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First batch of soap gone wrong

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adou4527

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Please dont take this as expert advice, but i had a thread last week that i started because my batter was accelerating. This is what i learned after making numerous batches, heeding everybodys advice....

I really did not think it was my stickblending. But since that was what ppl told me...i reduced my sb to “barely” stickblending the main batter. Just until i no longer saw any oil separated at the top. Its still quite thin. I put the blender in the sink and forgot about it.

Added the dispersed color and mixed with a wisk...sometimes a little with the spatula to get the bottoms and sides.

Fragrance last. Mixing it in.

My batter stayed so fluid that i had to wait a little while for it to get to the right consistancy. Which...i would rather wait and grab a drink or do some cleanup, than to frantically plop another thick batch into the mold. I even experimented with a known accelerating FO and it still worked beautifully.

I know we watch a lot of you tube videos that shows them stick blending for a really long time...thats why i was so bent on the “fact” that i wasnt stick blending too much. But i took everybodys advice here, and i couldnt say it wasnt that if i didnt at least use their advice first.

The other thing i learned from that thread, was to soap cooler.

I love the color of your soap.
Thanks so much for your advice. I will try stick blending less next time. What temperature do you normally soap in?

I'm just not sure if it is my stick blending technique or the EO affecting the batter as I know EO really accelerates trace. Would you recommend putting less next time? I placed around 4% this time.

I'm also afraid that the EO is not pure as the label didn't state that it is. If it is not pure, would the soap be still usable?
 

Astro

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As a reasonably new soaper myself, I would like to make a couple of suggestions based on what I have learnt in my soap making endeavours (and a couple of questions too)

Questions first... How fast did it start to thicken up? Were you blending all the time or blending in short bursts and stirring? did you reach a light trace, medium trace before that thickening happened?
and
Did you insulate your molded loaf or try to CPOP (cold process oven process)

Now for the suggestions
1. Try making smaller batches (half the recipe if you can in a smaller mold) - saves on wastage when something doesnt work as you expect.
2. Try a simpler recipe like a bastille first (3 or 4 oils only) to get used to the batter, trace, etc. Why waste expensive ingredients while you learn?
3. Make a plain soap with no additives at all (sprinkle a little mica on top to make it pretty if you want)
4. Possibly try a Hot Process (HP) "castille" (really a bastille) recipe - simple recipe with 3 oils, Olive, coconut and castor. My first attempt was an HP castille recipe and it worked out great. I have done it cold process too and its even better - here is the link Slow Cooker Hot Process Soap Recipe
5.Try your recipe again in a small batch without additives, then again with the essential oils, and again with the mica added see where the problem is (I would think its the mica as my biggest failure was with micas where I got crumbling)
6. Search this forum first for advice, tips and tricks - learn about things like sodium lactate, milks, salts and sugars, etc as additives, see what Essential oils and fragrance oils and micas can do to your batter as well as temperatures and methods of making soap. Take the advice given - it is invaluable.
7. Watch the beginner soap tutorials on YouTube - and do not take everything as gospel - I now see many mistakes as I watch, beware - it is addictive watching some of the techniques :nodding:
8. the most important point. Enjoy yourself.

If any of you more experienced soapers see any errors in my suggestions please correct me.
 

Obsidian

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I don't think it was your EO. I think its a combo of a faster moving recipe, temps and possibly too much blending.

If your batter starts to get thick like that again, ditch the blender and use a wisk to finish mixing.
 

earlene

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Thanks so much for your advice. I will try stick blending less next time. What temperature do you normally soap in?

I'm just not sure if it is my stick blending technique or the EO affecting the batter as I know EO really accelerates trace. Would you recommend putting less next time? I placed around 4% this time.

I'm also afraid that the EO is not pure as the label didn't state that it is. If it is not pure, would the soap be still usable?
I looked up the website listed on the label of your EO: susoap.com. That's the distributor, from whom I would suspect you purchased. Their listing on that particular EO is sadly inadequate as regards to safe usage. I would not buy from them without more detail. It's better to find a supplier that DOES include safe usage rates for your product.


The ABP site does slightly better, at least, as they list the components in their EO's, so you can use that to help you calculate safe usage, but it's still going to be a bit of a pain to figure that out, because you may then have to go to IFRA's website to look up the components. And to add to that, I wasn't sure which Lavender EO you bought from them; they have several, so I think you need to find the description on the site for the one you actually have before going forward. Here are some examples of some of the components that may be in your EO (not knowing which one you bought): linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-ol, 1,8-cineole, octan-3-one, limonene, camphor. OR Linalyl acetate, linalool, cis-beta-ocimene, trans-beta-ocimene, terpinene-4-ol, ETC (not complete as there are some differing components in their different Lavender EOs). INFRA has guidelines for usage of those components.

However since you already have some of their products, it would be nice to have reliable sources to help you determine safe usage for them, so I am including a couple of links.

Here's an articular about how to calculate a safe usage rate for Essential Oils:

It used to be easier to look up components of EO's on the IFRA website, but it looks like they have changed how people can access that information, making it even more complex. So for a new soapmaker, I don't think it's a good place to have to start. (Incidentally, soap is in Category 9, as far as safe usage rates go. Don't forget to look at that when you look for safe usage rates; it has to be used in reference to your particular product.)

It is far better to contact the company that sold you the product and request the necessary data. I do not know what regulations they have to follow in your country, but hopefully they are required to provide certain minimum information for each product they sell, at least upon request, if not right up front to start with.

That's why when we say find a reputable supplier, we seriously mean it. It will save you the headaches of having to do the detective work for each and every product you want to use in your soap.

I hope you find a safe usage rate for the EOs you already have on hand, and that in future you find a supplier that supplies that information up front. It will save you a lot of problems in the long run.
 

adou4527

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As a reasonably new soaper myself, I would like to make a couple of suggestions based on what I have learnt in my soap making endeavours (and a couple of questions too)

Questions first... How fast did it start to thicken up? Were you blending all the time or blending in short bursts and stirring? did you reach a light trace, medium trace before that thickening happened?
and
Did you insulate your molded loaf or try to CPOP (cold process oven process)

Now for the suggestions
1. Try making smaller batches (half the recipe if you can in a smaller mold) - saves on wastage when something doesnt work as you expect.
2. Try a simpler recipe like a bastille first (3 or 4 oils only) to get used to the batter, trace, etc. Why waste expensive ingredients while you learn?
3. Make a plain soap with no additives at all (sprinkle a little mica on top to make it pretty if you want)
4. Possibly try a Hot Process (HP) "castille" (really a bastille) recipe - simple recipe with 3 oils, Olive, coconut and castor. My first attempt was an HP castille recipe and it worked out great. I have done it cold process too and its even better - here is the link Slow Cooker Hot Process Soap Recipe
5.Try your recipe again in a small batch without additives, then again with the essential oils, and again with the mica added see where the problem is (I would think its the mica as my biggest failure was with micas where I got crumbling)
6. Search this forum first for advice, tips and tricks - learn about things like sodium lactate, milks, salts and sugars, etc as additives, see what Essential oils and fragrance oils and micas can do to your batter as well as temperatures and methods of making soap. Take the advice given - it is invaluable.
7. Watch the beginner soap tutorials on YouTube - and do not take everything as gospel - I now see many mistakes as I watch, beware - it is addictive watching some of the techniques :nodding:
8. the most important point. Enjoy yourself.

If any of you more experienced soapers see any errors in my suggestions please correct me.
Thanks for all your suggestions. I will give them a try. To answer your questions..My batch stayed relatively liquid when I added the mica. After adding the lye, I stick blended in short burst and stirred until light trace then added the essential oil. The EO seems to have accelerated trace but only half the batter. That is why I'm not sure if it is really my stick blending technique. I would have assumed if it was my technique, then the entire batter would have thickened. But nonetheless, I will try and test a smaller batch to see if it is the EO or not. I really appreciate you taking your time to answer my questions.
 

TheGecko

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Does anyone know why when stick blending, half my batter was so thick whilst the other half was still liquid? As such, I had to stick blend further, however it became too thick for pouring in the mold. My soap also started to crack. Can anyone tell me what went wrong?
Rule #1 when soaping...do NOT use glass bowls or measuring cups to make soap in or to mix your lye solution in! I know Ann Marie does it, but you have to realize that she does so, so you can see what she is doing. And when she does, you will often find my gecko avatar in the comment section telling folks to NOT use glass bowls of ANY kind.

The reason why half your batter SEEMED to thicken while the other half didn’t is because the thick part represents your lye solution being drawn to your EO and flash start of the saponification process. Imagine have a bowl of purple metal shavings float in water and then you drop a few small magnets...all the shavings would be attracted to magnets and you would have ‘clumps’ of purple and clean water.

When using any kind of scent...whether it’s an Essential Oil or a Fragrance Oil...ALWAYS buy a small amount and ALWAYS make a small ‘test’ batch the first time round. Even with scents that have gotten great reviews...remember, not everyone’s recipe is the same, not everyone soaps the same. Twice now I have bought FOs with great reviews and had issues...one I had acceleration, once I had ricing. And one time I bought an FO without reading the review and ‘fast acceleration’ was an understatement. I didn’t even stick blender for 5 secs before I went from light trace to cement. I had to boil the wand of my stick blend to get the soap out of the bell and I ended up destroying the bowl trying to chip the soap out.

There is nothing wrong with BrambleBerry...the glass bowl aside, they are an excellent resource and have good products. I started with the Beginner’s Cold Process Soap Kit and their Chocolate Espresso FO is one of my biggest sellers. Also, their Lavender FO has so far been the only one I can tolerate making soap with as I am allergic it...massive headaches.

After having a few two pound batches of soap batter and/or soap end up in the garbage, I bought two-1 pound molds. It makes testing recipes, new colorants and scents more cost effective and any ‘opportunities to learn’ (what I can failures) easier to accept.

I’ve been actively making soap for over a year now and I’m still learning the nuances of my recipe. I just started MasterBatching the middle of July and there is a bit of a learning curve, but I’m getting there. And so will you.
 

Catscankim

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@TheGecko ...I will be looking for your avatar from now on LOL

Thanks for all your suggestions. I will give them a try. To answer your questions..My batch stayed relatively liquid when I added the mica. After adding the lye, I stick blended in short burst and stirred until light trace then added the essential oil. The EO seems to have accelerated trace but only half the batter. That is why I'm not sure if it is really my stick blending technique. I would have assumed if it was my technique, then the entire batter would have thickened. But nonetheless, I will try and test a smaller batch to see if it is the EO or not. I really appreciate you taking your time to answer my questions.
Did you add the mica before the lye?
 

Catscankim

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I have never heard of it being done that way (mica before lye). Nor do I know if that has any impact on acceleration. I am sure somebody will be along to give advice on that.
 
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I have also used lavender EO and had it accelerate/sieze the batter. It was one i had used in home made cleaning products and i think was meant for aroma therapy and not soap making. Not all EOs are meant for soap making.
 

adou4527

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I have also used lavender EO and had it accelerate/sieze the batter. It was one i had used in home made cleaning products and i think was meant for aroma therapy and not soap making. Not all EOs are meant for soap making.
I bought it from a distributor who also makes and sells soaps. They told me the EO I bought can be used for soaping but not skin care. Since I am new to soap making, I do not dare to buy my EO/FO anywhere else aside from soap making specialty stores.
 

adou4527

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This is slightly off topic, however is it ok to use bowls that have been used for soap making for other diy skin care products such as body butter or face cream? I bought this pyrex bowl just for soap making :( Don't want to waste it as I wont be using it for food prep but at the same time, I don't want to waste it.
 

Catscankim

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Thanks so much for your advice. I will try stick blending less next time. What temperature do you normally soap in?

I'm just not sure if it is my stick blending technique or the EO affecting the batter as I know EO really accelerates trace. Would you recommend putting less next time? I placed around 4% this time.

I'm also afraid that the EO is not pure as the label didn't state that it is. If it is not pure, would the soap be still usable?
I do not have expert answers for those questions.

I have lowered my temps to "comfortable to my hand" when feeling the outside of the container. And when I sneak in a thermometer, it has been around 92 degrees F.
 

shunt2011

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I have never heard of it being done that way (mica before lye). Nor do I know if that has any impact on acceleration. I am sure somebody will be along to give advice on that.
That is perfectly fine. I add mine directly to my oils if making a once colored soap.
 

TheGecko

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I have never heard of it being done that way (mica before lye). Nor do I know if that has any impact on acceleration. I am sure somebody will be along to give advice on that.
If I am making a single color soap, I will add my colorant to my oils...have never had issues. It's a good way of making sure said colorant is fully dispersed without worrying about overmixing.


I bought it from a distributor who also makes and sells soaps. They told me the EO I bought can be used for soaping but not skin care.
That doesn't sound quite right because soap IS 'skin care'. Now there are instances when colorants can't be used in CP/HP soap because of the saponification process, but they are good for Melt & Pour Soap (it's already saponified) and other skin care products.

This is slightly off topic, however is it ok to use bowls that have been used for soap making for other diy skin care products such as body butter or face cream? I bought this pyrex bowl just for soap making :( Don't want to waste it as I wont be using it for food prep but at the same time, I don't want to waste it.
Yes. It's the 'lye', either NaOH (sodium hydroxide) or KOH (potassium hydroxide) that is the issue, not the heat. All the equipment that I use for my 'artisan soap and sundries' is completely separate of anything I use to prepare food. Now I know that I don't have to take it that far...I could use the same measuring spoons for colorants and spices and I'm only melting oils and butters in my pot, so I can cook pasta or make soup, but it's just easier and a good habit I think.
 

adou4527

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If I am making a single color soap, I will add my colorant to my oils...have never had issues. It's a good way of making sure said colorant is fully dispersed without worrying about overmixing.




That doesn't sound quite right because soap IS 'skin care'. Now there are instances when colorants can't be used in CP/HP soap because of the saponification process, but they are good for Melt & Pour Soap (it's already saponified) and other skin care products.



Yes. It's the 'lye', either NaOH (sodium hydroxide) or KOH (potassium hydroxide) that is the issue, not the heat. All the equipment that I use for my 'artisan soap and sundries' is completely separate of anything I use to prepare food. Now I know that I don't have to take it that far...I could use the same measuring spoons for colorants and spices and I'm only melting oils and butters in my pot, so I can cook pasta or make soup, but it's just easier and a good habit I think.
Because of the lye, is it still safe to use for other skin care diy such as creams and lip balms? (I have only used the pyrex bowl once for soap making)
 

earlene

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I bought it from a distributor who also makes and sells soaps. They told me the EO I bought can be used for soaping but not skin care. Since I am new to soap making, I do not dare to buy my EO/FO anywhere else aside from soap making specialty stores.
That doesn't sound quite right because soap IS 'skin care'. Now there are instances when colorants can't be used in CP/HP soap because of the saponification process, but they are good for Melt & Pour Soap (it's already saponified) and other skin care products.
This probably means that EO is safe in category 9 (wash-off) products, but not safe in categories 1, 2 or 5 products, which remain on/or absorbed through the skin. Maybe even 7, 8, which also stay on the skin.

That is why it is so important to pay attention to safe usage details.
 

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