Are these stearic spots?

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ShariLynn

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I just bought 50 lbs of organic sustainable palm, and I've never worked with this size bucket before. It was delivered on a very hot day and it was still somewhat thick and transluscent, but very fluid, so I gave it a nice long stir with my drill and mixing attachment and poured it into smaller containers.

A few days later I made this soap, which is full of spots. It's not lye or TD, so I can only conclude that it's stearic spots from the palm oil. Yet I completely melted the palm and the other solid oils (coconut, shea butter) in my recipe before adding them to my liquid oils. I soaped at about 85 degrees.

So is the culprit my soaping temp, or is it because I didn't completely melt down the 50-lb bucket before pouring it into smaller containers? Or something else? What's the best way to handle palm oil?

All help is appreciated!

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Kersten

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I'm going to go with your temperature, although it could be that you didn't fully melt your pail of palm (although I rarley do this either). Eighty-five is pretty low when soaping with a high % of saturated fats from steric...I keep mine at about 110F and I also gel, which I think might help, too. I still get steric "warts" ever-so-often, but they are usually minimal. If you want to avoid them altogether, I would say the best thing to do is divide your palm into smaller containers that you can easily melt down when needed and keep your temperature above 100F. This is just a semi-educated guess ;-)
 

ShariLynn

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Around 85. I'm usually an RT soaper so I rarely check temps, but I just happened to check this time. I believe the lye was 85 and the oils were 83.
 

pamielynn

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I recently started using organic palm and noticed an increase in stearic spots, myself. Couldn't tell you why :(
 

jcandleattic

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You stirred upon the initial batching out, but did you stir right before soaping? Or did you continue to stir the smaller batches until they were too solid to stir?
It does look like stearic to me, but with palm, I don't think it's necessarily a temp issue, but a not-stirred-enough issue, or a combo of both.
 

Moody Glenn

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I'm going to go with your temperature, although it could be that you didn't fully melt your pail of palm (although I rarley do this either). Eighty-five is pretty low when soaping with a high % of saturated fats from steric...I keep mine at about 110F and I also gel, which I think might help, too. I still get steric "warts" ever-so-often, but they are usually minimal. If you want to avoid them altogether, I would say the best thing to do is divide your palm into smaller containers that you can easily melt down when needed and keep your temperature above 100F. This is just a semi-educated guess ;-)
Hello! Yes, I agree with Kersten. The hard fats or oils need to melted around 110 to 120. When combined with a cool lye solution trace will be slowed down and the reaction will prevent the melted palm from cooling too much to reform back into a solid. At temps under 100 that process will happen quickly and form larger steric specks or "warts" (I like Kerstens' definition.) I soap with tallow (which takes forever to melt) and I will see some very small specks in bars even though my combined oils and fats are around 115 before pouring the cool lye solution. I guess there is no way around it but it is safe to use. It's part of the nature of cp soapmaking with hard oils or fats.
 

ShariLynn

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Thanks everyone. You've confirmed what I suspected. Guess I better get used to melting down those big buckets, and soaping at higher temps when using the palm oil.
 

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