Monday, January 14, 2013

Household Experiment: Homemade Liquid Soap, Part Two

Back to the soap making. Now, the other evening, when I first started the soap making, I went downstairs and checked on it - and it looked like this:

A solid, gelatinous mass, akin to that corn starch "playdough" kids make in school. Everyone poked at it yesterday before I started; I flipped the piece over and because of the oatmeal in it, the bottom side looked a lot like congealed cream of wheat.

You weren't hungry, were you?

So I follow the next and supposed to be final step - heat it again while adding water - a lot of water. I added 18 cups of water, stirred it up, was worried it was a bit thin, but put in back in the basement again to cool.  Around 9 pm, I stop and look at it, and I am dismayed - now I have a double sized batch of gelatinous mass!  AHHH!  I stuck my hand it, and started mixing it around. It is actually, once you got the surface stirred in, more like running your hands through too thick slimy pudding - there's lumps and clots that I'm breaking up with my hand. and I'm not happy.  I rinsed my hand off only to be happily surprised - no residue, no slime.  But I had enough of messing with it for the night, I decide to wait til morning.

This is it before I add even more water - looks appealing, doesn't it?  But wait, if you aren't grossed out by that, I have VIDEO!  

This morning, I bring the pan up and add more water. But instead of reheating it, I add hot water - enough to bring us to a total of 30 cups of water for this second stage in the soap making. I stick my arm in it again, and mix it around to get the water through and the lumps broken up.  I'm still not thrilled with it, but it is more like a soft soap consistency now, the pan is full nearly to the top, and I want my pan back - it's make soup day.

And then failure starts. I have the clean bottles to put it in - recycled plastic two quart juice bottles with twist on lids - I have the funnel, but trying to do it with the ladle is an utter failure.  It is still clumpy and slimy, and more sticks to itself and runs out of the ladle than I can get to the funnel and into the bottle!

I resort to using the bath tub. If there's a possibility that this is going to make a bigger mess, I want it in a easy clean up place.  I also resort to a large measuring cup, which has similar problems, but does get more of it into the bottles.  I also put some into the soft soap dispenser that we've have hiding in a cupboard for years, in order to actually try it out.  Once I get it in the dispenser and put the lid on, I shook the hell out of it to make sure it was well mixed.

As I watched it glug and slime into the bottles, I was not impressed.  But I am not ready to call it a failure.

In the end, tub was the right call, I have almost 10 full quarts of this liquid soap, and the CLEANEST pan in town!  Cleanup was actually rather easy - just a use of the sprayer head and all was clean.

I have had the family try it out - daughter complained that it did not foam up when she washed her hands; I pointed out that soap did not foam up that much in bar form either. She declared it usable.  I found that with this old dispenser it does take 3 pumps to get enough on my hands to actually wash, but no residue.  However, it does leave my hands feeling dry.

So let's grade this experiment  on a scale of one through ten - One being a total failure, Ten a total success.

Ease of Doing - I'd say a 7.
Time Spent - 4 - took a lot of time with the cooling periods.
Overall Desired Results Achieved - 5.  I'm taking a neutral stance on it for now, with the idea of using some of this bottled product to do more experiments with in the future.  For now, it achieves the goal - it is usable, we can wash out hands with it.

My dad, watching me do the second phase yesterday afternoon, suggested adding some aloe into it.  Since I have a huge aloe plant, I think we will experiment with some of it that way.

If anyone tries this with their own soap scraps, let me know what brand of soap you used and what your success was. I am curious to know if one soap is better than the other.

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