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Today - October 26

| How melt glycerin soap? | Where do I find a vat? | Salt in Soap? | Soap and the environment | Simple shower gel? | Opaque melt and pour | Orange spots | Benzoin Powder OK? | Benzoin Powder OK? | High altitude soapmaking | Regulatory Agency? | Can I use silk flowers? | Use only Olive Oil? | Slimy soap, Tallow smell | Cut-out Bath Bombs | What Preservatives? | Recipe for bathtub cookies | Recipe for buttermilk soap | Will it ever harden? |

October 26 - June 5, 1999

Use on dark clothes? | Benzoin uses | Important to wrap? | Soap from lye and meat skin | Ugly greenish/brown colour | Glycerine for kids | Bombs crack | Amber, not clear | Weigh oil? | Where benzoin in NZ | Best oil for lather | Use food coloring? | Setup and cure | Use loaf/bread pans? | Grainy texture, smells fatty | What happened to the colors? | Too soft to grate | Why use goat's milk? | Use candle scent? | Where buy glycerine soap blocks? | Where benzoin? | Large bubbles, dew drops | Need liquid with powdered Goat's milk? | Like clearasil | Water softener problem | Shiny bath beads | What does triple milled mean? | No suds, bubbles or foam | A very damp climate | Removing oil residue | Saponification values | Shower gel? | Soap sweats | Bees Wax Soap Recipe | Liquid bath gel | Glycerin Soap Chunks Supplier? | Old soap turned rancid | It S E P A R A T E D! | Measuring Soap Weight | Using Coconut Milk | Baking Soda Soap | Crumbly soap | Came out like mush | First Batch, lots of Q's | Goatsmilk recipes | Inexpensive scale? | Where to buy lye? | Too much lye? | Glycerine Soap Loaves | Small Recipes | Clay recipe | Bumpy rebatch | Soap with a greeting | Soft enough to cut? | Gel stage good/bad? | Eo's retain properties? | Essential oil vs. fragance oil |

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 |

Dec 3 1998 - Feb 28 1999

Bars cracked | Liquid olive oil soap | Distilled water | How to make it gooey? | When to add cocoa | Processing roots and seeds | Won't Remelt | Olive Oil Soap | Spanish Olive Oil | Cream soap | Use commercial soap for remilling? | Clear glycerine soap | Lye and Goatsmilk | Use Food Coloring? | What is Re-milling? | Olive Oil Supplier? | Potpourri Soap? | Benzoin Supplier? | Soap Experiments? | Cocoa Butter Problem | Liquid Soap From Animal Fat? | Chunks and Swirls | Irritating Soap | Rebatching- Expensive? Difficult | Quick Trace | Soap Without Lye? | Recipes? | Alka Seltzer? | Lemon Peel Problem | Without Tallow | Not hardening |

June 1 1998 - Dec 3 1998

Substitute palm oil | Conditioner is separating | Suppliers | Shiny Bath Beads? | Tacky Glue | Where to purchase lye | Gooey gloop | A sticky mass | What can I do with remnants? | Alternative to Lye? | Thanks | Benzoin | Fuse together | Powdery residue | won't cure | CANNOT USE LYE | Unscented shampoo | Why Borax? | Soap pH | Fat-to-lye | Oils spoil? | Crumbling Beads | Coloring Bath Salts | Cloudy Oils


The Next Step...
Making Transparent Soap
Catherine Failor...
has step-by-step instructions + equipment & mold selection, dyeing & fragrancing ideas, inexpensive tools, and even how to formulate your own recipes.

How melt glycerin soap? ~ Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999

how do you melt glycerin soap?

kelli wirth ---



I just melt it in a double boiler, same as you would chocolate



Where do I find a vat? ~ Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999

I need to start making 200# batches of soap. Where do I find a vat preferably with its own heating unit and also with a spigot for puring into molds. What do other people use for large batches?

Susan ---


Zenda recommends a visit to Majestic Mountain Sage (

You also might try A & J Technical Services Co. ( They're consultants to commercial soapmakers. The person to contact is Tony Morris via their Post Office link (

Good luck!



Salt in Soap? ~ Date: Sat, 4 Dec 1999

what is the use of NaCl in soapmaking?

paolo ---


As for the salt question - I've never used salt in my soaps, so I don't know.


The only use for salt in soap that we've heard of is that apparently, commercial soap makers use salt to separate out the glycerin (a natural byproduct of soap making).



Soap and the environment ~ December 4, 1999

Hello, I am making soap in my kitchen and I love it. I am going to give a demo speech on soapmaking for my "Final" speech class. Because there are several 'earth conscious' people in my class, as well as my self; I'm wondering about the effects of the lye/fat residues that are present as I finish a batch of soap. ( I contacted my local county Environmental Health department; they only said that I don't want to produce massive batches of soap if I am on a septic tank. (because the lye would dissolve the greasy layer on the top of the system and make it sink to the bottom.)

Anyway, sorry, I get wordy! I have not been able to find out if there is something to neutralize the lye as I am cleaning up after a batch of soap. One soap book said to use vinegar in the clean up, but didn't say why. Any suggestions to sites or sources. Thank You!! ---



Vinegar (neutralizes lye to a point) along with lots of water (to dilute the lye solution)

Lye is strongly alkaline, vinegar is a mild acid. Once you have diluted lye with plenty of water, vinegar will neutralize any traces that remain. When you make soap, the fat in the soap also acts to neutralize the lye, assuming you've added enough fat and mixed it thoroughly enough and let it cure long enough.

When it comes to the environment, we think soap is way better than most detergents, which can contain petroleum derivatives (and surfactants. The surfactants break down into estrogen-like compounds. Some researchers are concerned that these compounds can wreak havoc on human and animal reproductive systems.

We think small-scale, homebased soapmaking is pretty easy on the environment, especially if you use that soap instead of detergent.

-z & alan


Looking for a book?
Making Natural Liquid Soaps
Catherine Failor...
Has recipes for liquid soap, conditioning shampoo, dog shampoo, shower gels, bubble bath and more...

Simple shower gel? ~ Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999

I am looking for a simple way to make shower or bath gel using a glycerine base. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thank you

Tony ---


Tony- Liquid soap is different than hard soap. You can find the recipe for liquid soap on the Majestic Mountain Sage website ( You can't take melt and pour and make gel like you get at the store.



Opaque melt and pour ~ Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999

I have been making transparent glycerin melt and pour soap and it has worked perfectly but I have seen lots of opaque melt and pour loaves and dont know how to make it opaque. Is there anything that I can add to my transparent stuff to make it opaque or is it a totally different process?

Melody ( ---


It is a different process. The more sugar you add to the alcohol when making glycerine soap, the more transparent.



Orange Spots ~ Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999

Help. I have been making soap for about a year. I have made only vegetable based soaps. The bars turn out well, good texture, hardness, (atleast after a few months of experimenting).

After about 6 weeks of drying the bars develop small (1/4"dia) yellowish-orange spots. Is this rancidity, and how do I prevent it without adding preservatives? It seems awfully soon for the bars to go bad.

I've tried changing recipes and not using any veg. shortening, thinking that might be it. Also thought it may me the way I was storing them (wrapped in wax paper) but it doesn't seem to make a difference. help.


Linda ---


Mine have done that too - I will look in my reference books to see if I can find the solution.



Benzoin Powder OK?~ Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999

I have been unable to locate a supplier for Benzoin oil. I have found Benzoin powder, but the recipe I have calls for oil. Are there any problems with substituting powder for oil? I am new to soap making and want to make sure.

bah ---


Powder is fine, just take out a few ounces of the soap base and mix with the powder thoroughly, then add back to batch and mix thoroughly. It is a lot easier to mix the powder with a small amount of base than to add to the whole batch and try to incorporate.



High altitude soapmaking ~ Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999

Would like to know if high altitude soapmaking is possibile and if so are there special requirements?

robin ---


It may take longer for your soap to cure, but everything else should be fine.



Regulatory Agency? ~ Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999

I have been making glycerine sopa(melt and pour) and have found a market in which to sell them do you know what regulatory agency would handle this? Are ther labeling regs or anything elsel I would need to know before putting them up for sale? Also I had been considering using Benzoin to keep the scent longer any thoughts on that for glycerine soaps?

Val ( ---


The FDA is over all of this. Try their website or call one of the compliance offices and they will send you all the information you need.

There is a debate, but in my mind you should list all of the ingredients - what is someone is allergic to an ingredient? Now you're looking at a potential lawsuit. Have you also looked into Product Liability Insurance?

I've never used Benzoin, so you may want to email some of the soapmakers on line



Can I use silk flowers? ~ Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999

I am making melt-and-pour glycerin soap bars for christmas. I would like to imbed flowers....can I use silk flowers? Dried flowers? Fresh flowers?

Any information would be helpful, this is my first attempt!

Yelcha ---


I would only use silk flowers. The others even though encased in soap, will wilt and decay.



Use only Olive Oil? ~ Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999

I have had some previous soapmaking experience but have always used a combination of olive oil, coconut oil and Crisco (with some superfatting at the end). I recently tried a handmade soap that claims to be made of 100% olive oil with some superfatting at the end. It was the most wonderful, moisturising soap.

My query - is it possible to use only olive oil in my recipe (I am willing to compromise on the lather by leaving out the coconut oil). Also, I have found a table that provides reduced lye measurements for soap that you would use on your face and I thought I'd experiment with that as well. Any special problems I may encounter? As a general rule, I have used a stick blender to get a trace when working with 100% vegetable soaps.

Angela Davenport ---


You can use 100% olive oil and superfat at the end, no problem. I've done it and added a tablespoon of beeswax at the end.

The misnomer of soapmaking is "lye is the bad boy". By the time your soap has cured, there is no lye left. It has saponified and chemically changed and is no longer caustic. Using less lye will only cause more problems than you want to undertake.

If you want a nice moisturizing bar, then superfat with avacado oil (I make a cream with it and it works wonders with rough elbows and feet) or you can make your own cold cream and superfat with it. Superfatting with almond oil is another good choice.



Slimy soap, Tallow smell ~ Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999

hi. i have two questions.

i have just finished curing (4 weeks) a batch of lemon soap using lemon peel, the juice of a lemon, lemon essential oil, and a basic soap including cocoa butter, tallow, and olive oil. when dry, it is hard to the touch, but once it touches the water it feels a little slimy. is this normal?

also, all the soaps i have tried are tallow based. i can't seem to rid them of that tallow smell, no matter how long they have cured. (my oldest batch is over 6 weeks old) any suggestions? thanks so much.

linda ---


>...feels a little slimy. is this normal?

Yes it is normal

>...that tallow smell...

Are you rendering the tallow yourself? If so, add more salt to the water and strain 4-5 times. If not, find another supplier.



Cut-out Bath Bombs ~ Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999

I would like to make bath bombs. Are there any additional recipes besided Zenda's. Could you tell me how you make them in heart-shaped or other cut-out patterns. I have seen them like this in stores.

Sandra ---


I think I have some other recipes, I'll see if I can find them quickly.

As for the heart shapes, just use a flexible(candy) mold or the flexible soap molds that are out now.



What Preservatives? ~ Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999

What can be added to handmade soaps as preservatives? I've used grapefruit seed extract but it is quite costly. I have been told that vitamin E, 1000 I.U. can be directly substituted as a preservative. Is this correct, and what other low cost additives can be used as preservatives?

Ramona A. ---


You can also use wheat germ oil.



Recipe for bathtub cookies ~ Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999

Does anyone have a recipe for bathtub cookies. They look like a peanut butter cookie in size and shape. When you put the cookie in the tub it melts and scents the water.

Deb ---


Hi, Deb-

You'll find a recipe on our site at

Once you're on the page, to get to the recipe, use your browser's search function (usually CTRL-F) and enter "bath cookies".

Have fun! Please let me know if you have any problems finding the recipe.



Recipe for buttermilk soap ~ Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999

I am looking for a good recipe for buttermilk soap. Also is apple soap good for anything in particular?


Crystal ( ---


I just substitute buttermilk for the water. The soap will start out a purtried orange/beige, but will cure to a really pretty medium beige. I have made buttermilk lavender soap in the past. A friend of mine sent a couple of bars with her husband on a military weekend in the woods. He loved it and so did everyone else.

If you grate the apples(use green and red) and leave the skins on, heat with the oil and add to the soap. If it is the same as cucumber or carrot, the soap has really pretty green and red flakes. Medicinally, the apples don't add to the soap. If you use a recipe with lard or tallow and Crisco, the soap will be very white and so the colored flakes will show up more.



Will it ever harden? ~ Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999


I made my first batch of soap about a week and a half ago. It was a plain olive oil castille (from The Complete Soapmaker book) It has barely hardened at all. It looks like a gelatin dessert. I'm sure I followed the directions correctly.

Will it ever harden and how long will it take? It would like it to be cured by X-mas.I am reluctant to try the recipe again before I know if it will harden. I'm am a vegetarian so I can't make a fat based soap. Thanks. ---


It should have hardened by now. All you can do is wait unfortunately. Did you use a scale to measure everything? Did you use distilled water?



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