Sunday, September 28, 2008

Adventures in Liquid Soap

For the last year or two I've been slowly "mastering" the art of cold process soap making. I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to soap making, but now I can confidently create a basic bar of soap. So, I've decided to learn a new technique-- liquid soap making! I tried to make liquid soap in the past but the technique I used wasn't a very good one and the results were only so-so but this time I'm doing it the "right" way. The process is similar to making cold process bar soap in some ways, but different in others. You are still combining lye and oil to set up a saponification reaction, but for liquid soap you use a different type of lye (potassium hydroxide- KOH). And instead of mixing it all together and immediately pouring it into molds to sit and do its crazy reaction thing, you heat it up in a crockpot and cook it forever. According to the instructions I used its supposed to cook for 3-4 hours. I probably cooked mine for more like 10hrs because I heard that sometimes it takes longer and I just wasn't sure if it was done or not. After its cooked forever and gone through all these crazy looking stages you add some neutralizing stuff, mix in your fragrance oils and pour it into a jug to sit for a while. Then its ready to use! So I got out my crockpot, mixed up some olive oil and KOH and started the looong process of making liquid soap. Once this batch has had a chance to cure for a bit I'll start testing it (i.e. I'll wash some socks with it, then give samples to some friends to wash their knit stuff in) and then it will be listed on the website for sale. Thats right, I said I'd use it to wash socks. See, this isn't just any liquid soap. Its Sheep Soap! If you want to use it to wash your hands or body or even your hair, its fine for that, but its specially formulated to be ideal for handwashing your knit stuff. Its an all natural castille soap with essential oils from lavendar, rosemary, euculyptus and teatree-- all of which are natural moth repellents. Even though there is only a tiny bit of the euculyptus and teatree, the euculyptus is so strong that it has a big impact on the scent, making the overall fragrance very fresh and invigorating. My expectation is that this soap will easily dilute in your sink or bowl of water so you can gently soak your socks or sweaters and won't leave a yucky residue that most soaps leave behind if you don't rinse them out completely. A gently swishing in the water should be all thats required as a "rinse". I'll let you know after its been tested if I get the results I want, if not its back to the drawing board. 



Turtle said...

quite the new venture! didn't get soap made today but did make lip balm instead, turned out well and lips now well lubed! MMmm, chocolate orange! (soap tomorrow)

stimps said...

I just got a small skein of yarn washed in Sheep Soap, and just the smell of it has made me want some for myself. I have other eucalyptus/teatree ones, but the rosemary just puts this scent over and above any other I've come across. I'm going to get some on Thursday (PAYDAY!). Great job!