The major difference between bar soaps and liquid soaps is the alkali used to saponify the oils. All soap, whether hard or liquid, starts with a simple chemical reaction between oils and an alkali. With bars soaps, it's sodium hydroxide. With liquid soaps, it's potassium hydroxide.
As I said, liquid soap is a bit more complicated, so for beginners, it's best to use a tried and true recipe. The recipe I'm using is based on a recipe from Ellen Peacock of Ellen's Essentials. It's a simple, easy to follow, reliable recipe with a good balance of lather and moisturizing.
For this recipe you'll need:
- 16.5 oz. Sunflower Oil
- 7 oz. Coconut Oil
- 5.5 oz. Potassium Hydroxide KOH
- 16.5 oz. Distilled Water for the Lye Mixture
- 40 oz. Distilled Water to dilute the soap paste
- Either 2 oz. of boric acid or 3 oz. of borax mixed into 10 or 6 oz. of water
- Approx. 3 oz. Fragrance or Essential oil, as desired
- Soap dye or colorant, if desired
- Basic tools etc. for mixing the lye
- Large crock pot
- Thermometer, scale, measuring cups
- Stick blender
- (Recommended) Potato Masher and/or flat whisk
- (Required) Several heaping measures of patience!
Let's get started!
Note: If you want to formulate your own liquid soap recipe, be sure to read Lye Excess in Liquid Soap Making for very important information on how to formulate your recipes!