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thursday48

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Okay, so I have like a zillion questions but lets just start this.

1) I made soap like 2 weeks ago and didn't zap test it. I used soap calc and didn't use a water discount, am I okay?

2) I lined my molds with freezer paper and totally put the waxy side toward the soap, how big of a deal is this and why don't we want to do this? I feel like the things I've seen about lining haven't specified a side so I went with the roll and what seemed logical to me which was waxy side toward the soap

3) I have a fo I was going to use that says it causes slight acceleration is there an ideal saturated to unsaturated ratio to shoot for to slow trace enough to account for this? I soap vegetarian so tallow and lard are out and I remember reading a tread that said slight acceleration for those recipes tend to be soap on a stick for palm people.

and 4 (which is the most important to me is): What size mold/batch is ideal? I know that most of the time people recommend starting with a pound or two but I have a science background so experimentation and long term results make my heart happy. Ideally I'd like to make enough decent sized bars to test one every month to see how it cures over time. With that in mind one what size batch should I looking at? (also is that over kill on experimentation front? Everyone says things change over time so I figured it be good to do it monthly.)

Thank you for all your time!
 

Susie

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Hey and welcome Thursday48!

1. You need to zap test. You always need to zap test. Just dampen one finger, rub it across the soap several times, then touch it to your tongue. If there is free lye, you get zapped. So it is either safe or not safe. There is no other test that will tell you that.

2. If you could peel the paper off the soap, I would not sweat it.

3. There is no ratio that I am aware of.

4. You need to make no smaller than 1 lb of oil batches. Any smaller and any errors of weighing are magnified greatly. That also gives you bars to test along the way.

ETA: My bars weigh about 4 oz each. One lasts me about a month of showers. My hubby is 6' 4" and hairy, a bar lasts him about 2 weeks of showers. So, depending on your size, etc, 4 bars tested weekly (monthly for anything other than a pure OO soap is going to be too long) will last a very, very long time.
 
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earlene

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Thursday48, welcome.

Freezer paper: I put the shiny side of the freezer paper next to the soap. It peels off very nicely. It is my personal preference. I have read that some soapers like it the other way, while other like it shiny side facing the soap. Either is apparently fine.

Although it may be tempting to do large batches, the 1 - 2 pound size for experimentation makes more sense. This way you can do more experiments, make soap more often, try new additives or different oil variations, new recipes, etc. more often than if you had twice the size of batches to contend with. Remember you still have to find a place to cure all this soap, and over time you will discover that curing soap can take up a lot of space. Depending on your definition of a 'decent sized' bar of soap, a pound of soap can make 3 - 5 bars of soap; 2 pounds, twice that many bars.

Size of bars for testing: I suggest cutting a few smaller slivers to use for testing. You don't have to take a large bar of soap into the shower for testing. It can be smaller, like hotel size soap. It works just as well. This way, you can leave the larger size bars to cure and just do your testing on smaller sizes. When I wash my hands, I prefer using smaller test sizes to the larger bath bars. When I travel, I take the smaller test sizes with me, as they just travel better than large bars of soap.
 

dixiedragon

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Welcome to the forum!

Okay, so I have like a zillion questions but lets just start this.

1) I made soap like 2 weeks ago and didn't zap test it. I used soap calc and didn't use a water discount, am I okay?

You should be fine. You can zap test it now, if you like. I don't zap test every batch.

2) I lined my molds with freezer paper and totally put the waxy side toward the soap, how big of a deal is this and why don't we want to do this? I feel like the things I've seen about lining haven't specified a side so I went with the roll and what seemed logical to me which was waxy side toward the soap

Using wax paper is not a disaster. I don't use it b/c sometimes it gets soft and you have to peel it in teensy shreds off of your soap, which just ticks me off. A better option is parchment paper, or baking parchment.

3) I have a fo I was going to use that says it causes slight acceleration is there an ideal saturated to unsaturated ratio to shoot for to slow trace enough to account for this? I soap vegetarian so tallow and lard are out and I remember reading a tread that said slight acceleration for those recipes tend to be soap on a stick for palm people.

What's the FO? You can check out the reviews of the FO on the vendor's page if they allow reviews, and also here on SMF's Fragrance Review Chart. It's a Google doc.
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=47182
You can use full water, soap cooler, and increase the amount of olive oil. All of that will help slow trace.

and 4 (which is the most important to me is): What size mold/batch is ideal? I know that most of the time people recommend starting with a pound or two but I have a science background so experimentation and long term results make my heart happy. Ideally I'd like to make enough decent sized bars to test one every month to see how it cures over time. With that in mind one what size batch should I looking at? (also is that over kill on experimentation front? Everyone says things change over time so I figured it be good to do it monthly.)

Thank you for all your time!

There is no "ideal" batch size. The smallest we recommend is 1 pound, assuming you have a food scale that measures in grams. For a less accurate scale, I'd recommend 2 pounds. As for testing purposes - how are you going to test? Are you going to send bars to testers? If so, the number of bars depends on the number of testers. If you are the only tester, you really only need one bar. Wash your hands with it at one week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, etc, and take notes. Put the bar away between tests so it gets nice and dry again. Christmas is only 6 months away, lots of time for your extra bars to be ready for Christmas gifts! I think of Christmas as my great soap purge.
 

cmzaha

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I have used freezer paper for years lining my hdpe molds, always having the shiny side towards the soap. As mentioned wax paper is a complete pain to get off the soap
 

Kamahido

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I soap cooler to slow trace. Between.100 and 110. Just high enough that I don't get false trace.
 

dixiedragon

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You may also want to look into hot process. There are some FOs that are impossible to soap CP. I've got one - Mulled Cider from Sweetcakes. It is absolutely fabulous smelling. But major SOAP ON A STICK. And this is with my lard, high olive, full water recipe. It always comes out weird looking when I CP. It gets so thick I just can't smush it into the mold that well, so the bars have holes in them.
 

thursday48

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then touch it to your tongue. If there is free lye, you get zapped.
Well my soap sure doesn't taste good but it also isn't zappy so I successfully made soap, Yay!

What's the FO? You can check out the reviews of the FO on the vendor's page if they allow reviews
I'm using something from a local vendor, Mile High Soap company and it doesn't have any reviews anywhere, they made the note that it slightly accelerates in CP...

You don't have to take a large bar of soap into the shower for testing. It can be smaller
I really didn't think about the fact that I didn't have to use a bar long term to get an idea of how it functions. That sounds really dumb but for some reason in my head I was thinking that I should use a whole 2-4 ounce bar to get a really good idea of how it works. Sometimes I don't know where my head is at.


I just tried my 1st soap at 12 days after making it. The recipe is 5% cocoa butter, 5% shea butter, 20% coconut oil, 30% palm oil, and 40% olive. My skin feels soft but also a bit tight. Is that because of the coconut? or is one of the other oils high in cleansing properties?
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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At 12 days, a cold process soap can still feel harder than it will later. That said, "tight" is a usual feeling with lye based soap, especially when changing from commercial "soap" to home made. Hard water can also make the problem worse
 

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I don't have much to say about your original questions, just 2 cents on batch size.

I have 8" silicone loaf molds that cut perfectly to 8 bars. It's the perfect amount to keep a few bars and gift some (I'm starting to run out of curing space to store everything). The silicone is nice in terms of saving time/waste with lining.


On your new question, the tightness you're feeling could be from the coconut or it could be waiting out the cure. I fine 5% is not enough of a superfat for me when I use 20% coconut, but everyone's skin is different. I make 80% co bars with 20% SF and it took a few days for my skin to adjust. That being said, hold judgement until the soap is fully cured. There's a lot of science I don't quite understand that happens as soap cures. You may not be having lye problems (negative zap test) but the soap is still working while it cures.
 

dixiedragon

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I just tried my 1st soap at 12 days after making it. The recipe is 5% cocoa butter, 5% shea butter, 20% coconut oil, 30% palm oil, and 40% olive. My skin feels soft but also a bit tight. Is that because of the coconut? or is one of the other oils high in cleansing properties?
It's the age of the soap. 20% is pretty standard around here. I use 20%. You will see a HUGE difference once the soap is 6 weeks old.
 

KristaY

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Hi thursday48! I have a few FO's from Mile High plus there are other soapers from Colorado that might have used the FO you're talking about. If you give us the name of it, we might have some behavior notes on it.
 

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I just tried my at 12 days after making it. The recipe is 5% cocoa butter, 5% shea butter, 20% coconut oil, 30% palm oil, and 40% olive. My skin feels soft but also a bit tight. Is that because of the coconut? or is one of the other oils high in cleansing properties?

If your skin is like mine then yes the "tight" feel is the coconut oil. Either keep it below 10% or remove it entirely and you will get a beautiful soap that makes your skin feel nice and soft after a shower.

I'd replace the coconut oil with avocado oil or almond oil.
 
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thursday48

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Tell us what the FO is. We can make guesses. For example, florals tend to misbehave, and some, like gardenia, are VERY difficult to work with.
Hi thursday48! I have a few FO's from Mile High plus there are other soapers from Colorado that might have used the FO you're talking about.
The FO in question is Applelicious, and according to the website is red and green apples with viola.
Thanks Dixie for the gardenia note, I for sure smelled a bottle of that while I was at the store. I'll steer clear till I'm more experienced and am ready for that headach-er um-Challenge.
Krista- Oh yay someone else who has heard of this place! I've only used them so far, I used their lavender EO (which I need to experiment with more with under more controlled situations) and their Lemon Verbena FO.

It's the age of the soap. 20% is pretty standard around here. I use 20%. You will see a HUGE difference once the soap is 6 weeks old.
Either keep it below 10% or remove it entirely and you will get a beautiful soap that makes your skin feel nice and soft after a shower.
I'll try both of these things! Penelope, funny you would mention avocado oil because I put a recipe through soapcalc last night using it in place of some of the coconut and now my recipe is below range in cleansing and bubbles. Based on other threads I read on the site I was still going to try it as a recipe but have you had similar issues?

The silicone is nice in terms of saving time/waste with lining.
After lining a small homemade wooden mold I really want to get a silicone mold because lining seems very hard since I totally had leaks and rounded soap edges. But maybe I've just watched to many videos of people with seemingly perfect soap all the time.
 

KristaY

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Well, shoot. I haven't used their Applelicious but because it said there are notes of viola, I'd guess you'll get some acceleration. This can happen because of the chemical make-up of the FO and also because of a large gradient in temperature between the batter and the FO. One way to help slow the accel a bit is to take a portion of soft oil out of your recipe, about the same amount as your FO. So if you're making a 1 lb batch using 1 oz FO, reserve 1 oz OO from the recipe. Warm that oil to about 100 F and mix the FO into it, then add that to the batter once you've hit emulsion. It will probably still speed up a bit but not nearly as fast as adding the FO at room temperature.

On another note in regards to Mile High ~ DON'T TRY THEIR COCONUT SURF! Seriously, run fast and far from it. It's the most horrible scent I've ever smelled in CP soap. After about 2 months cure I chucked the whole batch into the trash, it's that icky. SnappyLlama and I both made that mistake.....

I'm also really heart-broken that Peak closed up shop in Denver! I don't know if they're still looking for another store front or just sticking to Pennsylvania. They don't have any soaping supplies (oils, additives, etc) but they have some great FO's and candle making supplies. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they re-open in the west. :)
 

thursday48

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Oh Lord, Thanks for the heads up Krista! My husband and I went in and smelled most of their supply a few weekends ago. I think we smelled this and didn't mind it oob, but I'm wont be making that purchase. I'm also bummed that there isn't another local store front around here. I'm semi terrible about online ordering, and just want things as soon as a buy them so I can play with them.
 

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I'll try both of these things! Penelope, funny you would mention avocado oil because I put a recipe through soapcalc last night using it in place of some of the coconut and now my recipe is below range in cleansing and bubbles. Based on other threads I read on the site I was still going to try it as a recipe but have you had similar issues?
I don't look at those numbers anymore. Honestly they don't translate for me in the final soap. I just go on how the soap feels for me and the feedback I get from family and friends. They don't have any preconceived ideas and they are entirely honest. To me "cleansing" means drying to the skin and I get enough bubbles from 100% aged castile so it not an accurate measurement to me.
 

mzimm

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I don't look at those numbers anymore. Honestly they don't translate for me in the final soap.
^^^what Penelopejane said times a bajillion^^^
Truly, I think they should change that terminology in soapcalc to read "stripping" in place of "cleansing," and the bubbles number doesn't (indeed can't) take into account the other ingredients and factors that contribute to bubbles.
Since you've already had a taste of what so-called "good" cleansing numbers will do; i.e. the tightening you experienced on your skin, the suggestions re lowering the CO content and longer cure times are good ones, IMO, and are ones that I've taken to heart with very good results.
 

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