Drying soap after it's made??

Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by Jen74, Dec 7, 2019.

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  1. Dec 7, 2019 #1

    Jen74

    Jen74

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    Hey All,

    I am new here and just wondering since I am about to make my first batch of soap, Wanted to know what it the best way to cure/dry the soap once it is in the molds? Would it be better to cover them in a sealed container, or just leave them out to air dry? My recipe is 20% palm kernel oil, 80% palm oil, and 5 % glycerin, 33% Lye. Thanks for any suggestions and replies.
     
  2. Dec 7, 2019 #2

    Obsidian

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    You don't want to seal it in a container. You can just leave it exposed to the air while.it sets up.
    Once its cut and ready to cure, you can cover it with a thin cloth to keep it clean.
     
  3. Dec 7, 2019 #3

    shunt2011

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    Are you talking about letting it saponify or cure? Once you make your soap you pour it into the mold and you can cover it to insulate it to encourage gel. Once in-molded and cut you will put it up to cure. Also, your recipe is more than 100%. And I’m curious as to why you’re adding glycerine. Glycerine is a by-product of making soap.
     
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  4. Dec 7, 2019 #4

    TheGecko

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    Welcome

    Once you pour your soap batter into the mold(s), you let them sit for 18 to 48 hours. You can cover them with plastic wrap or a board or not (make sure you spray them with alcohol). If you are wanting your soap to 'gel', you can insulate them in a closed container, or wrap with towels. Once your soap has saponified and is hard, you would removed the soap from the mold, cut into bars and then let them air dry for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks. Make sure there is space between each bar and that you set them on a non-metallic surface or that this is freezer/wax paper or newspaper between the metal and the soap.

    Are you sure? 20% + 80% + 5% = 105% And why would you add glycerin since soap naturally contains glycerin?
     
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  5. Dec 8, 2019 #5

    Jen74

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    Thanks everyone so much for the tips. Well, I was adding the Glycerin as a 5% super fat. That is what Soap Calc said to do. Hmm, this is my first time so Please feel free to advise if I am doing something wrong. I am making this soap because I have LOADS of allergies and am very sensitive. I do well with these ingredients as I bought a bar soap( The only one I did well with) and they had the ingredients I am using. The place I bought it changed their ingredients so I decided to make my own.. This is all new to me :)
     
  6. Dec 8, 2019 #6

    KiwiMoose

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    Hi Jen,

    When you use the soap calc just use the default setting of 5% superfat when you enter your recipe ingredients. The calculator works it out for you (effectively by using less lye than is needed, so some of the oils stay unsaponified as 'superfat'). You can't really choose something to 'add' as superfat that's not in your 100% ingredient list. Soap made using lye and oils naturally produces its own glycerine when saponifying, so you don't need to add as as additional. You will note that some commercial bars do - this is because they are not cold or hot processing their soap but are using synthetic detergents and thus need to add the glycerine later. Glycerine acts (is) as a humectant, so it draws moisture to the skin.
     
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  7. Dec 8, 2019 #7

    Jen74

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    Thank you for clarifying that for me, I appreciate it.. :)
     
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  8. Dec 8, 2019 #8

    Mobjack Bay

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    A recipe with 80% palm oil will want to move to trace very fast and will make a very hard bar of soap. A typical beginner friendly recipe would use much less palm oil. A recipe with 20% PKO, 40-50% olive oil (or another oil that is high in oleic acid) and 30-40% palm oil, for example, would also be milder in my opinion.
     
  9. Dec 8, 2019 #9

    TheGecko

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    Here is what SoapCalc says: Super Fat. Due to several possible oil variables it is safer to use less lye than needed to saponify the oils in your recipe. This is called a lye discount and 5% is generally considered a safe number to use.

    Because discounting the lye by 5% leaves 5% of unsaponified oils in your soap bar this number is also referred to as super fat. That extra 5% of superfat not only is a safety factor, it also gives the soap bar extra skin conditioning qualities because approximately 95% of the bar is soap and approximately 5% of the bar is an oil mixture that is deposited on the skin.


    You're not really doing anything 'wrong' per se, you're just new to the process of soap making and there is so much to learn.

    I agree with @Mobjack Bay that you are going to want to modify your recipe, not only will it trace quickly...get thick fast, but it will be extremely hard and it's not going to have a lot of bubbles.

    My first recipe was 41% Olive Oil, 27% Coconut Oil, 27% Palm Oil and 5% Castor Oil and it made a nice, middle-of-the-road bar of soap. I've since modified it to 35% Olive Oil, 20% Coconut Oil, 20% Palm Oil, 10% Cocoa Butter, 10% Shea Butter and 5% Castor Oil. I use 5% SuperFat and am currently using a 35% Lye Concentration because of the colder weather; I'll go back to 30% when it warms back up to 70F.
     
  10. Dec 8, 2019 #10

    Nona'sFarm

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    @TheGecko, this is a new concept to me. How does weather affect the lye concentration?
     
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  11. Dec 8, 2019 #11

    bookreader451

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    I am interested in that too.
     
  12. Dec 9, 2019 #12

    TheGecko

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    It doesn’t. When I started making soap this spring, it was 70F+ and I was using a 30% Lye Concentration. I’d put a little plastic wrap on my mold, sit it on a towel on my washer in the garage and cover with another towel. Approximately 24 hours later, I would unmold fully gelled soap, cut and set to dry. Test soap around 4 weeks...all is good in the world. I would also refrigerate my GMS, bring to room temp, unmold and cut; yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Then the weather changed. Dropped to 60F during the day and colder at night. Not only did my soap not gel, but it was two to four days before I could get it out of the mold with smooshing it. Another two days before I could cut it and TONS of soda ash.

    Someone suggested increasing my lye and it helped a lot, but my soap still wasn’t gelling so I’ve been experimenting with ‘oven process’.
     
  13. Dec 9, 2019 #13

    Mobjack Bay

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    I use relatively high lye concentrations, CPOP and recently started using a heating pad. Maybe some of this will help:
    I typically use 33%-37% lye concentration and it seems that the higher I go, the less ash I get, but the harder the recipes are to gel. When I make lard based recipes in small loaf molds, I haven’t really worried about gel. I put the mold in a box, cover it with a dish towel, put the box in a pre-warmed oven (140F), shut the oven off and leave it overnight. If the batter cools off a lot while I make the soap, I just crank the oven up a bit higher during the preheat phase (as high as 160F). My lard soaps don’t go through the Vaseline stage, but they do get hard enough to unmold in 18-24 hours. I have never had partial gel with a lard-based soap (50-80% lard). With palm-rich recipes, I like to force gel because I feel like it reduces the chance of stearic spots and I have had partial gel a couple of times. I don’t think I’ve gone above 35% lye with these recipes, and I also start them warmer (at least 105F compared with 85-90F for the lard recipes). Recently, I’ve had an easier time getting them to gel by setting them on a heating pad in a box that I cover with towels. (I can keep it warm without having to keep an oven on. That can be risky if the oven heating elements cycle on and off). If I add sugar or honey, the soaps will heat up a bit more/faster on their own. If I’m doing a complicated design that takes relatively more time, the batter cools down and I have to add more heat to get them to gel. The trace stage (or possibly how fast the soap is saponifying) also seems to be a factor for my recipes, with emulsion or light trace (or slower moving batter) being more prone to ash, *I think*, but I’m still working out the relationship with lye concentration. I’ve also read that FOs can affect ash, but I cant offer any insights on that. I haven’t made nearly as many palm-rich soaps compared with lard, so I’m still teasing out the variables.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  14. Dec 9, 2019 #14

    Zing

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    Welcome, @Jen74! Have fun with this. It's a real treat to watch individual ingredients turn into soap! You'll have fun tweaking recipes and experimenting with colors and scents. All my skin sensitivities have all but gone away since I starting making my own soap and lotion bars so you are on the right track.

    After cutting my soap, they cure out in the open for 6 (l o n g!) weeks and I turn them once per week. Then they go into cardboard shoe boxes that I punch holes in.
     
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