Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by scard, Jun 12, 2018.
I was just wondering if there are any cons to melting your hard oils with your lye solution?
The only one I can think of (and the reason I haven't tried it)... if you run out of heat before everything is melted.
^^^exactly why I do not try it.
That's the only way I do it. I never ran out of heat but in the wintertime when my hard fats are in the cold, just to make sure all is melted properly, I put it on the stove on low while I'm stirring. If you know the melting point of your fats, a thermometer, while you're stirring, will tell you if you are warm enough to melt them. I can't see that as a con because you can always fall back on a little heat from the stove.
Since I use Palm oil I wouldn't think about it due to stearic spots if not melted properly.
Plus I also use PKO so I just melt in the microwave. Makes it easier for me since I have to wait for the Lye water to cool anyway
Thanks for your replies, I'd seen it done on youtube and wondered if it would be worth a try.
I've done it with lard and coconut, works well enough if the oils are not overly cold to start with. Tried it with cocoa butter and it was a struggle
I tried it. Once. LOL The advantage is not having to wait for the lye to cool down. Once melted, I warmed the liquid oils to about 100°F/ 38°C before adding to the batch. Worked well. It's just not something I do on a regular basis.
I have done it several times with no problems. Just make sure you are there and stir it until all oils melt.
Are you in Texas? If I remember, is so darn hot, it takes 2 hours in air conditioning (unless you set your air arund 67 or less) for the lye to cool off, which is why I started doing it. I usually only do it during the summer, if I get tired of waiting. Patience is not one of my virtues....
Are you saying as soon as the lye is mixed with the water you can add it straight to unmelted oils?
Wow that sounds like such a better/easier way than waiting for the oils and lye to get the the same temperature. I only soap when my son is out of the house as I don't like the idea of lye sitting about whilst here is here, if I could do the method above I could soap whilst he is about.
Is there a way of rescuing if all the oils don't melt, is it safe to heat lye and oils on the stove/microwave/slow cooker? Or could you put the oils in the microwave on half power for a few seconds beforehand to give them a head start but don't melt them.
Is this method safe for a beginner or it is something you have to have experience before you attempt.
Yep, you got the right idea.
This method is fine for a beginner.
The best way to do this is like Zany said -- add the hot lye to just the solid fats. If they don't melt well enough to suit you, then heat the liquid oils in the microwave or on the stove and add the warmed oils to finish the melting process.
The reason why this two-step method is better than putting everything together at one time -- First off, only the solid fats need to melt, so it doesn't make sense to include the liquid oils at the melting stage. You want all that heat energy concentrated on melting solid fats. Second, if you haven't mixed the liquid oils with the lye solution means you can warm just oils. That's much safer than warming anything that has active NaOH in it.
As far as what I think about it? I've tried it. It works, especially if the recipe has a low % of solid fats that melt at higher temps -- fats like lard, tallow, butters, or palm. It won't work for any recipe that has beeswax, stearic acid, or other ingredients that melt at relatively high temps. It is kind of fiddly and not reliable for my high lard recipes, but I can see why other soapers might like it a lot. (I don't have children to worry about.)
Just saying.... If the objective is to not have to wait for lye to cool down, it seems like the most efficient solution to the objective is to pre-batch your lye.
I've been doing it the other way for so long that adding hot lye water to cool oils feels positively scandalous!
Since starting with the heat transfer method I've never looked back. My recipe includes 20 % palm. I have no patience with waiting for lye water to cool. The only exceptions for me is goat milk soap and shampoo bars.
I had a thread about it in the past, maybe it can help with some answers happyshopper.
I don't do it all the time. But during the summer, yes, a bit.
I do not master batch because it horrifies me to have a jug of lye water anywhere. Although my kids are adults, 2 of them live with me, both have learning disabilities, and the oldest is autistic. I would be terrified he would mistake the jug, not read signs, etc.
So I figure people with young children, may have the same fear.
I don't MB either. I have adult and 17 y/o, but with animals and some times you just never know what might happen.
I would rather take my time and then I just set everything up and have time to double check
No offense meant, but you guys have an unreasonable fear of lye. It's not a sci-fi cross of lava and xenomorph saliva. Unless you soak in it for a good while, the worst that's going to happen is a chemical burn not unlike bad sunburn. Mix up a batch of 50/50 lye solution and sacrifice a chicken leg or wing to see how long it takes to do real damage to skin.
That doesn't count the eyes, of course, which are obviously delicate. And I certainly don't begrudge anyone with small children or special needs people living with them from avoiding the risk. Hell, I don't begrudge ANY of you for making your own decisions about acceptable risk; I certainly don't care what you do. But it's useful to make those decisions with real information rather than hype. And for those of us with families able to recognize the most basic of instructions and precautions, lye is no more dangerous than other chemicals we probably have under our sinks right now.
I have to gently disagree, BG. I don't get overly concerned about a drop or two of lye on my skin, that's true, but I don't think that's the situation that Lin and SunRise are talking about. And I don't get the sense that they're over-reacting. I agree with you that some people do get a little nutty about lye, but I think Lin and SunRise have made appropriate choices for their situations.
If I had small children or adults with limited reasoning ability in my home, I wouldn't keep hazardous chemicals under my kitchen sink or in a similar uncontrolled place. These products would be in a locked storage area if I kept them at all.
Even with just DH and me in the house, I store my dry NaOH and KOH and lye solution in tightly-closed well-marked buckets in an out-of-the way corner of my pantry. They aren't anywhere near the normal living spaces and if I felt it was necessary, the buckets could easily be modified to be padlocked. DH gets fully informed about what's going on when I'm soaping so he doesn't accidentally mess with my lye solution if I step away from my soaping area for a moment.
If a large amount of skin or the face is covered with concentrated lye solution, there could be serious consequences if not washed off in a very short time. We soapers know enough to quickly perform first aid. and DH and I have talked about first aid just in case. A curious person who doesn't know or can't understand the hazards won't be able to respond quickly and correctly if an accident happens.
I'm going to risk TMI here -- An acquaintance of mine with a master's degree in chemistry tried to commit suicide by drinking lye solution. It didn't kill him, but it did cause permanent damage to his digestive system. He later died partly due to the complications created by his act.
I should have proof-read that again before posting. It ends up more pointedly directed at Lin and Sun than I intended, and the single phrase towards the end about children doesn't make that clear enough. It's true enough that one of the problems with lye is that it doesn't immediately hurt like lava or acid would, so it's easier to leave on long enough to do more damage - especially if the person has limited faculties.
But in the context of this discussion of making pre-batched lye, I still think that is not significantly more dangerous than having solid NaOH around. And most especially, any precautions taken with powdered NaOH should be equally as adequate for liquid lye.
I hope that's clearer.
Well said, BG. I agree with this whole heartedly. I treat the liquid stuff with the same care as the solid stuff.
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