At What Point Do You Add Citric Acid?

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MellonFriend

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I'm confused about at what point you add citric acid to cold process soap recipes. Also I know that CA required additional NaOH to not affect the superfat, but does it also require additional water? If so, should I dissolve it in its own water and then add it to my lye solution or can I just dissolve it in the lye solution with added liquid by itself?
 
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Like all other solid, water-soluble additives, I dissolve citric acid in the batch water, before adding the NaOH. For some reason, soluble substances dissolve painfully slow into concentrated lye, and citric acid, though an acid, is no exception.

And with extra water or not: that is actually a more complicated topic than it might seem. Citric acid often comes with its own water (monohydrate), and its reaction with NaOH liberates water. Moreover, it is a fundamental question what “lye concentration” actually is. Does it only refer to the NaOH, or does it include other solutes? Or, on the contrary, do they have/bring/need/pull their “own” water? Is it the ratio of hydroxide ions to water molecules (i. e. loosely related to pH)? For some substances like lactate, gluconate or glycerol, it is not clear a priori if they are solute or solvent (or both). Do I have to count counerions (sodium) into lye concentration or not? Don't make sodium citrate/gluconate/EDTA a kind of soleseife? The “answer” to these questions is that there is no answer, but you have to decide on your own how to think about them. In the end, it's a recipe modification that might alter the reaction of oils (tracing…) and colourants/fragrances, unmoulding time, hardness, skin feel, storage issues… and you have to critically reevaluate (and in doubt adjust) the recipe after each test cycle anyway.

In practice, the amounts of all these addtions are usually so low that all of the above hardly matters. 1% citric acid can only alter lye concentration by ±1.75% with respect to the original recipe, in the worst case of mismatch how you decide to the above points. So what? The relevant concentration range from some 27…40%, this is a non-problem. (As long as you are doing your lye balance correctly, which is imperative as you correctly pointed out already).
 
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I master-batch my lye solution at 50%. This means all my soap batches have some additional water. I use that additional to dissolve my citrate (or CA), sorbitol (or other sugar of choice), and sodium lactate if I'm using it. I warm the water just slightly, maybe 10 seconds in the microwave, as this helps everything dissolve faster.

If you don't master-batch your lye solution, you can definitely dissolve the CA in the regular batch water. I would heed Owl's recommendation to dissolve your CA, sugar, and salt in the batch water before adding the lye. Once the lye is added, it is much harder to get anything to dissolve, even if there is more than enough water to dissolve all of the lye and have some left over.
 

LisaBoBisa

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I haven't tried it yet, but really really want to, and this might end up being easier and cheaper for you: you can make your own sodium citrate by reacting baking soda (cheaper than lye) with citric acid, and then there's no worries about whether you really got all the citric acid to dissolve and react with the excess lye added to your lye water.
 
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I haven't tried it yet, but really really want to, and this might end up being easier and cheaper for you: you can make your own sodium citrate by reacting baking soda (cheaper than lye) with citric acid, and then there's no worries about whether you really got all the citric acid to dissolve and react with the excess lye added to your lye water.
I did try that once, but it is so messy! Now I just bite the bullet and buy citrate, leaving all the baking soda and citric acid for making bath bombs and shower steamers. :)
 
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Thanks everyone for the advice! I think I understand now, but my goat just gave birth, and my brain is a bit foggy from sleep deprivation. 😴
Congratulations on the new kid! (doeling or buckling?) As a side note, my 100 YO previously dairyman father gets so irritated at everyone calling children "kids."
 

MellonFriend

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Congratulations on the new kid! (doeling or buckling?) As a side note, my 100 YO previously dairyman father gets so irritated at everyone calling children "kids."
Kids actually. 😄 She had quads to be exact. Three bucklings, one doeling. Maybe I'll post some cute pictures for you guys.

Would you guys like to see some cute baby goats?
 
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E
Kids actually. 😄 She had quads to be exact. Three bucklings, one doeling. Maybe I'll post some cute pictures for you guys.

Would you guys like to see some cute baby goats?
Wow, and only 2 tits! Do they share or is it bottle feeding all the way? Still remember bottle feeding calves.
Sorry I am getting way off topic, but babies of any sort can do that.
And yes we would love some pics.
 

MellonFriend

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Currently they are all being dam-raised and doing great. They just take turns and momma stands for a long time waiting for them to be done. I am trying to get a few on bottle in case some start not getting enough, but I don't plan on pulling them completely. Don't worry about it being off topic, I love talking about goats. 😚
 

Suchisam

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I master-batch my lye solution at 50%. This means all my soap batches have some additional water. I use that additional to dissolve my citrate (or CA), sorbitol (or other sugar of choice), and sodium lactate if I'm using it. I warm the water just slightly, maybe 10 seconds in the microwave, as this helps everything dissolve faster.

If you don't master-batch your lye solution, you can definitely dissolve the CA in the regular batch water. I would heed Owl's recommendation to dissolve your CA, sugar, and salt in the batch water before adding the lye. Once the lye is added, it is much harder to get anything to dissolve, even if there is more than enough water to dissolve all of the lye and have some left over.
I have a couple questions🧐
Do you refrigerate the lye solution?
Do you add the lye water when the oils are at a specific temperature? Or do you warm the lye water to match the temperature of the oils?
 
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Sure, I’m happy to help. 😊

Contrary to many beginning soaper instructions, the oils don’t need to be within 10 degrees of the lye solution. That means there is no need to heat the lye solution after it has cooled.

You also don’t want to refrigerate your lye solution. A 50% lye solution will precipitate out (separate) below 65 degrees, and you will end up with a chunk of solidified lye at the bottom of your storage jug.

I use my premade lye solution at whatever room temperature it happens to be (usually 68-80, depending on the time of year).

As for my oils, I start my soaping sessions by measuring them and melting them until just clear. Then I measure and prepare everything else, including colors, scents, additional liquid, additives, tools, mold(s), etc.

When that’s all done, I put on my PPE and weigh out the MB lye solution. By that time, my oils are just warm to the touch, and ready to soap. I don’t typically measure the oil temp, but when I have, it is 90-100 degrees F.
 

Suchisam

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Sure, I’m happy to help. 😊

Contrary to many beginning soaper instructions, the oils don’t need to be within 10 degrees of the lye solution. That means there is no need to heat the lye solution after it has cooled.

You also don’t want to refrigerate your lye solution. A 50% lye solution will precipitate out (separate) below 65 degrees, and you will end up with a chunk of solidified lye at the bottom of your storage jug.

I use my premade lye solution at whatever room temperature it happens to be (usually 68-80, depending on the time of year).

As for my oils, I start my soaping sessions by measuring them and melting them until just clear. Then I measure and prepare everything else, including colors, scents, additional liquid, additives, tools, mold(s), etc.

When that’s all done, I put on my PPE and weigh out the MB lye solution. By that time, my oils are just warm to the touch, and ready to soap. I don’t typically measure the oil temp, but when I have, it is 90-100 degrees F.
Thanks! I appreciate the detailed answer 😁 I only just found out that master batching lye water is a thing and I'm so happy! it's going to make the whole process so much more pleasant. Especially since I've been making soap frosting with a seperate recipe.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I have a couple questions🧐
Do you refrigerate the lye solution?
Do you add the lye water when the oils are at a specific temperature? Or do you warm the lye water to match the temperature of the oils?

You've been given good advice on learning to make soap here and on other threads. However, the topic of this thread is Citric Acid. This is just me, and you can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you don't know much about soap making. Yes? Your questions are "off topic" and don't really belong in this thread. In the future, try to make an effort to stay on topic and resist the temptation to change the topic to something you need help with. :)

To get off on the right foot, it's best to do a little research on your own to learn the basics. Then make enough small batches to get the hang of it so the advice given may make more sense to you. :thumbs::D

Here are some links to get you started -- take a cuppa along and explore the Beginners Forum to learn the things we talk about here.

Find the Beginners Learn to Soap Online thread -- that will help you experience success with your first batches. Scroll down to "Lovin' Soap Studio" for sage advice and clear instructions for making CP (Cold Process). There you will learn just about all you need to know to get started on your soaping journey.
HAPPY SOAPING! :computerbath:
 

Suchisam

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Sure, I’m happy to help. 😊

Contrary to many beginning soaper instructions, the oils don’t need to be within 10 degrees of the lye solution. That means there is no need to heat the lye solution after it has cooled.

You also don’t want to refrigerate your lye solution. A 50% lye solution will precipitate out (separate) below 65 degrees, and you will end up with a chunk of solidified lye at the bottom of your storage jug.

I use my premade lye solution at whatever room temperature it happens to be (usually 68-80, depending on the time of year).

As for my oils, I start my soaping sessions by measuring them and melting them until just clear. Then I measure and prepare everything else, including colors, scents, additional liquid, additives, tools, mold(s), etc.

When that’s all done, I put on my PPE and weigh out the MB lye solution. By that time, my oils are just warm to the touch, and ready to soap. I don’t typically measure the oil temp, but when I have, it is 90-100 degrees F.
You've been given good advice on learning to make soap here and on other threads. However, the topic of this thread is Citric Acid. This is just me, and you can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you don't know much about soap making. Yes? Your questions are "off topic" and don't really belong in this thread. In the future, try to make an effort to stay on topic and resist the temptation to change the topic to something you need help with. :)

To get off on the right foot, it's best to do a little research on your own to learn the basics. Then make enough small batches to get the hang of it so the advice given may make more sense to you. :thumbs::D

Here are some links to get you started -- take a cuppa along and explore the Beginners Forum to learn the things we talk about here.

Find the Beginners Learn to Soap Online thread -- that will help you experience success with your first batches. Scroll down to "Lovin' Soap Studio" for sage advice and clear instructions for making CP (Cold Process). There you will learn just about all you need to know to get started on your soaping journey.
HAPPY SOAPING! :computerbath:
You've been given good advice on learning to make soap here and on other threads. However, the topic of this thread is Citric Acid. This is just me, and you can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you don't know much about soap making. Yes? Your questions are "off topic" and don't really belong in this thread. In the future, try to make an effort to stay on topic and resist the temptation to change the topic to something you need help with. :)

To get off on the right foot, it's best to do a little research on your own to learn the basics. Then make enough small batches to get the hang of it so the advice given may make more sense to you. :thumbs::D

Here are some links to get you started -- take a cuppa along and explore the Beginners Forum to learn the things we talk about here.

Find the Beginners Learn to Soap Online thread -- that will help you experience success with your first batches. Scroll down to "Lovin' Soap Studio" for sage advice and clear instructions for making CP (Cold Process). There you will learn just about all you need to know to get started on your soaping journey.
HAPPY SOAPING! :computerbath:
Next time I'll check the topic of the thread before responding to a specific post. You said to feel free to correct you so I'll post a pic of my most recent soap. The swirl didn't work out cause I totally spazzed. I have my own learning process and I feel that it's working for me so far. I do understand the advice that has been given to me and I'm grateful for the help.✌️
IMG_20220314_005106.jpg
 

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