In a world where all of your shower gels and body washes and your bubble baths are full of sodium laurel sulphate or sulfoacetate, its really quite refreshing to see natural liquid soaps available on the market. My liquid soaps are usually a recipe of sunflower, coconut oils, some squalane, and wholesome glycerin. Sometimes I formulate recipes with shea butter and mango butters, absolutely divine! My liquid soaps are cooked a minimum of 8 hours, and then diluted with distilled water for 48 hours. The difference in liquid soap from solid soap is the type of lye used. For solid bars sodium hydroxide is used (NaOH) and for a liquid soap potassium hydroxide (KOH) is used. I know the word lye scares people, but rest assure that a properly made soap of any kind contains no lye after the entire process is over. I will post some info about how lye+ water+ oils turns into the creamy bubbly suds that we all love! Hereâ€™s the liquid soap process from start to finish.
I weigh out everything I need, my lye, water, and my oils:
Then I mix my lye into my water (always mix lye into water, mixing water into the lye is very dangerous):
Pour my lye into my oils (never the other way around, it might explode!)
I grab my stick blender and start mixing it all together:
Once it thickens up, I transfer the mix to my crock pot and start cooking:
The soap will go through many phases as it cooks. These are the stages every 10 minutes or so:
Once the soap gets to that taffy stage, I can leave it alone to cook for awhile.
After about 30 minutes the soap starts to look like applesauce:
The milky looking part is water that needs to be stirred back in periodically:
At this point I want to test and see if my soap is done. I boil a bit of distilled water and drop some of the soap paste into it. If it ends up clear, its done. If it is milky, it means not all of the oils have been coupled with lye, which also means there is still active lye in the soap:
So on with the cooking. I usually just leave my crock pot on low overnight and leave it alone. In the morning the soap is fully done. At this point I add any herbal botanicals, extra glycerin, etc. The soap is 100% done at this point, and all the lye has converted the oils to soap:
You may be thinking to yourself, well that does not look like liquid soap.
This is where I dilute my soap with a measured amount of boiling distilled water:
After about 48 hours my soap is fully diluted and poured right back into the distilled water bottles:
The soap is then left to â€œsequesterâ€ which is a fancy term for cure for a minimum of 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, I offer it for sale: