Classic Bells > Soapy stuff

Soapy Stuff

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)

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

Soap Mold Size Calculator. Have a soap recipe and want to know what size mold it will fit into? (external link)

Soapee.com. Online soap recipe calculator. Full featured, easy to learn. (external link)

Soapcalc.net. Online soap recipe calculator. Full featured, a classic. (external link)

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

My soap for sale. Yep, a bit of shameless self promotion.

 

Liquid soap (soap made with potassium hydroxide, KOH)

Liquid soap: Tips for creating good recipes. DRAFT

Should You Add Preservative to Liquid Soap? My take on the matter.

pH Testing and Lowering the pH of Liquid Soap. By Faith of Alaiyna B Bath & Body. This article discusses how to 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?

Curing soap. It's not just about water evaporation. And yes, HP soap needs to cure just as much as CP soap.

Calculating a dual lye (KOH and NaOH) recipe. Are you making shave soap or cream soap or do you want a better-lathering bar soap?

Rescue Oven Processing. Firm up cold-process soap that is soft and crumbly because it did not gel during saponification

Crackling, streaking, and mottling (aka glycerin rivers). It has everything to do with the fatty acids in the soap, water content, temperature, and rate of cooling ... and nothing to do with glycerin.

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 and projects

Egg soap. Add a little cackle and crow to your soap, easy peasy.

Pine Tar soap. Tips for making this classic but tricky soap

Laundry soap mix. The "hows and whys" of making an effective dry laundry soap

Salting-out soap scraps. An alternative to rebatching soap scraps

Making wood ash lye. For those who want to make soap the old fashioned way.

Felting bar soap. How to cover bar soap with wool fiber -- useful for travel and fun for kids

 

Alkalis -- NaOH, KOH, and NH4OH (ammonia solution)

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

Calculating a dual lye (KOH and NaOH) recipe. Are you making shave soap or cream soap or do you want a better-lathering bar soap?

Ammonium hydroxide (ammonia solution). How to use household ammonia solution (NH4OH) as part of the alkali in your soap.

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

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

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. A method for keeping your alkali as dry and pure as possible.

Making wood ash lye. For those who want to make soap the old fashioned way.

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

 

Fats

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

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!

 

Water

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

Auntie Clara's blog on water content. Clara Lindberg shows how water content can dramatically affect the appearance of soap. Here are her blog posts about this topic (external links):

Glycerin Rivers: Secrets Revealed
Glycerine Rivers: Trying To Understand Them
Intentional Crop Circles: Water Discount As A Design Tool
The Ghost Swirl
Ghost Swirl Soap Follow-Up
What's Hot and What's Not – A Study In Overheating

 

Glycerin

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

 

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

So what do acids do in soap? And why should a soap maker care?

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

Sodium lactate

 

Chelators to bind up trace metals that can cause rancidity and DOS

So what is a chelator anyway?

Tetrasodium EDTA

Sodium citrate and Potassium citrate

 

Antioxidants to prevent oxidation and overall rancidity

Rosemary Oleoresin (ROE)

Tocopherols (Vitamin E)

 

Chemistry Skills and Tips

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

 

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

 

Product packaging, labeling, and photography

Labels and Labeling. There's a distinct difference between the two.

Creating soap labels

Using shrink bags to package soap

Product photography tips

 

Contact me

Do you need specific help about an article 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, including ongoing help with math, evaluating soap recipes, using specific ingredients, troubleshooting soap problems, or developing your business? If so, please join the Soap Making Forum to get help from experienced soap makers.