Wednesday, 25 November 2015
This adds to the chemical load in the home and contributes to our declining health.
This got me to thinking about food wrap and oven proof papers etc. I found how to make home made food wrap and dish covers. They are reusable and work out cheaper than buying plastic wrap.
Easy to make.
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Monday, 16 November 2015
Low Cost Natural Soap Recipes
These are perfectly good natural soap recipes. I will try and give a variety to cover different oils as price and availability vary according to location.
They wont be so bubbly as other recipes but still very good for your skin and superior to what you would buy at your local supermarket.
Tallow and Olive Soap
640gm Beef Tallow (if you can get this free)
160gm Olive Oil
107gm Lye (Sodium Hydroxide - Caustic Soda)
There is nothing wrong with beef tallow, it doesn't smell and is excellent for your skin. The only reason not to use it is if its against your religion. It is not an inferior oil to use.
Lard and Coconut Soap
704gm Pig Lard
96gm Coconut oil
111gm Lye (Sodium Hydroxide - Caustic Soda)
Single Oil Soaps
These could be very cheap depending where you live and availability of oils.
800gm Coconut oil
117gm Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) 20% Super Fat (needed for conditioning on skin)
This is an excellent soap. It cleans really well and bubbles like nothing else. Very good shampoo soap, shaving soap and just a nice soap.
800gm Pig Lard
108gm Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) 4% Super Fat
This will be a very mild soap, with few bubbles but creamy.
800gm Beef Tallow
107 gm Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) 6% Super Fat
This is an all round good soap. Moderate cleaning and bubbles but gentle and creamy. The super fat is increased a little to compensate for the just under recommended conditioning level.
You can use Olive Oil as a single oil soap but I don't know where it would be exceptionally cheap. Also it takes a long time to blend and a very long time to dry and harden.
|Nice pets, nice to eat, nice to wear, but smelly soap.|
Use http://soapcalc.net/calc/soapcalcwp.asp to make your own recipe. It is an excellent resource. For first time users, just work through the boxes. There is a beginners guide to using it. Read the instructions before jumping in.
While the charted "resulting characteristics" of the oils in soap is accurate, there is a little bit more to it and you can work with some characteristics outside of the range. Eg, Using Coconut oil soap is too harsh on skin but by having a very high superfat it prevents the skin drying It is not recommended you have such a high superfat with soaps under normal circumstance but it works with coconut oil because of its extreme hardness..
Another example is Olive Oil as a single oil or high percentage oil soap (Castile). It doesn't have a particularly high hardening rate, but it will harden given enough cure time. It may take 6-12 months to stop it being slimy when wet but it will work and make a very nice soap, especially for sensitive skin.
Use your own herbs to make an oil infusion
Because most of these oils are solid, you could use a slow cooker or double boiler to melt your oils and gently warm them. Thoroughly mix your finely cut herbs into the oil.
You can use fresh herbs, just make sure they are clean and dry. For citrus peel, have as much of the white rind removed. Rosemary and Lavender are good for you. Try and use a 2-1 ratio, oil - herb. Its not important so just use what you have.
Do not boil the oil, just keep it warm/hot up to 6 hours, then strain out your herb "bits".
If you have a tree or plant in your area known to be good for your skin, try that. An example is Birch bark. It has many wonderful healing properties.
If you live where is is warm enough for you tallow to be liquid, I would be reluctant to do a cold infusion with tallow for 6 weeks as you may find your tallow goes rancid. This would be fine to do with Olive and Coconut oil.
If you end up making liquid soap (which isn't so hard) you will save a lot of money on shampoo, hand wash, body wash and what ever else wash they sell (even though its washing the same body - its just marketing).
Always remember that advertising is marketing. This term was given to us by Freud's nephew who used it instead of the word, propaganda.
You can make your own and make it better. To increase cost effectiveness of making your own products there are a few things you can do.
Making soap, you can tailor your recipe to the oils that are the cheapest in your area. I can get free beef fat from my local butcher (I do give them soap) and render it. It's not my favourite job but I do have the time.
You can save fat from meat that you buy and cook and freeze it till you have enough to render. Keep each different animal fat separate as they have different saponification values.
*Just note (for any New Zealanders) that Sheep Tallow soap still has a noticeable "sheep" smell. It would make a good laundry soap as it has a higher cleaning quality, especially with something like Eucalyptus oil in it.
Wait till olive oil is on 'special' as it keeps well.
Castor oil is not so cheap but its not essential. I buy mine in bulk to lower the cost. Bubbles are nice but are not everything and a little bit of milk and/or honey will increase the bubbles. If you use Lard or Tallow the conditioning will be fine. Putting a spoon of honey in the soap batter will increase the bubbles and be very good for your skin. If you have a cheap/free source of milk, make a milk soap and this will also increase the bubbles and be good for the skin.
Buying bulk is one way I can reduce my costs. Because I am not sure I would use some of my ingredients within the shelf life, I have found a few friends who are interested some of the different products and we share the cost of bulk purchases. Mostly its with Essential oils as there is a large saving in bulk purchases with these. I have just received 5 litres of Eucalyptus oil. I buy Lavender oil a litre at a time.
I don't run a business but do make soap for friends for cost price, so while I don't have a large output, it is a lot more than my family would use. If you are a person that is going to give a lot away maybe you should try selling some to neighbours or associates to recuperate some costs.
Grow your own herbs and do oil infusions. Use Basil, Rosemary, Lavender, Oregano, Lemon Grass or what ever other beneficial plant that grows well in your climate. You can dry them or use them fresh, so long as they are clean and dry from water. Use a sterile jar. Heat you oil and pour over them so no vegetation is above the oil and seal/cover. You can keep it in a warm place for 4 -6 weeks but out of the sun. Just make sure you don't use anything that may give allergies (ginger is nice to eat but some people don't tolerate it on their skin very well). You can use dried herbs.
If you grow Aloe Vera add it to your soap. Do a bit of research how to deal with it first.
While some products or home-made remedies may be more expensive to make than to buy don't forget that the same alternative treatment may require a prescription and cost you a doctors visit.
If you live in an apartment and don't have garden space, try window boxes or hanging baskets for herbs. Dry them and save them till you have enough to use.
Saturday, 14 November 2015
It's not as complicated as some natural soap outlets would have you think as it is a rebranded natural bar soap with the recipe tweeked to give it more lather. The special nourishing oils that people advertise for shampoo soap are the same nourishing oils use to make natural soap. While it is good, to make it seem particularly different from any other natural soap is an illusion - one that entices you to spend more money on something you may not have needed.
You can use any natural soap, however we do like lots of lather. Bubbles don't clean, they just make us feel good in our minds. An exceptionally hard bar (economical) may be take longer to spread the soap over long hair. A very soft bar will waste quickly.
Using a natural soap recipe, we can now individualise it to your needs.
Dry hair, increase the super fat or free oil in the soap recipe.
Oily hair reduce this.
Dandruff and scalp conditions, choose Essential Oils that are known to help these conditions. See the end of this post for a specific anti-dandruff shampoo.
Vinegar or Citric Acid Rinse
If you don't rinse your hair in an acidic conditioner you probably will end up with hair that feels like straw. The benefits of rinsing are less tangles and my hair doesn't get oily the next day. Having long hair I don't want to wash it every day. It may be individual how strong you make this. Vary it till you are happy with the result. 50/50 vinegar/water works.
Vinegar smells when you rinse but not when it dries. Citric acid doesn't not smell. I keep a spray bottle in the shower for the final rinse.
If you like pretty smells there is no reason why you can't mist your hair with an Essential Oil after you have washed it.
See my September posts for directions on making soap if you have never done this before.
Coconut Oil Soap- awesome lather
800gm Coconut oil
117gm Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) 20% Super Fat
280gm Filtered or distilled water.
24gm Essential Oils of choice.
(I use 16gm Lavender and 8 Lemon Myrtle - but you could use Lemon Balm or Lemon Grass with similar effect and smell)
Coconut oil soap is normally a very strong cleaning, but drying soap. With the super fat so high it offsets the drying. Normally you could not use a super fat so high (the soap would become a oily blob) with a standard recipe but the extreme hardness of the coconut soap allows for this.
It should not become rancid with such a high superfat very quickly as coconut oil has a long shelf life.
There are two more recipes in my Septembers blog, Tips and Recipes that have a good lather. The higher the castor oil (15%) which helps create lather has its draw back in that it doesn't tolerate sitting in water very well and will waste (dissolve) if you don't care for it.
If you have very dry hair and the Coconut Oil soap is drying, try the recipe: A Very Good Soap (Septembers blog)and add a further 30gm of Olive Oil once the soap has reached trace. This will bring the super fat up to 8%. I like to use this as a milk soap for my shampoo.
Many people who changed from commercial shampoos to natural soap have found their heads stopped itching. Some don't have the oil problems they had and experience far less scalp problems - which can be treated naturally.
You may find it takes a little while for your oil secretions to settle down after changing from shampoo.
Shampoos and conditioners cost a lot of money over the year, are full of chemicals and create problems that send you to buy more expensive shampoos to fix.
I have read that natural soap as shampoo doesn't affect the dyes and bleaches people use on their hair and they done't have to get them redone so quickly if they use the acidic final rinse. This is far better as the less you re do this the better as bleaches and dyes have strong links to miscarriage amongst other problems.
For an excellent natural anti-dandruff shampoo see my April 2016 post. Inexpensive and effective.
Solid Anti-dandruff Bar plan
I am making a solid bar soap with a higher level of honey and essential oils such as Melaluca (Tea Tree), Clove, Lemon Grass or Lemon Myrtle and Lavender which are all good anti-fungal's.
Two Tablespoons of honey per kg of oil is usually quite a high level and the mould will need to be put in the freezer while it hardens to stop it over heating. I will try a higher level (4 Tablespoons) of honey in a harder bar recipe and use individual bar moulds (helps cooling) and freeze. I will use cold process and only about 30% water, adding the honey at trace.
If this works it will be more convenient as my husband has problems with shampoo bottle lids since a head injury slowed his left hand down.
Will keep you updated
As soon as I added the honey, EO's the soap batter became a strong orangey colour. I put the moulds in the freezer as soon as I had filled them. They had become quite hot, quickly. I sat them on cooler packs so it was colder quicker and left them over night. They have been slower to harden up but have become a light brown/creamy colour. Otherwise they are behaving like normal soap thus far.
I think I would put them in the fridge on cooler packs next time as the individual bar moulds wont hold the heat like a log mould.
A week later. It took a few days for the pH to drop which I think is a result of freezing it. It also took longer to harden up but after a week + my sample bar is firm and bubbly.
In well made soap, is there any lye? No.
Was lye used to make it? Yes.
If anyone tells you no lye was used, they either have detergent (petrochemical) or soap nuts etc, but they don't have soap. That it is not listed in the ingredients of soap is not saying it was not used.
It is impossible to make soap without lye. Soap is the result of a chemical reaction called saponification between fats/oils and lye. The fatty acids combine with the strong alkaline of lye to form glycerine and salts of particular fatty acids and alkaline used. This forms a molecule that has one end fat loving and the other water loving. This allows the water to break through the tension of the oily grime, breaking it up and allowing for it to rinse off.
Charts give a precise amounts of lye needed for each oil so complete saponification occurs without excess lye remaining in the soap. In natural soap making a small excess of oil is used and this will not be changed into soap but remain as free oil in the soap. This is one of the benefits of natural soap as it remains on the skin for conditioning.
Great grandma's soap may have been harsh. This was simply because it was difficult to get an exact concentration of homemade lye and perhaps a lack of understanding in how to fine tune the process. Even in history, soap makers got it right without the benefits of calculators and litmus paper.
Both lye's are highly caustic and caution is needed when handling them. Rubber/plastic gloves are a must, glasses also. Even when it is mixed into the oils, the batter is still highly caustic and will burn. I have some pitting on the concrete floor in the shed from soap batter that spilled. As the lye and oil molecules come into contact with each other they change.
My pseudonym, "No Lye" is a play on words, not an ingredient in my soap. I have had several batches of soap turn out with lye present but they are all tested and those were fixed. No lie.
I have seen experts insist non professionals should not attempt soap making. They are protecting business not people.
Some make a mistake and get scared and now are fear driven to save us all from their mistake. Or one person has an allergy and tries to prevent everyone else from a good thing.
I have seen partial information given with the curious logic that people may try it if all the information is given and hurt themselves. Personally I think this attitude will lead to more mistakes because now we all have to reinvent the wheel. This was the strength of guilds that held secret knowledge while common people were left to struggle on without or with inferior products.
This was the same attitude that kept the world in darkness by withholding the Bible from the people through the dark ages. The establishment argued that the unlearned would do harm with this knowledge (even though priests had been slaughtering their way through Europe for hundreds of years, Cardinals had been poisoning off rivals, and rape and pillage was all done in the name of God). Yes there is hypocrisy such as infamous TV evangelists sucking up the peoples money(now where did they learn that?). None the less, knowledge has brought liberty to those who genuinely seek.
The withholding of knowledge allows a minority to control the majority.
If you burn yourself with the Lye you have to take the responsibility for that but there is no reason why you can't end up with a superior soap than what you can buy at the shop (most of that is not soap as the glycerine has been extracted and chemicals added to make up the loss).
So lye, love or hate it you have to have it to make any soap.
Thursday, 5 November 2015
I read about people making their own cough drops, but this involved boiling sugar or a mix of honey/sugar. Boiling the honey would cause beneficial nutrients to be lost from it so I passed by that one. I saw a recipe for home-made vitamin C gummy bears and figured I could do the same for cough lozenges.
I have had the beginnings of a sore throat but they came to nothing since I made these. My husband has used them with the same result. Other than that I can't say much, except that all of these ingredients are known to be excellent for throat infections.
400gm Honey (the darker it is the higher the antibiotic effect)
50gm Molasses (just because its good and I can't taste it this way)
10 drops Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil (the benefits of Tea Tree but far stronger)
4 drops Eucalyptus Oil
4 drops Peppermint Oil
120gm Cold Filtered Water
Soak the gelatine in the cold water and allow it to swell.
Mix the honey, and other ingredients well. Because of our climate the honey is often very runny, but it would pay to warm it slightly to make it less viscose if it is thick or solid.
When the gelatine has absorbed the water, warm it gently in a pot to liquefy it and add the honey mix. Stir in well. Pour into a container lined with plastic wrap and cool it in the fridge or freezer.
When it is solid remove from container, pulling off the wrap and cut into pieces with scissors.
This will remain jelled at room temperature. Store in fridge.
I have added a little coconut oil to make it more soothing but I would recommend that you cool it in the freezer to solidify it quickly as the coconut oil will separate while it is liquid.
If you can afford it and want an extra punch use Manuka Honey. I have had tonsillitis completely gone in 3 days using Manuka Honey. The worst of the pain was gone by the end of the first day, the swelling by the second and the ulceration by the third.
Manuka honey is expensive but compare it to going to the doctor plus the prescription. Then there is the petrol cost and time as well as the possibility of gastro trouble with antibiotics.
Sunday, 25 October 2015
You can make a balm base that can be used for a number of different products. Be mindful that some oils don't taste so nice and if its going to end up on your lips you might regret your choice. Also while using wax will give the balm a stickability it may be too sticky for your liking in higher quantities. Its good in lip balm but it depends for insect repellent.
Here in the subtropics the "stick" is good because of increased sweating, or if you are swimming it would be beneficial for sunscreen.
Home made lip balm is safe, effective and only costs cents to make.
Equal parts of:
Melt the Bees Wax and add the other oils mixing them in.
Dealing with wax is not so convenient and I have an old pot that is dedicated to wax melting.
From here on its very individual. Some people like a thin lip balm, some prefer it more caked. What I found is that I have to change it for summer or winter as it gets too hot here in summer and I don't want it to turn liquid. Another variable is if you want to make a stick or have it in a little pot.
You may want to increase your soft oils to make it softer.
I have added a little honey and lemongrass essential oil. Citrus EO's are not suitable for use in the sun. Using Manuka honey, though more costly makes an excellent healing balm. I have seen very good results with this on painful, broken lips.
I have also added a little Zinc Oxide powder (not nano) for SPF (sun protection factor). This can whiten it a little if over 20%.
These oils not only moisturise but help with healing which can only be a good thing.
See my post on Sunscreen discussing Essential Oils and SPF.
Friday, 23 October 2015
It only takes a generation for information to be lost. Advertising puts beautiful women who have had special effects to improve their skin further to promote chemical products that we can't make at home. After 2 or 3 generations of dependence on shops we not only have forgotten but also built up a resistance to simple things at home that do work and remain dependant.
This is so simple and works very well. I take it with me and a few of tiny bottles of EO when I travel. Depending what I need I can mix in the appropriate EO. Moisturiser, balm, insect repellent, lip balm, muscle rub. And I love the feel of it.
Advertising moulded my mind into the slot of thinking the large companies had some sort of magic to make something to stop us smelling, that we couldn't make in our own kitchens. Well they do. A whole lot of toxic chemical. But the rest of the story is, you don't need their black magic.
Cancer councils say the chemicals used in deodorants have no negative effect on the body. Evidence from independent labs who don't profit from industry and offer lucrative job opportunities show they do.
The stupendous Councils claim there are no links between cancer and:
Cell phones and power lines, Cosmetics, Hair dyes
Deodorant Radiation treatment, Chemotherapy
Household cleansers, Processed foods, Artificial sweeteners
Soy products, Stress
Most recipes you will read online use coconut oil and corn flour or some mix like that. They are fine and work quite well but I have a problem with one armpit getting rash (maybe from the limited movement because of a prosthetic shoulder joint).
After trying a few different things this is the most simple, effective and versatile.
Deodorant Recipe #1
Magnesium oil with your favourite essential oil for smell.
Equal parts of Magnesium Chloride and distilled water mixed and dissolved with a little bit of essential oil. Lavender is a non sensitising and gentle EO.
Use in a small spray bottle.
If you think that you are particularly smelly, you may be magnesium deficient. Most of the population is deficient in Mg. This will also cause more headaches, cramps and other problems. To correct this you can can take a supplement or make Magnesium Oil (equal parts of Magnesium Chloride and filtered water) and apply it topically (on the skin). It absorbs very well.
Most people are magnesium deficient and Magnesium Chloride absorbs well through the skin so incorporating it into deodorant or any other body lotion is excellent for your health.
Deodorant Recipe #2
Corn flour/ Tapioca flour
Coconut oil/Shea Butter
Mix up to 50% Baking Soda with the Corn flour/Tapioca flour. Make sure its not GMO.
Use enough oil to make the mix pasty. Add Essential Oils of your choice. Massage in.
Some people react to the Baking Soda so you can reduce it or leave it out should that be the case. It makes a better deodorant if it can be tolerated.
Essential Oils high in antibacterial action would be advantageous.
For men Cedarwood, Frankincense, or herbaceous oils such as Rosemary might be preferred.
Cedarwood with a very small percentage of Clove oil.
Cedarwood with 25% Frankincense
Cedarwood with 25% Rosemary
For women there are many floral smelling oils but a few blends are:
Lavender blended with 25% Rosemary, or Lemongrass/ Lemon Myrtle..
Rosemary, Lavender and Ylang Ylang.
My preference is to use Shea Butter, melt it and add Tapioca flour. Wait for it to cool so you can tell how moist it is, then add Essential oils. I also add a little Castor oil, which also has antibacterial properties and is very good for lymph function.
When you change from using commercially sold deodorants to natural deodorants, you will have a rebound effect. Because the sweat glands have been messed with most of your life they will over work for several weeks. It does settle down.
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
There are lessons on You Tube with some really impressive results. I have seen colours that are incredible but have to admit wondering if they make you glow in the dark and Geiger counters tick.
This is very, very basic but will show you what a non professional can do with no practise.
The black soap is coloured with Aussie Black Clay and is Man Soap for shaving.
Palm Kernel Oil made the round soap at the right very white.
The bar at the back is Goat Milk with turmeric.
The green swirl in the centre milk soap wasn't natural colour.
This soap can't be stored for extended periods as the colours fade (the spirulina quicker than the turmeric).
This was done hot process. I separated two cups of hot soap and mixed in the colours (mixed in a bit of water) I layered the coloured soap in amongst the uncoloured. When the mould was filled I used a tablespoon to stir in a circular motion from the top to the bottom moving along the mould. I repeated this twice and was very happy with the results.
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Check September's post for Natural Soap -Tips for Beginners; Natural Soap and Oils; Natural Soap and Essential Oils; Bar Soap Recipes and tips: Fixing Failed Soap.
Keep Vinegar handy to neutralise any splashes on your skin if you are not covered. Wipe off large splashes with a paper towel first as vinegar does heat as it neutralises the caustic batter. Some people say to wash under running water. I have found that it resists water at this stage and would rather use the paper towel and vinegar.
Paper towels Don’t have little children or pets 'under your feet' – it’s not safe.
Check your recipe.
|Goat Milk ice slurry dissolving as lye is mixed in.|
If you are making a milk soap, you must keep the temperature down or it will burn and stink. Some people use a 50/50 water milk mix. I like 100% so freeze the milk to an ice slurry or in cubes. I have a bowl of ice water available to double bowl it if the mixture begins to go orange. This is ok to a point and will fade. If you had to melt your oils (eg bees wax) let them cool prior to this.
|Milk Castile soap with Turmeric (it fades as it cures)|
|Partial gel of very white coconut soap.|
You can cover it to keep the heat in and encourage the gel so the whole soap is gelled.
Any soap with sugars in it (honey or milk) must be kept cool or they run the risk of erupting. The bigger the mould the harder it will be to keep the centre cool and you will probably end up with a partial gel even with it sitting on ice packs or in the fridge. Shallow or individual bar moulds make it a lot easier to prevent gel.
|Cooking soap raising up the sides (coconut is very white)|
Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Many deficiencies are being treated symptomatically by doctors and the underlying causes are not being addressed.
Another winner from
Add Eucalyptus oil when diluting for an antibacterial/viral, added cleaning qualities and a nice fresh smell. It is also an anti-fungal and should help if mildew is a problem.
Lemon may be good for these sorts of things but I can't reconcile decreasing the alkalinity of the other cleaners. If you wanted lemon smell, you could try Lemon Grass or Lemon Myrtle oil.
None of these ingredients are toxic.
|Diatomaceous Earth Right. Mixed Cream cleaner, Left|
Laundry Cream Recipe
|Left: Blended cream. Right: Gel prior to blending|
Eucalyptus Oil (optional)
Fabric Softener Ingredients
You can add dissolved washing soda but too much will thicken excessively I have added this and it makes the dish washing liquid more concentrate.
Twice I have had salt thickening fail when I mixed a blend of Cedarwood and Rosemary in natural liquid soap shampoo. Either of them alone was fine.
|Curdled salt thickening in liquid soap|
Because I am not a scientist, the blend may not be the problem - this is just an experience I have had.
I have thickened the soap with the salt first - not taking too much care about amounts. Then when I added the EO the thickening has "undone" and the mix turned the whitened colour. I have added more unthickened soap and the whiteness goes and it thickens up again as the salt saturation is lowered.
Without EO's I have thickened soap with salt till it is a gelatinous blob but have only had that happen with Rose Geranium Oil. It seems that for some reason other EO's don't like this"over thickening".
A 10% dilution means the weight of oil and KOH would be 10% of the total water added.
Use distilled water. I use filtered water from reverse osmosis filter. I don't know how much difference there will be if you use tap water.
Weight of Oil and KOH
x2 = 50% dilution is your paste weight.
eg If your oils and lye weigh 1000gm, top up your water till it weighs 2000gm. It may weigh about 1300gm after cooking it with the water from initial recipe water to dissolve lye in. Use hot or boiling water and as you stir it in, the paste will thicken up and become really tacky. I leave it for a a few hours and stir it again later or it takes too much time.
You can store this soap paste and dilute further as needed.
From there on
eg. If you have 100gm of soap paste (50% dilution) and want to dilute it to 15%, multiply
100gm by 3.3 = 330gm.
100gm Soap paste + 230gm of filtered water = 330gm of liquid soap at 15% dilution.
Add water and let the soap paste dissolve.
Use table salt not Himalayan or Dead sea salt. The experts agree...and when I used Himalayan it didn't thicken but the white thickening rose to the surface. Curiously the liquid soap cleared of all its colour. Still a good liquid soap, just not thick.
|My thickened liquid soap as a gel|
Coconut oil and thickening
Higher levels of coconut oil in the soap paste will not allow the salt to thicken it.
After testing different levels and many failures, 18% coconut oil in the recipe is the highest limit I will use if I want to thicken the finished product with salt.
Castor oil and thickening.
I made soap with no coconut oil in to add to one that had too much, I made up a recipe with 25% castor oil and 75% olive oil. In all my reading I had not seen a caution using castor oil in regard to thickening. After many hours trying to get the soap batter to a paste I gave up and cooked it regardless. It ended up looking like sticky mashed banana rather than the thick stiff soap paste. The soap worked nicely diluted, but would not thicken. Since then I found one comment that 20% might be too high.
After some testing in the kitchen I have found that soap with 15% Castor Oil will thicken but higher than that the thickening just whitened the soap and didn't thicken it. If I left this a little while the whiteness would raise to the top and sit there
Using Borax to Thicken
I have tried using borax to thicken without success. It turns out that if you have a "superfat" it will not work. This is most likely the problem I have had.
As with using salt, it will not work with unless the coconut oil content is low.
Catherine Failor says that it works better with a more concentrate soap and decreases efficiency as the dilution increases.
With new recipes and thickenings try a small amount to start with to check that it will thicken. If it doesn't use the runny liquid soap in a foamer pump.If youI can't
The Potassium Hydroxide may make noises if you add it too quickly to the water. That's OK, just slow down and stir it.
Use reverse osmosis filtered water or distilled water.
I use salt to thicken my liquid soap to make a gel, but this can not be done if the coconut oil or castor oil content is higher. I haven't found the exact percentage and after some disappointing results. I have found that my soap with a the Castor Oil content over 15% wont thicken. I think this might be the same for Coconut oil which probably also applies to Palm Kernal oil and Babassu oil or any oil that has high levels of Lauric, Myristic or Ricinoleic Acids. It becomes a balancing act between bubbles and thickening.
High levels of coconut and castor oil would be fine if the soap was to be used liquid or in a foamer.
Higher coconut oil content will also prevent Borax from thickening the soap.
Sometimes, depending on the recipe I haven't been able to get the batter to trace after hours of blending. A small amount (no more than 10gm) of grated coconut oil bar soap softened with a bit of water added in has worked quickly. Several times I could not get the batter into a paste and gave up blending. After cooking till the pH was right and it was clear in water, it still was thinner and not so translucent but when I added the water to bring it to a 50% paste solution it gelled up and become a very thick paste. It was fine.
Use as a body wash, hand soap, shampoo (don't forget to rinse hair in dilute vinegar or citric acid or it will feel like straw).
Weigh out your oils into a slow cooker making sure the solid oils are warmed to a liquid state. Dissolve the KOH in the water and then add to the oils. Blend. Continue past trace (I use a cake mixer when it gets thick) till it becomes really thick. I cook mine on high but medium might be better. Mix now with a ridged spatula or spoon as it is really thick now. This can take some time and if over 80% Olive oil it may take "forever". I gave up with one and it solidified when left.
After about 4 hours it should become translucent. Put a little bit in a glass jug with some filtered hot water and dissolve it. If the water is cloudy, continue cooking. It may take 6 hours. When the water is clear, it is done.
Check the pH. If it is 10, add a Tsp of Borax to the dilution water and bring it down to about 9. Borax has a pH of about 8 and is an ideal buffer. Its good for you, and it wont ruin your soap (citric acid could be used to lower the pH but care needs to be taken not to lower the pH so much that you don't undo the saponification).
Weigh your thick paste and add enough boiling water to bring it back to double the weight of the oils and KOH. This is your done paste. It is now at 50% dilution. When you need to use it dilute further to 10% if you wish.
The following recipes use 1000gm of oils. This will give 10-12 litres of liquid soap when diluted down to 10%.
Coconut Liquid Soap (for cleaning)
3 Oils Liquid Soap
Coconut Oil 120gm
Castor Oil 120gm
Olive Oil 860gm
Potassium Hydroxide 210gm
Dissolve KOH in water, then mix into the oils and blend.
When paste is cooked, weigh and bring it up to total weight of 2420gm with boiling/hot filtered water. This will give you your paste at a 50% dilution.
70% Olive Oil Liquid Soap
Coconut oil 100gm
Castor Oil 100gm
Beef tallow 100gm (you can use Palm oil without changing the lye measurment)
Olive Oil 700gm
Potassium Hydroxide 210gm
When the paste has cooked weigh and bring it up to 2420g with boiling/hot filtered water
1 Bar Liquid Soap
Adding the bar soap to the oils will speed up the trace a lot more. With the above recipe I would use a 110gm bar of Coconut Na OH soap grated and added to a little water first.
Coconut Oil Bar Soap 110gm
Castor oil 100gm
Beef Tallow 100gm
Olive Oil 700gm
I would use a small portion of this water to mix in with the bar soap to soften it prior to adding it to the oils
Remember, diluting and letting it sit for 4 weeks will let the solids settle and the liquid clear. Pour off the clear soap. You can use the cloudy portion.
Milk soap smells like vomit? It overheated and the milk is burnt. Time does fix this but it will take quite a long time. Put it away in a far corner for a few months and the smell fades.
You can hot process milk soap lowly and slowly, stirring it away from the edge of the slow cooker often.
Some fragrances are prone to this and use of oils such as Coconut, Palm and Palm Kernel oil could be a problem if water was discounted too much or you got distracted at a crucial time.
The resulting soap was a very attractive lightly marbled soap with a lovely feel.
|Orangy and white Lye spots|
The reason for this problem is not stirring the lye till it is dissolved. If you made a soap and had milk
too cold it will take a lot longer to dissolve. Some ice blocks present at the end of your stirring are fine but if it is still mostly an ice slurry you should let it melt a bit more and stir well before adding to the oils.
|Note the white blisters showing. Undissolved lye.|
After a few attempts that weren't so successful I just took the plunge and put a whole lot more water in to make it a lot more fluid. I figured I could deal with the high water content later. It took a while but with cooking and mashing the spots disappeared. I took quite a few samples to test the pH in case I had missed some.
I cooked it longer to dry it out, but that was taking too long so I poured it into a large container and left it to dry naturally for about a month. With our warm weather it happened. I broke it up and then to expose it all to the air (keeping it covered with a thin cloth for some weeks before melting it down again to put into moulds. It was still quite moist at this stage but not unmanageable. I chose not to mould it earlier as the shrinkage would look silly and create sharp edges as the centre shrunk.
If you have more time than money it can be done but it does take a while.
If this had been a standard soap I probably would have just used it for the laundry but it was a castile soap and had low cleaning, high condition characteristics so I chose to try and fix it.