Ammonia smell

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biki

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Hi my soap smell nice and mild until wet on the hand when it smells of ammonia to me. I went to a shop and tried a sample of their one and there was a very faint ammonia smell when wet.

The soap was cooked for a very long time as it never reached the toffee stage. I didn't use borax or citric as it came out clear. It has also been sitting for over a month.

Any ideas as to what the smell is and whether there is a cure?
 

Susie

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I am not sure what you are calling an ammonia smell. Home made soap smells nothing like commercial soap, but not like ammonia. It just smells like soap to me. Commercial soaps smell very harsh to me now. It might just be a matter of semantics, but there should be no ammonia smell. Have you tried Dr. Bronner's liquid soap? That should be a good one to compare it to.
 

Susie

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Oh, yeah, the Gentleman is entirely correct. It would just never occur to me to use milk in liquid soap.
 

biki

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No dairy. I was a simple recipe from 'lovin' soap' blog - not to hand but a few basic oils, water and Koh. I think it was a lye excess of 8% - low I know. I'm just not sure if it means it hasn't saponified enough or what - it's a chemical smell - but feels fine on the skin. I wonder if there was too much lye, though that doesn't make sense? Maybe my nose is just too sensitive.
 
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vuladams

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This happened to me too, but not until about a week after it sat. I re-used some soap containers that I had in my kitchen that previously had Palmolive dish soap in them. I rinsed them out and poured in my soap... Those are the only ones that smell like ammonia. I'm thinking something reacted between the Palmolive residue and the handmade soap. Weird! The soap works fine, and feels fine, but smells wacky now.
 

Susie

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I don't use lye excess at all. I use the SoapCalc with the KOH 90% option and rework all those recipes to not have a lye excess. I just don't believe in using extra steps. So, I really can't speak to what an 8% lye excess would smell like.

Vuladams- thank you so very much for the words of warning. I was working on running out of Palmolive to re-use the container for homemade soap. I wonder if a vinegar solution would pull that smell out.
 

vuladams

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I don't use lye excess at all. I use the SoapCalc with the KOH 90% option and rework all those recipes to not have a lye excess. I just don't believe in using extra steps. So, I really can't speak to what an 8% lye excess would smell like.



Vuladams- thank you so very much for the words of warning. I was working on running out of Palmolive to re-use the container for homemade soap. I wonder if a vinegar solution would pull that smell out.

It's worth doing a vinegar soak before using the containers. It became so strong that I tossed the soap altogether. Oh well.
 

biki

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how interesting. I used containers from a natural laundry liquid which didn't seem to have a smell. I've since made another batch from the same recipe and it's fine.

Like the Soapcalc Lye option too. Might try that next time.
 

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