Soap makers: What'd I do wrong?

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by Oblio13, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. Oblio13

    Oblio13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    New Hampshire
    I rendered some bear fat this fall and ended up with several quarts of clean, clear oil that would solidify and turn pure white when refrigerated. I decided to use some of it to make soap the way it was done for thousands of years. I filtered water through hardwood ashes from our woodstove to get a lye solution, and boiled that down until it would float an egg. Then I stirred one quart of the lye water into two quarts of oil. I ended up with a brown goo that won't foam. In an attempt to salvage it, I simmered it on the stove for a few hours, and ended up with a thicker brown goo that won't foam.

    I have no idea what I did wrong, but as usual, I have increased respect for the old timers who figured out how to do this stuff.

    Bear fat being rendered:

    [​IMG]

    Disgusting useless putrid brown goo:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator Staff Member

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    Different fats have different properties and some will need different amounts of lye to make the soap set depending on the ph you are looking for. Also some fats don't lather well and you may have to add a "lathering oil".

    You might try adding come coconut oil or castor oil to make it lather.

    Your soap might still clean even if it is not lathering.
     
  3. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    Kudos for trying, awesome effort!!! Hope you can salvage it!
     
  4. spookyevilone

    spookyevilone Crazy Quail Lady

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    Soap made from wood ash lye water doesn't make a hard soap. It makes a foamy, slimy jelly. You have to add salt at the end of the boiling to make hard bars - it extracts the glycerine. The soap will rise to the top. You scoop it off into the box mold and leave the glycerine behind. Then it hardens.

    Edited to add: This probably will not foam much at all. Pure tallow tends not to. I'd add some salt and boil the crap out of it.


    -Spooky
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Well, gosh, you certainly did it the old fashioned way. I applaud you.

    The fat to lye ratio needed for saponification is out of proportion in your mix. Therefore you got brown goo and not soap.

    Also some fats need some help to be good soap.

    I agree with Terrie with the addition of some other oils - especially the coconut oil. Not only will it give you lather it makes a hard bar of soap. I would also add some palm oil to the mix as well.

    Don't through out your brown goo.

    Put it in the freezer and you might be able to rebatch it and get the soap you want with the proper lye solution added.

    I do know you have to add salt to it.

    Also the cast iron pot is why it looks muddy.
     
  6. Oblio13

    Oblio13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've found that the stuff makes better lotion than soap. My feet and hands get very dry in the winter, and this didn't seem to get them any cleaner, but it sure feels good!
     
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I don't know how much potash lye you managed to extract but that could be dangerous. Eeeek!
     
  8. spookyevilone

    spookyevilone Crazy Quail Lady

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    Quote:Should be fine - they did the egg test. It's when you put an egg in and the shell dissolves that you gotta worry [​IMG]
    -Spooky
     

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