Thickening Liquid Soap

We’ve been making liquid soap for years but it was just the other day that I ran across this thickening tip – plain table salt.

The directions I read said to use 0.5 ounce table salt in 1.5 ounces of water per pound of diluted liquid soap. Being the rebel that I am, I didn’t weigh the salt and measured it by teaspoons. The first round didn’t thicken so I decided to look up how much a teaspoon of salt weighs. It turns out that a teaspoon of salt was a little under that halfway mark for the amount needed. So, for the first attempt I added (in total for the batch) about 1/3 of what I actually needed so I decided to add more.

The batch I made was 5 lbs of paste diluted in 7 lbs, 8 ounces of water. Since the recipe was very high in coconut (75%) the liquid soap was very thin – no where near as thick as I wanted it to be.

So, in the end, I added 2 teaspoons plain table salt per pound of DILUTED liquid soap. Since my total diluted soap weight was around 12 pounds, I ended up mixing 24 teaspoons salt in about a half a cup of warm water. (maybe next time I’ll try HOT water because it takes salt much long to dilute than you would imagine)

What I ended up with was a total surprise. Not only did the soap thicken into a gel (not super thick, but much thicker none-the-less) but the liquid soap itself felt SO MUCH MORE emollient, making it the best feeling liquid soap recipe I’ve ever made.

True, the salt DID turn the clear soap into a cloudy soap but I am more interested in quality than clarity. Besides, our liquid soap is bottled into amber colored bottles so it being clear isn’t a major issue. Also, my addition of the usual borax/water solution may have helped it along as well as the addition of 1/4 cup glycerin.

Note: When I added the salt concoction, it made white strings of clumps throughout the batch and I thought, “Yikes, what have I done?” But, after warming the liquid soap up just a bit a stirring every few minutes for about 20 minutes, all the white clumps incorporated into the batch.

Not only am I happy to find a thickener for liquid soap, but I’m so pleased with the way it made the soap FEEL – none of that “grab” sometimes associated with liquid soap making.