Curing + pH for Goat Milk Soap

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Hi everyone!!

I finally got around to making some goat milk soap with the correct lye! Now I can't wait to use it but I am getting mixed information about curing and what the pH would be.

I read that it must cure for 3-4 weeks (mine has been curing for 1) and another source says it must cure for 8-9 weeks. Yikes! I don't think I could wait that long.
The pH of my soap is about 11 right now. Is this bad? I tested some other soaps we have laying around the house that were store bought an the pH is about 10-11. Does that mean my soap is ready????

Please give me your input! Thanks
 

TBandCW

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I cure my gm soap for 8 weeks. Don't know if that's good or bad, but it works for me and I've never had a complaint about soap dissolving to fast.

Keep in mind that curing is also for drying out your soap so it's not mushy.
 

earlene

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The pH is not going to tell you if the soap is ready. In fact, if you are using pH strips, you cannot expect accurate readings on soap anyway. So you are really just wasting your money on pH strips for soap making purposes.

Besides being well cured, a good soap is also well aged, like fine wine. Not only do you want to let the excess water evaporate off (that takes more than a week!), but you want the chemical processes that occur during the aging to make the soap milder and produce a more luxurious lather. There are other things that happen to soap with age that make it feel better on the skin, more subjective than objective characteristics, but significant to the soap user. Some soaps take a longer time to reach their optimum potential and some take less time. How long you will need to cure and age your soap depends on the recipe, the ingredients, the lye concentration, etc.

While you are waiting for that one to cure, make more soap. Date them as you make them, and weigh at least one bar from each batch once a week (grams), recording the date and weight each time. You will find that eventually the soap will stop loosing weight for a couple of weeks in a row. At this point, it may actually continue to loose more liquid, but at such a slow rate you may not notice unless you go away for a month and come back and weigh them again. (I've done that, and had soap go down another gram or two in weight.) Anyway at this point, your soap is supposedly 'cured.' But it is not done 'aging'. It actually will get better with age, but the only way to learn how much

ETA: oops, I thought I finished my sentence. :-?

The only way to learn how much time your particular soap needs in terms of cure time, is by trial and error. Give it time, test it periodically, record your impressions. Repeat.
 
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The Efficacious Gentleman

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How long it needs to cure depends on the recipe first and foremost (including water amount) and then the curing environment.

Then comes preference- what is cured for one person is not enough for another.

Let us know your recipe and that would be a good start
 

Susie

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You can, and should, start testing (by washing your hands with it) one bar from that batch once a week, so you can know why we say that long of a cure is needed. Along the way, however, you can make more soap. When the first batch is 5 weeks old, be sure to make a batch that you can test against the "aged", AKA "cured" soap in one week. Then you will truly see why cure time is necessary. Be sure to save your recipes, and label your batches with dates on them. While you think you will never forget this batch and the date it was made, they do start blending together.

Also, stop trying to test the pH of soap. They are notoriously inaccurate when testing salts. Soap is the salt result of mixing the alkali NaOH with the acidic fats. It is not going to tell you if it is cured, or indeed if it is safe. Do the zap test. Rub a gloved, wet finger against the soap, then touch your tongue with it. If you get no zap sensation, touch your tongue directly to the bar. If no zap sensation, your soap is safe. Not cured, mind you, but safe. Time is what is needed for cure.
 
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To think that there are actually people out there licking their soap gives me a good laugh! But if you say it's an accurate test, I'm willing to give it a shot.

The recipe I used was:
30 oz olive oil
15 oz coconut oil
16 oz goat milk
6.4 oz lye
4 tbsp. oats
dash of fragrant spices

There is SO much information out there on this subject it is hard not to get confused! I'll just take whatever you say as valid info... no more pH testing for me. I will try the zap test in a bit.
Thanks for the advice:), off to start a new batch!
 

Susie

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It's a stickie on the Lye Based Forum: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=30690

I would strongly suggest that you go read all the stickies in the Beginner's Forum as well as the Lye Based Soap Forum. Then I would suggest you read at least 5 pages of each forum.

I will, however, tell you that you will not be able to detect the scent of any of those spices. You may also not find that recipe very pleasant with 33% coconut oil. But to each his/her own.
 
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penelopejane

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To think that there are actually people out there licking their soap gives me a good laugh! But if you say it's an accurate test, I'm willing to give it a shot.

The recipe I used was:
30 oz olive oil
15 oz coconut oil
16 oz goat milk
6.4 oz lye
4 tbsp. oats
dash of fragrant spices

There is SO much information out there on this subject it is hard not to get confused! I'll just take whatever you say as valid info... no more pH testing for me. I will try the zap test in a bit.
Thanks for the advice:), off to start a new batch!
That is a high %age of CO.
You may find the oats annoying when you clean the shower.
Unfortunately spices don't survive lye scent wise.
Cinnamon looks good as a line but it has to be thin and all wet before you add the next layer and can bleed a bit but I like the look!
 
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