First batch finally done!

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wearytraveler

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Thanks to everyone here for all their input and answers to all my questions.
The batch went fairly smooth and has already been cut and the bars are in an out of the way area to cure for at least 4 weeks. I confess I couldn't wait and took a bar with me to the shower this morning to bask in my first attempt and have to say I was pretty happy with it.
The process, while educational, has definitely left me with some questions that I'm hoping to get answers for here. I apologize for the randomness of my questions

The lather I experienced was creamy and rich and I'd love to have bubbles that are just a bit "fluffier" and have read that sugars would be a way to do this. What is the best way to add sugar to the batch to get the bubbles fluffier?

I've heard that wine or beer can help add sugar. Is there a specific kind of wine I should look for? Will red wine give a red color to the soap?

Would using coconut water be an option to add sugar?

The bars came out nice but I'm looking to see if there is a way to make them a bit more fluid at the point where I'm putting into the mold. I waited for the batch to get down to about 160F before adding fragrance and at that point the mix was like thick mashed potatoes and even though I tapped the mold a lot I was still left with a few small air pockets.

OK, so I was tired and didn't pay attention for a minute. There was some hard, unprocessed stuff on my silicone spoon and I pulled it off and left it in the sink to dispose of. After I was done I pulled some more hard stuff off the spoon and wanted to try out the product for lather. Unfortunately I grabbed the wrong pile and washed my hands for about a minute with the scraps that were unprocessed. So... what are the ill effects of this? I didn't notice anything until my hands started to tingle and when I looked at them my fingers were pruned like I've never seen them pruned before. When I realized what I did I rinsed and washed with dish soap for a few minutes. My hands have been extremely dry feeling and I've been slathering moisturizer all day.

Is there something I can use in my HDPE mold to make the loaf pull out easier? I have a mold that completely comes apart but the loaf was stuck to the bottom. I was able to get it off with some coaxing and no damage but I'm wondering of there are tips to prevent that from happening.

Lastly, and I know this is all a matter of preference, but would most think 13% coconut oil to be too high?

Thanks again for all the help from anyone that's ever passed along helpful information. Even though the first batch went fairly smooth there is still a lot to learn.
 

snappyllama

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Congratulations on your first batch!

I'd hold off on judging your bars' bubbles for a few weeks. It's actually nice to test it out every week to see how it changes over time. You can add sugar to help boost bubbles, but the main thing will be the recipe itself. Give it some time. If you want to boost them further, I'd make a post with your recipe. Yes, sugar or things with sugar (milks, alcohol, honey, etc) all make more bubbles. Those additives all come with their own challenges though so I'd concentrate more on the recipe and process at this point.


It sounds like you got a bit of a lye burn. Next time, just run the area over cool water for a long time - no need to use dish soap or anything else. I've managed (knock on wood) to only slightly burn myself and found that the dry/itchy feeling went away after a couple of days.

Sorry I don;t have an HDPE mold, but I believe they really need to be lined to prevent soap from sticking to them.

Most folks think anything below 20% CO is fine though some folks prefer to use less since they are sensitive to it.
 

earlene

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For increased fluidity of HP soap, I learned to add a little yogurt at the very end. Depending on how big your batch, I guess, but I have used 2 or 3 T. to loosen up the soap. It's still not as fluid as CP, but it does help a lot. Remember more fluid means it will probably have to stay in the mold a little longer and you may have to let it cure a little longer.

I often rub a very thin layer of lanolin on the insides of some of my molds before pouring. Lanolin has a lot of unsaponafiables, so it works pretty well as a release-agent.

Be careful! You might want to develop a system of never putting unsaponified soap into your kitchen sink if at all possible. Maybe a bucket set aside for whatever has to go into the trash so you won't make that mistake again. Of course you probably won't anyway now that you have already.

Others with greater experience can answer some of your questions better than I, I am sure, but I would encourage you to get a few simple soaps under your belt before you try a beer or wine. Beer, wine, kombucha tea, milk, anything that causes overheating needs special care and it just makes sense to develop a comfort level with the whole process using less volatile additives.

Congratulations on your finished first soap. I hope to see some photographs if you have the time and your hands can cooperate. They must be really uncomfortable!
 

IrishLass

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Congratulations on your first batch! :)

The lather I experienced was creamy and rich and I'd love to have bubbles that are just a bit "fluffier" and have read that sugars would be a way to do this. What is the best way to add sugar to the batch to get the bubbles fluffier?
Don't be too hasty to judge the lather just yet. Since the soap is brand new and has not been cured yet, the lather that it has right now is not what it is going to be in four weeks time (trust me, it will get more bubbly as it cures).

I've heard that wine or beer can help add sugar. Is there a specific kind of wine I should look for? Will red wine give a red color to the soap?
I've never used wine in my soap, but I do use sugar, and I can attest that it does indeed increase the fluffy-type lather. Your mileage may vary, though, based on your recipe and also how much sugar you use. For what it's worth, I use it at 5% ppo (about 2 tablespoons ppo) in my formulas with very good results.

Would using coconut water be an option to add sugar?
Someone else will have to chime in on that one since I only drink the stuff instead of soaping with it.

The bars came out nice but I'm looking to see if there is a way to make them a bit more fluid at the point where I'm putting into the mold. I waited for the batch to get down to about 160F before adding fragrance and at that point the mix was like thick mashed potatoes and even though I tapped the mold a lot I was still left with a few small air pockets.
Sodium lactate will help with fluidity, and sugar also helps as well (added to the lye water). Also- your water amount is very important, too. I never discount water when I HP. I use a full water amount, which for me is a 28% lye concentration.

OK, so I was tired and didn't pay attention for a minute. There was some hard, unprocessed stuff on my silicone spoon and I pulled it off and left it in the sink to dispose of. After I was done I pulled some more hard stuff off the spoon and wanted to try out the product for lather. Unfortunately I grabbed the wrong pile and washed my hands for about a minute with the scraps that were unprocessed. So... what are the ill effects of this? I didn't notice anything until my hands started to tingle and when I looked at them my fingers were pruned like I've never seen them pruned before. When I realized what I did I rinsed and washed with dish soap for a few minutes. My hands have been extremely dry feeling and I've been slathering moisturizer all day.
That's what lye-heavy soap will do to your skin. You're doing all the right things to correct the situation, though. Just keep doing what you are doing and give your skin time to bounce back. If you have any lanolin on hand, I find it to help trememdously in situations of extreme dryness like that (provided you are not sensitive to it).

Is there something I can use in my HDPE mold to make the loaf pull out easier? I have a mold that completely comes apart but the loaf was stuck to the bottom. I was able to get it off with some coaxing and no damage but I'm wondering of there are tips to prevent that from happening.
I'm not the best one to answer that because I hate using HDPE with my soap. I have one mold that has HDPE liners and I have long ceased to use them anymore because of the 'sticking' issue. Two of the best things to help prevent sticking in HDPE (sodium lactate in the formula, and using mineral oil to 'grease' the HDPE) still did not help my own batches made with the HDPE liners. I know of some soapers who line their HDPE molds with freezer paper because of the sticking issues.

Lastly, and I know this is all a matter of preference, but would most think 13% coconut oil to be too high?
I don't think so. I could be wrong, but I think 'most' would consider that to be too low....but then again I am prejudiced in that because I use 28% and 31% coconut in my two main formulas. lol I've tried going lower than that, but I got complaints from my hubby and son when I did so. I myself didn't like how things turned out with the lower amount at all either.

IrishLass :)
 

wearytraveler

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​Thanks for the replies. I wanted to say that I'm not at all unhappy or disappointed with the lather the soap had produced and only want to see if I could "fluff" up the bubbles a bit​. I've been reading and researching the process of soap making for quite some time and I know the lather will get better over time. I'm posting this from work and don't have access to my recipe but I will post again to see what tweak suggestions I can get.
I'll definitely never make that mistake again and use scraps I should have discarded from the start. My hands have gotten better and most of the puffy redness has gone and they only feel slightly dry now. BTW, I did the zap test and it's not a bad sensation at all. The lingering aftertaste of soap left in my mouth is a lot worse.
Earlene, I'm very curious to further read any suggestions about making the HP soap more fluid and would like to hear more about the yogurt. I'll be researching this for sure. I'm not looking for the fluidity of CP but something where the soap is fluid enough to where I don't have to worry too much about the air pockets. I honestly don't mind a longer mold & cure time.
I will have to get some lanolin and will try that on my molds for the next batch which, oddly enough I'm already itching to get working on.
I'll follow up with my recipe later this evening.
 
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Obsidian

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I wouldn't try lanolin or any other kind of soaping oils on your mold. It will saponify and basically glue the soap to your mold. A little mineral oil or Vaseline would work well.

I've found that using pure aloe juice, the kind you buy at the pharmacy in walmart that is made for drinking, really helps boost the lather. For me, it better then sugar/beer or any other additive. Plus it doesn't react with lye, you can mix the lye directly with it and it won't boil over or burn. I often use in in place of all the water in mt recipe.

HP is by default, a thicker harder to mold soap. I use sodium lactate at 2% added the oils to help keep is smoother. Using a tiny bit more water then the normal CP will help keep it a bit smoother too. If you want a really smooth soap, CP will probably be the best bet as HP is quite rustic.
 

wearytraveler

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Mineral oil I have. Maybe I'll try that with my next batch. Everything I learned about soaping was based on HP. I think I would like to try a CP batch eventually just out of curiosity. One of the things that made me migrate to HP is the fact that I can add superfats of my choosing to the cooked batch and know that if I added 5% mango oil the oil will be the superfat in the soap. I guess the only way to really find out is to try and I plan on it.
the image in this post is of the recipe that I used. I started with a very basic list of oils and then, as I learned more about the characteristics of each I tweaked to get to where I would like to be. My ultimate goal was a soap that is moderately cleansing with a high deal of skin conditioning and a creamy lather. To this I added 3 tsps of sodium lactate, 3% (1.6 oz) mango oil after the cook and 1.5 oz of FO
Im open to any suggestions so please feel free to comment.

Soapcalc shot.jpg
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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What did you add in at the end as a superfat and at what amount?

For me, the cleansing oils are too high. You have a total of almost 32% cleansing oils in there with the co and the pko combined. If you want to mix the two together, you need to be mindful of what the total will be. If the was your target amount, all well and good - there are many that use a 30% amount and love it, but many can't.

For me, the castor is also too high and at that amount it might start to actually reduce lather and make the soap less firm. Around 5-10% is the sweet spot.

And finally, for a first batch you have a lot of oils mixed in which do a similar job. You have the two types of cleaning oils, which is fine, but you also need to plan to make this recipe but with just co and another with just pko to get a feel for what they are actually bringing to your soap
 

RobertBarnett

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Any booze you use needs to be flat and the alcohol removed, in other words simmer the booze for 2 hours and that will get rid of all except for about 2% of the alcohol. You will need to simmer more booze than you need because of evaporation. With the remaining alcohol which can't be removed you can expect accelerated trace so be ready.

Robert
 

shunt2011

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I have never had to simmer my beer for 2 hours. I leave it open in the fridge for a couple days then just boil it down to about half. Been doing it this way for quite a while with no issues.
 

Navaria

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Mine never requires that long either. I slow boil until reduced by about half and it no longer foams when some is poured from a spoon back into the rest. Maybe half an hour or so?
 

cgpeanut

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I have never had to simmer my beer for 2 hours. I leave it open in the fridge for a couple days then just boil it down to about half. Been doing it this way for quite a while with no issues.
looks like you both are doing the same thing. Just a different technique to get to the end.
 

Navaria

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looks like you both are doing the same thing. Just a different technique to get to the end.
Yep pretty much. I never think far enough ahead to open it and let it sit in the fridge for a couple days. Even with that though, there's still no need to simmer for 2 hours. On my gas range, that's a lot of wasted fuel.
 

wearytraveler

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The only things I added after the cook was the ~3% of mango oil (1.6 oz) and the FO. I am going for 5% mango oil for my next batch.
I happened to have some palm kernel flakes and it's the only reason I decided to throw it into the mix otherwise it would have been CO alone for cleansing. Below is an image of what the recipe looked like before I decided to throw in the PKF. I've tweaked it a bit to reduce the amount of castor oil. I plan to up the mango oil I introduce after the cook to 5% (2.7 oz) and add sodium lactate to the lye water at 1 tsp ppo.
My first batch was purposely made to be higher in cleansing as I knew my second batch was planned to be lower so I could compare the two and see which I like better.
Now, as far as making an HP cooked soap more fluid, what would anyone think about adding room temp coconut milk to the final, cooked soap. I was thinking about adding a little at a time with lots of mixing until I got to a fluidity that I desire. I would do this after adding the mango oil and FO. Can anyone let me know what pitfalls, if any, I should expect if I tried this? A longer mold time? I accept that. A longer cure time? I accept that.
Anyway, hands are almost back to normal with a couple of dry spots on the palm and the only itching I feel now is the itch to start on a second batch!

Thanks!

Soapcalc shot 2.PNG
 

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