Cold Process Newbie - Lots of questions.

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bluebirdwing

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Hello guys. I have been making soaps using M&P s for a while now. So, I am thinking to move on to cold process. I have a lot of questions, doubts. Is there any threads describing do's and dont's for CP here? If not can any experts/veterans answer my questions?

1. Is it necessary to use a plastic conainer to mix all things?
2. If not, what are the alternatives?
3. Can I a use a recipe by reducing to half or doubling up? will it make any difference in final product?
4. If the CP soap didnt set up properly/in a desired state, how can I fix it?
5. Is rebatching is simple Melt and Pour of CP/HP soap
6. What chemical additives can be used/their advantages/in which stage they can be used?
7. Some CP recipes use way less Lye than the recommended amount, will it affect the final product?

These are all coming to mind right now. Your advice/suggestions apart from these questions are also welcome.
 

Zing

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Welcome! I find CP soaping a great adventure. The more you do it, the fewer doubts you'll have and you'll build your confidence. I recommend going into the Beginner's section here and reading the threads pinned to the top. Soap Queen has a great video series for first timers, and I also like Soaping101 -- all on YouTube.

For me in the beginning, it helped to soap with just oils and lye. After a few batches under my belt, I moved on to colors, scents, and designs later. There are many steps to perform and it's easier without having to think about colors and scents.

1. Your lye container must be plastic with the number 5 on the bottom. My mixing containers are plastic. Glass -- even pyrex -- gets etched by lye solutions and can break unexpectedly.
3. Recipes can be halved and doubled BUT you must put your recipe through a lye calculator, even recipes from trusted sources. Recipes that have percentages are easier to work with.
4. By "set up" do you mean did all the lye interact with all the oil to form soap? If you follow a recipe, this should happen. If by "set up" you mean the design came out different than expected, that happens ALL THE TIME!! Take good notes.
5. I've never rebatched.
6. One "chemical additive" I use is sodium lactate which really is just a salt from beets that makes for a slightly harder bar and you can unmold sooner. I would wait on experimenting with these until you get the basics down.
7. You must use the lye recommendations from a soap calculator. If you use much less lye than recommended by a calculator, you'll end up with too much oil. Soapers routinely set a "super fat" at a certain percentage from 3-10% (I use 3%) which means that a small percentage of oil molecules will not get matched to a lye molecule. It's a way to ensure you don't end up with a lye-heavy soap which means lye molecules did not find an oil molecule and it will be caustic and burning.

Unsolicited advice, just jump in! Even after 3 years I'm still learning and researching! Keep us posted and good luck,
 
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Misschief

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Welcome, bluebirdwing.

Zing gave you a lot of good advice so I'll just add one or two things. First, start simple. Basic oils, lye, some fragrance if you want. Learn the basics before moving on to more complex recipes and methods (i.e. fancy swirls). There's a great temptation to soap with all the oils but you can create a lovely bar of soap with simple combinations. Remember that soap is a wash off product and the fancy oils are better saved for a leave on product.

1. In addition to Zing's suggestion about the plastic containers, you can also use stainless steel (it must be stainless steel). That's what I use both for mixing the lye and the soap batter.

3. Even though soap making uses recipes, as soon as you change that recipe in any way (different quantities, substituting oils, for example), you must run it through a lye calculator. Oils have different properties and require different quantities of lye for saponification.

4. If your soap didn't turn out as expected, you can always ask for advice here, posting your recipe, method, and pictures. We're here to help.

5. Rebatching is melting your soap back down to a liquid(ish) state with the addition of water, then adding missing ingredients or whatever you want to "fix". It is then poured into molds and allowed to solidify again. It takes a lot longer than M&P. I try to avoid it if at all possible. I see it as a last resort to save a batch of soap.

Zing's covered the last two questions pretty well.
 

lsg

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Rebatching is more complicated than remelting M&P.
 

bluebirdwing

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Thank you all for your valuable answers.

@Zing , by set up I meant the texture/hardness of the bar, whether it will end up gooey or too brittle.
And I found a baby soap recipe at soapqueen, since it have fewer oils, I thought I will try it out.
Recipe is
Olive Pomace 28.3 Oz/802 g
Shea Butter 0.8 Oz/23 g
Castor oil 0.5 Oz/14g
Distilled Water 4.3 Oz/122g
NaoH 1.9 Oz/54g
Additives oatmeal & clay, and fragrance(thought I will skip these last ingredients)
When I checked this recipe on Lye calculator it recommended 4 Oz/113g NaoH. But the recipe calls for only half of it, same goes for distilled water. Will it work?

@Misschief, Thank you for suggesting stainless steel utensils. I do have lots of them, since we mainly uses satinless steel pots/utensils here. Can I mix lye and water in stainless steel container?

@lsg I have checked the thread and bookmarked it just in case. I just hope my first attempt wont be a flop :rolleyes:

Thank you once again guys. I will try my first CP (may be above mentioned baby soap or any other fewer oil recipe) and update you guys tomorrow.
 

Zing

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I think I found the recipe you referenced:
but your post #5 has an incorrect amount of pomace olive and half the lye and water needed which will just lead to an oily mess. Remember, every lye molecule wants to mate with an oil molecule. Too much lye without oil friends will lead to a caustic burning soap. Too much oil without lye friends will lead to a oily mess.

If you want to adjust the amount you are making, use percentages of a specific oil to total weight of oil. For example, you want a total of 16 ounces of total oil weight (a nice amount for a beginner). Then use
90.5% olive oil pomace
5% shea butter
4.5% castor oil
Multiply each percentage above times 16 ounces to get the amount of each individual oil.

Soap Queen has marked your recipe as intermediate. She has some good beginner recipes at Free Beginner's Guide to Soapmaking: Cold Process - Soap Queen

I don't want to overwhelm you! It's such an exciting thing to watch a bunch of oils turn into soap. Keep us posted!
 

Jersey Girl

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I think I found the recipe you referenced:
but your post #5 has an incorrect amount of pomace olive and half the lye and water needed which will just lead to an oily mess. Remember, every lye molecule wants to mate with an oil molecule. Too much lye without oil friends will lead to a caustic burning soap. Too much oil without lye friends will lead to a oily mess.

If you want to adjust the amount you are making, use percentages of a specific oil to total weight of oil. For example, you want a total of 16 ounces of total oil weight (a nice amount for a beginner). Then use
90.5% olive oil pomace
5% shea butter
4.5% castor oil
Multiply each percentage above times 16 ounces to get the amount of each individual oil.

Soap Queen has marked your recipe as intermediate. She has some good beginner recipes at Free Beginner's Guide to Soapmaking: Cold Process - Soap Queen

I don't want to overwhelm you! It's such an exciting thing to watch a bunch of oils turn into soap. Keep us posted!
Yes, it looks like the olive police should be 13.8 oz
 

bluebirdwing

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Yes, as long as it is stainless steel. It's the only thing I use for mixing my water and lye.
Thank you for confirming :)

@Zing & @Jersey Girl , My bad, when I used the calculator, I added the oil for infusion too(14.5) :D. I did watch the video and understood that the 13.8 oz is measured from the infused 14.5 oz still made a mistake. Thank you :) for pointing this out to me, otherwise, I would have made a gooey mess :eek:.

I will update after trying out first cp.

Thank you all for the inspiration, I just tried CP:dance:

I used a small recipe few mins ago, didnt wanted to waste anything, if it was a fail. The recipe I tried is the following:

Lye 13g
Distilled Water 30g

Olive Pomace 70g (70%)
Castor Oil 5g (5%)
Cocoa Butter 25g (25%)

Oat meal 1 tsp (too much?)
Holy Basil Powder a pinch
Lavender EO 2 drops

Wore rubber gloves, face mask & goggles. I didnt had a stick blender, so used a whisk, got a thin trace in 5-6 mins I guess, added the EO and additives and mixed till medium trace(another 5-6 mins). Poured into 2 cupcake silicon moulds placed in a wooden mould (was super excited spilled some in wooden mould). Sprayed rubbing alcohol. Covered with cling film, then towel.

So, I have to wait for 24-48 hrs to unmould and then 2-3 weeks to cure, right?

Another question, Is the utensils used for the soaping safe to wash in kitchen sink? Should I have to use gloves while washing them?
 

Babyshoes

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How exciting!

For the utensils, if they have soap batter on them, a lot of folks leave them for a day or two until it turns into soap, which you can absolutely wash in your sink. Saves the headache of washing oily, caustic stuff straight away.
Do wear gloves for that though, it'll be a bit harsh still. I'm still a total newbie, only a few weeks in, but what I've been doing is wiping the fresh batter out of the containers and off spatulas etc, then leaving them in a bin bag for a while.

The exception is my stick blender - I wash that in a jug of very hot water with fairy liquid soon after I finish.

Containers that I've only used for edible oils, I put in the dishwasher after getting as much out as possible. Lye containers go straight in the sink and get filled with cold water to sit while I finish soaping, then they're easy to rinse out at the end.

Check your soap the next day, if you can wait that long! I believe some recipes can be unmoulded slightly sooner than 24 hours, but if you're unsure you can always just leave them longer, since you don't have to worry about them getting too hard to cut.
 

Zing

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The recommendation is to cure 4-6 weeks. When I was a beginner, I would test at 3 weeks. I set my bars up and turn them to a different side once per week for 6 weeks.
It's soooo hard to wait. The secret is that if you soap weekly, at some point something will always be ready to use!
 

bluebirdwing

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The recommendation is to cure 4-6 weeks. When I was a beginner, I would test at 3 weeks. I set my bars up and turn them to a different side once per week for 6 weeks.
Thank you @Zing for the tip.
It's soooo hard to wait. The secret is that if you soap weekly, at some point something will always be ready to use!
Yes, especially when you were making M&P where you can use them instantly lol.

I unmoulded them today, one came out clean, second didnt. I think, I unmoulded too soon.

I noticed some orange dots on the bottom of both soaps, out of curiosity I touched, it felt like liquid, oily, despite the entire bar is hard. Did I use too much oil in it? Or is that DOS? And one soap have an orange stripe too (attaching pics). Only that stripe went through gel phase? I had insulated it well and room temp was 33(90F) degree. I didnt worry much about gel phase since its first cp attempt. All I thought was it shouldnt be a gooey mess.

Now, I have put them in a sheet of cardboard and placed it near the window, I havent set up any dedicated shelves or area for CP yet, hope it will cure ok. So, guys, eagerly waiting for your thoughts, advice :)

IMG_20210226_094416242~2.jpgIMG_20210226_094516150~2.jpgIMG_20210226_094609631~2.jpg
 

Nibiru2020

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This page from The Soap Queen at Brambleberry will explain your "dreaded orange spots".
Dealing with Dreaded Orange Spots

The primary reason the "recommended" cure time is 4 to 6 weeks is to let more of the water evaporate out of the bar. Your soap will usually be fully saponified within 24-36 hours. Another reason for a longer cure time is because the fats become salts due to the action of the sodium hydroxide. A longer time resting allows the soap's salt crystalline structure to more fully develop and in the end, a better lathering bar soap.
 

AliOop

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DOS doesn't usually appear for a couple of weeks after soap begins curing. It is more likely that your lavender EO didn't get mixed in well enough. It could also be that you didn't get a very stable emulsion without a stick blender, and some of the soaping oils that weren't thoroughly mixed are now weeping out a bit.

Give it a few days to reabsorb, and be sure not to leave it in direct sunlight. Air flow is good, but sunlight causes rancidity - and then you might really have DOS!
 

TheGecko

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1. Is it necessary to use a plastic conainer to mix all things?
2. If not, what are the alternatives?
3. Can I a use a recipe by reducing to half or doubling up? will it make any difference in final product?
4. If the CP soap didnt set up properly/in a desired state, how can I fix it?
5. Is rebatching is simple Melt and Pour of CP/HP soap
6. What chemical additives can be used/their advantages/in which stage they can be used?
7. Some CP recipes use way less Lye than the recommended amount, will it affect the final product?
1/2) Your local ‘dollar’ store is your friend when it comes to soap making equipment. I purchased my bowls, measuring cups and spoons, spatulas, silicone whisks, etc from them. I bought two ‘dish pans’ (plastic) to mix larger batches of soap. Do NOT use anything with aluminum in it. Do NOT use glass (you can use it for mixing colorants and FOs/EOs). You can use stainless steel.

Amazon is another friend...Gloves, Googles/Eye Protection, Stick Blender, Digital Scale, Cheese Slicer, Microfiber Towels.

3) Yes you can resize recipes, best to do it in a Soap Calculator and print it out.

4) You can do something called ‘rebatch’. Your would grate up the soap, put it in a crockpot, melt it down (with a little water) and remold. It won’t be as smooth.

5) No. With M&P, you can just chop it up and stick it in the microwave for whatever seconds. Rebatching CP/HP takes a lot more time. Because it is made differently than M&P, the process of turning it back to a ‘liquid’ is more involved.

6) Speaking for myself, I don’t add chemical additives to my soap as it defeats the purpose of my making soap...which is to get away from chemicals. With that said, I do add 1 tea Sodium Lactate (liquid salt) PPO and 1 tea Kaolin Clay PPO to every batch.

7) See below.

When I checked this recipe on Lye calculator it recommended 4 Oz/113g NaoH. But the recipe calls for only half of it, same goes for distilled water. Will it work?
Are you sure you entered the amounts correctly? Could you provide a screenshot?

I unmoulded them today, one came out clean, second didnt. I think, I unmoulded too soon.

I noticed some orange dots on the bottom of both soaps, out of curiosity I touched, it felt like liquid, oily, despite the entire bar is hard. Did I use too much oil in it? Or is that DOS? And one soap have an orange stripe too (attaching pics). Only that stripe went through gel phase? I had insulated it well and room temp was 33(90F) degree. I didnt worry much about gel phase since its first cp attempt. All I thought was it shouldnt be a gooey mess.
Rule of thumb for soap high in soft oils is to wait 48 hours. Looking at the pictures, I would guess that you didn’t get all your ingredients well mixed together. Let them be for six weeks and then see how they are.
 

bluebirdwing

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DOS doesn't usually appear for a couple of weeks after soap begins curing. It is more likely that your lavender EO didn't get mixed in well enough. It could also be that you didn't get a very stable emulsion without a stick blender, and some of the soaping oils that weren't thoroughly mixed are now weeping out a bit.
Give it a few days to reabsorb, and be sure not to leave it in direct sunlight. Air flow is good, but sunlight causes rancidity - and then you might really have DOS!
Oh ok got it, time to invest in a handblender. Ok, I will keep it away from sunlight. Thank you @AliOop

Another reason for a longer cure time is because the fats become salts due to the action of the sodium hydroxide. A longer time resting allows the soap's salt crystalline structure to more fully develop and in the end, a better lathering bar soap.
Ah, thats a new thing to learn. Thank you @Nibiru2020

Thank you @TheGecko.

1/2) Your local ‘dollar’ store is your friend when it comes to soap making equipment. I purchased my bowls, measuring cups and spoons, spatulas, silicone whisks, etc from them. I bought two ‘dish pans’ (plastic) to mix larger batches of soap. Do NOT use anything with aluminum in it. Do NOT use glass (you can use it for mixing colorants and FOs/EOs). You can use stainless steel.
We dont have dollar shops in India. For now, I thought I will stick with stainless steel.

Are you sure you entered the amounts correctly? Could you provide a screenshot?
It was a mistake, I added the oil for infusion to total oil content.
 

Catscankim

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I don't have advice, but good luck and enjoy your soaping adventure. This place is chock full of good information, and you will have advice from very knowledgable members at your fingertips (almost).

My first soaps were all plain, simple soaps. I gradually started doing more and more complicated recipes and designs. I have settled back on a simple soap as my main recipe...lard, coconut oil, olive oil, and castor, and a few others for my vegan friends.

Ok, I do have a little advice: always measure out your recipes EXACTLY, using a calculator (I use soapcalc, but others have different preferences). I don't know if anybody else does it this way, but if I want to halve my recipe, then I halve the total weight of oils in soapcalc and let them do the math so it's right (assuming that I already plugged in my original recipe).

Asking for help around here pretty much sends out a beacon to every soaper in the world..."NEWBIE NEEDS HELP!!"
 
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