Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Adventures with Liquid Soap

I did say that despite my note taking, it would be tough for me to recreate my first batch of liquid soap. AND, I was right. I tell you what, getting right the first time is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you are so excited by your success that you can't wait to try again. On the other, when you try again and don't do as well it kind of makes me want to throw the bowl of goo. Well, there was no flinging of goo, but it was an interesting adventure.

I diluted my soap paste just like I did before and as before, it worked really well. I slowly heat the water and add the paste, but I don't let it get to a rolling boil, just a gentle bubbling. I found that I lose less of my water to evaporation and I can still see if I have undiluted paste. When I let it really get to boiling, there were too many bubbles to see what was happening, then I let it boil too much and had to add more water because it was goopy. So, gentle boil!

Last time I made the soap, I 3% crothix, but despite the instructions saying add it to my cool diluted soap, I could not get the crothix to do anything but hand out in a big glob. So, I heated my soap (very slowly) and stirred well. As soon as the glob was gone, I took it off the heat and let it cool. Well, I thought I'd be clever this time! I'd add the crothix while the soap was still warm (it really seems like a good idea if you think about it). What I didn't do, was remeasure how much soap I had because some had evaporated. What I got was just like the Gloop I've had my science students make. When you move fast, it acts like a solid, but if you go slow, its like a liquid! Simply amazing. Although, I'm sure nobody would enjoy "liquid" soap that will actually break into pieces, but I'm just guessing. I decided to sleep on it.

This morning I got up with a brilliant plan. I would dilute some more soap and mix that in with my Gloop soap. I did have to rewarm the Gloop-liquid mixture slightly to get it to mix, but it did mix. It has now cooled to a very nice consistency and I gave it a try. It really feels as nice as the previous batch. So, in a VERY round-about way, I got the same results. However, many lessons have been learned. First, don't try to skip steps. Second, always measure how much diluted soap you have left to calculate how much crothix you will need.

I've still noticed that the crothix is a challenge to mix in. Any suggestions?