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Home > Features > Living Well > Eco-Tips > Soapmaking Q and A: March 1 1999 - June 9, 1999

Soapmaking
Questions and Answers

Archives: March 1 1999 - June 9, 1999

Disclaimer | Post a Soapmaking Question, Tip or Answer | Back to Current Q & A's

March 1 1999 - June 9, 1999

pH lower than 8 | Lard vs. tallow & crumbling | Wood ash recipe | Beer Soap? | Where use soap? | Goat's Milk Lotion | Leaf Molds | Stirring temp? | Molded bath bombs? | Fats into lye- Why not? | Bath Bead Mess | Novice Q's | EO Problem | Small bubbles | Fresh Cucumber Problem | White film on transparent soap | Where to buy Tallow Soap? | Liquid Tallow? | French Milled? | Bath Bomb Info | Why sugar? Help, Ash! | Black soap | No trace | Transparent recipe | Mold Making | pH How-to? | How much Water? | Basic Q's | Glycerine source? | Speed Cure? | Soda Soap | Glycerine Recipe | Inlay patterns | Allergic to Lye | Star Soaps | Beginner's Soap | Yucca | Test cleaning power | Glycerin soap base | Glycerin soap base | Soapmakers convention | PVC- remove from molds | Bath-fizzers | Wooden soap molds | Oil beads | How much scent? | Molds? | Scented LIQUID soap | Is expensive oil better? | Shower gel |



pH lower than 8 ~ Date: Wed, 09 Jun 1999

I intend to make some soap bars with pH lower than 8. What does the people normally put into the soapbase?

Thanking you in advance for your help.

Best regards,

Burhan ---

REPLY:

There are a lot of soap bases on this website. That is kind of a high ph balance.

What are you using this for?

z



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Lard vs. tallow & crumbling~ Date: Tue, 8 Jun 1999

Is there a difference between lard and tallow? Also, my soap crumbles when I try to cut it (I use a large plastic square as a mold.) What am I doing wrong?

Alida ---

REPLY:

Hi,

originally lard was rendered from pork fat, tallow from sheep or beef fat. Today, literally, lard is a rendering of all the fat, tallow is from the suet or fat around the kidneys. A lot of people use lard in place of tallow. Here in San Antonio, because lard is used in many dishes, one can buy lard at the local grocery store.

Rendering lard or tallow is a long process. In a large stock pot, add the fat(cut off as much meat as possible), cover completely with water. Add 1 tablespoon salt for each pound of fat. Bring to a boil, the reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 4-6 hours. Strain through 2-3 layers cheesecloth minimum 3-4 times to ensure all the impurities are strained out. You can put the lard/tallow in a plastic container and freeze indefinitely.

If your soap is crumbling, the ratio of lye to fat was too high.

z

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Wood ash recipe~ Date: Wed, 9 Jun 1999

I found a recipe for making liquid lye out of wood ash and water but I can't find a recipe to make it into soap, as I don't know its strength. Does someone have a recipe for liquid lye. It would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Siubhan (siubhan@webnet.qc.ca)

http://www.webnet.qc.ca/~siubhan/main.htm ---

REPLY:

Hi, Siubhan-

You can find instructions for the whole process at:

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/paul_norman_3/soapmake.htm

Good luck with your soapmaking!

-Alan

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Beer Soap? ~ Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 I have been asked to make a soap using beer. Can I replace the water in my recipe with beer? If so should it be flat or would that matter? I am selling my soap to a pub and it would be great to create a soap using their beer for them. Twyla (BbrazTall@aol.com) ---

REPLY:

I've tried wine, but never beer - I would try a very small batch exchanging the beer for water. I would definitely go with the flat - active beer could cause the lye to bubble up so fast that you would get burned.

Please email again and let us know how the beer soap turns out! I'm very interested.

z

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Where use soap? ~ Date: Sat, 29 May 1999

where all can you use a soap?

-no name ---

REPLY:

Besides in the bath, you also can use homemade soap as a laundry detergent.

z

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Goat's Milk Lotion ~ Date: Fri, 28 May 1999

Hi,

I'm trying to find a recipe for goat's milk lotion.

thanks .

Alice ---

REPLY:

Hi, Alice-

Any lotion recipe will work, just replace all or part of the liquid with goats milk.

z

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Leaf Molds ~ Date: Thu, 27 May 1999

I have been looking for multiple cavity plastic loaf molds. I have seen them before, but cannot locate any to buy for my melt and pour. Can anyone out there give me some suggestions where I might purchase some retail or better yet a manufacturer. I have already contacted rubbermaid and was told that they do not manufacture anything like that. Please help!

coleenm@cwix.com ---

REPLY:

You might try Wilton Cake Products. They have a website (http://www.weddingcake.com/wilton%20catalog/Wiltonhomepage.html) or you can find their decorating books in most craft stores or Walmart.

Another suggestion (and this is involved) would be to go to a hobby store and buy the resin and make your own.

z

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Stirring temp? ~ Date: Thu, 27 May 1999

Good morning,

I have been researching recipes on line and can not find this answer. When you pour your lye/water into your oils at a particular temperature, do you continue to maintain that temperature all through your stirring process and pour into molds at that temperature or does the temperature get turned off at the point when the oil and lye are mixed?

Thank yo so much for your help.

Tananger1@aol.com ---

REPLY:

You really don't need to worry about maintaining the temp (i.e., testing for the temperature). With the ingredients at the right temp, stirring will keep the soap mixture temp. up. What you do need to do is keep the soap mixture warm after pouring. I do this by putting a blanket over my soap mixture(that has been covered as to not get on the blanket) for a minimum of 24 hours.

z

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Molded bath bombs? ~ I'm interested in making the bath fizzers (bath bombs) but would like to make them in molds rather than just as balls. Also, is it possible to add color to these? Would appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks!

Tasha ---

REPLY:

Tasha

Molds are great as long as you use the flexible ones - candy molds are really good.

Yes, you can use food coloring or natural colorant

z

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Fats into lye- Why not? ~ Date: Tue, 25 May 1999

I've made a few batches of soap, and have always poured my fats into the lye mixture. In your TIPS section, you say to never do that - why?

Alida (Fridgeart1@aol.com) ---

REPLY:

Alida-

There's more chance of the lye spouting up on you than with the visa versa method. If you're careful though, it is ok.

z

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Bath Bead Mess ~ Date: Tue, 25 May 1999

I was looking around on the web two days ago for soap and beauty recipes and found "Zenda's Homemade Soap and Beauty Recipes" on your website, and now cannot find it.

I have a question about one of the recipes and would love to be able to make it, but I have looked all over your site and can only seem to find other soap making pages.

My question is on the bath beads. I was wondering if it really should have a quarter cup of rosewater. When I tried to make the recipe, it said I would have a thick dough, but I had a runny mess instead, and I followed it exactly. I think there is too much liquid added, but I don't know how much to cut it down to.

I hope you can help!

Thanks,

Kim ---

REPLY:

Kim-

Depending on the humidity in the air, you may need to cut the water amount back. Try adding a little at a time until you get the thick dough.

z

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Novice Q's ~ Date: Sun, 23 May 1999

1.Can you use 76 coconut oil for hot process?

2. Is vanilla an essential?

3. Why can't I find it anywhere?

4. What's the difference between palm oil white and palm kernal oil?

5.Where's the best place to get grapeseed extract?

I really appreciate the help thank you. You can probably tell I'm a real novice.

Debbie (deboed@compsurf.com) ---

REPLY:

1. I'm not sure what 76 coconut oil is?

2. Vanilla is a fragrance

3. Try looking on the web for FO (fragrance oils)

4. One is made from the kernel and the other from the rest of the palm nut and is filtered

5. I buy mine at health food stores

z

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EO Problem ~ Date: Wed, 19 May 1999

I'm having a hard time with EO's, I rebatched my soap added the lemon EO, and there is still no scent! This is the time I purchased a different EO Lemon.

Should I add benzion to hold the scent? if so how much do I add to a 1# batch?

Thank you

lisa (llois@bellatlantic.net) ---

REPLY:

Maybe it's your EO - some EO are actually synthetic, not real and don't hold the scent. You can try Benzoin. I've never tried lemon, but when I use tangerine, the smell is very faint. You may also try adding ground lemon peel or finely chopped lemon zest, steeped in the water overnight.

Hope this helps

z

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Small bubbles ~ Date: Fri, 14 May 1999

Thank you very much for your help. I have another problem namely:

Have you ever found that the stampfed soap after cooling down shows small bubbles on its surface? When the stampfed soap is still warm, it doesn't have such small bubbles on the surface.

Thanking you in advance,

Burhan Salim ---

REPLY:

The problem is overstirring - like with egg whites or whipped cream, the more you stir or whip, the more air bubbles are produced. In egg whites or whipped cream, it is desirable, but not in soap.

z

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Fresh Cucumber Problem ~ Date: Sat, 8 May 1999 I made a beautiful glycerin bar using fresh pieces of raw cucumber. By the next morning it was very wet and the clear glycerin started turning cloudy. How could I prevent this? and Do I need to use a preservative?

Thanks in advance,

Dana Lesiak (bubba@cchono.com) ---

REPLY:

There may be 2 problems here - The raw cucumber is one - your best bet would be to dry it in the oven before adding it to the glycerine soap. The natural juices clouded the soap. For regular soap, heat it up with the oils.

For the second - did you make the glycerine from scratch? If so, did you add a simple syrup solution to the alcohol mixture? If not, that is part of the problem also.

You can add a preservative in the original batch. If you bought the glycerine soap already made and ready to remelt, then there is already a preservative included.

z

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White film on transparent soap ~ Date: Fri, 07 May 1999

Hope you have a nice day! I have a question regarding transparant soap. I try to make a transparant soap, but after a few days there is a white appearance at the soap surface. Could you tell me how could I solve this trouble?

Thank you very much for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.

best regards,

Burhan ---

REPLY:

The first time I made glycerin soap, the same thing happened. The soap was poured before it was ready. Glycerin soap is a little tricky. Are you adding sugar water to the alcohol mixture? That will help keep the soap clear.

z

FEEDBACK TO REPLY :

Date: Mon, 10 May 1999

Thank you very much for your help.

I do use cristall sugar to alcohol mixture. As the soap becomes hard, the soap looks clear. But afer one week storage time, that soap has a white appearance (looks like white cristall) on the surface.

If we cut off this white appearance, the soap still looks clear. But it appears again after a few days. How could I solve this?

Thanking you in advance,

Burhan Salim

REPLY TO FEEDBACK:

Date: Thu, 13 May 1999

Burhan-

Here's my research on the glycerine soap problem. I thought it was this, but wanted to make sure.

There was excess lye in the original soap batch and that is causing the crystals. You can remelt and add an additional 5 ounces of the simple syrup, but I can't guarantee it will work. In normal soap batches when I have this problem, I throw the whole batch out and start over.

z

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Where to buy Tallow Soap? ~ Date: Tue, 4 May 1999

Where can I buy TALLOW Soap?

Thanks.

Fred Casioppo (fcasi@earthlink.net) ---

REPLY:

Most people today make the vegetable soaps since you literally can't buy tallow to make the soap, you have to render the suet which is a long and messy process.

I would do a search on the internet.

z

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Liquid Tallow? ~ Date: Tue, 4 May 1999

Does TALLOW Soap come in a liquid form?

Thanks.

Fred Casioppo (fcasi@earthlink.net) ---

REPLY:

No, it doesn't come in liquid form.

z

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French Milled? ~ Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 ...I still am in the dark with reference to French Milled soap. The only thing I found on your website was a suggestion that it may be "rebatched soap" and I don't know what "rebatched soap" is anyway. Is it just another name for French Milled soap or is French Milled Soap just the fancy equivalent of rebatching? What is rebatching anyway? Is there something "French" about it? Specifically, what is involved in "French Milling"? What, if any, are its advantages to the consumer or the manufacturer?

While we're at it, can you also supply some information about "bath bombs"?

Sincerely,

SMG ---

REPLY:

French Milled Soap is simply regular homemade soap grated and melted with a little water 3 days after the regular soap has been poured which is also called rebatching. The advantage is you can use colors and other additives in this process that the lye would destroy in the regular soapmaking process. It also has a different sort of shiny look. The disadvantage is this process doesn't always work. I've had batches that melted into a beautiful thick pudding consistency before pouring and I've have batches that ended up more like thick oatmeal. A lot of home soapmakers get discouraged with this.

z

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Bath Bomb Info ~ Date: Mon, 3 May 1999

While we're at it, can you also supply some information about "bath bombs"?

Sincerely,

SMG ---

REPLY:

There is a bath bomb recipe on the website.

z

TOP



Why sugar? Help, Ash! ~ Date: Sun, 2 May 1999

  • why is white sugar used to make milk soap?
  • does weather effect soap? I live in Sacramento, CA, since the spring has arrived my soap seems to be ashey, in the begining I rarely had ash, help please?
  • is Borax approved by the FDA? and why is it used?

I am just entering the soap market and it seems scary even though people say they love my soap I am finding it hard to make my soap meet my specifications which are a deep rich brown moist and a nice bar of goat's milks without that awful smell? I did it right twice but since then no luck. I am begining to wonder if it is the weather or maybe my supplier has changed vendor? or maybe I am pouring when it it is too hot or too much beeswax? I use beeswax because to make it harder.

Renee Abdullah ---

REPLY:

Hi Renee,

I've never used sugar in my soap except for the glycerine soap. Sugar is an antiseptic though. I use it in bath mixtures for that reason.

The amount of butterfat in the milk has a lot to do with the final product. Nubian goats have a high butterfat content, so you are in essence superfatting the soap. As for the smell, I have always added fragrance. When do you add your milk? I used it instead of the water and that may have taken care of the smell. You might want to try another supplier to see if it is the milk, but I have talked to a lot of people who complain about the smell. Try substituting water for the milk and see if that helps first. Have you tried buttermilk? It makes a very nice soap also.

The weather can make more ash on top. Do you immediately cover your soap after pouring? That could help with the ash problem.

Borax is a water softener and is not biodegradable. The bath bombs () have borax and I was asked if there was a suitable replacement. At the time, I didn't think there was, but have since experimented with baking soda and have achieved the same results. Baking soda is not toxic and is biodegradable.

z

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Black soap ~ Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999

where can I find information about the black soap?

Thank you.

Cauture ---

REPLY:

Try the Majestic Mountain Sage website (http://www.the-sage.com) - Tina might be able to help you

z

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No trace ~ Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999

i have been making soap for almost a year now and i have NEVER had a batch actually trace. i most commonly make lard & coconut oil soap, but have also made a few batches with all vegetable oils. i stir and stir and stir, leave it, come back, stir some more, and finally just give up and pour it. It always turns into soap in the end, but i'd really like to understand why it never traces. i'm amazed when i hear of people's soaps hardening up so they can hardly stir them i'd be delighted if i could even get a soft yogurt consistency. Any ideas?

grace ---

REPLY:

The lard soaps take a very long time to trace. Sometimes, I can barely see the trace and you're right, sometimes I just get frustrated and pour the stuff.

I have found when I use the vegetable oil and coconut, the soap traces faster, but it still takes hours. I have used GSE(grapeseed extract) and that makes the soap trace really fast.

z

TOP



Transparent recipe ~ Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999

Hi--

I just saw your website today, April 27---I may not be reading the site correctly, but I couldn't find the recipe for transparent glycerine soap. You responded to someone on April 12, (Hapywyf@AOL.com) and referred to recipes and instructions. When I looked there, I saw some recipes but not for transparent. Im under the impressions that you use whiskey or vodka. Any suggestions before I undertake this? thanx! Deb

DEBORAH bRINKERHOFF (thebrink@cpros.com) ---

REPLY:

The recipes are at the bottom labelled Glycerin Soap and yes you do use vodka. I wouldn't try the glycerin soaps until you have mastered regular soap though.

z

REPLY:

Oops! the link was wrong. It should have been to here .

We're sorry for the inconvenience.

-Alan

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Mold Making ~ Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999

I have an idea for a great line of soap shapes, but don't know how to make a mold. It would be a series of 14 shapes or so in a related theme. I would also like to do the same line in candles. It would have to be reusable and accessible to a low budget. Help! (Before someone else steals my idea!)

Chris O'Raidy (Omagine@AOL.com) ---

REPLY:

You could try the mold resins found in hobby stores and use candy molds or cookie cutters.

z

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pH How_to? ~ Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999

How to measure the pH of toilet soap bar?

Burhan ---

REPLY:

You test the soap with pH test strips (available at any pharmacy).

z

The strips change color according to the acidity or alkalinity of whatever you are testing. To use them, you need to moisten the soap with pH neutral water (test the water by wetting a small piece of pH paper), then touch a fresh piece of pH paper to the wet soap.

Alan



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How much Water? ~ Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999

Thank you for your reply to my question. I have already gone to the web site and started buying some of the ingredients described. Unfortunitally while reading through the instructions I encountered a descrepancy. The recipe calls for 11.5 Ounces Lye and 32 Ounces Soft Water

The directions say "The night before you make soap, measure the lye and soft water into a container." I assume this means 11.5 Ounces Lye and all 32 Ounces of Soft Water.

Then the directions say "The day you make soap, heat a pan of water to boiling and place cooled lye water in it." My question is, if I use all 32 ounces of water for the first step, how much water needs to be boiled for the second step? I assume the second batch of water needs to be soft or distilled water but I have no idea what quantity of water needs to be used.

Once again, thanks in advance.

Jeff ---

REPLY:

Sorry for the confusion -

Use all the soft water to dissolve the lye in a heatproof container Let cool overnight. The next day, heat a pan of tap water and once it is boiling, place the heatproof container into the pan of water(like a ban marie in cooking).

z



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Basic Q's ~ Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999

I just started this week looking at making soap and other household products, so I really know nothing in the "soap world", but would like to know. I am going to try to go and buy some ingredients this weekend to make some soap, but I do have some questions first.

Soap base? I know you told a reader that it it just the soap itself, so does that mean that you make soap from a recipe and let it harden for how ever many hours, then cut off however much you need for the recipe? That doesn't make much sense to me? Can you just make it, and not let it harden before you put it in a recipe?

Also, what do you think are the neccessities to have to make for the basics? I found a lot of easy recipies on www.esosoft.com/thelibrary/index.htm and was wondering what you thought of them, if they look like something that would work and would have a fairly decent shelf life? I know that I have a lot of questions, but I really want to get involved and make soap for myself and friends and family. Any suggestions or sites that you recommend would be greatly appreciated.

Jennifer ---

REPLY:

Jennifer- We sent your Q to Zenda, but in the meantime, check out her recipes and tips here at GreenSense.

-Alan

REPLY:

Jennifer,

The soap base is actually one of the regular soap recipes(not glycerin) cured(hardened). The liquid soap is still caustic and must finish the saponification process. Depending on the soap recipe, this finishing could take 24-48 hours. Then the soap needs to cure for a minimum of 3 weeks (4 weeks is better).

If you are rebatching or making glycerin soap, let the soap base harden for 3 days before using.

I haven't had a chance to look at the website you listed, but will and give you feedback this weekend.

For other bath items(oil, bath salts, etc.), there are recipes and instructions on this website.

z

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Glycerine source? ~ Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999

I am wondering if anyone has a good source for melt and pour glycerine at a wholesale price. I have purchased from the soap wizard for $1.89 per pound but wondering if it is cheaper anyplace else?

judy (kntry5@aol.com) ---

REPLY:

Try contacting Tina on the Majestic Mountain Sage website (http://www.the-sage.com). She may know of a place.

z

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Speed Cure? ~ Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999

Is there any way to speed up the long curing time for soaps based on vegetable oils only?

B. A. Tridandi (batridandi@yahoo.com) ---

REPLY:

No, if you dry them too fast, the soap will crack and be very powdery. I made a batch of Castille soap and put it in the garage to cure - of course I live in San Antonio and this was July, so the garage temps probably got up to 120 degrees or so. The only thing I could use the soap for was washing clothes.

I grated the soap and got powdered washing detergent.

z

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Soda Soap ~ Date: Mon, 12 Apr

We are doing an experiment that calls for "soda soap." Can you tell me what that is and how to get it?

kim ---

REPLY:

The only thing I can think of is soap made with baking soda and most people who make soap could make that special.

z

REPLY:

Names can be confusing. Sometimes it's had to tell what a particular one means. People have used a variety of alkaline substances to make soap. Modern lye is either sodium hydroxide (also called "caustic soda"), or potassium hydroxide. They're both strongly alkaline. But so are potassium carbonate and sodium carbonate. People used to boil down wood ashes to get a liquid lye that was high in potassium carbonate (also called "potash", because it was left in the pot as crystals when the water had boiled away).

Similarly, an old-fashioned name for sodium carbonate is "soda ash". I think it was first introduced as a substitute for potash. A slightly more modern name for soda ash is "washing soda". And then, there's the familiar "baking soda" a very mild alkali. Generally, the word "soda" turns up when the metal in an alkaline substance is sodium. So, the the experiment might be referring to a soap made with sodium hydroxide, sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, or a combination.

If it's an old recipe, maybe it calls for "soda soap" to specify soap made from sodium-based lye instead of soap made from potassium-based lye. I've read that wood ash-derived lye, which is rich in potassium, will not make soap with as great a variety of fats and oils as lye made from sodium hydroxide.

-Alan



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Glycerine Recipe ~ Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999

I'm looking for a recipe for glycerine soap (soap by the slice). Any idea where I could get it at.

My daughters love it, but mighty expensive to keep them on a daily supply.

Thank You.

Hapywyf@aol.com ---

REPLY:

On this website, there is a recipe and instructions. After reading, you will understand why the glycerin soap is so expensive. It is a long process, takes lots of practice, and from every lb of original soap, you may get 1/4 - 1/2 lb of glycerine.



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Inlay patterns ~ Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999

I would like to learn how to make a soap loaf inlaid with colorful patterns, polka dots, checkerboards, etc. Any recommendation on how it is done. Thank you, Gina.

Gina ---

REPLY:

It can be done with plain soap, with glycerine, or a combination. Your best bet is glycerin. You can melt and color it easier that plain soap. Whatever mold you have, just melt the glycerin, color it and pour a thin layer on the bottom of the mold. Before it sets, add your hard glycerin or scraps(bits and pieces) of plain soap. Keep layering until you're done.



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Allergic to Lye ~ Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999

is there any way of making soap using a substitute for lye? I am allergic to it and would like to make soaps avoiding lye.

Wendy (puckhades@hotmail.com) ---

REPLY:

No, you can't make soap without lye, but the lye is chemically changed to soap during the soapmaking process, so if the soap is made correctly, there wouldn't be any lye left. Before you make soap, why not try the Castille bars that you can buy in your grocers?

z

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Star Soaps ~ Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999

I'm a newbie to soap making. I want to make five-pointed star soaps with each star point a different color from the center. Can anyone help me find a mold or tell me how to seal off the points of an existing candlemold?

Cheryl (Cheryl_Kidd@lb9.uscourts.gov) ---

REPLY:

Your best bet is candy molds. They are one piece, but flexible to get the soap out.

z

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Beginner's Soap ~ Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999

A couple years ago I developed an interest in making soap and I even found a few old recipes but I never really had the time to work on it. The other day I was at the mall and I saw some home made soap which rekindled my interest.

I understand the process of making soap but I have never actually applied it.

What kind of recipe would you recommend for someone who has never made soap before? Something simple that would have good results for someone who has no previous experience.

I am also interested in making pure vegetable glycerine soap, and transparent soaps, but I realize that there will be a learning curve. The transparent soap is what really caught my eye at the mall, it was easy to look into the soap and see different colored chunks of soap mixed into it.

Are there any books that you would recommend for the beginners and eventually the experts?

Thanks in advance.

Jeff ---

REPLY:

Hi, Jeff, there are recipes with instructions on this website. z



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Yucca ~ Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999

I am interested in finding out how to utilize the roots of the yucca plant (soap root) as a soap, detergent, or shampoo. What must one do in order to turn the raw roots into soap? Anyone know where to buy bulk yucca root? Failing this, I would like to know what the best, cheapest, bulk soap/shampoo is that can be used in running streams without harming the environment. I would also appreciate a source for this. Thanks!

Water Spryt (WaterSpryt@aol.com) ----

REPLY:

All you need to do is pound the root a little and add water. Licorice root will also clean. Both of these won't bubble like soap, but will still clean. I get the roots from the health food stores here in San Antonio. Have you also tried Soapwort? It's an herb that the Aztecs used for cleaning.

If all else fails, any Castille soap will work. You can find it in your local grocers. Also, Real Goods has biodegradable soaps in their catalog and on their web site. There is also a company called Harmony that sells biodegradable products. If you want their address, email me at zenda.weaver@bpsolutions.net and I'll bring it tomorrow.

z ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Comment: About Soapwort (the one I'm familiar with is also called Bouncing Bett) - When it's in season (early to mid-summer, when it flowers), it makes a handy soap. Just grab a handful of the flowers and rub them in your hands with a little water- instant suds. It makes a great shampoo- just put the flowers in a piece of cloth to keep the petals and leaves out of your hair.

-Alan



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Test cleaning power ~ Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999

About soap experiments- how do we test for the cleaning power of bar soaps?

Elizabeth (lavender_s@hotmail.com) ---

REPLY:

If you want to be really accurate, you need a scale, and bars of soap that are equally dry. Use a knife or a grater to shave some soap from each bar, then weigh out equal amounts of shavings for each test. Or you could cut off chunks then grind them into a powder and use equal quantities by weight or volume (1/4 tsp., etc.).

-Alan

REPLY:

I've never thought of experimenting with the soap - but I've made and used all the recipes on this website and I've used them for bathing, washing clothes, etc. with no problem for normal use.

For non normal use - oily hands - I make a garden soap with a little bit of sand or cornmeal. For facial soap, I use the cucumber soap.

Yes there are chemicals in commercial bars that enhance the cleaning power, but I haven't noticed that big a difference except the homemade soaps aren't as drying.

Hope this answers your question

z

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Glycerin soap base ~ Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999

i want to start making the melt and pour decorative glycerin soap but i don't have a recipe for the soap base. all the recipes begin by saying to melt down the base. what they don't tell me is where do i get my base to start with. i need help. i am really anxious to get started "soaping". i would appreciate a recipe or some advise on how other soapers started. thanks!

janelle (rjohnson@icx.net) ---

REPLY:

The base is regular soap - there are recipes and instructions on this Web site under my name. The kits have glycerin soap already made, you just melt and pour.

z



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Soapmakers convention~ Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999

I have heard there will be a soapmakers convention in Cincinatti April 23-25, 1999. Does anyone have any information about it?????

Perr ---

REPLY:



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PVC-remove from molds~ Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999

You mention using pvc pipe as a mold, covering one end with several layers of wrap. How do you get the soap out of the pipe? Thanks for your help.

Becky ---

REPLY:

Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999

This may sound strange, but it works!

I cut a circle the same size as the inside of the pvc pipe out of a cardboard box. Take off the wrap, place the cardboard piece on the end, then push with a dowel or a broom handle.

z

REPLY:

Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999

To get soap out of PVC pipe you split it with a saw & tape it together prior to pouring soap. When the soap cools (2-3 days) open it up.

Perr

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Bath-fizzers~ Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999

I'd like a recipe for making "bath-fizzers/bath-bombs". Thank you!

Kristine (lonetree@coastaccess.com) ---

REPLY:

You'll find one on our site here.

Alan

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Wooden soap molds~ Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999

Where can I find online, some interesting, comprehensive (or perhaps historical), images of wooden soap molds and their construction? Please send a few reponses to my email address below. Thanks!

Kristine (lonetree@coastaccess.com) ---

REPLY:

Kristine-

I've never searched for old soap molds. I would look for websites that sell molds and email them for further info. They may know someone.

z

You might also try contacting Paul Norman. He has a page on traditional soapmaking at:

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/paul_norman_3/soapmake.htm

-Alan

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Oil beads ~ Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 00:53:33 -0500 (EST)

Hi, I'm trying to make the oil beads to put in the bathtub (what do call them?). Anyways they are filled with gel or oils.

Is this possible to make at home? Are there maybe beads made with gel??

Thank you for your help :-)

Mirtzy ---

REPLY:

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999

I don't know of a way to make them at home. The soap section of this website has a bead recipe I believe. If not, email me at zann@idworld.net and I will get you one. They are not gel though.

z



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how much scent? ~ Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999

I found a great link in Sweetcakes for scents, but how much should I use? My recipe uses 1 lb of lard, 4 tbsp lye. I'd like a really GOOD scent in my soap. Thanks

Alida Rothgeb (Fridgeart1@aol.com) ---

REPLY:

Hi Alida -

It's best to only use essential oils and there are only a few that the lye won't kill. Lavender, rosemary, orange, lemon, tangerine, patchouli, mint, and cinnamon** to name a few. I would use 6-10 drops. If that is not enough, just add more in the next batch. I'm not sure how strong a scent you are looking for!

**cinnamon can be very toxic to the skin on some people

z



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Molds? ~ Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999

What kinds of molds are being used? I have tried cookies trays from cookies at the grocery store, plastic and rubbermaid silverware dividers, and boxes lined with wax paper. Any other suggestions?

Deborah ---

REPLY:

You can use a shoe box lined with a trash bag. PVC pipe works well - just make sure you grease it thoroughly The plastic planter dishes - again grease it thoroughly. Candy molds work well also.

z

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Scented LIQUID soap ~ Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999

I have never made soap in my life but would like to start. I am interested in making scented LIQUID soap in bulk quantinties. Can anyone please head me in the right direction? Thank you so much.

S.Brown (elvisluv@flash.net) ---

REPLY:

Go to the Majestic Mountain Sage web page and email for the recipes and instructions.

z

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Is expensive oil better? ~ Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 22:17:17 -0500 (EST)

Is soap made from expensive oil any different or better than soap made from lard or Crisco?

Alida Rothgeb

---

REPLY:

Coconut oil will give you suds, but is very drying and should never exceed 25-30% of the total oils.

Lard will give you the hardest and longest lasting bar.

Palm and Olive oil make a very soothing bar.

Grapeseed oil will help cut the tracing time.

The others have pretty much the same properties as the above. I pretty much stick to Olive oil, Coconut oil, Lard, and Crisco.

z

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Shower gel ~ Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 06:22:08 -0500 (EST)

Hello

I'd like to have a go at making my own shower gel, probably initially by melting a plain bar of soap and then adding some goodies. Any tips on times and quantities would really help.

Thanks

Kate ---

REPLY:

You can't just grate bar soap, add water and get liquid. Liquid soap is made from a different type lye. Contact Majestic Mountain Sage on the web for ingredients and instructions to make the gel.

z

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