Does everyone zap?

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

soapmonster

New Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
There's a lot of debate around zap testing, some say it's the best way to test and some say it's crazy to put it in our mouths when there's so many precautions around lye safety. So is zapping really okay to do?

And for those who do zap, when and how often do you do it? Do you keep testing until the sting is gone? Or can you just test when it's cured so there's a less than likely chance it'll burn?
 

Logansama

Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2014
Messages
69
Reaction score
68
Location
Northern California
I've done it a couple times but I really don't see the point. At about 4 weeks I'll take a bar and wash my hands with it, and if it doesn't dry me out, I assume its going to be okay.

I've used PH strips too, and same thing, it not particularly exact so I don't really see the point. I've only had one batch turn out weird over the past couple years, and believe me, I'm not putting that on my tongue! LOL!
 

Jstar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
1,061
Reaction score
701
Location
Tx
I dont zap test much anymore, unless I realize I have done something really wrong like forget a major ingredient...which has been quite awhile.

After 4 weeks Id zap test again if I have to test the first time.

I dont use ph strips, and never have...I figure my tongue is the best testing strip..after all as a child I took great glee in sticking my tongue to a battery :lol:
 

seven

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
2,672
Reaction score
1,425
I dont mind zap testing. It's only touching the tip of yer tongue and you can wipe it afterwards so not to swallow anything.

I rarely tongue test for cp except when it came out weird like crumbly or something. And i don't do much hp as well.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
8,998
Reaction score
9,104
Location
Austria
I zap test, with CP more from habit, with HP to see when I can start letting it cool. My process -

Get some wet soapy water on my finger, wait for a tingle. When no tingle..............
............touch the soapy finger to my tongue to see if it zaps. When no zap...............
............touch the soap with my tongue.

Whole process takes very little time and tells me the important information - is there unreacted lye in the soap or not. pH doesn't tell you that, so I don't pH test. If my soap is good on the skin or not is what makes me look at adjusting the recipe, so there is really nothing the pH can help me with.
 

shunt2011

Moderator Emeritus
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15,448
Reaction score
9,735
Location
Michigan
I too zap test out of habit. I may not do every batch but most. I've only had 1 batch zap me and that's when I was on pain killers and shouldn't have been soaping anyway. Left out some oils (duh). Zapped and went into the garbage as I had no idea what I may have missed or done.
 

PinkCupcake

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2013
Messages
579
Reaction score
348
Sometimes I zap test, sometimes I don't. If I'm doing my standard recipe, and it behaves the way it usually does, I don't test. But if anything seems even slightly different, I do.
 

galaxyMLP

Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Messages
1,838
Reaction score
1,333
Location
Florida
When I'm doing something new or different, I zap test. otherwise with my typical recipes I dont really do it much any more. You shouldnt get zapped often or test multiple times. For CP I would probably zap test at 1-2 weeks. For HP, I zap when I'm pretty certian its done. Most of the time it is.
 

kchaystack

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
2,080
Location
Monroe, LA
There's a lot of debate around zap testing, some say it's the best way to test and some say it's crazy to put it in our mouths when there's so many precautions around lye safety. So is zapping really okay to do?

And for those who do zap, when and how often do you do it? Do you keep testing until the sting is gone? Or can you just test when it's cured so there's a less than likely chance it'll burn?
Well I think there is no debate around this board. There are one or two who refuse to zap for whatever reason, but i think most of us will zap test.

Second, I never stick my tongue on a bar of soap. I wet my finger with some water, rub it across the face of the soap, and then tap it on the tip of my tongue. If it zaps, I rinse my mouth and finger.
 

snappyllama

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Messages
3,910
Reaction score
3,040
Location
Near Charlotte NC
I zap test every batch and <fingers crossed against the jinx that I'm giving myself> haven't experienced zap yet. Of course, I also hadn't had a completely failed batch, until last week when I must have put double the water into a Castille recipe. That was a learning experience that unfortunately I didn't have time that week to correct so... I chunked a batch for the first time.
 

Earthen_Step

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2014
Messages
394
Reaction score
308
Location
New Hampshire
Last edited:

hmlove1218

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
1,385
Reaction score
673
Location
Mississippi
I agree with everyone else. When I was new, I tested every batch for zap. Now that I'm more experienced and know my recipes, I only zap test if the soap turned out different than usual. I zap tested a batch last week because the fragrance accelerated, the soap started weeping, and it was a little crumbly upon unmolding. All was well, but I'd rather risk a little uncomfortable tingle than someone's skin.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,470
Reaction score
19,380
Location
USA
I zap test when I'm curious or I see something odd. I sometimes compare the zap test with phenolphthalein indicator drops just for grins, but I never use phenol-p as my definitive answer. As a chem tech who used to do a lot of acid-base titrations using phenol-p indicator, I cringe when I hear about people who drop phenol-p indicator directly onto a sample of soap and think the resulting color gives them reliable information about their soap.
 

soapmonster

New Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Thanks for everyone's reply! Sounds like zapping is pretty norm across the board. And it sounds like the best thing to do is to just get some experience, which I am definitely in the process of. I might try my first zap test later on this week.. def true, rather zap myself than hurt others later down the road.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,470
Reaction score
19,380
Location
USA
Honestly, a decent cure can cure even a moderate amount of zappy-ness. The usual advice for a lye heavy batch of soap is to rebatch and add more fat, but a decent cure can be just as effective. If a soap is zappy right at first, I'd give it some time and retest before leaping into rebatching. Most people who try this are pleasantly surprised at how well procrastination works to solve the problem. :shifty:

Kevin Dunn did some tests of soap that had up to 5% excess alkalinity (aka -5% lye discount). After a couple of months, the excess lye had disappeared and tested just as mild as soap made with a positive lye discount. Other folks here on SMF have done their own less-scientific tests and have had the same experience.

In the infamous "superlye" soap thread about 1 1/2 years ago, we had a mixed bag of results depending on the recipe. Soap made with a low lye solution concentration (around 15% or so) and a whopping 40% excess lye would cure out to be skin safe in roughly 8 weeks. Soap made with a large lye excess of about 20% BUT using a normal amount of water (a lye solution concentration of 28% or so) did NOT cure out to be skin safe.

So there's obviously some limits to what curing can do, but I no longer worry about a slight lye excess -- I just give the soap some time to cure.
 

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,713
Reaction score
9,214
Location
Texas
I am like most folks, I used to zap test every batch. Now I only test when something is new(the recipe), or different(the results).
 

not_ally

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2014
Messages
2,939
Reaction score
1,690
Location
Los Angeles
I am with Earth, I like to zap test just b/c it is fun. Never had it tingle after a day, though.
 
Top