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Soap Making Forum > Soapmaking & Candle Recipe & Tutorials Forum > Recipe Feedback > Soap with soft spots, advice please
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Old 07-03-2017, 06:42 PM   #1
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Default Soap with soft spots, advice please

I've made my second batch of soap, and it hasn't behaved the same as the first. I don't have enough experience to know if this is part of the normal range of variation or what.
Its been 2 days since I put my soap in the mold, I went to pop it out and its still very squidgy... for lack of a better description. Its not liquid, but parts are not fully soil. Parts of the bottom are like a stick of butter that has been left out an hour, they keep their shape, but any touch and they deform.

I manhandled the loaf back into the mold (with the bottom now on the top, exposed to air, since that was the least solid of the loaf. Is that the best course of action? Is this a case of me being impatient, or did something un-salvageable happen?

Coconut Oil- 270 g
Palm oil - 270 g
Olive Oil- 270 g
Castor Oil 90 g

Lye 125g
Liquid 326g (Used cooled mint tea)

EO- Peppermint 8g

Other Notes:
Combined with stick blender when oil and lye water were both at btwn 40-45C.
Using silicone mold. Wrapped mold in towel when letting cool.
Used a (cleaned) milk carton as an overflow mold- very, very sticky soap resulted.

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Old 07-03-2017, 07:06 PM   #2
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You're going to probably need to wait several days before unmolding. That's kind of a strange recipe with a high (8%) superfat and a lot of water (~26% lye concentration). Where'd you get it? Did you run it through a calculator yourself?

Add in the fact that you probably didn't gel in the silicone mold means longer to unmold and longer to cure. The 10% castor is also at the outer limit of recommended usage to avoid stickiness.

But it's probably soap. Give it a squeeze every day until it feels like butter from the fridge all over, then unmold and cut. After that, I'd guess cure six weeks minimum before trying.

Then, hang around here and we'll help you with a better recipe for your next try.

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Old 07-03-2017, 07:19 PM   #3
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Hmmm, thanks, that's some stuff to think about it!

For other newbies that want to learn from my oops, here are my answers to BrewerGeorge's responses:

I did run it through SoapCalc, but I may not yet be proficient in understanding the readout.
It was a recipe I found online, then converted to metric. I wonder if if wrote down something when I converted and rounded... That would explain how I ended up on the high end of castor oil recommendation.

I loved the ultimate summation of my problem "Its probably soap". I'll settle in, be patient and wait (both to cut and cure), and probably not use these bars in the shower!
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:24 PM   #4
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Here are a couple of things I see that are contributing to the texture of your soap right now:

1: Your water amount indicates that you used a 27.75% lye concentration, which is slightly more than what is considered a "full-water" amount. The closer to a full-water amount, the softer your soap will be in the first few days after saponification, especially if the soap does not go through gel stage, which brings me to #2:

2: Soap that does not go through the gel stage (regardless of water amount) is softer than a gelled soap at first, but it will harden nicely as water evaporates during cure; however, the level of that beginning softness will vary in intensity depending upon on your water amount. If a lot of water was used, the soap will fairly impossible to unmold and/or handle very gracefully for a few days after pour. For what it's worth, my un-gelled soap made with a water discount of a 33% lye concentration feels somewhat akin to softened cream cheese, and I wait about an extra 24 hours before handling it.

Conclusion- I don't think there is anything wrong with your soap. What you are experiencing is normal for an un-gelled soap made with a slightly higher-than-full-water amount. What I would do is to wait an extra day or 2 before taking it out of the mold, i.e. until it feels less squidgy and can be handled without denting at the slightest pressure. Don't wait too long, though. You don't want it to get too hard for it to be able to be cut gracefully.

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Old 07-04-2017, 12:44 AM   #5
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I will note that it can take 5 days for me to unmold a soap in the winter. I use silicone molds and don't often gel. I usually leave the soap on the counter for another day before I cut it to let the last bits firm up. If the soap unfolds cleanly then you don't need to put it back in the mold to firm up, you'll get better circulation if you leave it on the counter.
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:19 AM   #6
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It's after the fact, I know - but this is why I suggest that people post potential recipes BEFORE making them. Things like the water amount could have been flagged up and you can take the feedback and read the lye calc and start to see how to read the information there. Also, reading older posts does the same - reading the feedback posted on someone else's recipe can teach you a lot
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:48 PM   #7
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Wow, it turns out I learn a lot more from my mistakes (ie. second batch) than from blindly doing something correct (my first batch!)
Thanks to the wonderful advice up thread, I've done research and learned so much from this discussion:
1) 'Full water' is lower than I thought (Lye to water should be closer to 1:2ish)
2) Don't use too much castor oil (10% max)
3) I thought I was achieving gel... but in retrospect, maybe not. Soap would get kinda clear when it was warm, but maybe it wasn't enough? I will experiment next batch.

Thanks everyone for the advice, I'll be sure to post more photos after giving the water time to dry out!
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Old 07-04-2017, 04:25 PM   #8
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That recipe is a good basic recipe that cleans well. Farmers love it. Not everyone's skin is dried out by more than 20% coconut in a bar.

I now only use 5% castor oil but the bars with 10% are fine.

I like to gel mysoap because if I don't I invariably get a partial gel rectangle in the centre of the bar which I find unsightly. Some people can just wrap up a mold for 24 hours to achieve it. Others have to CPOP it to achieve consistent results regardless of the weather or the recipe.

Good luck with your next batch.
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:07 PM   #9
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Default Thanks

I wanted to follow up, and say thankyou with some photos.
Soap is now curing well, I did a zap test, and confirmed its soap. Now to let it age and dry before using.
The peppermint EO I used smells great and I'm starting to work on my next recipe
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Old 07-14-2017, 02:22 AM   #10
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Those look lovely. It does look like you accomplished a partial gel from the pic I am looking at.


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