CP. Keeping batter fluid. Currently don't need to stick blend.

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Mar 26, 2018
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I am a bit baffled. I can obtain a emulsion without stick blending. Just add the lye water to the oils and stir with a silicone spatula for a minute. As a matter of fact, if I stick blend, I obtain a trace with only a couple of seconds of blending. By the time I can stir in colorants and FO.. it's often too thick to do much then slop it into my molds. (And heaven help me if it's an accelerating FO)

Coconut Oil 32%
Olive Oil 32%
Rice Bran Oil 20%
Shea Butter 13%
Castor Oil 3%

Lye: 33% Concentration (2.03 ratio)
I use distilled water
5% Superfat

Additives: Sodium Lactate at 1tsp PPO

Temp: 70°F-100°F*

Experience: CPing for about four years. Took a break during the pandemic, been having this problem ever since I started back up again.

Other details: I master batch the lye water and oils. I make enough lye water for 4,800g of oil. That's four of my 1,200 batches of oil that I dole out into plastic deli containers and store in my garage. Everything has been sitting at room temp for a day or more by the time I end up soaping with it. Sometimes I make 600g batches. This problem exists in both.

I haven't changed my recipe since I started soaping. I will note that the rice bran oil is expired, but it doesn't smell off and I don't get DOS. The remaining RBO I have is already batched, so if this is the source of my problems - it'll go away soon enough I suppose. I have had to change the manufacturer of the castor oil, but I am back to my original brand now. I also had to change the supplier of my shea butter, as my original supplier went out of business. The coconut oil and olive oil are the same I've been using since before my hiatus.

*Since my return from my hiatus, I have been trying to soap a little warmer: just until my oils are clear, essentially. This has only exacerbated the problem. Just before I took a break, I had a beautiful soap that was ruined because of stearic acid spots that I deduced was because I was soaping too cold. Last night I tried to go back to soaping 75-80 to see if this problem went away, and I saw no difference in the speed it took me to get emulsion or trace.

I would like to up my lye concentration to 40%.. but everything I've read tells me that will increase how fast I come to emulsion/trace. I CPOP, so I tend to get glycerin rivers and my goal by upping the concentration is to reduce those.

I watch over a dozen youtubers and instagramers for inspiration. Some of them are making many pounds more of soap then I am, and some make less. They seem to be able to stick blend for days at 100°F degrees with clear oils and more expensive stick blenders then my hamilton beach.

At this point I can only assume I need to change my recipe. My market is vegan and doesn't tolerate expensive bars well. I want to stay away from palm oil.

Please, any advice you can give me would be appreciated.

ps. Does CPOPing get rid of the steric acid spots problem? The particular ruined batch wasn't CPOPed because it had titanium dioxide in it and I wanted to avoid glycerin rivers.
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Feb 20, 2013
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My guess from what you're saying here is your older fats have a higher free fatty acid content than they did when they were newer. Free fatty acids (FFAs) react almost instantly with NaOH. If you've ever made shave soap with added stearic acid, you'll know what I'm talking about.

The end result from the soap maker's perspective is the batter traces quicker than expected. The higher the % of FFAs, the quicker the batter will thicken.

Fats with higher acid content are still fine to use for soap with as long as your nose tells you they aren't also rancid. Just understand you'll have to deal with a faster-than-usual trace until they're used up.
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Nov 15, 2018
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I’ll weigh in on lye concentration. My batter speeds up when I go up from 33% but then slows down again around 38% through 40%. I typically use 40% to reduce soda ash.

I use room temp master-batched lye solution, and oils that were melted to clear and cooled to just before the point that they begin clouding.

My recipe is high lard with low CO and low OO and moves very slowly unless provoked by naughty FOs, clays, or the like.


Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2019
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I am a bit baffled. I can obtain a emulsion without stick blending.

A stick blender is nice, but it not necessary...a lot depends on the size of your batch, the temp of your Lye Solution and Oils and your recipe. I made another batch of wedding soaps yesterday...12 oz of oils. Didn't use the SB. I usually soap around 80F-85F, but I didn't need the extra time, I heated my oils/butters a little warmer than usual and mixed with a spatula.


Mar 28, 2022
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Wilmington NC
I have been finding lately that I don't have to stick blend my batter as much. The only thing I have changed is that I have started using a water discount (33%), and I have increased the milk in my recipe. It has not been a problem for me so far, so I think that the amount of stick blending necessary has a lot to do with different factors. If the soap is not separating and is performing well, I wouldn't worry about it. Save some life on your blender :)
Jan 14, 2014
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Just in case, I'll mention that pomace olive oil traces faster too. So if you used that, plus have older oils then you've got a perfect storm.

Glad you're back to soaping. I"ve done very little myself the last two years and need to get some fragrances used up.