Tuesday, November 15, 2005

more mad soap dough science

We tried making our own soap dough again.

Ivory Snow is just as perfumey and gritty as Dreft. Strike one.

A week or so later, I bought Ivory bath bars and grated one with a knife. They grate surprisingly easily... somewhat like a hard cheese, or unsweetened chocolate. I mixed the gratings with 1/4 cup water and a toothpick's worth of paste food color, and stirred with a fork. It was not enough to dissolve the gratings. Kneading with my hands was enough to turn it into a sticky hamburger mess. Two tablespoons of baby oil and a little more water only confounded the issue.

It's now sitting in a remote corner of the kitchen on top of a plastic lid, shaped into a something that vaguely resembles a bath bar, drying until it's somewhat useable. Strike two.

A few days later I grated another Ivory bar. I put the gratings into a blender and ground them and ground them into a slightly sticky powder. I added two tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of baby oil. This prevented the blender from being able to process the mixture. I dumped everything into a bowl and kneaded by hand and.... success! An oily but otherwise nice white soap dough, which BigE and Chickie immediately begged to play with.

Spurred on by my success, I decided to try a colored version. And decided to use liquid food color. And decided to try just chopping the bar before blending it, instead of grating the whole thing. And Mac decided to get fussy and demand all of my attention, so I probably added the water and oil before I'd thoroughly ground the soap. And the blender was sticky from the last time anyways.

In short, I changed too many variables at the same time. The blue batch was an oily and lumpy mixture slightly better than Strike Two. Since the blender is now oily and covered in sticky soap bits, I've called it a day.

Here is my tentative recipe for next time, whenever I do enough dishes and laundry to be brave and mess up my kitchen again:

1 bar (4.5 oz) Ivory soap, grated (or perhaps chopped)
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp baby oil (possibly more, but two left the soap dough oily)
small amount paste food coloring (or substitute liquid food color for 1/2 to 1 tsp of water)
Zippered plastic bags or small clean butter/yogurt containers

Grind Ivory soap in blender until it's a uniform and slightly damp powder. Dump into bowl. By hand, mix in water, oil and coloring. Store each color in a separate container.

Experiments will continue after we recover from this last batch. BigE and Chickie have made enough soap for their own baths to last now for several months, but I suppose they can just keep adding to their collection...


Anonymous kim said...

does the temperature of the water matter?

I do the change-too-many-variables-at-once all the time. It must be inherited.

11/15/2005 5:54 PM  

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