Classic Bells > Soapy stuff

Soapy Stuff

Not-so-soapy Stuff - Hand sanitizer, etc.

Getting started

Liquid soap
Bar soap
Specialty soaps - Sulfur, egg, pine tar, etc.

Alkalis - NaOH, KOH, and ammonia
Fats and fatty acids
Water

Fragrance
Glycerin

Acids and salts
Chelators
Antioxidants

Techniques and tools
Safety and first aid
Packaging, labeling, and photography

Get help
About "Soapy Stuff"
Terms of use

 

Not-so-soapy Stuff

Making effective hand sanitizer. The straight scoop about what works.

 

Getting started

Anne L. Watson on soap and lotion making. A lot of soap making info on the internet and in print is incorrect, wrong, and sometimes even dangerous. Anne will get your started safely and sensibly, and her books are very reasonably priced. Buy her books on Amazon.com... (external links)

Recommended online soap recipe calculators. These free calcs give the user full control over how soap recipes are set up and calculated. Even if you never want create your own recipes, you should learn to use a calc, so you can check soap recipes to ensure they are correctly calculated and safe to use.

SoapmakingFriend.com soap recipe calc. Easy to learn. Includes additive calculations, inventory control, recipe storage. Created with input from SMF members. (external link)

Soapee.com soap recipe calc. Easy to learn. Includes recipe storage. (external link)

SoapCalc.net soap recipe calc. A classic. (external link)

Calculating a soap recipe by hand. Clara Lindberg of Auntie Clara shows the steps required to calculate the lye and water weights for a given blend of fats. The steps are the same whether you use an online calculator or use pencil and paper. (external links)

Estimate the Amount of Batter to Fill a Mold. Need to size your recipe to fit a new mold? The "0.40 Rule" or the "0.70 Rule" can help.

Stick Blender Basics. Tips for using this tool to bring soap batter to "trace" without overdoing it.

Soap Making Forum. Very little drama and lots of good info. Beginners and advanced soap makers are welcome. (external link)

Soap Making Forum Fragrance Oil Review. Soaper's reviews of fragrance oils (FOs) and a list of suppliers. (external link)

Get More Help with soapy problems. About "Soapy Stuff." Terms of Use.

 

Liquid soap (soap made with potassium hydroxide, KOH)

Liquid soap: Tips for making it

Liquid soap: Tips for designing good recipes

Liquid Soap Tutorials by Faith of Alaiyna B Bath & Body. How to make liquid soap, a basic recipe to try, various methods of thickening liquid soap, etc. (external links)

Should You Add Preservative to Liquid Soap?

Preservatives: All you need to know! By Making Skincare. Properly using preservatives in cosmetic products, including soap. (external links)

pH Testing and Lowering the pH of Liquid Soap. By Faith of Alaiyna B Bath & Body. Accurately test the pH of liquid soap and what to expect when one tries to lower the pH below what is normal for soap. (external links)

 

Bar soap (soap made with sodium hydroxide, NaOH)

What do the Soapcalc numbers really mean? Have you also wondered about the fatty acid numbers in Soapcalc?

Full water and other drippy myths. Want more consistent results when soaping? Explore better ways to calculate the water for your soap recipes.

Iodine Number and INS Value. Is an INS value of 160 the "holy grail" of a great soap recipe?

Estimate the Amount of Batter to Fill a Mold. Need to size your recipe to fit a new mold? The "0.40 Rule" or the "0.70 Rule" can help.

Curing soap. It's not just about water evaporation.

Rancidity and DOS (Dreaded Orange Spots).

Rescue Oven Processing. Firm up cold-process soap that did not gel

Crackling, streaking, and mottling (aka glycerin rivers).

Glycerin Rivers by Clara Lindberg of Auntie Clara. More about creating and avoiding "glycerin rivers" in bar soap. (external links)

How to pH Test Handmade Soap. By Kenna of Modern Soapmaking. Although I believe zap testing has its place in soap making, I otherwise agree with what Kenna has written in this article. (external links)

 

Specialty soaps

Sulfur soap. Challenging and tricky soap to make

Egg soap. Add a little cackle and crow to your soap

Pine Tar soap. Need some excitement? Try this fast-moving soap

Laundry soap mix. Making an effective dry laundry soap

Salting-out soap scraps. Alternative to rebatching soap scraps

Wood ash lye. Making soap the old fashioned way

Felting bar soap. Cover bar soap with wool -- useful for travel and fun for kids

 

Alkalis -- NaOH (sodium hydroxide), KOH (potassium hydroxide), NH4OH (ammonium hydroxide solution)

Masterbatching lye solution and fats.

Lye Concentration versus Water:Lye Ratio. A handy table.

Zap test. A quick and effective way to check for excess lye.

Calculating a dual lye (KOH and NaOH) recipe. Useful for shave soap, cream soap, and other specialty soaps.

Ammonium hydroxide (ammonia solution). Use household ammonia solution (NH4OH) as part of the alkali.

Lye Calculation using a Saponification Chart, by Auntie Clara. Want to make soap after the zombie apocalypse? Calculate a soap recipe with pencil and paper. (external links)

What is "lye"? It is not just sodium hydroxide (NaOH).

NaOH or KOH purity check. A quick test for kitchen chemists.

Ajust your recipe for NaOH purity. How to tweak a recipe to use NaOH that is not 100% pure.

NaOH's remarkable ability to absorb water. A demonstration to show why NaOH needs to be stored properly.

Containers for lye solution. Choose a safe container for making and storing lye solution.

"Dry bucket" for storing NaOH or KOH. How to keep your alkali dry and pure.

Making wood ash lye. Making soap the old fashioned way.

Lye first aid. Never use vinegar to treat lye on the body!

 

Fats and Fatty Acids

Masterbatching lye solution and fats.

What do the Soapcalc numbers really mean? Have you also wondered about the list of fatty acids in Soapcalc?

Superfat. Facts and fiction about adding extra fat to soap.

Rancidity and DOS. Understand more about Dreaded Orange Spots.

Iodine Number and INS Value. Is an INS value of 160 the "holy grail" of a great soap recipe?

High oleic, mid oleic, and regular oil. Not all sunflower, safflower, or canola oil is the same

Calculating fat content from nutrition labels. Do you ignore the fat added when you use coconut milk in your soap? Maybe you shouldn't!

How to use "ppo." What does it mean and how to use it?

Estimate the Amount of Batter to Fill a Mold. Need to size your recipe to fit a new mold? The "0.40 Rule" or the "0.70 Rule" can help.

 

Water

Lye Concentration versus Water:Lye Ratio. A handy table.

Full water and other drippy myths. Want more consistent results when soaping? Better ways to calculate the water for your soap recipes.

 

Fragrance

Fragrance tips. Understand IFRA guidelines for fragrances.

How to use "ppo" What does it mean and how to use it?

 

Glycerin

Glycerin made by saponification. A quick way to calculate this.

 

Acids and Salts to increase hardness or lengthen the shelf life of soap

What do acids do in soap?

Acetic acid (Vinegar) and Sodium acetate

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and Sodium ascorbate

Citric acid and Citrus juice

Sodium citrate and Potassium citrate

Lactic acid, Yogurt, Buttermilk, and Kefir

Sodium lactate

 

Chelators to bind up trace metals that can cause rancidity, DOS, and sticky soap scum

What is a chelator?

Tetrasodium EDTA

Sodium citrate and Potassium citrate

 

Antioxidants to prevent oxidation and rancidity

Rosemary Oleoresin (ROE)

Vitamin E (Tocopherols)

 

Techniques and Tools

Stick Blender Basics. A must-have tool for making soap.

How to use "ppo" What does it mean and how to use it?

Tips for pouring liquids. Eliminate drips and dribbles with pipettes and pour sticks.

Estimate the Amount of Batter to Fill a Mold. Need to size your recipe to fit a new mold? The "0.40 Rule" or the "0.70 Rule" can help.

 

Safety and First Aid

Lye first aid. Never use vinegar to treat lye on the body!

Choosing a respirator

Choosing eye protection

Zap test. A time-honored, quick way to check for excess lye

 

Packaging, labeling, and photography

Labels and Labeling. What information should be on your soap labels and other documentation?

Creating soap labels. How I design and make labels for my soap.

Using shrink bags to package soap. How I package my soap.

Product photography tips

 

Get more help

Do you need specific help about information I have shared here? Or do you have a suggestion or correction to make these articles more accurate and useful? If so, please contact DeeAnna.

Do you need general help about soap making, doing basic math calculations, evaluating soap recipes, using various ingredients, troubleshooting soap problems, or developing your business? If so, please join the Soap Making Forum to get help from experienced soap makers.

 

About "Soapy Stuff"

Purpose. Many of these soap making articles are based on posts I have made on the Soap Making Forum since 2014. Various SMF members have encouraged me over the years to put my advice in a single location so people can find this material more easily. My solution was to put them here.

Audience. I am writing for the novice to intermediate soap maker with basic skills in math and science.

References. Since I am writing for the general public, not for scholars, I do not provide references except for giving proper credit for quoted material.

If you would like references to broaden your knowledge about a specific topic, just ask. I have always and will continue to do my best to respond to reasonable and specific requests.

Be aware that some of the more technical references I use are books or research papers that must be purchased.

 

Terms of Use

Copyright. I retain all copyright privileges. This means this website is my intellectual property, and I retain ownership of all content on this website. You are welcome to use this material for personal, research, or educational purposes, as long as you do not sell my work for your personal gain or present my words to others as if they are your own.

If you want to quote this material in any published work -- including but not limited to a magazine article, book, school report, or term paper -- keep the quote BRIEF (2-3 sentences) and include a clear reference to the source of the quote. For example:

The material quoted comes from DeeAnna Weed at <insert URL here>

Corrections. While I do my best to present accurate information, I make no guarantees about the correctness of the information presented here. If anything is unclear or if you find errors or inaccuracies, please contact me about your concerns. If I am in error, I will acknowledge my mistake and correct the problem.

Disclaimer. Soap making is a risky activity, and I am not liable for any injury that you or others may receive when making soap. Use the information on this website at your own risk.

Compensation. I receive NO compensation for my soap making articles.

Ownership. I am the sole author and owner of all content on this entire website unless I specificially state otherwise. I reserve the right to change, delete, or add content anywhere on this website at any time and without notice.

DeeAnna Weed, PhD