Adding sugar

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wearytraveler

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​A long weekend is near and that means another batch or two coming up. I started using sugar in my lye water (before adding the lye) to increase bubbles and I've always added at a rate of 1 tsp. PPO. Is there a reason it's only a tsp PPO for sugar? Is there a point of diminishing returns? ​What happens if, say, I add 2 tsp. PPO?
Any info/insight would be helpful.

Thanks!
 

shunt2011

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You can add whatever amount you want. However, just remember the more you add the more likely you are to overheat. Too much can cause volcanos, cracking etc. If you add more just watch your soap. I've not added more than 1 tsp ppo but I'm sure others have.
 

IrishLass

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My 'sweet spot' is actually 2 tablespoons ppo. :razz: Yes- you read that correctly- 2 tablespoons.

There was one time when I used twice as much as that (4 tbsp.), but that particular batch turned out quite soft and spongy, and it took forever and a day to harden up. A year or so later, I was still able to make an indent in the soap when pressed with my finger. It sure bubbled up awesomely in the shower, though. So much so that had I not known better, I would have sworn that I was using one of my 100% CO soaps with a 20% S/F. lol

For what it's worth, my 2 tablespoons ppo of sugar has never caused overheating or volcanoing for me, and my soaps harden up just fine.

Edited to add: Honey, on the other hand...... now that is a different story. Unless I mix it into my lye solution first. When I mix it into my cooled lye solution, it behaves nicely in my soap (none of the typical overheating or weeping, etc..).


IrishLass :)
 

wearytraveler

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Thanks to all for their replies and information. I'm going to shoot for 2 tsp PPO this weekend and see what happens. I'll add that I usually gel and CPOP by preheating the oven to 175 then letting it cool off a bit before putting in my bundled molds over night.

Thanks again!
 

dibbles

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I use 1 Tbs ppo with no problems. I almost always have to force gel.
 

Susie

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Honey almost always overheats for me. I have to watch it like a hawk with a sink of cold water ready. Is it because I am using wildflower honey as opposed to clover honey or some blended honey?
 

wearytraveler

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Just to follow up, I made both batches with 2 tsp PPO and all turned out just fine. I'm not sure if the effects of sugar get better with time but after cutting I used a bar in the shower and compared it to another bar that was made with 1 tsp PPO and I didn't really notice a huge difference in size or quantity of bubbles. Maybe for my next batches I'll try 2 tablespoons and see what that brings.
Thanks for all the replies!
 

IrishLass

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Just to follow up, I made both batches with 2 tsp PPO and all turned out just fine. I'm not sure if the effects of sugar get better with time but after cutting I used a bar in the shower and compared it to another bar that was made with 1 tsp PPO and I didn't really notice a huge difference in size or quantity of bubbles. Maybe for my next batches I'll try 2 tablespoons and see what that brings.
Thanks for all the replies!
Your mileage may vary according to recipe, but I didn't start noticing an appreciable difference in my own formulas until I started using 1 tablespoon ppo, and then I noticed even more when I doubled it to 2 tablespoons ppo. But I started getting diminishing returns in the form of softer soap when too much more than that was added (although the bubblage sure was great), so my go-to/cut-off amount is 2 tbsp. ppo.

Let us know how the 2 tbsp. ppo turns out for you!


IrishLass :)
 

wearytraveler

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Will do. I'm expecting my Old Spice dupe FO to come in the mail today so a batch is planned for this weekend for sure.


Your mileage may vary according to recipe, but I didn't start noticing an appreciable difference in my own formulas until I started using 1 tablespoon ppo, and then I noticed even more when I doubled it to 2 tablespoons ppo. But I started getting diminishing returns in the form of softer soap when too much more than that was added (although the bubblage sure was great), so my go-to/cut-off amount is 2 tbsp. ppo.

Let us know how the 2 tbsp. ppo turns out for you!


IrishLass :)
 

ngian

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You can add whatever amount you want. However, just remember the more you add the more likely you are to overheat. Too much can cause volcanos, cracking etc. If you add more just watch your soap. I've not added more than 1 tsp ppo but I'm sure others have.
I think that table sugar doesn't overheat as it is a non reacting sugar. Fructose / lactose found in honey /beer / milk on the other hand can overheat as they react with lye increasing the temperature at the stage of saponification.
 

LisaAnne

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After reading Irish lasses 2 tbs ppo quite a while ago I tried it and it also works well for me. It's the measurement I always use now along with my salt.
 

IrishLass

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I think that table sugar doesn't overheat as it is a non reacting sugar. Fructose / lactose found in honey /beer / milk on the other hand can overheat as they react with lye increasing the temperature at the stage of saponification.
I highly suspected that something like that had to be the case, because in all my soapy endeavors, I have never once experienced any overheating when using table sugar- not even when I experimented with using 4 tablespoons ppo (10% sugar). And it doesn't cause any visible/noticeable reaction in my lye solution (no color changes) either.

Honey, on the other hand, has been a different story for me. It causes overheating in my soap when added either to my oils, or to my batter at trace......

But when I dilute my honey with a little bit of water and add it directly into my cooled lye solution before adding it to my oils, things actually proceed quite beautifully for me, i.e., no overheating or any other kinds of problems in my batter throughout saponification, even though I soap warm and insulate/encourage gel in my oven @ 110F (yes- I actually have to encourage gel with my honey soaps, believe it or not , lol). I use 1 tablespoon honey ppo, and a 33% lye solution, btw.

Anyway, I'm convinced that honey behaves so beautifully for me in my soap because all of the adverse honey/lye reactions that could ever take place have already been worked out beforehand when added to my cooled (room temp) lye solution.... kind of like a pre-emptive strike of sorts....it takes all the fire out of it. lol Although it causes my lye water to heat up and makes it turn red at first before turning a deep burnt-orange color, it then cools down and behaves itself quite nicely from there on out. And my finished soap remains a light to medium somewhat golden beige/tan.

PSA**- By the way, if any of y'all decide to incorporate your honey in this way^^^, whatever you do, don't dissolve the honey in your water before adding the lye. Instead, do it the opposite way of how you would normally add table sugar...... You need to make your lye solution first and let it cool completely to room temp before adding your honey (which has first been diluted in a little water)....... ***

Trust me, you don't want to add your lye to honey water. That's how I did it the first time I ever tried it, and I've never done it that way again (lots of heat, hissing, bubbling and a bit of volcanoing). Thankfully, disaster was averted because I had enough foresight to have prepared for such a scenario by using a very tall mixing pitcher about 4 sizes bigger than I needed (although the volcanoing was considerable, it thankfully never reached the top of my container), 'though just in case it thought about doing so, I was doubly-prepared by having mixed it in my shower right by the drain hole.

In comparison, when I add my diluted honey to my already prepared and cooled lye water, there's never any hissing, never any bubbling, and never any volcanoing. The solution does get hot and turn colors, but that's the only drama it ever exhibits before cooling down. For what its worth, I learned this wonderful technique from a fellow soaper named Soapbuddy (haven't seen her here for a very long time).

By the way, fructose reacts with my lye water in much the same way as honey (gets warm, turns it red, etc...)


IrishLass :)
 

ngian

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Thank you for this tip IrishLass, it seems very helpful!

So reacting /reducing sugars rise furthermore the total temperature at the creation of lye (water & caustic soda) too.

And why would someone choose to add honey instead of table sugar? Apart from the marketing purposes, the slightly change in lye discount and the sweet color that the carbon dioxide gives to the soap paste, why would someone choose it as an additive? (It will be one of my forthcoming experiments among table sugar, Castor oil, sorbitol and maybe potato starch).
 

TeresaT

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I highly suspected that something like that had to be the case, because in all my soapy endeavors, I have never once experienced any overheating when using table sugar- not even when I experimented with using 4 tablespoons ppo (10% sugar). And it doesn't cause any visible/noticeable reaction in my lye solution (no color changes) either.

Honey, on the other hand, has been a different story for me. It causes overheating in my soap when added either to my oils, or to my batter at trace......

But when I dilute my honey with a little bit of water and add it directly into my cooled lye solution before adding it to my oils, things actually proceed quite beautifully for me, i.e., no overheating or any other kinds of problems in my batter throughout saponification, even though I soap warm and insulate/encourage gel in my oven @ 110F (yes- I actually have to encourage gel with my honey soaps, believe it or not , lol). I use 1 tablespoon honey ppo, and a 33% lye solution, btw.

Anyway, I'm convinced that honey behaves so beautifully for me in my soap because all of the adverse honey/lye reactions that could ever take place have already been worked out beforehand when added to my cooled (room temp) lye solution.... kind of like a pre-emptive strike of sorts....it takes all the fire out of it. lol Although it causes my lye water to heat up and makes it turn red at first before turning a deep burnt-orange color, it then cools down and behaves itself quite nicely from there on out. And my finished soap remains a light to medium somewhat golden beige/tan.

PSA**- By the way, if any of y'all decide to incorporate your honey in this way^^^, whatever you do, don't dissolve the honey in your water before adding the lye. Instead, do it the opposite way of how you would normally add table sugar...... You need to make your lye solution first and let it cool completely to room temp before adding your honey (which has first been diluted in a little water)....... ***

Trust me, you don't want to add your lye to honey water. That's how I did it the first time I ever tried it, and I've never done it that way again (lots of heat, hissing, bubbling and a bit of volcanoing). Thankfully, disaster was averted because I had enough foresight to have prepared for such a scenario by using a very tall mixing pitcher about 4 sizes bigger than I needed (although the volcanoing was considerable, it thankfully never reached the top of my container), 'though just in case it thought about doing so, I was doubly-prepared by having mixed it in my shower right by the drain hole.

In comparison, when I add my diluted honey to my already prepared and cooled lye water, there's never any hissing, never any bubbling, and never any volcanoing. The solution does get hot and turn colors, but that's the only drama it ever exhibits before cooling down. For what its worth, I learned this wonderful technique from a fellow soaper named Soapbuddy (haven't seen her here for a very long time).

By the way, fructose reacts with my lye water in much the same way as honey (gets warm, turns it red, etc...)


IrishLass :)

Do you do this with "fresh" lye solution or master batched solution? I know you say your "cooled" lye solution, but you normally use master batched lye when you soap, right?
 

IrishLass

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Do you do this with "fresh" lye solution or master batched solution? I know you say your "cooled" lye solution, but you normally use master batched lye when you soap, right?
Yes- you are correct- I work from a master-batch solution, but the honey can be added to either fresh or master-batched solution.... once cooled, that is (I've added it to either without any problems). You just don't want to exacerbate things by adding it to hot solution, since honey generates more than enough heat when the solution is cool. Back when I used to make my lye solution fresh for every batch, I would wait for it to cool down before adding the honey.

Oh- just to be clear in case anyone gets the wrong idea- I don't add any honey to the main bulk of my master-batch solution itself, just the small portion of it that I pour out for whatever batch of soap I'm making at the time.


IrishLass :)
 

TeresaT

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Yes- you are correct- I work from a master-batch solution, but the honey can be added to either fresh or master-batched solution.... once cooled, that is (I've added it to either without any problems). You just don't want to exacerbate things by adding it to hot solution, since honey generates more than enough heat when the solution is cool. Back when I used to make my lye solution fresh for every batch, I would wait for it to cool down before adding the honey.

Oh- just to be clear in case anyone gets the wrong idea- I don't add any honey to the main bulk of my master-batch solution itself, just the small portion of it that I pour out for whatever batch of soap I'm making at the time.


IrishLass :)
Thanks! I've used honey a few times and wasn't impressed with it because it made a funky smell because of caramelization. I thought the lye solution needed to be warm to help melt the honey. I tried adding it to the oils, but they were warm and it still happened. I'll give this a try. If I still get the funky smell, honey will be off the ingredients list.
 
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