could extra virgin oo cause cloudy liquid soap?

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poramor

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I changed 2 things in my liquid soap formula: 1.) I used extra virgin instead of "non-extra virgin" olive oil and 2.) I used 4% superfat instead of 0%. My formula has olive, coconut, sesame oil, and small amounts of castor and wheatgerm oil. Usually I get clear liquid soap, though last time it was zappy which is why this time I superfatted. This time all tests made resulted cloudy. The soap base is more fluid than usual. I added small amounts of KOH and waited several hours or overnight to see the effect until I had reversed the superfat in the formula but testing with distilled water still came out cloudy. I began using cold process method and since it wasn´t working I cooked and cooked several hours. Could this clouding be due to the use of extra virgin oil this time? Do you have suggestions on saving the soap?
 

DeeAnna

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You can superfat, but limit the superfat to 2-3% at most. Too much fat overall is probably the reason why this batch is cloudy, not the different type of olive oil. Much of the excess fat may eventually separate and float on top of the rest of the soap. That may improve the clarity.

Ah, I didn't read well enough -- you've added KOH and cooked the mixture to correct the issue. But you don't say how much KOH you added in proportion to the superfat, so is it possible you didn't add enough?
 

ResolvableOwl

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Could this clouding be due to the use of extra virgin oil this time?
Yes. Olive oil contains unsaponifiables (squalene is the most well-known; in the worst case, it's mineral oil contamination 🤮). Maybe you got a batch that had a bit more of unsaponifiables than usual/than the superfat emulsion tolerance of LS can handle.

If you are sure that your late KOH addition was sufficient to eat up any superfat, yet cloudiness persists, a few other reasons are left. You might have got a batch with a noticeably higher saponification value, that needs a bit more lye to fully react (the culprit doesn't have to be the olive oil) – the SAPs of soap calculators are average values. Or your solid KOH might not be as concentrated as you thought (e. g., pulled water from the air). I assume that you can exclude dirty vessels, or usage of tap water? (Everyone makes stupid mistakes 😳)

Do you have suggestions on saving the soap?
First, wait another day or two. If the cloudiness persists, add crazy extra 10% KOH to a small test portion and let it react. If it still fails the clarity test, then it's definitely an issue with unsaponifiables. But if it got clear, you can add castor oil, equivalent to the excess lye, and let it saponify.
 

DeeAnna

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Olive oil when meeting international quality specifications does not have any more naturally occuring unsaponifiable content than other common soaping fats. Even pomace olive doesn't have an unusually high unsaponifiable content. Shea and avocado lead the pack in the amount of naturally occuring unsaponifiable content.

If you are talking about adulterated olive oil, that's another story. Adulteration (squalene, mineral oil, other seed oils, etc.) is not natural and it's not per spec.
 

ResolvableOwl

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Olive oil when meeting international quality specifications
This is true, but I personally can't judge if this is the case without having more knowledge about @poramor's supply. If the olive oil did meet the same quality specifications as the non-virgin oil OP had used before, there were no cloudiness issues.

Adulteration (squalene
Do you have reasons to assume that squalene is deliberately added to olive oil, additionally to the 0.3% levels that are naturally present?
 
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Zany_in_CO

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Usually I get clear liquid soap, though last time it was zappy which is why this time I superfatted.
While I understand your thinking, "zappy" LS will calm down if left to do its thing for a day or two or however long it takes.
Cooking more than 3-4 hours is rarely necessary. Once again, let it rest to see what happens. When it comes to LS, PATIENCE is the best tool in your toolbox.
SF @ 4% is testing the limits of the balance. Not a good idea. If you want clear soap, stick with 0% SF.
The only advice I can offer is to wait a full 2 weeks to see if anything floats to the top or settles on the bottom or whether the soap clears. If it's still cloudy, best to review your notes to determine what went wrong. Wish I could be more help. :(
 

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