This is the updated recipe for this soap. (3/23/2013)
[donotprint] If you follow hubby’s blog you know that we finally tested the very first soap we made four weeks ago. It was so bubbly. Check out his picture here.
A week ago Dave and I went to a local craft fair that had all homemade/handmade crafts. There were at least five soap vendors, which was our main reason for venturing out. You know – research. We had fun talking and buying from several of the vendors who were willing to share their soaping experiences with us.
One specific bar we bought was a hand soap with coffee grounds. Wow! What an idea. We bought it and cut it up so we could try it in the kitchen and bathroom. We both agreed it was the best hand soap for getting grease and grime and all of that other stuff off of our hands.
So then back the books and specifically to the lye calculator. The best one I’ve found is here. However, there are several online. (I also checked this recipe with the other calculators just to make sure.) With this calculator you enter your total oil weight, the superfat discount (I use 8%) and then the percentages of the oils you want to use. From this information, you get a formula of the exact amounts of each oil, water, and lye necessary to make this soap. But what is even neater (sorry, couldn’t think of a better word) is it lists seven different qualities of this recipe including hardness, cleansing, conditioning, creamy, bubbly and more. It gives an INS number which should be between 136-165 with 160 being the best number for the physical qualities of the soap. This soap came in at 161. The recipe can be printed and put in the soap binder with any notes for future additions or deletions.
The soap we purchased included the oils that I have listed. However, I decided to add some Shea Butter to the mix due to it’s skin softening and healing properties. But as with any good stuff, a little goes a long way. We also substituted double strong coffee made with distilled water for the water in this recipe. The coffee gives this bar a dark color. To this soap I also added castor oil, not used in our previous two soaps. Castor oil, when used at 3% to 5%, gives a fluffy and long lasting lather and is a healing oil. (Used in larger quantities will take a long time to cure.) There are soapers who won’t make soap without it. So I thought I’d add it to this soap.
We also went with a blend of Essential Oils: orange and tangerine, which I also used in the Cocoa Butter Creamy Lotion. A note about the grounds, when adding to the soap, make sure they are dry. (Dave spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven.) Do not use wet coffee grounds because it could cause the soap to mold. Not a good thing! [/donotprint]
Below you will find our recipe. I’ve included the percentages so if you want to make a bigger batch, you can enter these numbers into the calculator.
A note with dealing with lye. Caution needs to be taken when using this. We open our kitchen window to give the room ventilation during the soap making, even on those cold days. Also, keep gloves on until finished with cleanup. I took my gloves off early and touched the soap mixture while cleaning. I didn’t burn them, but they are real dry and uncomfortable. If you want to make your own lye from wood ash, Lynn has a great tutorial here.
The verbiage in this post (except what is written in red and the revised recipe) was written in 2010. Since then we have made this soap several times and have made changes that are reflected on the above recipe. The previous soap recipe worked, but we wanted to make improvements especially making sure we had enough scent.
The only problem we had with this soap is we did a pouring no-no. When pouring into the mold, we scraped the soap mixture off the sides of the pan. Because of that, we had a thin layer on the top that was different than the rest. Layers are nice but we didn’t want one. That small layer doesn’t hurt the soap, it just doesn’t look very pleasing. But again, this is hand soap!
We are excited with our soaps and plan to make more including herbs from our garden. We’d like to try clary sage, calendula, peppermint, and lavender to name a few. I’d also like to include avocado and mango butters and goats milk to the next batch. What is great about soap making is that once you have a basic understanding of the process and are accurate in your measurements, you can be as creative as you want. If you’ve always wanted to make soap like we did, try it. We’ll be making another batch in a couple weeks. Can’t wait!
Funny I should find my way to your website today after I had just read about soaps and back to basics in a “greening your cleaning” book. Your citrus coffee hand soap is beautiful.
Sounds like you’re having great fun with soapmaking 🙂 Your first bar looks lovely!
The lye calculator you used sounds great with the listing of different qualities and such! I’ll have to try that one for my next soap 🙂
Where did you read that the ground coffee has to be dry? I used wet for mine and it didn’t turn mouldy or anything. It couldn’t really because the lye and water and oils continue to react together throughout the curing stage, at least a couple of hours, so I think the lye would ‘kill’ the excess water in the ground coffee very quickly once they are all together in the mold!
Your recipe is very similar to what I use, except I substitute cocoa butter for shea and almond oil for castor (I’ve once tried a recipe with a huge amount of castor oil though and it turned out fantastic) 🙂 Also I don’t use grapefruit extract.
Always works great for me and is so much fun :))
Hi Kristina, Thanks for dropping by my blog. I’ve read that online and in Soap Naturally. I think it would be easier to add to the trace as dry ingredients instead of a glob of grounds. In SN she says “Wet coffee grounds must be avoided because they might make the soap too wet and more prone to oxidation and molds.” I guess I am so cautious since we are just starting to make soap. Glad you had success with the castor oil soap. The grapefruit extract or GSE is a preservative. what preservative do you use? It is fun, isn’t it? Thanks for dropping by.
Hi Lynda. I was meaning to get back to you earlier but got swamped with work… I don’t use any preservatives in my soap, in fact I don’t know anyone who does. Through the lye soap has a very high ph-level and very few bacteria can survive that. Even those who do need water to multiply and there isn’t enough water in soap. I don’t think wet coffee grounds would make a difference there, because there generally is a bit of leeway as to how much water you can add…you should add a little more if you use mostly solid oils and fats (like coconut oil or palm oil) and a little less if you use mostly liquid oils (like olive and such).
Another reason soap can go off is because of oxidation (through air from the outside). To make my soaps last long I use only oils that have a long ‘best before’ time left (even though using them for soap actually prolongs their life further). All soap should be good for at least a year and a half! Some people use Vitamin E to further prevent oxidation (though I don’t).
About the grapefruit extract…all I’ve ever read about that is that it was once thought to be a preservative but then discovered to be a myth. It did preserve, but only because the grapefruits had been previously treated with pesticides (such as triclosan) and in studies using pesticide-free extract no preservative function was found. Lots of commercial products still have it but they do use other preservatives in the same product as well 😉 I was looking around for a scientific source for you but found only german studies and they won’t be much use for you.
I’m not claiming to be an expert on soapmaking though, far from it!! I get all my information from a large german soapmaking community. Lots of those people sell their soaps and go through the extensive task of getting their recipes and ingredients certified and lab tested (all required here in Germany and extremely expensive) so I trust they know what they’re talking about 🙂
Just another note, that all applies only to soapmaking, making creams and lotions is another matter entirely…you absolutely need to add preservatives to those!
Ok, hope you’re not mad at me for writing all of that and hope you’ll still enjoy soapmaking and will make many more gorgeous soaps :))
Kristina, I’m so glad you commented again. I am glad to hear about GSE not being needed. I’ve read so many sources and it seems like there are a lot of ways to make soap including the use of preservatives or not and even on the different temps for cold process. Makes my head spin! I’ve joined a couple soaping groups to gain further education on this hobby. Thanks for your comments and please continue to help educate me on this hobby.
Hi Lynda. I know, there seems to be loads of information out there and some of it contradicts each other :/ I’m not really familiar with the english speaking soaping community, so maybe I’ll learn some new things through you here as well 🙂
I guess the only real harm you can do is not to calculate the lye properly, everything else won’t make too much of a difference I’d say!
Looks like you did an awesome job with your coffee soap!! Good stuff!
I have read many soapers who have said that they put a preservative in their soap.. which is just a waste because.. you don’t need a preservative… I do goats milk soap and I have never, ever put a preservative in and some bars I have are 2-3 years old.. and still smell awesome!!
I do a scrubby bar with coffee grinds and oatmeal which is very nice!
Chris, Yes, I have learned that I don’t need a preservative in soap and won’t put it in anymore. There’s just so much information out there and I’m just learning but we’ve had success with our first four bars. That’s great to know your bars are still good 2-3 years later! Awesome. Thank so much for dropping by.
Your soap looks great.
Hello! I was wondering if you could email me a copy of the recipe you have a picture of above…I have tried using the lye calculator you linked to and I was wondering if I could check your recipe with mine to make sure I’m using it right.
Much appreciated! 🙂
Miranda from Alberta
Miranda, I sure will.