Even with the very
precise equipment there is waste from the ready soap. Would you
have a solution to use the little chips and cuts of soap? Could
we somehow use the waste? May be you have this kind of inquiry
from other manufacturers too?
We would be too happy to have your advice on this issue.
We encountered the same problem with waste. Even
though we kept careful notes and tried to adjust our batch size
to the least amount of waste, there was always some left.
We used several methods. One was to make balls
of soap. Within a day of cutting the soap we would take the
scraps and a small scale and weigh out piles of soap to a
specific weights. I our case it was 4 oz (113gr). We would then
work the soap as you would dough until it was soft enough to
roll into balls. We then would cure it as normal. We sold these
to retailers as Victorian Soap Balls. Actually, at the turn of
the 19th century this was a popular way to purchase soap. Later
it was found if we ground the soap up it was easier to knead and
make into balls.
Another method was the use of the
It took a while to perfect it so that it extruded the soap
correctly. Basically, you take your scrap soap, grind it up,
place in the extruder and squeeze the soap out like a big
caulking gun. We offer a number of shapes. The ropes are then
cured a week or so (depends on your soap) and then cut into
sample bars. These shapes left in long lengths can also be
inserted into the blocks of soap. One way is to place the Loaf
Cutting Grid over the mold and use it as a guide to place the
shapes. When the loaves are cut into bars they will show the
cross section of the shape.
You can re-melt the scrap and re-pour it. It
does not look quite the same as your original cold processed
soap and you would need to add a little fragrance back in. You
cut it into bars and cure it as you normally would. The problem
here with re-melting (called re-batching) is collecting enough
scrap. You can experiment with it to see what you think. I am
sure there is info on the Net for the best way to do this.
We had a customer that wanted shapes cut out of
slabs of soap. There was so much waste that we turned to
re-batching, to recover it most of it. Personally, I do not like
this soap. It does not look good. It is literally cooked to
death. Any superfat oils left are ruined and their inherent
properties destroyed. There are actually people who make CP
soap, re-melt it, re-pour and then cut it. Makes no sense to me
but there are those who feel better making things more
For grinding the soap we used a large commercial
meat grinder both for rolling the balls and for the soap shaper.
A hand grinder works for smaller amounts.
We also found a simple way to store the soap for
extended periods. Using a bucket, we would put in the scrap soap
and tamp it down as evenly as possible. We then would put a
round piece of plastic similar to a trash bag over the soap.
Another layer would be placed, then more plastic and so on. This
separated the different scents and allowed the soap to build up
to a larger quantity where it would be more efficient in working
with. When it got to the point we were making a lot of soap, we
had a bucket for each scent. The soap will keep years in this
Ground up soft soap can be molded like clay. It
can be kept wrapped in plastic, like a food wrap plastic for
quite a while. Great thing for kids to work with. After they
mold it, it is just set aside to cure. When it is cured they get
to wash with it. A friend of mine Sandy Maine of SunFeather Soap
sells little kits just for this purpose. It is sold all over the
Finally, we have customers who simply put the
scraps in a bags and sell the pieces. I hope some of this helps.
I am interested in
producing bars that are 2-1/2" high by 1-5/8" wide by 5/8"
thick. Do you see any problem with drying a bar of soap this
size, such as curling while curing? Is there difficulty in
cutting a bar so small?
You can stack bars on edge, as thin as 3/8",
kind of like dominoes and then on top of the row lay other bars
flat to bind the row. Bind two rows together with this same
layer. Space the bars on edge about 1/8” (3mm) apart This way
you can move them on trays and it allows
them to dry quickly without warping and without needing to turn
them. There is no difficulty in cutting a bar this size.
How do you go about
mixing the sodium hydroxide with the water for such big batches
For mixing your sodium hydroxide (lye) you can
simply mix it in a five gallon plastic bucket, using one bucket
per mold/batch. You can use one of our NaOH
(Lye) Tanks and gravity feed it into the
Pot Tipper sitting on a
floor scale. You can put a scale below
the tank valve, zero it out and empty into a bucket.
When to cut soap
When must soaps be
Generally you cut immediately upon de-molding.
If you are asking, when can you de-mold and cut then this
depends on individual conditions, temperature of the room, how
you cover it, oils used, etc. but usually around 48 to 72 hours
for Air Soap Cutter™ molds, 24 to 48
Manual Soap Cutter™ molds, overnight
for the Block and Loaf molds. HP
Processed cut as soon as possible.
What type of natural
preservatives do you use to protect your soaps. Right now I am
not using any and some soaps go rancid and some do not, usually
the light colored ones.
If made properly and saponified fully, soap will
last several years. I am sure you are making it properly so I
imagine it is oxidation. Some oils and EOs are prone to this.
Using a good food grade sodium hydroxide is
important for consistency. Of course you do need fresh oils but
I have kept olive oil for two years with no difficulty. There
are different compounds you can try. We used to use Rosemary
Contact: Rockland Foods in NY, 914-358-8600 -
ask for information on Stabil enhance-OSR liquid product #2601.
They should be able to email you some technical information. I
forget what the cost is. It has been several years but a gallon
lasted us about three years.
We used 11 grams per 54 lbs of oil. Very little
is needed. You can also put it in your olive oil to get more
life out of it. This does make a slightly darker shade on your
soap even though it is a tiny amount. You want to shake it when
you use it and keep it in a dark place. Every few months warm it
to about 120F, then shake it up.
Vitamin E (natural) helps but is expensive.
There are other products that are available.
You say on your site
that the Pot Whipper will reduce my
tracing time and give me a better blend of ingredients. Can you
give me an idea as to what my tracing time might be using the
Generally speaking, your tracing time will be
between 5 to 7 minutes, depending upon your batch.
Can you give me some
advice on soap coloring and swirling? There is very little
information and I am a bit desperate. We have pigments here but
they are not dissolving. Do you know anything about that?
If you could tell me the kind of pigments you
got and where, it would help possibly. Some are water-soluble
and some are oil soluble. It sometimes helps to heat the medium
(water/oil) to around 180 F to dissolve.
When we would swirl soap, we would use anywhere
from 1/4th to 1/3rd of the entire batch to make the swirl color.
It was sometimes difficult to incorporate the scent in the swirl
color since it could be getting pretty thick by the time the
main pour was made. We would just put all of scent in the base
and not divide it up into the swirl solution.
Pour the soap with the swirl color, into the
tray in an S pattern, back and forth. Then using a spatula, just
swirl it around either across this pattern or with it.
Experimentation will show you what look that you prefer. You can
do the same with large block molds by just layering it up. Here
are some sites that give tips on swirling.
I want to produce
soap in large quantities but in single molds with a 3D look and
hopefully with a logo. Would this be cost effective?
M&P (melt & pour) soap works well with single
cavity molds but CP (cold processed) does not. The soap must go
through a saponification stage where the sodium hydroxide /
water and oils combine to form soap and glycerin. Heat generated
by this process, helps in the conversion of the oils. Small
cavity molds do not allow the soap to fully develop and finish
off and you get an inferior quality soap. You also generally get
ash on the top of the bar that must be removed by scraping it
off, again displaying incomplete conversion of oils.
M&P would be fine for single cavity, 3D molds
but it is not cost effective for CP production. M&P can be
cooled rapidly and de-molded fairly quickly,. CP must sit for 12
hours or more, even in the small cavity molds. Large production
of M&P has it's problems which we can explain if you like.
80 Gal. NaOH Tank
You said that I can
add my goats milk into the oils instead of when I mix my
lye/water solution. Will this affect the lasting quality of the
soap over the old tried and true method of mixing in with the
That is correct. You can just put the goats milk
into your oils, then mix in the lye/water or put in the
lye/water into the oils, then the milk, it doesn't matter. The
reason that someone originally and probably thought they had to
put the milk into the lye/water, at the same time the lye/water
was mixed, is because they probably considered it as part of the
water. And.....they probably didn't think past this solution
since they were making small batches for friends and family.
You see, most of the early books on soapmaking
were written by people making small batches without much care to
production and efficiency. There was little need for a "better
Some of this filters down into what I call, <
Urban Legend >. One very good example of this is pouring in your
lye. There is no need to dribble it in, you just dump it in. It
is amazing the bad habits I run across regularly that people
have passed down to others.
You can also let the lye cool down completely to
almost room temperature, then add the milk. It will increase in
temperature a little due to reacting with the new liquid but it
won't scald your milk. If you are doing multiple batches you can
do this in the lye tank. With a little observation and note
taking you will soon know exactly what temperatures you will
There are probably other ways to add milk that I
haven't thought of but rest assured, your soap will last just as
long both ways, if everything else in the formula is just the
same. The method of incorporating the milk will make no
difference. Matter-of-fact, if you think about it, your milk
will be going through less stress and fewer temperature changes,
so your actual end product should by all rights be of higher
drying racks are wonderful, but from
there should they (Soap Bars) be in cardboard, plastic, bins,
open, or closed or what??? (until they (Soap Bars) get into
You can just push the soap together on a drying
tray and then put a piece of liner paper or butcher paper over
the tray. This holds the scent in better than spaced apart, yet
lets the soap breath.
However, you can put them in cardboard boxes but
make sure there is some breathing room on top and don't line
with plastic. In humid climates the soap can sweat, if too
tightly enclosed. Plastic bins work but should be vented in
If you are in a dry climate, you may find you
can store in air tight containers or tightly packed in boxes.
How long my soap
I wanted to know if
the soapmaker software shows how long recipes will last before
it goes rancid. Does it provide expiration dates for the
products? How long before bacteria forms; and if not how can I
test my products for bacteria and expiration dates?
Unless your formula has a very high superfat
percentage the soap should last years. It is unsaponified fats
that will cause rancidity. If you use no more than a 5% to 6%
superfat you will be fine.
We have had soap last 6 years or more sitting in
the shop, no air conditioning, high humidity. The only thing
that may occur is that some EOs can discolor, lavender is prone
Due to individualized formulation, the broad and
extensive range of possible combinations, no software will be
able to predict or quantify the outcome of a formulation.
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