Crumbling problems

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littlemissjellyfish

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I just unmolded my Campfire S'mores soap and it crumbled badly when I started cutting it. I smooshed the broken pieces back into the bar and it's holding together, it's just not very pretty. I'm trying to figure out where I went wrong. It could be any of the following or maybe a combo of all of them?
- first time using coco butter (which is considered brittle, right?) I used it at 15%
- fragrance oils? I know they can sometimes cause havoc.
- even before adding frag oils my soap went to medium trace very quickly.
- this was my first time using powders as colorants/additives. I used marshmallow powder and activated charcoal at trace.
- lye and oils were about 110 when mixed
- I set my soap outside instead of putting it in the fridge. ( it was cold enough!) I unmolded after 24hours. maybe I didn't wait long enough before cutting it?

If anyone can help shed some light I would be grateful! I keep track of all my recipes and like to make notes so I can tweak for next time!
 

earlene

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What was your exact recipe, including measurements in weight? Any other additives, such as Sodium Lactate?

I've never used marshamallow powder, so cannot speak to that. I have used marshmallow root infusion (tea) in the lye solution in place of water, but the strength was probably much weaker and seemed to have no other effect than to color the soap.

By smooshing, I am guessing that means your soap is still fairly soft?
 

DeeAnna

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"...maybe I didn't wait long enough before cutting it?..."

I'd say that is pretty likely. But we really do need the complete recipe in weights and the other info Earlene requested, or all we'll be doing here is mainly guessing.
 

Arimara

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Coco butter at 15% isn't enough to worry about a brittle soap unless you used another brittle oil at a higher percent. Brittle oils are better kept below 30% in many soap recipes but that doesn't apply to some (salt bars are my prime example)
 

Steve85569

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We do need the recipe you used to do anything but guess.

Adding FO's to the oils before the lye water helps to not have a soap separate or seize. Some scents will speed trace and others will slow trace. If the Marshmallow powder is mostly sugar it may be the culprit. Too many unknowns right now....
 

littlemissjellyfish

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Thanks for the comments! Here is my recipe. I separated the mixture into 3 separate containers and added the different powders to each one. I know I should do one new thing at a time...I guess I just get excited and too ambitious.

436g water
161g lye

172g coco butter 15%
344g coconut oil 30%
344g olive oil 30%
230g shea butter 20%
57g castor oil 5%

I round up my oils and round down my lye.
 

snappyllama

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I'm guessing it's your combination of butters (35%) and CO (30%). I normally keep my butters under 10% or my bar starts having a weird texture. Even my vegan friendly soap keeps it below 15%.

I don't have a lot of experience with your type of recipe though so I'm just guessing...
 

DeeAnna

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My chief suspects -- The recipe has more water than it needs to work best, the soap didn't gel, and it was unmolded too soon.

When it's a soft, high-water soap like this, ya gotta sit on your hands :) and wait until the soap firms up before unmolding. You may need to wait several days.

Or let the soap warm up on its own so it can gel. Then it might easily be hard enough to unmold the day after it's made.

Last but not least -- I'm a broken record on this issue, but I'm going to say it again -- switch from using "water as % of oils" and start using lye concentration when designing or checking recipes. Set the concentration at 30% to 33% (meaning you'll use less water than you did for this batch.) You'll get a better result -- the soap won't be as soft.
 

littlemissjellyfish

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Thank you for all your valuable advice. Next time I'll try not to do so much at once and be more patient. I'll certainly look at lye concentration instead of % of oils as well!!!
 
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