairly easy, but it's figuring out what to put in it and the best combinations that is important. Each oil has different properties that it lends to the soap. Palm oil makes a harder bar of soap, so it's important to include some if you're using softer oils like Castor oil. I'll post a link to a soapmaking calculator, so that nobody has to try to figure out the proportions themselves.
Nearly all soaps use sodium hydroxide (lye). If they don't, they really can't even be called soap, legally. But to answer your question: Not at all.
The reason is that when the soap is finished curing, there is NO lye left in the soap (provided you made it properly). Lye itself is very caustic and can cause severe burns, but when added to the oils in the proper proportions, the process of saponification changes everything chemically into soap. There's no lye left in the soap once it is finished curing. That is why, if you make cold process soap, you have to let the bars cure for 4-6 weeks. That ensures that everything is fully saponified.
Haha! Yeah, I've seen a ton of those. The soap threads in the past were really informative and experimental and I absolutely loved it. It's what inspired me to do it myself. And after a little research, I saw that a lot of companies that make artisan soap products, especially the shave soaps I love so much, buy their materials and fragrances from Brambleberry. That said to me, "If they can do it, I can too!" I think my real key to success is going to come in the scent combinations I'll create, as well as producing entire lines of bath products with those scents. I've already got an idea for a very masculine soap, inspired by Humphrey Bogart.
Now if you're not wanting to deal with Lye, which is understandable, then you can still do your own soap making. There's tons of places where you can buy a soap base to create melt & pour soap. All you need is the soap base, a microwave, a mold, and some fragrance oil. Although with melt & pour, you can also make some really visually stunning products.
Lmao, I've been making soap for years I guess I could be called a Soap Master, I don't trip though, I'm not that self absorbed.
There's also another soap making thread already going on, the fact that a tripfag just needed to make a thread for himself speaks volumes.
Alright, alright. I really don't want attention (and I don't want my use of a trip to derail the thread)...I started the thread with the intention of being informative and turning people on to a fairly easy do-it-yourself project. The other soap-making thread is someone asking about making cheap glycerine soap, not a general soap-making thread.
If you've been making soap for years, why don't you contribute? I'd love to hear about your experiences and find out what has worked best for you. I'm planning on making a batch or two today or tomorrow and some advice would be great.
Alright then, what kind of recipe will you do? Palm and olive oil is a time proven recipe by Palmolive, though palm oil has become harder(and morally ambiguous) to obtain because you literally have to kill a tree whereas palm kernel oil is extracted from the seeds. I'd suggest you use that one instead since it has practically the same properties, coconut oil is also great for soap making.
For the market niche you're trying to sell you'd be better off by sticking to "vegetarian soap" without animal fat but lard and tallow are great to stabilize and cheapen the soap so you should take into account that.
I can answer questions if you have any.
Also, the thing with sodium olivate is that it takes weeks to cure so if you make a 50-50 palm kernel and olive oil soap it'll take longer to cure and might require better planning on your finished product inventory .
This is fixed by using hot process but as the other thread states, it's very rough if not machine processed which requires a bigger initial investment.
>higher quality soap than they could buy at their local grocery store, for half the cost.
But, that's wrong.
Soap and candle-making are not cost-effective in the least unless done on a large scale. The ingredients cost in relatively small quantities is astronomical. The only way you can make it a 'business' is if you're doing it on a large scale and have a distribution channel that moves the product, and at a price-point that nets you enough of a profit to make it worthwhile to do. In small quantities you'd have to charge so high a price for it that most people wouldn't even consider it.
Really, there needs to be a sticky for /diy/, and it needs to include this subject, along with things like why shipping-container houses are a bad idea, 'tiny houses' are not practical, how you fix your goddamn headphone cables, etc. instead of reposting the same threads over and over again.
It's a coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, shea oil, and castor oil blend. Biggest one is olive oil, followed by coconut and palm in equal amounts, and then shea and castor in equal amounts. Should produce a relatively hard bar that is also moisturizing. Superfatting at 5%.
As far as your concerns about palm oil, I buy from Brambleberry. This is what they have to say on that topic:
"In keeping with our social and ethical responsibility goals, our Palm oil supplier is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization that supports sustainable palm oil production."
From what I understand, palm kernel and regular palm oils behave differently and cannot be substituted for one another.
I'm curious..have you ever used apricot kernel oil, meadowfoam oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, or rice bran oil? I had purchased some canola oil but saw in the other thread that people said not to use it because soap using it turns rancid fast.
And yeah, it seems like tallow soaps would be a bad idea based on the client bases I'm hoping to hit. Maybe for locally sold soaps at farmer's markets and stuff, but not for an online audience.
Generally, I'm kind of assuming cold process will be the way to go, and I've factored in a 4-6 week cure time for that. I'm working on about a $2,000 total investment for about the next 3 months.
It all depends on how it is manufactured, and the amounts you're doing. If you're hoping to make a single bar of soap cheaper than you could buy in store, you're right...you won't save anything. If you want to make a year's supply for your family, that's a different story. And yes, the larger amounts you buy, the cheaper it gets. That's why I started with greater quantities of everything. But if it were just flat-out not profitable, there wouldn't be so many people selling on Etsy or opening their own online stores. There IS money to be made, you just have to approach the right way.
Stick to easily available oils, as far a a soap goes you can make a good bar with only 2 or 3 oils and they don't have to be exotic. I'm afraid you're trying to pander to the gimmicky organic crowd instead of building a customer base based on product quality and affordability.
I wont lie to you I haven't used those oils, only avocado. In my opinion you risk logistic issues by using exotic oils and it'll only make your soap more expensive in the long run when they're perfectly replaceable.
Also, it's true that palm kernel does not replace palm oil, I got that one wrong.
For the most part, I am. I may use small amounts of the more exotic oils, like Jojoba. But my choices in oils were mostly based on price. Coconut, Palm, Rice Bran, and Avocado oil, I can buy really cheap. Like, around the same price as Olive Oil. I don't want "gimmicky" so much as I want something that's better than "basic" soap. I want to cater to different people...soaps that are good for sensitive skin, for aging skin, for dry skin, etc. The soaps, for the most part, will have very similar recipes, with small amounts of other oils added in, to be included in the superfatting. With stuff like Jojoba, probably won't do more than 5%. Meadowfoam oil actually is something useful...it extends the shelf life of your products tremendously, as a natural preservative.
This batch accelerated pretty fast once I added in eucalyptus and lavender essential oils. I wasn't able to get it into the molds on thin trace...was very thick by the time it was in the molds. On the right hand side, I put them in the oven for a while to initiate gel phase. I'm not sure I did it for long enough.
Can you give me a basic recipe you use involving avocado oil? I have a shipment arriving on monday with avocado oil in it. Also, have you ever used aloe extract? I have a small amount of that...was thinking that would be good to add in.
Avocado oil is highly unsaponifiable and full of vitamins, it'd be better used as a superfatting oil no more than 5% of the whole recipe. You're supposed to calculate at 0% superfat and then add it after trace so that only avocado oil is present in the super fat.
Also seems like you got runaway trace because of fragrance, check that one out.
I've never used aloe extract but some other Anon here used it instead of water and got bad results so just use it as you would use honey, dump it in the pot with all the oils.
I've considered making soap for a long time, maybe 2 years now. It was because i had a free ingredient - bacon grease - although i don't collect so much of it now as I used to.
Has it been done before? I didn't find anything last time I google'd.
Anyone want to take it up as a challenge?
ive been thinking about making beer soap myself. I work at a brewery and after the boiling we end up dumping about 30 gallons or more of wort because its mixed in with the trub and hop residue
i could take that and make ass tons of soap. to be honest id feel a little gay selling it at farmers markets, but thats my own insecurities getting in the way of profit
Yea, that's what I figured. So it looks like this is more of a hobby and something to make you happy. If you have access to a waste product that can be turned into soap, then it seems to make sense...
...but to invest several thousand $$ and try to profit on it seems to be a stretch w/ a saturated market of hippies doing this for years now...
Anyone can break away in a saturated market by making their products stand out. I'll be honest, though...a lot of it is heavily dependent on marketing and diversification. I can't JUST sell on Etsy. I have to go to the local farmer's market and set up a table. I have to talk to local businesses that I could have a vendor relationship with. I'm on the US/Mexico border, so I have to capitalize on the international consumer as well. I have to embrace social media. Honestly, 25% of the product I'm going to produce will be in sample sizes that I'm going to send out for free. The soap is a part of it, but it's not ALL of it. I'm also going to benefit from the fact that there is really nobody in my area doing this. It's an untapped market. There IS money to be made. You just have to approach it the right way.
So my first soap came out a bit more....rugged and unfinished than I'd like. Maybe it was just too soft to take it out of the mold. I waited about 30 hours, and it's about 68 in my house. Mistake?
Hardened very fast...no time for a nice swirl. But otherwise, very nice. Unmolded easily, unlike the other soap.
Looks a little funky but overall, not bad. Have to adjust my cutter...each bar is about 5 oz.
There would not be trub in the soap. It settles out to the bottom? I don't know why you think some proteins and phenols would be bad in it anyway.
The reason people don't.put it in the fermenter is because it impedes fermentation and creates haze.
Using products that would otherwise be wasted is quite a stupid thing to hate. I bet your one of those dicks that doesn't eat the crust of their pizza
Personally I find it practical when OP, or otherwise key posters, uses a name. It's so much easier to get a overview of the thread. And btw, what is a trip?
Back to subject. A long time ago, my Mom made soap from ox, and dear tallow. It smelled for years. But was good like nothing else.
Way to flame the drama up again faggots.
>belittling your betters.
That is EXACTLY what they are talking about. By your logic I automatically win this argument because I just used a trip. Because being a tripfag makes me better than you pleb anon posters, amirite? No need to post a reply, I trip now, you have no right to question me pleb.
I find reading the OP text or subject field is the best way of getting an overview of the thread, but if you are somehow able to glean the entire theme of a thread from a name, by all means share your method.
Sorry man, haven't made any soap yet. Got the lye and just need some oils and to bring a bucket for the run off of a brew day.
As far as I know it's like the poster said above you replace the water with the beer. C02 and lye do not mix though and will cause the chemicals to gush everywhere so leave it out over night or longer to let it go flat
>I bought about 50 samples of fragrance oils, to see what I like best
So which ones do you like the most so far? I've only been using a couple essential oils in my stuff and want to get more of a variety of scents.
We can, but you need to understand some stuff first. Get on youtube and look up "Lye Safety". That's your MOST important thing to understand. If you fuck up with lye, you're going to breathe in fumes or burn yourself or spray fucking molten lye all over your room.
But basically...once you do that, it's pretty simple. You can really mix and oils you want, but what I like is 32% coconut oil, 32% olive oil, 32% palm oil, then 4% castor oil. Use a soap calculator depending on how much soap you want to make, and calculate your superfatting anywhere from 0% - 10% (I do 5%). That will give you the amount of lye and distilled water you need.
This picture is my calculations for my last batch.
>shipping-container houses are a bad idea, 'tiny houses' are not practical
I'll be right amongst the first to say the same thing
But I do understand the threads, tiny houses are such a wet dream. It's a smaller version of the ultimate diy project, building a house.
Admittedly, I thought about it at one point in time too. Then I realized I'm a married adult with a child and I enjoy having a 55" TV and 3 monitors way too much.
Hey, can you expand on shaving soap and making it?
This thread introduced me to the concept
And the difference between lye soap and other soaps? Why is it that other soap can look different and how do they feel and function compared to lye?
I mean I'm sure I'm asking for alot but I appreciate your tenacity in researching this much
MAKING shaving soap is a bit more difficult. It involves using both sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide, various exotic butters and oils, and face-safe fragrances. I'm not even trying to get into that arena....it's competitive and there are a lot of people making extraordinary products.
All soap is made with either sodium hydroxide (lye) or potassium hydroxide (used for liquid soaps). The looks, smells, and feels of different soaps vary between the main ingredients (different oils), the types of colorants used, the fragrances used, and the processing method. Part of the reason your basic soaps like Dial, Ivory, Dove, Irish Spring, etc. tend to look different and feel very shitty is that they usually bleed out all of the glycerin, which is a skin moisturizer. Cold and Hot process soaps don't.
And hey...these threads are for learning and educating. I've done more book learning than hands-on learning, but that's going to shift fairly quickly. Got my second shipment in, with sodium lactate in it, so I can bust out my silicone molds.
I am practicing my swirling techniques tonight. Check this out...what do you guys think?
Thank you! I'm hoping it swirled as well internally as it did externally. Will find out in a couple of days when I unmold it. If the thread is still going, I'll be sure sure to post pictures.
Shaving soap is a tricky one. My recipe is coconut oil, castor, palm kernal and stearic acid, and a bit of cocoa butter.
Potasium stearate produces a rich lather, the castor oil makes it luxurious and the palm and coconut oils stabilize.
The problem with these oils is how fast they come to trace. So work slowly.
I process the soap in two batches then bring them together. The stearic acid and 20% of the castor, 10% of the coconut, 20% of the palm get KOH lye. The rest get NaOH.
The two batches are brought to trace trace and mixed together and incorporated slowly by hand to minimize building trace further.
If you are doing scents trace will get away from you quickly with these hard oils. Run the KOH batch first since its slower to trace.
Drop it into your mold and place into a preheated oven on the warm setting on the middle rack. Leave for two hours. Then shut off the oven and leave over night. Slice in the morning.
OK. I'll post my recipe again. This is for a surgically squeaky clean soap with a good lather:
Lard 17 oz = 2 cups + 2 tablespoons
Olive Oil 2.0 oz = ¼ cup
Soy Oil 2.0 oz = ¼ cup
Water 8oz = 1 cup
Lye 3.5 oz = 7 1\2 tablespoons
Orange essence = 3 teaspoons
1) Combine lye and water in a glass jar, stir and set outside for a half hour to react and cool.
2) Combine oil/fat in stainless steel or glass cooking pot.
3) Melt the oil/fat mixture on a low heat.
4) Swish around the lye/water to get all the particles suspended into solution and dump it into the oil.
5) Turn heat down to really low and stir constantly for about 10 minutes.
6) Turn off heat and stir vigorously about every 10 to 15 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. It takes a couple hours.
7) (optional) Add the coloring and thoroughly stir it in.
8) Continue periodically stirring until the mixture begins to “trace” and then add the fragrance oil of your choice (optional). Some are stronger than others and some can speed up the reaction so operate with caution.
9) Stir constantly from this point until the mixture is like a thick pudding.
10) Pour into molds before it gets too thick. Wiggle the molds around to settle the mixture. Place the mold somewhere that tends to stay warm. That will speed up the hardening process.
It may be a few days before the soap cures enough to easily come out of the molds. Don't force it. Just wait. Pop them out and leave them on a paper plate or something to dry naturally.
After a week put them in plastic bags to preserve the fragrance.
You should wait at least 2 weeks for it to fully cure before you use it anyway.
Remember lye is very nasty caustic stuff and can be very harmful so be careful to not get it in your eyes or breathe dust/fumes. This recipe makes 12 nice sized bars of soap.
If you try to speed up the curing process too much (by heating it) it can force droplets of glycerine out but its good for your skin anyway.
>Stick to easily available oils, as far a a soap goes you can make a good bar with only 2 or 3 oils and they don't have to be exotic. I'm afraid you're trying to pander to the gimmicky organic crowd instead of building a customer base based on product quality and affordability.
I agree. Expensive exotic oils are a waste of money and often don't even perform as well.
Yes, but you have to clarify it first. The best way to do this is to melt it down in a big pot with about 1/5th the volume of water. The let it cool and refrigerate it to cool. All the garbage will get trapped in the water layer.
I have a thing where I don't like touching wet hair, and when I soap up with anything the hair gets on whatever I use and I have to get it off and it really bothers me. I can't even explain why, but I hate it.
Anyway, is there any way to make normal body wash so I can just put that on my hands and spread it on?
>Anyway, is there any way to make normal body wash so I can just put that on my hands and spread it on?
Cut the soap in small bits, mix it with water.
The smaller the bits, the hotter the water and the energy you put in the mixing the faster it will get dissolved in the water.
Or you can take the lazy approach and put a block of soap in water for a few months.
The ratio of soap/water may take some experimentation to get right. You can always start low on the water and keep adding. Or add more soap if you go overboard with the water.
About 1:10 soap to water seems right.
Body washes and liquid soaps are best made from Potassium Hydroxide. And it uses a slightly different production process.
Discover your oils you want to use, and find a calculator that supports KOH instead of NaOH. (soapcalc dotty net)
I prefer to use a crockpot to make my liquid soaps, but use what you will on a stovetop. A bigger pot than you think is necessary is a better idea than not.
Melt your oils and mix in your KOH with water until clear. You're going to have your crockpot on low so temperature doesn't matter in this process. Incorporate with a stick blender until the texture becomes like a thick marshmallow creme consistency.
At this point put the lid on and let it sit for half hour intervals mixing in between with a sturdy spatula until it has the consistency of thick creamy translucent petroleum jelly.
At this point you can mix in your diluting water. A potato masher is helpful at this point to help break up the soap to thin it out. It will take quite a while and a lot of effort. So I like to add my water, take it off low and let it sit over night. By morning the soap paste is nice and waterlogged and will mix much easier.
Here's my next batch....still waiting for it to cure a bit. Used rice brain oil in this one.
I know a lot of people have said canola isn't a good ingredient for soap, but I've seen TONS of recipes that involve it. Does lowering the amount used have any impact on the soap going rancid/getting orange spots?
>Anyway, is there any way to make normal body wash
I hear potassium hydroxide makes a more liquid soap.
>I know a lot of people have said canola isn't a good ingredient for soap
Canola oil has absolutely no place in soap making IMO. If any of it goes unsaponified it will readily go rancid. If you like to "superfat" or operate at a lye discount greater than 1% then just ignore this shit all together. It's high in oleic acid which is slow to saponify but seems to go rancid more readily than olive oil.
Encouraging a thorough gel phase in recipes that use it can encourage a fast saponification of all the oils eliminating some risk of DOS. You can further reduce this risk by eliminating as much superfatting as possible.
All of my soaps I calculate for 0.5% superfat or less and have never had orange spots even for rancid prone oils like canola.
>how do they feel and function compared to lye?
Nothing will get you cleaner and make you feel more refreshed than real lye soap, as long as its a quality soap made right. I started making my own about 2 years ago and I will never go back to store bought garbage. Skin problems like acne disappeared permanently, body odor eliminated for twice as long, and I can make it smell exactly how I want so I'm not choking on cheap chemical perfume.
Wouldn't less than 1% superfat cause serious drying? I want to make a soap that people wouldn't feel the need to moisturize after using. But yeah, I know a lot of people have had issues with Canola oil in soap making. I've just also seen a lot of the Brambleberry recipes calling for it.
Thanks! I've been experimenting with it a bit. Sadly, this faded a bit during gel phase, so it now looks more pink than anything else. This one came out a little better. Used cardboard in my mold to create dividers.
Quick question, I see all these sites advertising home made natural soap, but is it effective?
All I ever do is buy a 4$ bottle of Pert Plus and use that, so I find it hard to believe I could make something more effective cleaning wise or cost wise.
Unless there was a certain scent that I wanted to smell like.
Really enjoying the soap making. I've made a good 10 lbs of soap already. Trying out a crinkle cut for the first time with this soap.
Bumping to keep this thread going. Anyone else been experimenting? I'm actually about to go live with my own online shop...will have about 30 lbs of soap by the time the week is out.
Anyone have any sales tips?
I'm willing to bet mine smells better. And probably wouldn't make you as sick if you ate it.
This one has coconut oil, rice bran oil, palm oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and cocoa butter. Smells freaking awesome.
Does anybody have any soap recipes that they have found to be particularly popular with women? I've been bored out of my mind lately so I've been planning out Christmas gifts 9 month's in advance and I thought it would be neat to give out baskets filled with lotions, and bath bombs, and soap to the women.
On that note I also wanted to ask if anybody here makes bath bombs or lotion. I know it isn't soap related but I figured there might be some overlap so I though I'd ask here before I went off and made a thread.