Charcoal issue

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Putzii

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Hi lovely soapers,

Do any of you soap with charcoal and if so, what about dissolving issues.

I have one issue at the moment.
Have made a loaf which looked ok from the outside but then something went wrong once I cut it.

I used charcoal with black mica and dissolved into water. Maybe a bit stupid in hindsight. I wasn’t aware you could only dissolve charcoal in oils😬.

So now some of the charcoal and mica I believe too (couldn’t really say) have not been dissolved properly.
The outcome is I got stripes on my gloves whilst cutting. Stripes of charcoal or mica. Do I have to rebatch this load now and if so what to I do with the dissolving issues then….

Such a shame of it all, but I learned another thing I suppose.

Thanks for answering in advance. 🪬
 

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earlene

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They don't look bad in your photo. Have you washed with one of the bars yet to see how much charcoal might come away as you wash? Charcoal can make the lather grey and leave a bit of color on the sink and wash cloth, but with so much white soap in your swirl, I would not expect it to be too heavily discoloring.

Leaving streaks when cutting soap with charcoal in it is not at all uncommon. It does look like there are some solid bits when I look up close, but it does not look excessively so to me. I'd use them.

When you prepare your powdered colorants (whether charcoal or mica or clays), it may take a bit more time for some of them to become well mixed in their respective liquids & they need some extra help from us. Until you are have a bit more experience working with different colorants, I suggest prepping your colorants earlier in the process, even the night before making the soap. Some makers prepare their colorants on a flat surface with a pallet knife the same way that painters mix paints in order to ensure a complete mixing of the color & the medium. Some use a mini-mixer (teeny tiny blender). Some mix them in shaker bottles with a mixing ball inside the bottle.
 

Putzii

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Hi Earlene,

You know what I think happened. I also made a layer in between with the mixed black powders in a mesh sifter and tried to make a thin layer in between before i poured the next layer. I saw this many times in videos. I believe there may have been some clumps which I have not really noticed.

Also: Do you think it’s best to dissolve charcoal in water or oil? What is your experience?
Then I will try my best to mix some tonight and see how that will work out. Also these white specs in the soap keep coming up. Its the cocoa oil. The temperature was just right for the batter to pour, it gave me some time but perhaps too low. 98F.

Thanks Earlene🪬
 
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Also these white specs in the soap keep coming up. Its the cocoa oil. The temperature was just right for the batter to pour, it gave me some time but perhaps too low. 98F.
I would say the white specks are stearic spots. If they bother you, just make sure your hard oils are melted to transparent before adding your lye solution.
 

Putzii

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Hi there,

Ok I will have a go at that. Thank you so much for explaining. I will have a read about this and avoiding this. Thank you🪬
 

earlene

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Hi Earlene,

You know what I think happened. I also made a layer in between with the mixed black powders in a mesh sifter and tried to make a thin layer in between before i poured the next layer. I saw this many times in videos. I believe there may have been some clumps which I have not really noticed.

Also: Do you think it’s best to dissolve charcoal in water or oil? What is your experience?

I don't use charcoal very often, but when I do I mix it with oil from my batch oils. I doubt I ever tried mixing with water, because I prefer using batch oils for color mixing. For me it just seemed the easier method. The only things I ever dissolve in water are sugar or salt, and that water gets deducted from my lye solution water.

Oh yes, a pencil line. Probably that was it. Pencil lines are fun, but be careful to use only very fine powders. Some charcoal is not as finely ground as others, so that could make a difference with sifting to create the pencil line.
 
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I've mixed charcoal in oils and in water. Either way works for me, but it can leave lumps or streaks if not completely mixed. I've also gotten streaks from trying to use charcoal as a pencil line. It looks beautiful, but ends up not being practical for me, for that reason.
 

Putzii

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Good morning team soapers,

Thank you for the helpful answers. I find quite interesting how the chemistry works with most of the ingredients. Oil, water, charcoal, mica, sugars, salts etc.
Its also quite interesting to see how with each soap you learn something completely new that didn’t happen in the previous. The adventures that come with it. The excitement or disappointment when removing the
mould are really all good experiences. My husband didn't understand why I got so worked up about it all but since a few days he’s having the same experience and now comes with solutions and helpful tips. He gets now more exited then I do when I remove the mould🤣🤣

I am very grateful for you the people in the soaping community for being truly kind and helpful too coming up with ideas and tips. Where do you find that?😊
Reading a lot on this forum it amazes me how many cool people there are because some other type forums can be a bit btchy towards members. This is just such an uplifting cool forum!

Thank you guys!
Appreciate your answers🌸⭐🌸

Have a good day/ night🪬

I shall do that too KiwiMoose!
Good idea👌🏼
 

Putzii

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Hi there Soapmaker,

I assume you mix things really thoroughly, which is what I thought I did🤣
The charcoal pencil line is that the one in the middle with a mica and colander?
I wonder if you then when it’s cured still get the stripes whilst washing with it or is that gone by then?

Thanks for answering🪬
 
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Hi there Soapmaker,

I assume you mix things really thoroughly, which is what I thought I did🤣
The charcoal pencil line is that the one in the middle with a mica and colander?
I wonder if you then when it’s cured still get the stripes whilst washing with it or is that gone by then?

Thanks for answering🪬
Yes that's the one in the middle. I used charcoal instead of mica. And a mesh sieve instead of a colander. The streaks stay until you get into the bar far enough that they're washed away.
 
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Well I guess I'm the odd one out. I add my charcoal directly to the pot at light trace and stick blend. Never had any issues with clumping or streaking. I did have the issue of streaking with a charcoal pencil line.
I used to do that too - in fact I think it gives a slightly more 'black' result than premixing, but I would occasionally get a wee spot here and there of unmixed charcoal so i stopped doing it at some point. I might try it again someday.
 
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