Are These Soda Ash or Lye Heavy?!

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RobinHoodFan

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So it's been a long time since I've made soap myself but I do still remember a thing or two. I prefer to buy handmade now a days because I just don't have the time anymore and I can never get the fragrence as potent or as nice as some other artisans out there so I'd rather show my support for them and their craft...anyway..

So I purchased this bulk bag of "goat milk soap trimmies and Seconds"
No where in the listing did it say it was unusable as is. It just sounded like aesthetic issues and ends.

They came today and I always like to do a quick zap test on all handmade soaps I buy to be sure before I actually use them. These also looked like they had some chalky white stuff on them so I definitely wanted to check these.

They burned. Almost all of them burned my tongue. Heck, my tongue still burns from them so something seems off. Could soda ash do that? Could this be soda ash or is it indeed lye heavy? I haven't washed/rinsed/cut them yet because I want to hear back from the seller first before doing anything. But I think my next step would be to wash one off, zap test, then cut it open and zap test and hope its' just soda ash.

Otherwise, is there anything I can do to save these bars for the body? I'm kinda bummed because this was a good deal and would have lasted me a long time in the shower...sigh. And rinsing my hands after handling them feels so creamy that I really hope I can use these and it's just a case of an outer layer or something. I've just never, ever had a bar do this before..either made by me or otherwise so I'm mostly just really confused and really hope it's a simple fix.

Any help would be much appreciated!
Here are some pics:

This seems to be the worst bar of them all:







 
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RobinHoodFan

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Some more pics:





https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5485/30647089501_41d380ccd8_k.jpg[/img

[img]https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5628/30735494895_b070710bbe_k.jpg
 

shunt2011

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It looks like ash to me. If they don't zap they likely aren't lye heavy. Burning may be from the ash. I would clean one up and try it.

Also, check them close. It kind of looks like there is DOS on some of those too.
 
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DeeAnna

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The white stuff is most likely soda ash, and yes it can give you a zap. Boy, there's an unusual lot of it though.

Is this HP soap or CP soap? Looks like HP and if it is, I wouldn't expect ash like that, nor would I expect it to be zappy if properly made.

Anyways, cut a chunk open and carefully test the center of the chunk for zap. (Be sure you don't contaminate the center with ash from the outside of the bar, so you don't get a false positive.) That will tell you if it's the soap that's lye heavy or if the zap is coming from the soda ash.

If the soap is zappy in the center, I would ask the maker how old the soap is. If a zappy soap is a month or more old, I would question whether it's ever going to be zap free. If its newly made, it might settle down with a few more weeks of cure. And if the soap itself is zappy, the "creamy" feel might actually be the alkali affecting your skin and making it temporarily feel soft and slick.
 
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RobinHoodFan

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It looks like ash to me. If they don't zap they likely aren't lye heavy. Burning may be from the ash. I would clean one up and try it.
Interesting...yes, it's more of a burning sensation, not a zappy/vibraty sensation like licking a battery. Does that make a difference?
 

shunt2011

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I thought orange spots were just aesthetic issues but still useable soap?
I would be more concerned about them starting to go rancid with DOS. Do the spots smell or feel soft? I just went back to my post to raise the same suspicion.
 

RobinHoodFan

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The white stuff is most likely soda ash, and yes it can give you a zap. Boy, there's an unusual lot of it though.

Is this HP soap or CP soap? Looks like HP and if it is, I wouldn't expect ash like that, nor would I expect it to be zappy if properly made.

Anyways, cut a chunk open and carefully test the center of the chunk for zap. (Be sure you don't contaminate the center with ash from the outside of the bar, so you don't get a false positive.) That will tell you if it's the soap that's lye heavy or if the zap is coming from the soda ash.

If the soap is zappy in the center, I would ask the maker how old the soap is. If a zappy soap is a month or more old, I would question whether it's ever going to be zap free. If its newly made, it might settle down with a few more weeks of cure. And if the soap itself is zappy, the "creamy" feel might actually be the alkali affecting your skin and making it temporarily feel soft and slick.
I believe this is hot processed. The listing says they make it fresh on 99% of all orders but that seems more to me for their soap bases they sell. Being that these are seconds and trimmies, I'd think they're a little older...could be fairly recent but I'll wait until I hear back and see what they say I should do first. All I know is that my tongue still kinda feels dry like I burned it on tea or something.

I'd be so bummed if I cant use these. They say they've been soap making since 1999 and have a very large amount of positive feedback so I never would have thought I'd get an entire bag of lye heavy soap :( They weren't a lot of money but still... money I didn't plan to spend. I jumped on it because it was a good price and i was online when they listed it and second/trimmie lots usually go quick. Sigh....my luck as usual. Fingers crossed it's just some external residue.
 
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RobinHoodFan

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I would be more concerned about them starting to go rancid with DOS. Do the spots smell or feel soft? I just went back to my post to raise the same suspicion.
I don't THINK so. The whole thing has a general mixed fragrance to it. Nothing unpleasant. The spots don't seem much softer when I test with my nail... Maybe a teensy bit?
 

lenarenee

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Except for one spot, the orange parts look like badly mixed additives to me.
What is the ingredient list for this soap?

Just my opinion, but I'd be ashamed to charge someone money for that soap despite the label of "trimmies and seconds". When you have to ask other soapers about the safety of the soap - its time to think about a refund.
 

RobinHoodFan

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Except for one spot, the orange parts look like badly mixed additives to me.
What is the ingredient list for this soap?

Just my opinion, but I'd be ashamed to charge someone money for that soap despite the label of "trimmies and seconds". When you have to ask other soapers about the safety of the soap - its time to think about a refund.
Sigh, I know. I feel ya. I just thought that maybe knowing more about soapmaking I was overthinking/looking at things in a more intricate way. But it sounds like there does look to be something wrong with them...not just visually. I hope it IS just ash but how would I be sure of that? I guess if the inside tests ok? I'm waiting to hear back from the seller before I do anything to the bars in case I need extra photos or something.

There's no ingredient list...basically the description says:
"3 lbs of goat milk soap, Trimmies and Seconds.
A big bag of soap trimmies and seconds. You'll get very nice bars and some pieces. Bars are unwrapped. Soap may include herbs, butters and clays. no refunds, please"

That last line making me think that this is going to be a nightmare to get a refund and I'll probably have to go through eBay claims to do it...but I will reserve my judgment until I hear from the seller. If they dont reply or are unhelpful and these are bad then I will be asking for a refund. I always like to give the benefit of the doubt before jumping to that though.
 

RobinHoodFan

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Well, they did reply. They basically said "well, that's no good" and that they will send me the money to ship them back and asked if I had any preferences for the trouble. But honestly, I just don't feel comfortable and would rather just return them all for the full refund and the return shipping instead of replacements. So we'll see how it works out.
 

BrewerGeorge

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Well, they did reply. They basically said "well, that's no good" and that they will send me the money to ship them back and asked if I had any preferences for the trouble. But honestly, I just don't feel comfortable and would rather just return them all for the full refund and the return shipping instead of replacements. So we'll see how it works out.
I don't know. I was all ready to slam that soap when you first posted it, but hesitated so I wouldn't sound like a jerk. ;)

Given that they were so quick to respond and offered a good resolution on a "no refunds" stipulated soap, it really sounds like they're trying to do the right thing. I might give them the benefit of the doubt on replacements, especially considering that shipping three times will likely eat up any profit they might make on cheap trimmings. Actually, it will probably cost them money to ship those replacements when all is said and done, so they're probably offering to solely out of goodwill. I'd be inclined to give them another shot.
 

RobinHoodFan

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I don't know. I was all ready to slam that soap when you first posted it, but hesitated so I wouldn't sound like a jerk. ;)

Given that they were so quick to respond and offered a good resolution on a "no refunds" stipulated soap, it really sounds like they're trying to do the right thing. I might give them the benefit of the doubt on replacements, especially considering that shipping three times will likely eat up any profit they might make on cheap trimmings. Actually, it will probably cost them money to ship those replacements when all is said and done, so they're probably offering to solely out of goodwill. I'd be inclined to give them another shot.
I'm torn. I do really want the soap but with my luck it'll happen again. If it were just like one or two bars then maybe...but it seems to be almost all of them with this chalky white stuff all over that burns the tongue to varying degrees. I just don't wanna take the risk with my luck lol. Also, they sent another email directly after their first one saying "or i can give a refund". Which, in the end, when you think about it, probably best on both of us. So I told them I'd prefer the refund since I just don't feel comfortable with an exchange and to let me know if they want me to toss these or if they want to send the funds to ship them back.
 

shunt2011

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Unfortunately, I'd be inclined to just ask for a refund. They gave in too quickly so I as a soapmaker would think they were well aware of what they were sending. Call me jaded. I never would have sent something that looked like that out in the first place regardless if they were misfits or whatever.
 

Dahila

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I am with Shunt on it, I would never sale or give away the ends, there are the ends and I use them for sampling. I made a quiet number of batches and had serious ash only on one the gardeners soap with pumice,, It is probably too early to try, send that not good ends back, Buy soap from reputable soapmaker .
My supplier sales the ends of soaps packed together, it is gross all the fragrances mixed,,,,,,,,
 

RobinHoodFan

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Received my refund. They even said to toss the bars and not worry about shipping back and they'd send replacements, then another email saying refund is fine and that the bars got mixed up somehow. The responses were slightly confusing so I don't know if they still plan to ship me new bars or if the refund was in leu of that? Eitehr way, I'm at least content at this point.

Shame and a disappointment to have to toss all this. I love handmade soap and to get 11 practically full sized bars for around $1.23/bar was ...well......too good to be true I guess. Just glad I caught it before putting it on my skin! Especially since I use these in the shower! My tongue still feels burned as though I burnt it on hot tea...I suppose that will heal in time ...I don't have a very sensitive tongue to begin with so that tells you just how potent these were!

Hopefully the other person who bought the second lot on this listing does not have the same issue or at least knows enough to catch it before using them!

Thanks so much for everyones help and reassurance! You saved my skin....literally!
 

Susie

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Just for the sake of science, do you have room to store those for a month or so? If so, get them open to air and see what you have in a month. I get ash all the time, and badly, but it never burns my tongue after a proper cure. And the side of the bar never burns my tongue, just the ashy part.

I see potential DOS, but definitely badly mixed additives in some of them. I might keep those separate from the rest. If they start smelling rancid, toss.
 
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