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Cracking crock pot?

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flawlilz

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Hi!

I made a batch of castille soap in my crock pot successfully. When I started making my second batch, as I was pouring in the lye, the ceramic cracked and poured my hot oil and lye mixture all over my counter and floor. To say the least, it was a disaster!
I'm wondering what led to the crack/broken ceramic, and any help would be appreciated! My leading theory is that the first batch I made, I added room temperature water when diluting the paste, so it led to a small crack due to the temperature differences, that was exaggerated when the lye was added the second time. However, I'm wondering if the oils need to be at a specific temperature when adding the lye (all the recipes I've found just say "warm" or "hot")? Or somehow the temperature difference between the lye and the oils led to the breakage? Or perhaps the lye itself (it was a fairly new bottle of lye though).
Thank you in advance! Before I convince my roommate to let me use her new crock-pot, I want to be able to re-assure her I won't break it :)
 

TheGecko

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I would say that it's less about the temperature of your ingredients and more about the pot itself. If it's an old pot, it could have been that it was worn out. If it was a new pot, there was probably a flaw.

As for using your roommate's crockpot...you realize that once you make soap in it, you can't use it for food?
 

flawlilz

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Thank you for the response. It seems absurd that a new pot would crack after one use; it wasn't exactly new, but hadn't been used very much. And yes, I'm trying to convince her to donate the pot to my soap hobby :)
 

Obsidian

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was your ceramic part hot when you poured in the lye? If it was still cool, the temp change could have caused the crack.

I have a old crock with a visible crack. I always let it get up to temp before mixing my soap in it.
 

Zany_in_CO

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When I started making my second batch, as I was pouring in the lye, the ceramic cracked and poured my hot oil and lye mixture all over my counter and floor.
YIKES! I've been at this game for a very long time and this is the first time I heard of that happening. You have my deepest sympathies. What a mess!
 

Arimara

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I'm leaning on there being a defect with the pot itself. If this happened with soap, imagine if you had been cooking food with this thing. I've done a lot to my crock pots but I have never had one shatter on me.
 
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DeeAnna

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I'm puzzled -- why can't a person use a crock pot for food after making soap? After a good wash and rinse, it should be fine for food. It's not like lye and fat are poisonous. And after saponification is over, there shouldn't be any lye left anyways. Just soap.
 

Kamahido

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I'm puzzled -- why can't a person use a crock pot for food after making soap? After a good wash and rinse, it should be fine for food. It's not like lye and fat are poisonous. And after saponification is over, there shouldn't be any lye left anyways. Just soap.
I too am curious. Ceramic is certainly not porous, nor would it retain either the Sodium Hydroxide or fragrance scents after being properly cleaned.
 

TheGecko

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I'm puzzled -- why can't a person use a crock pot for food after making soap? After a good wash and rinse, it should be fine for food. It's not like lye and fat are poisonous. And after saponification is over, there shouldn't be any lye left anyways. Just soap.
Haven't we been told time and time again that anything we use for soaping should not be used for food preparation?
 

DeeAnna

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Haven't we been told time and time again that anything we use for soaping should not be used for food preparation?
Yes, many people use this blanket rule about their soap making stuff. It's a simple, conservative idea that's easy to remember and follow, so it's a reasonable rule for beginners or for people who don't know much about chemical safety. But it's not always necessary based on the actual chemical safety requirements.

This ceramic crock pot discussion is an example where it's overly restrictive to apply the blanket rule. This rule says you should have 2 crock pots, one for cooking food and one for making soap.

But my knowledge of chemical safety tells me a single crock pot is safe for both purposes if thoroughly cleaned between soap making and food prep. I might WANT 2 crock pots for convenience, but I don't HAVE to have two for safety.

The rules I use -- if equipment cannot be thoroughly cleaned of soap or lotion residues (the drive shaft, bearings, and seals of a stick blender), or if the equipment is exposed to chemicals that could create an off-taste or odor in food (plastic containers exposed to concentrated FOs), or if the equipment is used with poisonous chemicals (can't think of a soaping example), then the equipment is never used for food prep.
 

atiz

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I totally have some dishes that I use both for soap making and food (not at the same time :) ). Haven't been poisoned yet...
If I had a crockpot, which I currently don't, it would totally fall into this "common" category. After all, I wash the dishes with soap too!
I do have a designated stick blender, because of what DeeAnna said, but sometimes feel that may not have been necessary either.
 

Quilter99755

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I used my crock pot for both cooking and soaping. However, after about 5 years, the inside of the crock pot started to feel a little rough...the top and edges were just as smooth as they were when I bought it, but the area where my soaping was done was not as smooth. Just to be on the safe side, I decided to buy a new one for cooking the next time they went on sale. Instead I found one at the Thrift Store for $6. it looked like new so now I feel better. My soaping one has not gotten any "rougher" in the past 2 years, so it was probably not necessary, but now I don't have to worry!
 
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