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Biodiesel Soap Recipes

It is pretty simple to make biodiesel soap as well as other cleaning products from biodiesel glycerin.

biodiesel soap - wash elephantThe yield of glycerin from a batch of biodiesel is about 20 percent. When making 100 liters of biodiesel, there will be at least 20 liters of glycerin as a side product. If you were to turn the whole 20 liters of glycerin into bars of soap you would end up with at least 100 of them. That is a lot of bars of soap, more than enough to wash an Elephant!

Seriously though, it does open the possibility for another source of income, selling hand cleaners and floor cleaners etc.

I always keep some glycerin hand cleaner on hand for washing my hands and have found the product to be as good as commercially available hand cleaners.

The biggest issue with the hard biodiesel soap is that it is dark brown and unattractive. It also tends to smell a bit like what was cooked in it so you will need to add some scent. However, it is an excellent soap, gentle on the skin and very high in glycerin.

It is interesting to note that glycerin is considered valuable by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. The soap factories I have been into remove the glycerin from the oil before turning it into soap. This means that most of the soap you buy now days contains a lot of added detergents but no glycerin. High glycerin soaps are generally expensive and specialist items.

Removing Methanol

The first step in any of these recipes is to remove the methanol from the glycerin. If you do not do methanol recovery on your glycerin it will contain a high percentage of methanol . This will be dangerous to the health of whoever is using the products as well as being dangerous to you when you heat the glycerin.

The easiest way to remove it is to heat the glycerin up above the boiling point of methanol and let the methanol boil off. This process will take a few hours. If you are going to do this please make sure you do so outside, in an area that is well ventilated, do not breathe in the fumes and observe safety procedures.

It is a far better idea to recover the methanol in a methanol recovery unit which condenses the vaporized methanol and stores it safely in a container.

All of the following recipes require that you heat the glycerin which it will probably not smell too good. Please do this outside. Do not make these products in your kitchen; it will not be conducive to good family relations.

Biodiesel Soap (Hard)

  • 1 liter of glycerin from biodiesel made with Sodium Hydroxide
  • 200ml water
  • 50g Sodium Hydroxide

Add the Sodium Hydroxide to the water and dissolve.

Heat the glycerin to 60 deg C.

Add the water to the glycerin stirring continuously.

Continue heating and let the mix come to the boil and reduce to a simmer. I usually add some herbs from the garden at this point, lots of Rosemary is nice.

The mixture will eventually form a skin which is an indication that it is nearly ready. Test the mixture with a tea spoon. Dip the spoon into the mix and take it out and let it cool. When the mixture forms a skin as it runs off the spoon it is ready. If after simmering for a long period of time no skin is forming add some more Sodium Hydroxide dissolved in a little water.

Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Add essential oils or other smelly stuff as required. Pour into moulds and cover with brown paper.

Let the hard biodiesel soap cure for a period of at least three weeks. If you use it too soon it will burn your skin.

As biodiesel soap has a very high glycerin content it is really good for your skin. It does however have the unfortunate side effect that the biodiesel soap tends to weep glycerin. One way to overcome this is to wrap it in brown paper for storage.

Glycerin Hand Cleaner (Liquid)

  • 1 liter of glycerin from biodiesel made with Potassium Hydroxide
  • 200ml water
  • 70g Potassium Hydroxide

Add the Potassium Hydroxide to the water and dissolve.

Heat the glycerin to 60 deg C.

Add the water to the glycerin stirring continuously.

Continue heating and let the mix come to the boil and reduce to a simmer.

The mixture will eventually form a skin which is an indication that it is nearly ready. Test the mixture with a tea spoon. Dip the spoon into the mix and take it out and let it cool. When the mixture forms a skin as it runs off the spoon it is ready.

Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Add a fine grit into the hand cleaner. Sand blasting beads are great for this as is a fine sand.   Pour into buckets and seal.

Let the hand cleaner cure for a period of at least three weeks. If you use it too soon it will burn your skin.

Glycerin Engine Cleaner (Liquid)

  • 1 liter of glycerin from biodiesel made with Potassium Hydroxide
  • 1 liter of paraffin/kerosene

Mix the two together and spray onto the engine. Leave for a few minutes. Scrub with a brush if necessary for stubborn deposits. Spray off with water.

 

Glycerin Floor Cleaner (Liquid)

  • 1 liter of glycerin from biodiesel made with Potassium Hydroxide
  • 1 liter of water
  • 70g Potassium Hydroxide

Add the Potassium Hydroxide to the water and dissolve.

Heat the glycerin to 60 deg C.

Add the water to the glycerin stirring continuously.

Continue heating and let the mix come to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Pour into buckets seal.

When using dilute 100ml with 1 liter of water before use.

 

Return from biodiesel soap to biodiesel waste product

 


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