How long to store liquid soap paste before selling? And how?

Hello helpful people!

So, we have a liquid soap (body wash) product that is founded on a base of coconut oil + olive oil. Nothing fancy here.

I have several questions related to storage (really it's 1 big rambling question):

  1. After we make the base paste, is it best practice to store it for a while before diluting it with water?
  2. ..Or is it best to store the *diluted* paste in storage?
  3. Either way, how long is it recommended to wait before we mix in the final ingredients (essential oils, guar gum, blah blah)?
  4. *How* should we store the paste (or diluted paste)? In plastic pails with sealed lids, perhaps? Anything I should know about recommended storage temperatures?
Until now we've been making stuff pretty much on demand. But we're scaling up, and we're shifting into 'building an inventory of the product' mode.

Thank you so much! :)

-matthew

Comments

  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    edited October 2016
    It is a prime philosophy of manufacturing to pre-sell or sell products as soon as practical following the manufacture. Goods in storage is directly proportional to money tied up doing nothing - which few companies can afford and if they can, there is something very wrong with the way that the company is being run.

    The in/out at top speed system reached its extreme in the1980's (ish) when it was all the rage to adopt the JIT method of manufacture (JIT = Just In Time) where raw materials were bought in at the last possible moment, in the precise quantity needed, processed and despatched as quickly as possible. Obviously this required very close cooperation between all parties and it soon fell into disfavour as, all too frequently, JIT turned into TFL (Too F*****g Late).

    So, if you have spare space then rent it out and make money rather than stuffing it with unsold product. Remember also that unsold goods in storage are exactly equal to money going down the drain.
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    There are things to be said for having a small amount of safety stock (finished product) on hand, primarily linked to the ability to staff as leanly as possible, and avoid having to ramp up/work overtime when a big order comes in. It is also prudent to have a small amount of raw material inventory on hand, to guard against suppliers failing to deliver on time. @johnb ;is very correct in saying that every bit of that inventory represents money tied up that can't be doing something else useful. The decision your management needs to make is whether or not the investment in raw material/finished goods inventory is worth the money, i.e., does it provide a benefit to the business greater than the benefit of investing that money elsewhere.

    From a purely chemistry point of view, the less water in your WIP (Work In Process) stock, the better.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Thank you guys, appreciate the business perspective on this. It's definitely something I will keep in mind.

    @Bobzchemist from your last statement I assume that if we are to keep something in storage, you suggest that it be the undiluted base paste, as opposed to the diluted stuff? (This is what I assumed going into this question).

    Following up - I have read in several (highly unscientific) soap making sites that the soap base gets "better with age". This is actually the angle that I was considering when I asked this question. Business practices aside, is there any truth in there being a desired period of 'resting time' for the base body wash soap paste (which is quite firm) after it's created? Beyond the initial 24 hours, I mean. I've seen people suggest that it sit in a container for 4 weeks to 'mature'. 

    Please advise, thank you- :)
  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    Certain soap products, example shaving cream, do improve on standing for a period of time. This is sometimes called "rotting" (it is not a rotting process at all but a re-crystallisation of excess fatty acids in the cream to form platelet crystals which give a pearly sheen to the product).

    Alterations to the processing conditions and fine tuning of the formulation can speed this up. Addition of an anionic surfactant can cut down maturation time.
  • We produce quite a lot of liquid soap made from various recipes of saponified oils. What we have learnt, in response to your questions, is as follows:

    After we make the base paste, is it best practice to store it for a while before diluting it with water?


    We do not produce a paste, and prefer to produce in liquid form (our batches are around 75 Kg. In liquid form we find it easier to handle and store.

    Or is it best to store the *diluted* paste in storage?

    We store in liquid form in large plastic, stackable jerrycans. We find it easier to manage in liquid form.

    Either way, how long is it recommended to wait before we mix in the final ingredients (essential oils, guar gum, blah blah)?

    No scientific basis for this, but we like to wait at least two weeks. The liquid has cleared after this period, and just seems to be "milder" with slightly lower pH

    *How* should we store the paste (or diluted paste)? In plastic pails with sealed lids, perhaps? Anything I should know about recommended storage temperatures?

    As mentioned above, for ease of handling we use large jerrycans, and in liquid form. We store at around 25 C in temperature controlled room (we are in the tropics where ambient temp around 30+ C.

    We usually like to keep a good stock of the liquid base as t turns over very quickly, and we can respond to orders in short time rather than waiting two weeks for "curing."

    OK, hope the above is helpful,

    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    Store the paste undiluted, if possible, to avoid micro problems.

    Diluted paste, if it's liquid, will probably be much easier to process after it's been stored, however, so you'll have to choose which is better.

    Polyethylene buckets with sealed lids should be fine. Temperature controlled is better than not - avoiding freezing is a good idea.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • Att. Dr. Mike, Hi Doc and all readers,

    When you wrote "We do not produce a paste, and prefer to produce in liquid form (our batches are around 75 Kg.",

    Do you mean the "paste" a.k.a gel, the result  of  the oil(s) saponification by the KOH doesn't occur may be because of another developed processing  method or you first you go  through the "gel" phase then dilute then store?

    Thanks a bunch in advance for a reply.

    Ameen in Algeria
    Retired French language teacher
  • In our vat, the saponification process firstly produces a what could be described as a paste, which usually sits in the vat overnight, then next morning we mix and dilute with water, and later that day via a tap in the base of the vat, into jerrycans for storage. Messing around with digging a paste out of the vat would not be so efficient in our view.
    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
  • "Store the paste undiluted, if possible, to avoid micro problems."

    Micro-organisms should not be a problem.......the pH takes care of that. We have been challenge testing for years, and always a 99.999% kill for these liquids.
    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
  •   Dr. Mike, thank you a lot, I'm with you now. Yeah, the overnight resting in your vat is what gets  the saponification reach its term, then the dilution in the usual way.

    We are now in a situation where we need to scale up our castile liquid soap from 20  to 40 kgs batchs. We are offering the "gel" castile a.k.a the Moroccan "Beldi soap", the castile  liquid soap and  the castile bar soap.

    Remember  your valuable contribution for the Western Sahara women in the refugee camps?? This is the continuation step of it.

    Thank you again Dr. Mike, I now understand your "giving back" philosophy, wish there were more people like you.

    Ameen in Algeria
    Retired French language teacher


  • Hi Ameen,

    Yes, I remember. Glad to know you are making progress with Western Sahara women in the refugee camps.  Well done.
    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
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