Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Liquid Soap Using the Glycerin Method - Part 1

There was a discussion over on the Dish forum about making Liquid soap using Glycerin instead of water.  It is a very long thread but very informative.  
When you make liquid soap you use a different type of Lye called Potassium Hydroxide (KOH).  I make mine in a crock pot and once it is finished it is a hard paste that you then dilute with water to make a liquid.  This is the only way I have been making Liquid soap since it makes it very easy and quick.  I recently made a big batch using 90% Olive oil, 10% Castor oil and Glycerin in place of water.  I use the Summer Bee Meadow lye calculator because that's what I have always used for my liquid soap.  Just make sure the Alkali is set to Potassium Hydroxide not Sodium, otherwise your soap won't turn out!
Because I made such a big batch I thought I would do some experiments with scents.  You see essential oils (EO) and fragrance oils (FO) can do all sorts of funny things to liquid soap (bar soap too).  Some can turn it into thick jello (Lavender EO) and some can thin it out like water (Orange EO).  But I haven't really tried that many scents with this new method and I wanted to see if there is any difference from the traditional liquid soap method.
When I diluted this batch I used approximately 1 part paste to just less than 2 parts water.  Soaps high in Olive oil usually require more water to dilute.  I will be taking 1 ounce of the diluted paste and adding 1% essential or fragrance oil.  I will then document the immediate effects and then wait and see what happens after a week then a month.


  1. I just made a batch of liquid soap using 32 ounces olive and 6 ounces grape seed oil.

    It took nearly 2 gallons of distilled water in the entire process! Over half of the paste is in the freezer while the rest is sequestered in a huge empty Vodka Bottle in the closet. I had no idea that I would get That Much soap paste from this recipe.

    If your soap comes out thin, what do you do to thicken it up? Does the glycerin work well, or are there other things that will make it nice and thick like a shower gel?


  2. Yes recipes high in Olive oil will give you a ton of liquid soap once you dilute. I haven't had to thicken my liquid, I usually just dilute slowly (over a few days) until I get the right consistency. I know you can thicken with a salt solution, but as I said I have never done it.
    I love the glycerin method, it's super fast, you don't have to cook the paste and you can dilute right away. I'd try diluting your paste slowly until you get the thickness you want. For recipes with a high percent of Olive Oil start at a 1:1 ratio of paste to water and then add small amounts of water a little at a time. You can also stickblend the paste into the water to help it break up, you'll just get a bunch of bubbles, but they will eventually go away.

  3. Okay I'm in the midst of making this. I've made liquid soap before and with my last batch I was never able to get rid of the bubbles. I used the glycerin method with this batch and when I diluted it with boiling water I stick blended it. Now I see the clear soap underneath and the bubble layer on top. How do I make it go away?

    1. Hi, I don't have a problem with bubbles. It could be too much air is being incorperated when you stick blend. Try keeping your blender below the soap at all times. You could also let the paste dilute on its own, but that could take a while. To get rid of the bubbles you can try spraying alcohol on them. Hope that helps.