Liquid Soap,  Soap,  Tutorials

Understanding Liquid Soapmaking

This tutorial is written by Pat Prenty of I already now how to make liquid soap but I sure wish I would have found this tutorial before I spent many a nights trying to figure it out myself. Thanks Pat

Now this may seem to be an obvious point, but one day I got the light bulb and it seemed pretty important.
Liquid soap is water soluble, when you mix water and oil, the oil will turn the water white and eventually migrate out and float on top of the water. This means that if you want to superfat any oils left over will, first make your soap cloudy, then eventually end up as a layer of white on top of your soap.

Some people may not mind a cloudy soap and may even want the look of a superfatted liquid soap, the bottom line is that I have never found a way to keep the oils incorporated in the soap with out adding polysorbate 20… which brings us to the next point. If you want to superfat your liquid soap, you have to use either turkey red oil (sulfated castor) which is water soluble, or add polysorbate 20 to your oils to make them water soluble.

I now make liquid soap at a 0% superfat. When you add fragrance or essential oils that close to the line, your soap may turn cloudy due to the oil in the fragrance. This will not happen if you make your soap with water soluble fragrances, but water based fragrances are just regular fragrances with polysorbate 20 in them, so you might as well add it yourself.
I have taken pictures of a soap that I made that turned cloudy and separated, so I took some pictures to show how well polysorbate 20 works.

This was the cloudy soap. It turned cloudy when I added the borax, so I suspect that I miss-measured the lye a bit to get a bit more superfatted soap.

From Liquid Soap

As I added the polysorbate 20 the soap started to clear. When you first add it, the soap does not seem to be effected, but as you stir it slowly starts to clear.

From Liquid Soap
From Liquid Soap

Here is the final product, I added 1 drop of green food coloring to the whole batch and my fragrance. By the next day it was crystal clear., and smelled great btw.

From Liquid Soap

Thick soap
I like you have tried everything to thicken soap, bottom line… I have found nothing that will thicken your soap except the mixture of oils.
I have tried, crothix (various ways including neutralizing with citric acid), xanthum gum, various carbopol’s, guar gum, and innumerable chemicals. The only thing that I have found that will make a thicker soap is by using no more than 20% coconut oil. I also made a 100% batch of castor oil batch and it was water thin. I have read on a list that some people are making a thicker soap by boiling down their soap to evaporate the water out of your solution. I personally did not find that that works.

As you can tell, my “understanding liquid soapmaking” is pretty low on information. I have been making cold process liquid for over a year now, and for me it is much less stressful. I will be updating this page again with CP liquid soap later in the year (after tax time). If you have any other insights to liquid soap, let me know and I will put it on the web page. I have to be able to reproduce your results so it may take a while to get on the site. I will of course credit you for the information.

From Liquid Soap


Leave a Reply

Subscribe and be the first to hear about our exclusive offers, and latest arrivals !
We respect your privacy.