Guest Author - Winsome Tapper
In the soap making arena many abbreviations and acronyms are used, especially on email lists. Here is a list of the most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for different methods of making soaps. As more terms come my way, I will be updating this page with the most newly coined ones.
CP -- Cold Process soap is soap that is made by blending oils(fatty acids) and sodium hydroxide together until they reach trace (become homogenized)which results in the heating of the mixture which begins the chemical process called saponification. The yielded result is cold process soap. This is soap made without heating. The process of saponification takes 2-4 weeks to be complete -at the end of which the finished soap is lye free and ready to be used.
CPHP -- Crock Pot Hot Soap is soap that is cooked in a crock pot so that all the lye cooks out and the soap is ready to be used after the cook. The soap is harder to manage because the soap is already setting and thickening by the time the cook is over, making it difficult to manage. Soapers say that the soap has to be “glopped” (plopped) into the mold, rather than poured. The great thing about any cooked soap is that after the cook it is ready to use.
CPOP -- Cold Process Oven Process is soap that starts out as cold process soap then put into heavy duty molds and baked in the oven at a very low temperature. At the end of the bake, the soap is ready to be used. Using this method, one has to be careful that the mold can withstand the heat of the oven and does not become a fire hazard.
CS, CSDBHP -- Closed System Double Boiler Hot Process is exactly what it means, the soap is cooked in a pot that is placed within a pot with water (AKA double boiler, bain marie) after trace and the soap is cooked to speed up the saponification process. The pot is kept tightly sealed and cooked. The benefits of this method is that the soap can be left alone and does not need to stirred as often as a cooked method where the pot is kept open. The resulting cooked soap although ready to use will need to be cured for a week or so so that the excess liquid can evaporate and the soap can dry into a usable product.
DB -- Double Boiler soap is soap that after trace is put into a double boiler and cooked. It may be cooked with the lid on the pot or the lid off. Regardless of wether or not the lid is on or off the pot, at the end of the cook the soap is free of lye.
DH -- The direct Heat method calls for the soap to be directly on the heat in a pot. This method means that the mixture needs to be closely monitored so that the soap does not burn or boil over in the pot.
DWCP, DW -- Discounted Water Cold Process. The rationale for taking a perfectly normal cold process soap recipe and deducting some of the water is so that there will be less water to evaporate from the soap, thereby resulting in soap that dries into harder bars sooner than undiscounted soap.
HP -- Hot Process soap is soap that is cooked or baked after coming to trace. This method yields soap that is ready to be used since all the lye has been cooked out of the soap. With this method one can cook the soap on top of the stove in a closed or open pot or in the oven in a pot or in a mold.
MP or M&P -- Melt and Pour soap is soap that most people are familiar with. This is the type of soap one usually sees in local craft stores. This soap is usually called "soap base". Melt and pour soap allows you to be creative since the only thing that is needed is to melt down the soap, color and fragrance it and pour into the mold and let it set. Melt and pour soap is also called "glycerin soap" because during the manufacturing process the glycerin is left in the soap rather than siphoned off and sold as a byproduct. Removing the glycerin and selling it as a byproduct of soap making is typically the end of most commercial soap making processes. The great news is that melt and pour soap base is some of the most gentle soap for the skin and can be used as is right off the shelf.
OHP -- Oven Hot process is cooked soap. The soap is cooked in the oven after reaching trace rather than on top of the stove. The finished product should not have any lye in it and is ready to use after it has cooled for a of couple hours.
Rebatch -- Rebatching is melting soap (non melt & pour soap) that is usually shredded into fine pieces, adding a small amount of liquid to the shredded soap and melting it over low heat or a double boiler (AKA bain marie). The whole point of rebatching soap is to salvage soap that is imperfect, separated, unattractive, or more importantly, to add ingredients (herbs, decoctions, essential oils, curative ingredients, medicinal ingredients) to the soap that would have otherwise been destroyed by the heat of saponification.