Soapmaking Questions

How do I get started making soap?

My batch of soap didn't turn out right. Can you help?

  • Please read through the article: What’s Wrong With My Soap? {troubleshooting cold process soap problems} for an extensive list of reasons and solutions for 30+ common cold process soap problems.
  • If that post doesn’t answer your questions, and the recipe is a Nerdy Farm Wife recipe, please send more information through this Recipe Help form. If it’s not a Nerdy Farm Wife recipe, please ask the original recipe creator for their assistance.

How can I turn soapmaking into a business?

  • Soapmaking is not a get-rich-quick business model. My best advice for new soapmakers is to invest a lot of time into learning the intricacies of soapmaking and making lots and lots of soap for practice. Once you have a strong history of successful batches under your belt, then I suggest exploring the business resources at Modern Soapmaking to get you started in the right direction. I also have an article on Selling Handmade Products.

Can I double Nerdy Farm Wife soap recipes?

  • Yes, you can usually exactly double the recipe as long as you don't change the types of oils used. In theory, if you use the same ratio of oil to lye, you should get the same results, but little differences can add up! This is more of an issue when you halve a recipe, but to double check the accuracy any time you make changes, it's good to use a lye calculator to make sure.
  • We recommend using Soapee: http://soapee.com/calculator or the calculator at Majestic Mountain Sage which is very user friendly: https://www.the-sage.com/lyecalc/
  • Lye calculators like Soapee have a default water setting of "38 % water as % of oils". Nerdy Farm Wife recipes are closer to 29 to 33% water as % of oils, and usually have a superfat of 5 to 6%.

What's the difference between shampoo bars and regular soap?

  • The main difference between shampoo soap bars and regular soap bars is that shampoo bar recipes usually have more castor oil, and often include ingredients that are good for your hair (like rosemary, thyme, jojoba oil, etc)
  • For regular bars of soap, you usually keep the amount of castor oil to around 3 to 5%, or sometimes up to 7%. It helps support and enhance the lather of your soap. For shampoo soap bars, you usually use castor oil up to 15% of the recipe, which gives the soap more of a lathery feel on your hair (more comparable to shampoo feel).
  • The effectiveness of soap based shampoo bars is VERY individualized. Some people love them, while others don't like how they feel at all! Those with soft water usually find the soap rinses out nicely, while those with hard water may find the shampoo bars leave a residue on their hair.
  • If you don't like how a shampoo soap bar feels on your hair, it can always be used as a hand or body soap, so it's never wasted. :) 

Can I substitute milk powder instead of liquid milk in a recipe?

  • Yes. To do this you’ll need to replace the liquid milk with water to keep the overall liquid amount the same. So for example, if a soap recipe calls for 5 ounces of water plus 4 ounces of milk, that makes 9 ounces of total liquid needed. Instead of 4 ounces of milk, use distilled water instead, making 9 ounces total of water, which you will use to make the lye solution. While the lye solution cools, add milk powder to the warmed oils and blend briefly with a stick blender. Try using about 1/2 tablespoon milk powder for every 16 ounces of oils in the recipe.
  • This works with all kinds of milk - cow, goat, coconut, etc.

Can I substitute milk instead of milk powder in a recipe?

  • Yes. To do this: Take the amount of liquid in the soap recipe, and divide it in half. Use half as water, and half as milk. For example, if a recipe calls for 9 ounces of liquid, then you can divide it into 4.5 ounces water + 4.5 ounces milk. Make the lye solution with 4.5 ounces of water and cool. Mix the 4.5 ounces of milk with the warmed oils and blend briefly with your stick blender. Add the cooled lye solution to the warmed oils/milk mixture and then proceed with the soap recipe as normal.
  • This works with all kinds of milk - cow, goat, coconut, etc.

How can I make the scent of my soap last longer?

  • If using essential oils, we suggest the EO Calc site. Enter the essential oil or oils that you want to use, then at the bottom, enter in the weight of your oils, and select "Cold process soap (category 9)". It will then give safe rates all the way up to the strongest amount you can safely use.
  • For fragrance oils, please consult the vendor you purchased them from, as they can vary in strength. Nerdy Farm Wife recipes feature essential oils, so we don’t have familiarity with or advice for working with fragrance oils.

Didn't find what you where looking for? Go back to the General Support Page. If you have a product related question, try the Product Support Page.

flower doodle

Soapmaking Questions

How do I get started making soap?

My batch of soap didn't turn out right. Can you help?

  • Please read through the article: What’s Wrong With My Soap? {troubleshooting cold process soap problems} for an extensive list of reasons and solutions for 30+ common cold process soap problems.
  • If that post doesn’t answer your questions, and the recipe is a Nerdy Farm Wife recipe, please send more information through this Recipe Help form. If it’s not a Nerdy Farm Wife recipe, please ask the original recipe creator for their assistance.

How can I turn soapmaking into a business?

  • Soapmaking is not a get-rich-quick business model. My best advice for new soapmakers is to invest a lot of time into learning the intricacies of soapmaking and making lots and lots of soap for practice. Once you have a strong history of successful batches under your belt, then I suggest exploring the business resources at Modern Soapmaking to get you started in the right direction. I also have an article on Selling Handmade Products.

Can I double Nerdy Farm Wife soap recipes?

  • Yes, you can usually exactly double the recipe as long as you don't change the types of oils used. In theory, if you use the same ratio of oil to lye, you should get the same results, but little differences can add up! This is more of an issue when you halve a recipe, but to double check the accuracy any time you make changes, it's good to use a lye calculator to make sure.
  • We recommend using Soapee: http://soapee.com/calculator or the calculator at Majestic Mountain Sage which is very user friendly: https://www.the-sage.com/lyecalc/
  • Lye calculators like Soapee have a default water setting of "38 % water as % of oils". Nerdy Farm Wife recipes are closer to 29 to 33% water as % of oils, and usually have a superfat of 5 to 6%.

What's the difference between shampoo bars and regular soap?

  • The main difference between shampoo soap bars and regular soap bars is that shampoo bar recipes usually have more castor oil, and often include ingredients that are good for your hair (like rosemary, thyme, jojoba oil, etc)
  • For regular bars of soap, you usually keep the amount of castor oil to around 3 to 5%, or sometimes up to 7%. It helps support and enhance the lather of your soap. For shampoo soap bars, you usually use castor oil up to 15% of the recipe, which gives the soap more of a lathery feel on your hair (more comparable to shampoo feel).
  • The effectiveness of soap based shampoo bars is VERY individualized. Some people love them, while others don't like how they feel at all! Those with soft water usually find the soap rinses out nicely, while those with hard water may find the shampoo bars leave a residue on their hair.
  • If you don't like how a shampoo soap bar feels on your hair, it can always be used as a hand or body soap, so it's never wasted. :) 

Can I substitute milk powder instead of liquid milk in a recipe?

  • Yes. To do this you’ll need to replace the liquid milk with water to keep the overall liquid amount the same. So for example, if a soap recipe calls for 5 ounces of water plus 4 ounces of milk, that makes 9 ounces of total liquid needed. Instead of 4 ounces of milk, use distilled water instead, making 9 ounces total of water, which you will use to make the lye solution. While the lye solution cools, add milk powder to the warmed oils and blend briefly with a stick blender. Try using about 1/2 tablespoon milk powder for every 16 ounces of oils in the recipe.
  • This works with all kinds of milk - cow, goat, coconut, etc.

Can I substitute milk instead of milk powder in a recipe?

  • Yes. To do this: Take the amount of liquid in the soap recipe, and divide it in half. Use half as water, and half as milk. For example, if a recipe calls for 9 ounces of liquid, then you can divide it into 4.5 ounces water + 4.5 ounces milk. Make the lye solution with 4.5 ounces of water and cool. Mix the 4.5 ounces of milk with the warmed oils and blend briefly with your stick blender. Add the cooled lye solution to the warmed oils/milk mixture and then proceed with the soap recipe as normal.
  • This works with all kinds of milk - cow, goat, coconut, etc.

How can I make the scent of my soap last longer?

  • If using essential oils, we suggest the EO Calc site. Enter the essential oil or oils that you want to use, then at the bottom, enter in the weight of your oils, and select "Cold process soap (category 9)". It will then give safe rates all the way up to the strongest amount you can safely use.
  • For fragrance oils, please consult the vendor you purchased them from, as they can vary in strength. Nerdy Farm Wife recipes feature essential oils, so we don’t have familiarity with or advice for working with fragrance oils.

Didn't find what you where looking for? Go back to the General Support Page.

If you have a product related question, try the Product Support Page.

flower doodle
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