Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Headache Roll and Muscle Rub

This is one of those things you wish you had known a long time ago.  It has certainly reduced the amount of pain medication we use, which is always a good thing – and for just a few cents.

Make Magnesium Oil.
Though it is mixed in water it does have an oily feeling.  Dissolve Magnesium Chloride in distilled water in a 50/50% mix.  Magnesium Sulphate or Epsom salts can be used but Magnesium Chloride is better.

Add a few drops of essential oil such as Peppermint, Rosemary, Basil, Lavender and Eucalyptus which are beneficial for headache relief.  There are others but these are more common in the home. Shake before use.

It's not so easy to wash off your hands so a roller bottle is most convenient.

Apply to neck and temples for headache. The relief from this is near to instantaneous. 
Rub on tight muscles and you could try it on muscles that have cramped.

 Magnesium deficiency can also cause you to have worse body odour.

Many deficiencies are being treated symptomatically by doctors and the underlying causes are not being addressed.
A family member of mine and get prescribed Quinine for a long time by a doctor, because they suffered leg cramps, exposing themselves to high risk of heart and platelet problems, severe sensitivity problems and death.  


Home Made Household Cleaners

Grime on clothes, or on walls or on benches is grime - so I figured that cleaners don't have to be very different.  Strength and application would be the biggest differences.

This led me to using the basic laundry cream recipe that I make for my other cleaners.  I make a spray cleaner replacing “Spray and Wipe” type cleaners and a cream type cleaner to replace the abrasive cream,“Jiff” and “Vim” type cleaners for more heavy duty cleaning.

Multipurpose Household Cleaner (Spray)
50gm bar of coconut oil soap
(A laundry soap such as Sunlight Soap will be fine though being a tallow soap is harder to dissolve and doesn’t have the cleaning punch that coconut soap has).
¼ cup of washing soda (Sodium Carbonate)
¼ cup of baking soda (Sodium Bi-Carbonate)

Dissolve the soap in 3 cups of hot water.  Stir in sodas till dissolve and leave to cool. Dilute a portion (store the rest for later) till it is a thin liquid with a slip feeling between your fingers and add eucalyptus essential oil.  Use in a spray bottle.  Spray on greasy surfaces (eg tops of kitchen cupboards), marks on walls etc.  Give it a minute to work before wiping it off.  It works well if the dilution isn’t too weak.

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.

You could probably use Borax instead of Baking Soda.
While coconut liquid soap would be effective as a cleaner I think it would be too bubbly used in this way.

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.

Very cost effective 

Cream Cleaner
Diatomaceous Earth Right.  Mixed Cream cleaner, Left
Use the laundry cream and add finely ground or food grade Diatomaceous Earth (a fine abrasive).
I use this to spread over my shower floor, laundry tub etc, leave it to work for a short time before rubbing it and rinsing off.
Remember that this is an abrasive cleaner so don’t do your polished wood table with it unless you want to resurface it.

Add Eucalyptus oil for a nice fresh smell and cleaning qualities.

If the cream cleaner is quite ridged as you see in the picture it wont spread so well.  Mix a little water with it to make it more spreadable.

Diatomaceous Earth can be brought at Natural Health Shops or outlets that sell chicken feed and supplies.

Cost effective.

Home Made Laundry "Detergent"

Works well.
The first time I saw this recipe it was called “moms super laundry sauce”.  OK.  But I’m going to take the liberty to call it Laundry Cream because that is the description.  You can watch the "sauce" video on You Tube.

Most of the recipes I have seen are very similar but I like this one because of the concentration reducing the need for a large container or bucket.



    Laundry Cream Recipe


Left: Blended cream.  Right: Gel prior to blending 
2 x 100gm bars laundry soap.
1 Cup Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate)
1 Cup Borax
Eucalyptus Oil (optional) 

Grate up soap and dissolve in 6 cups of heated water.  Add dry ingredients and stir till dissolved (no longer gritty).  Leave to cool about 4 hours.

Whiz in a kitchen blender till smooth and creamy.  If it isn't blending very well add a little more water.

Use 2 tablespoons per wash or according to size of load and heaviness of the soiling. Yes it is low sudsing.

 Using coconut oil laundry soap is also perfect for people who have hard water, as coconut soap is used for salt water bathing.  Coconut soap also dissolves a lot easier than tallow based soap like Sunlight soap.  The coconut soap caused the mixture prior to blending, to form a softer gel right through the mix.  Sunlight soap caused the mix to form a denser rubbery gel to form on top of a liquid.  I cut it up and mixed it prior to blending.  I use left over body soap bits (mostly Olive oil and Tallow soap) and coconut oil laundry soap.

If you use coconut soap, it will come out white like pavlova mixture, or tallow soap more cream, like mayo in colour. The cream does “set” and become more ridged though the cream using coconut soap will not thicken up as much as using a beef tallow soap.

I drop mine onto the clothes in a top loading machine.  I also put Eucalyptus oil in the fabric softener dispenser.  You can add it to the cream but there will be no smell by the time the clothes have gone through the rinse cycle.

This costs about $4 and will give you about 60 washes.  I have brought bulk Borax and bigger buckets of Washing Soda from a cleaning outlet and this costs me about $2.50.

If you use fabric softeners please do some reading on the chemicals used and the damage they do.  There are alternatives.

Fabric Softener Ingredients
1.  Alpha-Terpineol– linked to disorders of the brain and nervous system, loss of muscle control, depression, and headaches
2.  Benzyl acetate–Benzyl acetate, linked to cancer of the pancreas
3.  Benzyl alcohol–Linked to headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, depression, as well as disorders of the brain and nervous system
4.  Chloroform– is on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Hazardous Waste list.  Identified as a carcinogen and neurotoxin (toxic to the brain and nervous system)
5.  Ethanol–On the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list.  Causes brain and nervous system disorder
6.  Ethyl Acetate–causes headaches and is on the EPA Hazardous Waste list
7.  Linalool–in studies, this chemical caused loss of muscle coordination, nervous system and brain disorders, and depression
8.  Pentane–causes headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and depression


Saying that the amount of the chemicals to which a person is exposed is insufficient to cause harm is not supported by studies that show even small amounts of these toxins can have serious effects.  Neither does this take into consideration the combined effect of other toxic chemicals that we are exposed to.

I use sun and wind for the healthiest and best results and economics.

I have never used Soap Nuts but might try them one day just to satisfy my curiosity.

Dishwashing Liquid

I tried making some of the dishwashing liquids from recipes off the internet that were similar to the laundry liquids, but personally wasn't happy with them. 

I am happy however with my home made coconut oil, true liquid soap at a dilution of 30% and a 0% superfat.  This cuts out the oil residue.  I add a citrus essential oil.

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.

Because it does go somewhat cloudy in the dish water, the dishes do need to be cloth dried for best results but just rinsing is OK. 

I have found that using shallower water with enough soap to leave a slip between your fingers is best.

The cleaning power is good.  I have soaked greasy cups, with the water half way up the cup (laying down). A short while later, there was a line around the cup at the water level and the portion of cup immersed was grease free without rubbing.

I haven’t done measurable data comparisons but my observations satisfy me that this is cost saving – remembering that I make my own, paying $5 Australian for the ingredients of 2.5kg of soap paste.  Added to that would be the electricity for over 4 hours of the slow cooker (which isn’t much) and a little essential oil (optional).

 Coconut oil liquid soap is very clear so looks nice and then on cold mornings, it becomes a pretty powder blue as the soap become white in the lower temperature.

Essential Oils and Thickening Liquid Soap

The only information I have been able to find about the effect of EO’s on viscosity of the soap is that the Citrus' thins it.

Cedarwood                         Thickens
Cypress                             Thickens
Frankincense                      Thickens
Lavender                            Thickens
Lemon Grass                      Thickens
Lemon Myrtle                     Thickens
Rose Geranium                   Thickens a lot.  Reduce salt thickening. Try 2% first.
Tea Tree                             Thickens

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
I thickened a batch of natural liquid soap with salt.  I added Cypress and Lavender.  It thickened a little more but the moment I added Cedarwood the mix went whitish and shortly after the curdled thickening rose to the top of the 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".

Diluting and Thickening Natural Liquid Soap

A 10% dilution is good for standard use though I dilute mine at a slightly stronger dilution because I still have to add the thickening.

A 10% dilution means the weight of oil and KOH would be 10% of the total water added.

I have my shampoo at 20% so I don’t have to use so much to get a good lather.  For dish washing I leave it at 30%. These things are personal preference.

When diluting the soap paste. Put it in a bowl and use hot water from the kettle and let it sit overnight.  It dissolves itself.   No mashing needed.

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
x1.66=30% dillution
x2     =25%
x2.5  =20%
x3.3  =15%
x5     =10%

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.

Salt Thickener
I have only ever thickened my liquid soap with salt.  It is very simple and inexpensive.  It does cloud the soap a little but I am not concerned about that.  I suppose that this also acts as a preservative.  While the salt will be good for your skin it also may be a bit drying if you are inclined that way. A 2% superfat should off set this.

Make a 20% salt solution (4 parts water, 1 part salt).  When you add this to the soap it will get stringy white thickened streaks.  Just stir or shake and it will disperse become clearer.  If it doesn't go stringy but instantly cloudy whitish, something is wrong and it will not thicken.  Stop adding the salt solution and use a foamer with this soap. I add this at 4% if I have an essential oil that also thickens.

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
I see no logic in evaporating water to thicken your soap.  It won’t produce the ideal thickness but will just make it stronger and you will use it quicker.


Salt does not thicken liquid soap with a high Coconut oil content.  I think there would be little practical point to try as the best use for this soap would be as a bubble bath or cleaning soap.  It would make an excellent mechanical workshop, grease removing soap but otherwise I wouldn’t want to use this on my skin because it is so drying.

Thickening soap that is too diluted will cause curdling that floats on the top of the soap.  To fix this, add less dilute soap to bring it back. This increases the soap concentrating for the salt to work on.

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.

Foamer
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

Natural Liquid Soap Simplified: Recipes and Tips


Liquid soap looked so complicated it took me a while to get confidence to make it.  When I did, it was so straightforward I wondered what I had done wrong.  If you don’t need it perfectly clear, it’s simple.  Yes it takes longer than bar soap (the longer you cook it the lower the pH) but you don’t have to be in constant attendance.

A small super fat (1 or 2%) takes care of the pH or you can do a 0% super fat and add a little Borax or something less Alkaline if the pH is too high.  Look in your pantry – citric acid (take care not to use too much as you don’t want the pH too low)

Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) runs at about 90% purity.  Summer Bee calculator adds it at about 95% of the saponification rate. This all goes towards preventing it from being lye heavy (which can be easily fixed if it’s not too bad, by adding borax to the dilution water.  If a mistake with the recipe or measurements has been made I would just start adding a bit more oil at time, cooking and stirring). Soap Calc has a box for the 90% purity which would have the lye measurement a little higher than Summer Bee.

In Australia and NZ, KOH can’t be posted due to its dangerous goods category.  Dedicated soap supply shops stock it and I found very inexpensive bulk KOH supplies at swimming pool, chemical outlets.

I wear a mask as well as gloves handling the flakes as the dust causes nose/lung irritation.

The Potassium Hydroxide may make noises if you add it too quickly to the water.  That's OK, just slow down and stir it.

Castile soap (Olive oil) may be good for the skin but I found it left a stickiness while the skin was still a little damp. It also took hours of blending to bring anywhere near a thick mixture.  I prefer a mix with Olive, Coconut oil/castor oil and even a solid oil like Palm or Tallow.

Use reverse osmosis filtered water or distilled water.

100% Coconut liquid soap at 30% dilution is the best homemade dishwashing liquid I have made.  This thickens up quickly when blending.  Interestingly, if the temperature is low the completed liquid soap will go white.

I run my recipe through Soap Calc because it has an excellent description of what your soap’s characteristics will be (forget the hardness with the liquid soap).  I started off using Summer Bee Meadow advanced calculator because it is more detailed with the water content until I worked it out for myself.  Summer Bee only works in ounces and I had to convert everything.

A tip in Catherin Fallor’s book “Liquid Soap”, is to grate bar soap with your oils to speed up the process.  The Sodium Hydroxide mixing with the Potassium Hydroxide causes it to firm up very quickly.  For this I use 100% Coconut Oil bar soap with a 1% Super Fat.  I make this for laundry/cleaning.

Another idea from this book I like though don’t necessarily use is to make single oil liquid soaps and mix according to need.

Use a stick blender to mix oil and lye till it starts heating up and then use a hand held cake mixer.  This works well and doesn’t overheat because of the bigger motor.

Soap paste can vary in colour according to the oils used. Yellowy with Olive oil, more greeny with increased Tallow.

I have read that soap paste can store indefinitely in the fridge.  I dilute to 30% to store and let it settle.  While it is perfectly fine to use straight away, if you let it sit for 4 weeks a white layer of solids forms on the bottom.  I pour off the clear soap and do this process again with the milky remnant.  I use the white, left over for any cleaning.

If you are colouring your soap keep in mind the original colour of the soap.  If it is amber your reds will be more orange. Yellows and greens will be vibrant but blues won’t do so well. Good luck with Lavender.  Oil type affects colour of soap.

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).

Directions
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)
Coconut oil                         1000g
Water                                  793g
Potassium Hydroxide         268g  (0% superfat)

Cleaning              67
Conditioning       10
Bubbles               67

Weigh the soap paste after cooking and add enough water to bring to total weight to 2580g.  This is a 50% dilution.
Check my blog for dilution ratios if this is a mathematical struggle for you

3 Oils Liquid Soap
Coconut Oil            120gm
Castor Oil               120gm
Olive Oil                 860gm
Potassium Hydroxide     210gm
Water                              630gm
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
Water                            630gm

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
KOH              185gm
Water             564gm

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.

Fixing Failed Soap

I have been able to fix all my failed soaps so far.  I’ve read of people throwing out hundreds of dollars of ingredients because of reasons that could have been fixed.  Try rebatching them

Curdling
If this occurs during cooking or any stage of making, blend it again.  It will come right.

Separated Bar Soap.
I had problems with 2 honey soaps.  In one the honey settled and the other separated all through the middle. I cut them up and cooked them, stirring till they melted and poured back into the mould before they became too thick.  They turned out rustic. My goat milk, honey and beeswax soap with a swirls of turmeric came out looking more like a chocolate browny and the beeswax smell was more noticeable.  It’s good.

The auto setting on SoapCalc. for water is 38%. I now reduce this to 33% if I am adding liquid type extra ingredients (for 1000gm oil = 330gm water) or 35% if I am doing hot process.  Some use a lower percentage to reduce drying time and shrinkage but it will come to trace quicker and need to be moulded before it hardens.

Lye Heavy
Yes you can fix this.  If you don’t know what went wrong so have no idea if you made a mistake with the measuring.  Cut the soap up and melt it (slow cooker or double boiler) and add 5% of oil mixing in well. Let it cook a little while, stirring and test the pH.  If it is still lye heavy add another 5% oil.

Because 5% super fat is good, while it is lye heavy you know you can add this much oil without overdoing it.  If it’s getting too thick during the process add a touch more water till it mixes well.  If you add too much water, don’t panic, the soap will just take longer to dry and show shrinkage but will be fine to use.

Burnt Milk
 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.

Seizing soap
I haven’t had a batch seize completely but one started to go very quickly.  Fortunately I had spare water next to my pot and I just tipped a good splash in.  It gave me time to finish mixing and pour it.

I would try heating/melting it and adding more water if it did seize. I wouldn’t add a whole lot at once, do it in smaller amounts and stir till it is just liquid and smooth enough.

If it isn’t a problem of wrong quantities I would try cooking any other problem. It might not end up your favourite but it will probably be functional.

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.

Too Soft
The first soap I made was from an internet recipe and was very soft. It had quite a high conditioning level. I made some others then revisited this one.  I melted it and stirred it in, near the end of hot processing another recipe that was very hard with conditioning that would have been a bit low under normal circumstances.

 The resulting soap was a very attractive lightly marbled soap with a lovely feel.
The original hot processed milk soap was the darker contrast in the very white soap (Palm Kernel oil).



Lye Spots
Orangy and white Lye spots
These can be either little white or orangy blisters on the surface of the soap or white patches through the soap.  If you want to be sure, get a toothpick and moisten the whitened area, then dig a tiny bit out and spread it on litnus paper.  You'll probably find it reads about 12pH and if you do the same to an area close to it you might get 8-9pH.

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.
OK.  Cooking as is, probably wont help - it didn't for me.  At  a guess the soap immediately around the lye spot is probably harder because of the lye excess and forms a layer around the lye spot resisting water penetration to dissolve the 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.

Good luck.

Bar Soap Recipes and Tips


Coconut Cleaner
Left: Coconut body soap.  Right: Coconut cleaning/laundry soap
1000gm    Coconut oil
180gm       Sodium Hydroxide (2% superfat)
380gm      Water
25gm        Eucalyptus oil
Comes to trace quickly. Excellent for making laundry “detergent” and cleaners.  It has a very high cleaning characteristic and dissolves very well.

Coconut Body Soap
This can be used as a body soap if it has a superfat of about 20%. To do this, add 180gm extra coconut oil. This free oil is left on the skin and compensate for the drying effect it has.

This has an incredible lather and I use this as a shampoo soap.
When travelling and might need to do a bit of hand washing with clothes I take a finger of Coconut Cleaning soap.

A 50/50 blend of Coconut oil and Beef Tallow makes a good workshop soap with a compromise between cleaning and conditioning.  With the increased creaminess it lathers better.  The natural solution to grease covered hands. I haven’t tried adding fine Diatomaceous Earth as an abrasive but it would work.  This would be similar to Solvol (ingredients: coconut and tallow with pumice as the abrasive) except it would cost me about 80c Australian to make compared to about $5 at Coles.

A Good Soap
Beef Tallow          440gm
Castor Oil             65gm
Olive Oil               126gm
Coconut oil           169gm
Sodium Hydroxide 113gm (5% Superfat)
Water                     280gm
25-30gm of EO of choice.

This will make 10X 100gm bars after it has dried.

Hardness  51, Cleaning  19, Conditioning  45, Bubbles  26, Creaminess  40 (SoapCalc.’s characteristic table)

Shaving Soap (man soap)

Olive Oil               38gm
Castor Oil             136gm
Beef Tallow          449gm
Coconut Oil          177gm
Sodium Hydroxide           112gm (6%)
Water                                304gm (38%)
Hardness 51;  Cleaning 19: Conditioning 45: Bubbles 35: Creaminess 47 (SoapCalc characteristics)

2 Tblsp. Black Clay (man colour) for slip.     Mix in a little water and add at trace for cold process.  I mix it in after hot processing it.  You can use Benonite Clay or colour of your choice (I mixed White clay through the mixture then added black clay swirls and red clay swirls.  It looked like the prettiest boysenberry icecream, but wasn't so Manly).

25gm Cedarwood and 1ml Clove Essential Oil blend for a smell my husband likes and reminds him of foresty, diesel engine fumes (ex mechanic).  I added the clove oil for its antifungal properties and personally was disappointed in the smell but have had more positive comment on this one than any other.

I make this as a bar, not for a mug and brush.  My husband wets his face, runs the bar over it then rubs an adequate lather.

As it has a high percentage of Castor oil more care is needed to make sure it drains well after use.

Shampoo Bar and Pet Soap. Use the Shaving soap recipe. 
For people with dry hair, increase the superfat. Use essential oils such Rosemary, Cedarwood, Lavender.
You could either drop the lye level to 109gm; or
Add 16gm of oil of your choice to bring the super fat up to 8%

For pet soap I would also increase the superfat with Neem Oil.  Use 119gm Sodium Hydroxide and add in 64gm Neem Oil as a super fat at trace. While this is excellent for yours or your pets skin the smell may be less than desirable.  It does fade in time. It also colours the soap bright yellow.
Neem is also an insecticidal and has many benefits.

Castile 82%
Olive oil                1312gm
Coconut oil           128gm
Palm Oil                160gm
Sodium Hydroxide 215gm (4% Superfat)
Water                    480gm
50gm of Lavender Essential oil

This will give you about 20X 100gm bars when dried. Just halve the amount if 20 bars is too much. I make more in one batch of this because of the drying time.

Castile soap takes a long time to come to trace but it does get there.

I use coconut and palm oil to add bubbles and speed up the hardening.  It still needs to dry for a long time but can be used after 2-3 months if it drains well between use.  I made my first goat milk castile when my grandchild was born and is now a favourite of mine.  Very good for people with dry skin.

Unless you make this with a milk, it will have the olive colour to it.

Lard: (Pig tallow)
Lard                   472gm
Coconut oil        232gm
Castor oil            56gm
Olive Oil             40gm
Sodium Hydroxide   115.6gm   (5% superfat)
Water                 280gm
28gm Essential Oil.

Hardness 49; Cleaning 20; Conditioning 45; Bubbles 26; Cream 35





Natural Soap and Essential Oils

Yes they do make a difference on your skin in soap.  Knowing that much of it is washed down the drain I was a little sceptic to start with. I made shampoo soap for scalp conditions initially. My husband is a slow healer and his cuts and scratches heal a lot quicker when he uses soap with this blend. He did not know the different soaps I put out but the improvement was always with this one.  A little girl with nasty eczema problem is free of symptoms when she uses this soap blend also.

Lavender 12gm
Rose Geranium oil 8gm
Rosemary 6gm
Clove 1gm
For 10X 100gm bars of soap

Use approximately 28gm per 1000gm oil.  Some EO’s have a stronger scent than others.  Your call.

For bar soap, essential oils can double the price of the soap. I can make a 100gm bar for about 30-40cAustralian but the EO can cost about 30-40c.

The cheapest blend I use is 2/3 Lavender Oil and 1/3 Eucalyptus Oil.  The Eucalyptus oil takes away the flowery smell of the Lavender and the Eucalyptus camphorous smell is moderated. Good for a cheaper family soap.

I commonly use oils that have high antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties (the 3 anti’s).

I have not included all the properties of these oils as we don’t normally eat the soap.  Essential Oils is a very big topic so it would pay to do further research as blends can improve the beneficial actions of the oils.

To create your own blend, research the oils that apply to the condition or situation and blend well.  Smell each oil and use your imagination to think which would smell nicer together and which one should be in a higher quantity. Use half toothpicks, dipping to the same height in the different oils you choose and close in a plastic bag.  Leave it for a while and check the smell.  Make changes by adding more toothpicks with a particular oil that you think will improve the scent.  Let it have time to settle.  Record everything in detail so you can replicate if you are happy with it.  You will now have ratios and can work out appropriate quantities.

*Eucalyptus:  Slightly camphorous, sweet fruity smell. Anti-bacterial and viral. Insecticidal.
*Cedarwood. A manly scent. Antibacterial, antiseptic and insect repellent.  Use for dandruff, psoriasis, skin diseases and reduce oily secretions.  Hymalayan Cedarwood smells sweeter than Atlas Mountain Cedarwood or Virginian Cedarwood.  I mix a little Rosemary in the Hymalayan Cedarwood to tone down the sweetness.
*Clove: High levels of the 3 anti’s and antiseptic.  Very strong odour.  Clove oil in soap would be good for gums if people still wash their kids mouths out for swearing.
*Cypress:  Fresh, herbaceous, slightly woody scent.  Good for oil hair.
*Lavender is a standard goody for many skin conditions and acceptable to most noses. Antifungal/septic and antihistamine.  Insect repellent
*Lemon Grass: Antibacterial/septic and insect repellent.
*Lemon Myrtle: This has higher levels of the 3 anti’s than T Tree and a good lemon smell.  Insect repellent
*Melaleuca (Australian Tea Tree):  Good for many skin conditions. Antibacterial/fungal/viral, a strong antiseptic. Insecticidal.
*Rose Geranium: Ladies love the smell. Good for balancing oil production in the skin.  Avoid while pregnant.
*Rosemary: Herbaceous smell. Good for hair and amongst other properties is antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory

Add EO’s as late as possible in the soap making process as the heat will cause a percentage of the EO to evaporate.  It may be that some EO is lost through evaporation over time of soap storage but I can’t see that this would be beyond the surface of the soap.

Being used in soap at the small ratio’s should prevent any sensitivity problems but be aware that some essential oils need to be used with caution.

Buying bulk and sharing costs with friends who also use essential oils reduces the costs a great deal.


Natural Soap and Oils

*Olive oil is cost effective and good for skin conditioning. It can be used singly to make Castile soap which is sought after as a very creamy, mild soap.  It will harden but needs to dry for 6-12 months so it isn’t slimy.
*Castor oil is more expensive but used in smaller amount for skin conditioning, bubbles and creaminess.  Normally used less than 10% to avoid sliminess (even in a harder bar). Shampoo/shaving soap have higher levels with some up to 17%. Drain well after use.
*Coconut oil hardens, bubbles, and has high cleaning properties but low skin conditioning and creaminess.  Unfortunately it is expensive when pure.  Buying bulk from cooking wholesalers may have added preservatives in it.
*Beef Tallow has a long history to support the claim of being the best (or best equal to Olive oil) single oil for soap making. It hardens, adds to conditioning and creaminess, and also bubbles and cleaning characteristics.  It is very good for your skin.  Because of the shift away from animal fats you probably can get free fat from your local butcher to render (boil down to separate the “bits” from the oil).  
Rendering: Cut off the worst of the meat bits/cartilage etc, dicing then cover the bottom of the pot in water and use medium heat to get the oil to liquefy. Stir often to reduce sticking to the bottom till the chunks are browned, floating emptied of most of the oil.  Strain with a fine strainer (I use a strainer and an old stocking). Shelf life is a lot shorter than many oils so I freeze or refrigerate.
*Palm Oil hardens, conditions adds to creaminess.  Similar to Beef tallow in its characteristics… but it’s cheap and I don’t have to render it.
*Palm Kernel Oil hardens, bubbles and has a high cleaning characteristic.  Characteristically, an alternative to Coconut oil if the price is better.

*Neem Oil: I have used this as a superfat for my doggie shampoo bar (Good for skin and an insect repellent).  Maybe the dog doesn’t mind the smell. The smell does fade in time (it needs to). Makes the soap bright yellow.
There are many other oils such as Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter etc that are often used but the costs are increased.

Create a soap with the characteristics you wish by mixing these to oils.  www.soapcalc lye calculator has a very good program showing the characteristics of each oil and the resulting combination characteristics.  There are exceptions to this method, such as using Olive Oil for a Castile soap but when you understand these, it works well.

Natural Soap - Tips for Beginners

There is a lot of good information on natural soap products but this blog will consolidate the information I would have liked to find in one place.

Check my October post for Natural Soap Making Instructions
I wanted products that were effective, cheap, healthy and simple. I do compromise sometimes.

For first time soap makers, soap is made by dissolving Lye or Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide) in water and using a stick blender to mix it into particular oils.  The chemical reaction causes it to thicken as you blend, till you can see dribble marks across the surface of the soap batter. 
This is called “trace and is the time you add things such as essential oils, honey, oats and pour into your mould. This is the “cold process” but to speed everything up you can cook it at this stage (Hot Process) in a double boiler or slow cooker for an hour or less.  Test the pH to check it is not too alkaline (a sign of excess lye) – about 8-9.5pH is good.  Over 10pH will be stingy.

When making a honey soap, discount your water for the lye mixture to at least 33%.  Mix the honey into a little water so it stirs in more evenly. I have had honey settle to the bottom of the soap because the batter was too "thin".

Fumes from the lye mix vary depending on what you are mixing it into.  I have never had a problem with ice milk.  Have good ventilation when mixing in water.  I have heard that mixing it into carrot juice produces a lot of fumes.

Cold process soap needs to be moulded till it is solid ( 24 hours or less).  It will heat up in the mould and gel. You can encourage this by covering with towels.  This will make it a little darker or add vibrancy to colours.  Keeping it cool stops the gel stage and results in a lighter coloured soap.  There is no difference in the quality.   Milk or honey soaps need to be kept cool (refrigerate or even freeze) while moulded or they could erupt.  This applies to any added ingredient that has sugars (natural) in it.

Cold process soap takes longer for the pH to drop (let it cure for at least 4 weeks) but hot process can be used straight away, though drying will harden it further causing it to last longer.

Covering with plastic wrap will prevent soda ash from forming on the surface of the soap.  Soda ash is only a cosmetic problem and can be wiped off with a damp cloth if you can be bothered.

Test with pH strips or the zap test.  This is a quick lick. Excess lye will zap you and you definitely will know.  

All the lye and oils (except for a percentage of free oil called a “Superfat”) are used up to create a glycerine based solid soap.  A superfat of 5% is commonly allowed to condition the skin and to make sure all the lye is “moped” up.

Lye obviously is very caustic and safety precautions are important to avoid burns. Gloves and glasses are a must. Vinegar being an acid neutralises the alkaline lye and is your first aid for splashes on the skin.  It will also pit concrete if it splashes on a concrete floor. Once again use vinegar to neutralise

The longer you dry your soap the harder it will become, reducing wastage.

I am not sure on shelf life of soap.  Castile soap can dry for 12 months before use and probably lasts a lot longer.  Someone had an 80 year old coconut oil soap.  Some oils do last longer than other and I have heard that canola is poor… but really, why use canola at all for anything.  There are probably a lot of variables, such as oils used and average temperature.

Using milk in place of water be it goat or cow, to dissolve the lye makes a nicer soap with more bubbles.  To prevent it overheating, use the milk frozen to at least a slushy consistency and double bowl in ice water.  While it is cold it will remain white but as it heats will become increasingly orange.  This will fade. Some people use a 50% milk/water mix.  Adding the lye very slowly helps. I like to have my milk more towards a solid ice (ice cubes are best) which melts as the lye reaction starts working. Make sure the lye is well mixed.  If it stays icy the lye may not dissolve and you will end up with lye spots in your soap.  Let is melt a bit more before continuing. The oils should not be too hot either.

Essential oils in soap do have an effect on the skin even though a percentage is washed down the drain.

Honey is good for everything (ratio of about 3 Tble Sp. Per 1000gm oil).  Honey and other sugars increase bubbles.

Spices such as turmeric not only colour soap but are very good for your skin.  It will be quite an orange colour as you mix your soap batter but will begin to fade in the mould.

A strained Paprika infusion will colour you soap bright orange.

Spirulina will create very nice green coloured soap but will fade quite quickly.

I have read that Beetroot juice will turn an unpleasant brown..  Not sure if this is the chemical reaction or the heat.

While fragrances are said to be safe, there are no lists of ingredients for you to check.  Perfumers have secrecy rights and not everyone has your best interest at heart. Having said that I do think there is a place for fragrances.  One of my children just wont use my essential oil soaps and body washes.  So I make Watermelon and Green Apple natural liquid soap body wash.  I has to be better than what she would otherwise buy.

Clays are often used, either for colour or adding slip to a shaving soap, or for skin care.

 You can do herbal infusions in your oil to add to the benefits.  Try growing your own, drying them and using herbs such as Oregano, Rosemary, Lemon Grass.  The oil will end up a little darker.
  
Vitamin E helps slow oils in soap from going rancid and is good for skin. Use about 4 drops per 1000gm of oil.

Sweating soap is from high humidity.  This was worse when trying to cure new soap on a hot humid day. It is the sign of a good soap and can be improved by putting the soap under lights.  I didn’t try a fan but that may help.

The main thing about a Shampoo bar is the lather but I have found many internet recipes to be very soft.  I don't like this.  If you prefer a harder bar, look at my shaving soap recipe.   Don’t use a bar with oats or “bits” in it unless you are happy to have that in your hair.  You could make oat milk and fine strain it.  Decrease the superfat for oily hair and increase it for dry hair.  A milk soap is nice for this.  Natural liquid soap is more convenient - like a shampoo but bar soap is a very convenient one stop shop when travelling.

I haven’t been able to find any specific requirements for a pet soap.  Dogs have higher skin pH than humans, so the alkalinity is no problem.  I made a bar soap with a lower cleaning characteristic and an increased superfat to reduce drying the skin, with a higher castor oil content for lather. I would just use the shaving soap recipe I have.  Essential oils can be used for dogs but not cats.  Natural liquid soap will have an advantage in that you can have high conditioning, increase the lather and keep the cleaning characteristic a lot lower. Make sure it has a super fat

Use a potato peeler to take off the sharp edges and the soap will feel nicer when you use it.

Save all your soap remains and bits to reheat, melt and remould for value.

Check recipes taken from the internet on SoapCalc. as some aren’t as good as others.  Too soft, not enough conditioning etc.

If you do fix your soap and you don't like it or want it because it doesn't look so good, can I suggest you not throw it out but give it to some place like a woman's refuge or to poor people who wouldn't normally get to buy natural soap. I'm sure they wont mind how it looks.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Why make your own soap, cleaning and personal care products and other home remedies?

QualityThey are often more effective but at least as effective.
Health: You control the chemicals in your home with notable and measurable improvements in conditions we put up with.  Some of these are caused from commercially made products.  Read the labels of ingredients and do a quick search of the chemicals put in and on our bodies.  You have more control over what goes into/on your body. This highlights the preventative health benefits of what is referred to as natural products.

Cost: Ranging between getting a good product for cheap and nasty shop product, price (reducing secondary costs eg. lotions and potions needed for allergies caused by chemicals in commonly brought products), but mostly a lot cheaper. Absolutely worth it. 
Satisfaction of making your own things especially if someone is relieved of a health condition.

Great for gifts. People appreciate hand made products.

There are trade-off's. Making your own products takes time. Some things aren't so convenient. That can swing both ways as having knowledge can allow you to make up a remedy in the middle of the night when you can’t get to a shop. Sometimes you have to change your normal way of doing things to allow for the weak point of your home made product. Sometimes there are too many negatives and you leave that one behind. The point of balance is personal.

There may be better ingredients and results but I'm happy to keep things as simple as possible for the best price without compromising the results too much.  For this reason I limit the range of oils I use and generally keep to the cheaper and more commonly used Essential Oils.
I want to acknowledge  www.mommypotamus.com for some of the recipes and also the general ideas for other things.  Another site that has expanded my thoughts is www.wellnessmama.com.  I have also used  soapcalc.net and www.summerbeemeadow a lot.