Natural Liquid Soap Making
Basic Liquid Soap Making Ingredients
The difference between making solid bar soaps and liquid soaps is that you'll use a hot process, with potassium hydroxide instead of lye (sodium hydroxide).
The basic ingredients used to make liquid soap are:
- Potassium hydroxide (the base)
- Fats and oils (the acid)
More on potassium hydroxide...
Potassium hydroxide is a toxic and caustic chemical, which is usually found in flake form. Like all caustic substances it must be treated with respect. Avoid breathing in the fumes when mixing potassium hydroxide with water. Always use protective rubber gloves when working with potassium hydroxide. Glasses or protective eye covering is also recommended.
More on fats and oils...
The fats and oils used in liquid soap making can be grouped into two categories: soft oils and hard oils.
Soft oils are generally liquid at room temperature and are high in oleic, linoleic, and linolenic fatty acids. These oils include:
- Olive oil
- Sunflower oil
- Soybean oil
- Sesame oil
- Safflower oil
- Corn and peanut oils
- Many nut oils and specialty oils
The hard oils are generally in a solid/buttery state at normal temperature, including:
Another difference between soft oil soaps and those incorporating a lot of hard oils is the viscosity of the finished product. Coconut-based liquid soaps have the highest actives (cleaning power) and generally have the lightest viscosity (thinness), while soaps using all liquid oils can be thickened somewhat using a variety of different salts, etc. Most of the liquid soaps on the market (ie: Dr Bonners, etc.) use a mix of oils including coconut, and this accounts for the thinness of the finished product.
Soaps using hard oil are also much easier and quicker to make (mixing to the paste stage) than soaps using only soft oils.