Basics understanding of soap making

Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by Sab_77, Dec 19, 2017.

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  1. Dec 19, 2017 #1

    Sab_77

    Sab_77

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    Hi all,

    I am fairly new to soap making, I've scrapped one batch and then made around 12 successful batches, but I don't fully understand the process I think, which leads to errors sometime.

    I have only used hot process in a crockpot as of now.

    So here are questions:

    A - What is the purpose of the trace (I mean aside from mixing the fat with the lye)? Does it matter that we have a light trace or heavy trace? I think in crockpot method we always want light trace otherwise after the "cooking" is done, we don't have a very liquid soap which makes it hard to mix with the coloring or pour in moulds, etc. So the "amount" of trace does not change the final soap result, it will only change the texture, right?

    B - Is the heat of oils SO important to the saponification? I've read many times "I soap at room temp" and I also made goat milk soap with a lye-water mixture at 82F and room temp oils. I made it yesterday so it is still in the mould but I don't understand how/why it will saponify if the heat is required.. I don't know if this makes sense? I know if oils are too cold we might get false trace.

    C - Am I correct to assume it will be very hard (maybe impossible) to NOT have a gel phase when using crock pot method?

    Thank you!
     
  2. Dec 19, 2017 #2

    shunt2011

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    Hello and welcome! With HP you have to cook the soap. But don't overcook it to the point is dry. With HP it's not as important to monitor trace/emulsification as you're not trying to do intricate or detailed designs (though it can be done, just differently).

    With CP you can control the temperature of your oils etc (I do soap close to RT, just till my hard oils are clear). The hotter the oils/lye the quicker it's going to trace. I generally like my soap to be at emulsification/ light trace. It at least needs to be emulsified and watched for false trace.

    So, with HP you pretty much want it to get to trace then cook till zap free. HTH
     
  3. Dec 19, 2017 #3

    Sab_77

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    Ok, thanks! I was not sure about that point.


    I guess I'd have a question D. Maybe better if I opened another thread..? I don't want to pollute the forum with so many questions :)

    D - Is there a better method for the oils or fragrances to "continue" smelling when the soap is done? Or is that only related to the brand of oil we use? Example I have a coconut, a cherry and a hibiscus scent. When my soaps are done, they don't smell AT ALL, versus my mint and rosemary scent that carry one beautifully. I have read on some sites that HP is best for odours because we cook the soap first, the oils are "less" destroyed.

    Sorry for my bad english.
     
  4. Dec 19, 2017 #4

    penelopejane

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    I don’t do HP so I can’t answer your questions but I just wanted to say that your English is excellent. :)
     
  5. Dec 19, 2017 #5

    Sab_77

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    Haha you jumped in just for this? Well thanks :)
     
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  6. Dec 19, 2017 #6

    penelopejane

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    Some people don’t contribute because they worry their English isn’t good enough. I just wanted to reassure you that your English is great but even if it wasn’t it doesn’t matter as we can generally work out the meaning even for people who struggle with the language.
     
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  7. Dec 19, 2017 #7

    shunt2011

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    I don't do much HP, but, I've heard that fragrance does better in HP than in CP as it's added after saponification. Coconut is notorious for not sticking. Also, making sure you are getting your fragrances from reputable companies helps too. HP is good for fragrances that misbehave or don't stick well in CP.
     
  8. Dec 19, 2017 #8

    bathgeek

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    Yes, HP is good for preserving your fragrance, but that doesn’t guarantee it. If your fragrance is going to be one of those that fades anyway, HP will prolong the time it stays, but eventually it’s going to go away.

    Also, the usage rates for fragrances are variable, so it’s always possible that the coconut cherry and hibiscus scent needs to be a little stronger through adding a little more.

    Last but not least, it’s possible for the surface of soap to have faded scent but after a couple of uses you’ll find that the inside of the soap still smells strong. Are you sure that the scent doesn’t stick on the inside?
     
  9. Dec 19, 2017 #9

    Saffron

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    I used coconut FO in HP for a test batch and 18 months on the fragrance is still detectable in the soap. However, the soap started to discolour after about 6 months and went from a pure white to a dark yellow.

    I usually use essential oils in my HP soaps and find that I need to use less EO in HP than in CP and the fragrance lingers for longer in my HP batches.

    To get the best out of your EO in HP make sure the temperature of the soap mixture is below the boiling point of your EO before adding your EO or most of the EO will evaporate and not stay in the soap.



    Hope this helps and happy soaping :)


     
  10. Dec 19, 2017 #10

    Sab_77

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    No I am not! I have not gotten that far into using my soaps. I went wild excited and tried all my new flavors so I've used each only a few times. I will keep an eye (nose) on it. Thank you, I didn't know this was a possibility.


    Good point about the boiling point of the oils Saffron, thank you. I did notice they were written on the bottles. So I would turn off the crock pot and let the soap rest until X temperature is met?


    Why are most of you not familiar or not using HP? CP is simpler? Better? I just like the HP because the soap is cured faster and it almost forces the gel phase, AND we don't have to monitor the oil temp as closely. I guess there are good sides to CP but I don't know them yet!
     
  11. Dec 19, 2017 #11

    jcandleattic

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    This whole statement is incorrect.

    HP does not cure the soap faster. It insures saponification, and will saponify faster than CP, but the cure is the same, and sometimes longer due to HP usually using more water than CP.

    And as for temps of CP, a lot of us CP at room temp or when the oils and lye are warm to the touch in the bowl, but don't actually take temps of the soap. At least I don't and haven't since my second batch years ago.

    HP does force gel phase because that's what you are doing - making sure the soap gels and saponifies completely before molding the batter.
     
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  12. Dec 19, 2017 #12

    GeezLouise

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    The soap is "firm" faster in HP, but not cured faster. CP is faster to make and pour, and is often able to be swirled and other decorative effects. Although I began with liquid soap, then HP, HP takes too much time for me most days, to bother with it. CP can be made and poured in less than an hour and walk away to do something else.
     
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  13. Dec 19, 2017 #13

    Zany_in_CO

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    The advantage of CP vs HP is that I use 60 ounces of oils/fats to make soap that fits my 16-bar mold. My crockpot that I use for HP only holds 35 ounces of oils/fats. As you said, quite correctly, there are advantages to each. It's just a matter of preference.
     
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  14. Dec 19, 2017 #14

    dixiedragon

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    I'm with Zany. I prefer to make 2-log batches (my log makes 10 bars) and my slow cooker holds enough for 1 log. A local soaping buddy of mine has 5 crockpots (she got them in a good Black Friday deal) and exclusively HPs. I don't think one is better or worse - I think the differences are purely cosmetic by the time the soap is 6 weeks old.
     
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  15. Dec 20, 2017 #15

    bathgeek

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    Better control of design, for one. CP is more flexible that way. Another is that I can do a CP batch in 15-20 mins. I can’t HP that fast. Really, though, I do it because I like to design and swirl.
     
  16. Dec 20, 2017 #16

    Sab_77

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    Oh! I didn't read about the designs being easier in CP. I tried swirls and they never ended up great. Thanks for educating me.. this forum has given me more info in one day than several internet readings over days. That's the problem with internet, can't always trust what you read.. and being a new hobby for me, can't always trust my brain to remember everything properly. You (all) have convince me to try CP. I will try tonight :)

    So curing means what exactly? I was so wrong. I thought curing was when all the lye and fat had saponified and the zap test was no longer "zapping". Then the curing is the dehydration of a bit of water from the soap, making it harder and longer lasting?

    I tried my soaps a few days after making them, and been using them since (been 5-6 days now). My skin is ok, I have no rash or anything. The soaps I tried had pass the zap test.

    Oh I found all my answers in another thread called "nother HP vs CP thread", where another new soaper had pretty much the same questioning as I did! hehe
     
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  17. Feb 2, 2018 #17

    rnew2soap

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    I'll tell you what you will get if you don't reach trace. You could get stickiness that never goes away and it will always be slightly soft even if it does pass the zap test OR if it does harden you could get sort of a kaleidoscope or honey comb pattern (if colors are used) that doesn't exactly match up to what you made. I've done that four times in a row. I was so mad at myself and that is the only thing that I can come up with that I didn't quite reach trace and poured too early. I even had a loaf where 85% of it is fine. The last one or two bars are sticky and have been that way for months.
     
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  18. Feb 2, 2018 #18

    Eldora

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    I am going through the same thing as you love. But I am not giving up. today is my 5th try at my same soap, and I realize, I used bentonite clay which speeds up my soap recipe. Couldn't have done my swirls. In my second soap,I added too many oils, whatever oils that were not saponified slept on top of my soap. As I make my notes for each soaping making I do, I am glad I know spot my errors and I love soaping very much. I will not quit, don't matter how many times I will mess up, I know I will be good at it eventually...so do you hun.
     
  19. Feb 2, 2018 #19

    Laurabolyard

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    I'm brand new and have been doing HP as well. You have a couple more batches under your belt than I, I'm on #8. I love the look and feel of HP, I love being able to unmold it in a couple of hours (although I can be more patient, now that I have some of it out of my system now!). I like the soapy clean up!
    That said, I am ready to CP! HP DOES take a long time! I feel like it's two hours of work from start to finish, with only about 5 minutes of design time!! I would like to change those numbers!
     
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  20. Feb 2, 2018 #20

    Zany_in_CO

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    It might help if you go to the Beginner's Forum and read the "Beginner's Learn to Soap On Line" Sticky. The Link to Lovin' Soap's tutorials are especially helpful to Newbies. Other than that, Sab, you are doing great! Keep up the good work! :)
     

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