Liquids Used in Soap Making

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    Cyn wanted to know about which type of water to use in soap making.

    In a perfect world, distilled.

    I buy filtered bottled water, uncap it, let sit for at least 24 hours, and use that.

    Milks: cows, goats, camel, mares, coconut, almond, oat…
    Purées: fruits and vegetables

    I will plan my recipe, measure out my liquid, and then throw it in the freezer. This way, I usually don’t have to wait so long for the lye solution to cool down.

    Helpful hints:
    Working with milk. Most bloggers and internet people tell you when working with milk, they freeze in ice cube trays. I suggest freezing in something like a 500mL cottage cheese tub. When you are ready to add your lye, dump the milk cube into your lye solution container, pour the lye in, and stir. When I don’t use this method, my milk seems to scortch and gets all discoloured. When I use this method, my lye solution is perfectly white as snow and my finished product is white as well.

    Purées. When I work with purées, I use all the liquid as my purée. So if the recipe calls for 1200g of water, I add in 1200g of purée. Like the milk I freeze it, but I find there is very little difference in ice cube trays or a chuck frozen.


    Ooh. So freezing the liquid and adding the lye to it helps curb the excessive heat? Omg, this is awesome! You are most cool!
    I would never have thought of that and just blended it together and never considered the possibility of scorching milk.

    Would you freeze the fruit or veggie purée? How about oat milk and the like? Would freezing distilled water be preferable on a regular basis to soap at room temperature or just wait it out?


    You don’t need to freeze the water. It’s not going to scorch like milk. I’ve taken yogurt and coconut milk, mixed it with the heated oils, then poured the lye water into the mixed oil/milk solution. I’ve not done any puréed foods yet so I don’t know if you need to freeze that. I’ve not read where you need to do that. I did not freeze the oat milk I used in the one recipe.

    For general Soapmaking, Marie’s room temp soaping is a great method. Milk soaping is a little different, due to the sugars in milk, so I’d wait until I had a few recipes under my belt before tackling a milk soap. I still haven’t done a full milk soap yet and I’ve been doing this over two years. That’s not to say you can’t, but it really is for more experienced soapers.


    I’ve never done that! When I use milk or oat milk or something, I replace all the water. So when I made my strawberry soap, there was no water. Just strawberries.

    I have found that when working with something other than water, freezing is the best method to prevent unintentional discoloration. You never have to freeze your liquids mind you, I just do it to prevent discolouration unless that is what I am going for. And when it comes to purées and milks, I strongly suggest freezing. As I mentioned before, many suggest ice cube trays, but I find freezing the liquid all together works better when you are making larger amounts of soap (1kg or more), it doesn’t seem to melt as quickly and results in less discolouration.

    The following pictures, they are the exact same recipe. Only, I wanted one old fashioned and wanted the other more modern. I used a strong peppermint tea as my liquid;

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    You can see the first picture, the bottom is more of an old ivory colour and the second one is more of a clean white. As I said, exact same recipe, just the old fashioned bar had room temperature peppermint tea as the liquid, and the white bar has frozen peppermint tea as the liquid. Even where I added in the oxides and mica’s, there is a slight difference.

    Sometimes you want that more aged look and sometimes you don’t. Both soaps work the same, feel the same, have the same ph and last about the same length of time.

    Note regarding slab molds: the old fashioned soap in the slab mold taught me that slab molds and fun swirly tops are not a good idea when you have he bar impressions on the bottom. You squish the top! I was heart broken!


    They’re beautiful, Penny. So lovely.


    You make beautiful soaps Barb!! I love white soaps! Something I haven’t achieved yet. I get ivory every time. How do you get an all white (not using TD) natural soap?? I’ve seen people do it, I’ve just not figured out how. I know it has to do with the color of the oils, but oils are yellow, so I’ve not quite grasped this concept.

    I’ve never done a full milk soap mainly because I usually decide last minute to make soap! Haha! No time for freezing! I do have a quart (or half gallon….I can’t remember) of goats milk. I froze it in two large ziplock bags laid flat so they’re basically slabs of frozen milk. That would work as a chunk, right?? I may have to try that! I love how creamy goats milk soap feels!

    I’ve always done partial milk soaps and added whatever milk product I was using either at light trace or stick blended into the oils before adding lye water. I’ve not had it scorch that way. I can’t remember where I saw that technique….it was either Kenna from Modern Soapmaking’s website or Amy Warden’s Great Cakes Soapworks site. You have to be a bit more careful since your lye water solution will be much stronger due to less water. I’ve not had any discoloration with this method, but I do stick it in the freezer for an hour then transfer it to the fridge for the rest of the night so it doesn’t volcano or split from the heat generated. I have a second refrigerator in the garage, so it makes that part easier. The fridge in my house would never hold my soap mold. It’s always full!

    An interesting read on additives in soap is on Modern Soapmaking. Search Lather Lovers : Additive Testing. It’s a great read because different soapmakers made soaps with a control recipe, using the additive at the indicated level, then tested the results found after cure….soap feel, lather, etc…Kenna comes back a year later, I think, and tests her bars again, reporting the results she found on the aged bars. There’s 26 different additives that were tested. I want to try a few! Naturally!!


    I wanna make the swirly tops! I put them as my background at work today. It was nuts. It was my only sanity.


    I always hated those days at work! Soap is sanity! haha


    if you want the white bar, titanium dioxide is your friend. I find olive oil to be one of the worst culprits when it comes to off white soap. Here’s one of my favourite soap recipes:

    30% lard
    30% coconut oil
    15% shea (refined)
    10% rice bran
    5% apricot oil
    5% castor

    Frozen fresh cream

    Milk powder
    Kaolin clay (sifted)
    Salt and sugar in the lye solution


    Water Discount:

    Came to trace pretty quick, poured/spooned into the 3kg slab mold. Unmolded 24 hours. It was on the soft side so let sit another 24 hours before cutting. Nice edges. The bars after one week almost rock hard. No soda ash. Cut test three weeks: passed.

    I love taking this recipe and adding more than I need of titanium dioxide, upping the water, and forcing it through gel for the glycerine rivers and trying to get soft pink clay rivers. Such a pretty soap!


    Oh! That sounds pretty! I think glycerin rivers in soap look cool.

    How much salt and sugar do you use in the lye water? Or lye milk, as the case may be!


    1tbsp salt per kilo
    Sugar: any soap where I’ve added a purée or a milk, I don’t add sugar. otherwise, I add about a tbsp of honey or sugar.

    Sugar and salt to the lye solution and honey at trace.


    I know! Glycerine rivers are awesome! They look fantastic! But not in all soaps. Some I want a clean finish and most I’m like meh. Antiquey!


    *blinks* I need more understanding. Glycerin rivers…the little runnels in soap from glycerin forming? There’s so much to learn! Gah! I need my lye to arrive!


    Soap Queen has pics of glycerin rivers in soaps. And yes, Twin, you are correct!

    Waiting for supplies is agony!

    Cyn, I have a funny meme to show you…

    Me and Cyn


    😂 omg, that’s so us! I keep telling myself, no more, that’s all. It never works. I want more!

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