Soap Making Terms
If you want to learn about different soaping methods and get help for potential problems, then it helps to know common soap making terms. Whether you are a beginner or experienced, you are likely to come across something new with your batches at least once. So, we are here to help you understand what to do and how to solve any soap-making issues.
Soap Making Terms: How Much Fragrance Oil Can I Add to Soap?
While you should always check the usage rate for each individual fragrance, the maximum that we recommend is 5%. Sometimes you can a scent where the IFRA sheet allows more and you can do more if you’d like. After you know the usage rate, you just need to do some simple multiplication to figure out how much scent you need.
Formula: Weight of Soap x Usage Rate = Weight of Fragrance Oil
Example: 912 grams of soap x 0.05 (which is a 5% usage rate) = 45.6 grams of fragrance
Soap Making Terms: Why Did My Soap Turn Brown?
Often fragrance oils that contains a high amount of Vaniilin will turn soap brown. Also, the color will be a darker brown with scented oils with higher amounts of Vanillin. We can use Vanilla White Color Stabilizer to reduce these effects and still use the scent. Since this ingredient is added to provide a vanilla scent, strong vanilla fragrance oils will almost always turn soap brown without the color stabilizer.
Soap Making Terms: Can I Use Essential Oils in Soap Making?
Yes, essential oils can be used to scent soap. We find that essential oils hold up better in MP soap than in soap made from scratch. This is because the saponification process can cook off the essential oil, which doesn’t have middle notes to anchor the scent. You may have some scent after the soaps cure, but it won’t be as strong as it is in MP soap.
Soap Making Terms: How Much Essential Oil Can I Use in Soap?
This can be different for each essential oil, so you will need to check the IFRA sheet for the usage rate. Then, you can figure out how much you need using the same method as you would for fragrance oils.
Soap Making Terms: How Do You Make Soap White?
You can add titanium dioxide to soaps to make them white. In fact, many of our white soap bases use this ingredient. If you wanted, you could use this ingredient to turn your clear soaps to white.
Another option for soap making is melt and pour soap. This method starts with a soap base that has already gone through the saponification process. So, you cut need to cut and melt the amount your need before you are ready to add colorants, fragrance, or herbs. Then, you can pour the melted soap into a mold and spray the top with rubbing alcohol. As soon as the soap is hardened, it is ready to use!
Soap Making Terms: How Much Melt and Pour Soap Will I Need for My Mold?
For each ounce by volume in your mold you will need 31 grams of soap. Say the soap mold will hold 16 ounces, you will need 496 grams of soap
Formula: Constant Value for Soap Needed to Fill Mold x Volume of Mold = Weight of Soap
Example: 31 grams per ounce x 16 ounce mold = 196 grams of MP soap
Soap Making Terms: How Long Should Melt and Pour Soap Stay in the Mold?
This can vary based on the size of soap you are creating. Smaller soaps will take less time compared to bigger soaps. Just make sure that they are hardened all the way before you remove them. Also, you should be able to feel that the mold is no longer warm to touch.
Soap Making Terms: How Do I Get My Melt and Pour Soap Out of the Mold?
While you should be able to hold your molds upside down and lightly push, sometimes they get stuck. If you place your soaps in the refrigerator for a short amount of time, this should make it easier for you to remove your mp soap.
Soap Making Terms: How Do I Get Fingerprints Off My Melt and Pour Soap?
Sometimes when you are removing your soaps from the mold, you can transfer a fingerprint. Just use some rubbing alcohol to dampen a cotton swab and gently swab the fingerprint. It should begin to fade as you do this.
Soap Making Terms: Can Melt and Pour Soap Be Used Right Away?
Of course! The saponification process is already complete before you get your soap base. So, there is no active lye to worry about. This means that you can use your soaps as soon as they harden.
Soap Making Terms: Why Is My Melt and Pour Soap Sweating?
There are a few reasons why your soap would sweat. First, it could be due to adding too much oil. Whether it is fragrance oil or carrier oil, the soap can only hold on to so much before the oil begins to leak out to create beads on the surface. More often, it is due to the soap drawing moisture from the air. Since your soap base uses vegetable glycerin, a humectant, it will draw moisture to it. Although this is great for you skin, it can lead to your soap sweating . However, you can prevent the latter by wrapping your soap as soon as it comes out of the mold. This way it can’t pull moisture from the air.
Another way to make soap from scratch is hot process soap. This process is very similar to cold process soapmaking. However, in this method you will have a heat source to speed up the saponification process. You can use a crock pot or stove top to heat your soap mixture. After, you can technically use the bars immediately. However, letting them cure a week will provide you with harder, milder bars.
Soap Making Terms: Does Natures Garden Offer Any Hot Process Soap Recipes with Shea Butter?
Soap Making Terms: How Long Do You Have to Wait to Use Hot Process Soap?
Yes. Although you don’t have to wait as long for your soaps to cure, there is still some lye left that needs to react. Typically, you will need to wait 1-2 week(s) before using your hp soap.
Soap Making Terms: What Does Rebatch Mean?
If you want to redo a soap batch or add more ingredients, then this is a great idea for you! It is common to rebatch to correct issues like seizing or forgotten ingredients. Also, this can be done to add ingredients that wouldn’t react well during the saponification process, like natural exfoliates or essential oils. First, take the soaps that you aren’t necessarily pleased with and grate them into pieces. Place these pieces in a crock pot and melt them with milk, water, or another liquid to prevent scotching. Also, add any additional oils that you want in these soaps. Allow you batch to reheat for one hour at which point it will by thick. After, add the color, scent, and herbs before scooping this soap into a mold.
This process is one of a few that are refereed to as making soap from scratch because in uses water, lye, and oils to create bars of soap. Another key characteristic of this method is that you don’t need outside heat, as the lye provide enough heat for saponification. Once trace occurs, you are able to add colorants, scented oils, and herbs can be added at this point. After 24 hours, you can remove the soap from the mold and cut. However, you must let your soap cure for a period of 4-6 weeks.
Soap Making Terms: What is Lye in Soap Making?
Lye is a caustic base that is a key component for soap, as it drives the saponification process. It is sometimes referred to as sodium hydroxide for bar soaps and potassium hydroxide for liquid soaps.
Soap Making Terms: What Does Saponification Mean?
This is the process of lye reacting with the oils/fats/butters to produce soap. Saponification will produce both the soap and the glycerin in the soap.
Soap Making Terms: What Does Cure Time Mean?
Cure time is the period where the soap finishes the soaponification process until there is no more active lye present in the bars.
Soap Making Terms: What Does the Term Trace Mean in Soap Making?
In soaping, trace is when the lye water and the oils/butters have been fully combined. You will know that you’ve hit trace because the batter will thicken to a pudding-like consistency. Also, you can check to see whether you are at trace by using a spatula to “trace” a line of soap in the batter. You will notice that the line will not immediately disappear and you can see a trace of the soap you drizzled in.
Soap Making Terms: What Does Light Trace Mean in Soap Making?
Light trace is the point right before your soap comes to trace. You will begin to see a trace, but it won’t stay for more than a few seconds. So, the batter is about to hit trace where it will be thick enough to see the soap for a bit longer.
Soap Making Terms: How Long Does It Take for Soap Batter to Get to Trace?
The time is takes to get to trace will vary between batches for a number of reasons. The ingredients in a recipe can lead to different times. Also, fragrance oils and some soap additives can accelerate or slow trace in your batch.
Soap Making Terms: What Does Seize Mean in Soap Making?
If your soap seizes, then it means that your soap has gone through saponification enough that the batter is beginning to turn from liquid to solid. While this isn’t bad on its own, it makes it impossible to pour soap that is still in the bowl. This hardening soap that hasn’t yet made it to the mold will be too thick to mix and, at best, will be chunky in the mold.
Soap Making Terms: Why Do I Have Lye Pockets in My Cold Process Soap?
If you use too much lye in your soap recipe, then you can
Lye pockets can form in cold process soap most often when too much lye is used. However, it could also be a recipe that wasn’t properly formulated, an oil was left out, the soap seized, or even when the lye solution was not fully mixed. If the lye was not completely saponified you can always rebatch the soap and hot process the soap adding additional oil. Also, it is possible that it could be used in recipes such as laundry soaps that can utilize soap with a higher pH level.
Soap Making Terms: Can I Change the Soap Making Recipes?
Unlike many other bath and body recipes, you can’t simply swap out oils in the Natures Garden formulated recipe. Each oil has a certain saponification value that determines how much lye it will react with. So, switching an oil could result in your batch being lye heavy. Even if you wait longer to cure, there won’t be enough oils to react with the lye and the bars will irritate the skin or even cause burning. Instead, use SoapCalc to determine what you would have to change to get the recipe that you want!
If you have any other questions or concerns about soapmaking, then please reach out to us! One easy way to ask us something is on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Have fun soaping!