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Sherif

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Hi all,

I would appreciate your help on the following questions:

1) When mixing lye and oils would it be a problem if I do so while heating the crock pot?

2) Is there a problem if I overuse the hand mixer while mixing the lye and oils? (sometimes I notice that after the soap traces it becomes solid and crumbly)

3) Would it pose a problem if I subject the gelling soap to too much heat? (using a double boiler method can sometimes be difficult to control)

4) In case of transparent soap, does adding additional alcohol-glycerin affect the hardening of the soap? (i.e does it take longer to harden)
 

IrishLass

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Welcome Sherif! :wave:

Hi all,

I would appreciate your help on the following questions:

1) When mixing lye and oils would it be a problem if I do so while heating the crock pot?
There should be no problem. I often soap on the warm side with no issues. I once added my lye to oils that were 160F and it all proceeded fine from beginning to end. That's not to say I make all my batches that way, mind you. lol I normally soap between 110F and 120F.

2) Is there a problem if I overuse the hand mixer while mixing the lye and oils? (sometimes I notice that after the soap traces it becomes solid and crumbly)
Yes, there can be problems with overuse (to your soap and your hand-mixer). The hand-mixer/stickblender should only be used judiciously. Most of us use it intermittently in this manner: 10 to 15 seconds on and then a few minutes off while hand-stirring, etc.. until the soap comes to trace. Without knowing your recipe, though, it's hard to say if the overuse of the hand-mixer is the problem of your soap's crumbliness. Lye and water amounts are the usual culprits for ending up with crumbly soap. Overuse of certain ingredients can also cause crumbliness, too.

3) Would it pose a problem if I subject the gelling soap to too much heat? (using a double boiler method can sometimes be difficult to control)
Yes- too much heat can cause issues such as volcanoing/separation, etc... If you are HPing, you can always do it in the oven. That's how I do my HP, with my oven to 180F. Works great for me.

4) In case of transparent soap, does adding additional alcohol-glycerin affect the hardening of the soap? (i.e does it take longer to harden)

Someone else will have to answer that one since I've not ever made transparent soap (yet).


IrishLass :)
 

Sherif

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I apologize for not clarifying things, I am trying to make a HP transparent soap using Almond, Castor and Coconut oils.


@Irishlass Thank you for the quick reply! I often face the problem of the soap curdling up during mixing the lye and oils. My last recipe was as follows:

- Almond 6.2 Oz (33% of oils)
- Castor 6.2 Oz (33%)
- Coconut 6.2 Oz (33%)

- Lye: 2.8 Oz (79.9 g)
- Water 4 Oz

-Alcohol 8.1 Oz
-Glycerin 1.4 Oz

Then I add a sugar solution till transparency is achieved.
 
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penelopejane

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I apologize for not clarifying things, I am trying to make a HP transparent soap using Almond, Castor and Coconut oils

- Almond 6.2 Oz (33% of oils)
- Castor 6.2 Oz (33%)
- Coconut 6.2 Oz (33%)

- Lye: 2.8 Oz (79.9 g)
- Water 4 Oz

-Alcohol 8.1 Oz
-Glycerin 1.4 Oz

Then I add a sugar solution till transparency is achieved.
I don't make HP but I think it still applies that that is too much castor. Castor should be max 10% and a lot of people use max 5%.
 

IrishLass

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Penny, I could be wrong, but I think transparent soap needs a lot of castor. At least most recipes I've seen for transparent soap use a lot of it.


IrishLass :)
 

Sherif

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Oh! could the crumbling be a result of the oil mixture? I thought it had to do with the over mixing or oil-lye ratio.
 
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topofmurrayhill

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4) In case of transparent soap, does adding additional alcohol-glycerin affect the hardening of the soap? (i.e does it take longer to harden)
I would avoid adding extra glycerin as your soap might tend to sweat.

The amount of alcohol is somewhat flexible. Depending on how you scale the recipe and what your procedures are, you might find it difficult to dissolve all the soap with the amount of alcohol stated in a recipe. If you have a fluffy head of undissolved soap, it's okay to add more alcohol.

For practical purposes I haven't had problems with transparent soaps hardening, so I'm not sure how much the solvents affect it, but within reason I don't think variations in the amounts are going to have a huge effect. However, transparent soap made with alcohol can eventually shrink quite a bit as the alcohol evaporates, so varying the amount is liable to affect that.

I would urge you not to use a crock pot to make this type of soap. Using alcohol is tricky and the problem will be that the crock pot heats too slowly and the heat comes much more from the sides than the bottom. While you are struggling to deal with the situation, your expensive alcohol will evaporate.

A double boiler works better for this method. It heats evenly and efficiently from the bottom. If possible, use an electric hot plate. Be very, very careful with 95% alcohol around an open flame if you use a gas stove.
 

Sherif

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I would urge you not to use a crock pot to make this type of soap. Using alcohol is tricky and the problem will be that the crock pot heats too slowly and the heat comes much more from the sides than the bottom. While you are struggling to deal with the situation, your expensive alcohol will evaporate.

A double boiler works better for this method. It heats evenly and efficiently from the bottom. If possible, use an electric hot plate. Be very, very careful with 95% alcohol around an open flame if you use a gas stove.
Thanks for the tip, I use 70% alcohol since there are legal limitations where I live to using 95% alcohol.

Anyways, I will give it another shot and maybe I'll add extra alcohol this time instead of glycerin and see how it works.

Thanks for the help!
 

topofmurrayhill

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Thanks for the tip, I use 70% alcohol since there are legal limitations where I live to using 95% alcohol.

Anyways, I will give it another shot and maybe I'll add extra alcohol this time instead of glycerin and see how it works.

Thanks for the help!
Curious, what are the legal limitations? It's unfortunate seeing as you have an interesting distiller in your state. http://www.culinarysolvent.com/

I haven't done the math, but I imagine it might not be feasible at 75% to use enough alcohol and not end up with too much water.

Increasing the glycerin isn't a good option, but propylene glycol might help to supplement the ethanol.
 

Sherif

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Curious, what are the legal limitations? It's unfortunate seeing as you have an interesting distiller in your state. http://www.culinarysolvent.com/

I haven't done the math, but I imagine it might not be feasible at 75% to use enough alcohol and not end up with too much water.

Increasing the glycerin isn't a good option, but propylene glycol might help to supplement the ethanol.
As for the 75% alcohol, basically what I do is discount for the excess water present in the alcohol and increase the alcohol amount so I can get a similar result.
 

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