First batch - smells like a sweaty Yak

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

Techie Joe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
119
Reaction score
42
Location
Ireland
Okay so I didn't use any fragrance, I wanted the soap to be all natural, here is what happened...

I made the recipe using SoapCalc, with Olive oil, Coconut and Castor oil. Full info in the picture below.
After taking a whiff of the soap mixture cooking away I decided to lob in a small bottle of lemon essence for food, which was all I had and seems to have had no effect besides relieving me of €1.40.

You can see the end result in the other pictures, here is a breakdown of what I think went wrong...
  • Slow cooker (crock pot) was too hot (the low setting), the whitish areas in the soap have dried first, next time I will set to "warm"
  • Didn't stir it often enough, the white areas contain little brown burnt bits
  • Cooked too long, pouring soap resembled thick mashed potatoes rather than wet cement
  • Used no fragrance, the resulting soap smell was reminiscent of a hot Buffalo that had been chased around a field all day by hungry Lions.
Luckily over the past few days, the roaring smell subsided to a more believable level, and can now be tolerated and used.

The final soap is alright, good bubbles and lather, and it cleans well not falls apart. Good for a first attempt I'd say.
I will however be using something smelly in the next batch, maybe a few drops of Essential Oil (the safe ones), or I can order CP essence from the UK and wait a knuckle-biting week.





 
Last edited:

Saffron

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
218
Reaction score
162
Congrats on your first batch! :winner:
Heheheh... I've never sniffed a sweaty yak before but as the soap cures over the next few weeks the smell should get better.
You don't really need to stir HP soap very often. Everytime you open the lid you're letting moisture escape and that can result in dry soap.
Thick mashed potatoes is also the consistency I sometimes get. You can try lowering the coconut oil to under 30%, adding a little warmed yoghurt or your superfat oils after the cook to help with the consistency.
 

Techie Joe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
119
Reaction score
42
Location
Ireland
Thanks
Its good to hear the soap gets better with time, maybe I will be able to give it to the neighbors after all.
I think I only stirred it maybe 4 times over three hours, the center was always darker, I think the pot heats up unevenly, too cool in the middle and too hot around the edges.
Can the soap mixture be poached instead of boiled? Lets say inside a plastic bag in the slow cooker full of water... that might be more even.

I don't want to lower the coconut % too much as the numbers say the cleaning effect goes down, and so does the solidity.
Ah if only SoapCalc had yogurt, diesel and cough medicine it would be easier to predict the outcome. I will try some yogurt if I get into trouble again but I think the main problem is the cooker heating unevenly.

Thanks for the tips, always welcome

Actually, if I use Lard in the recipe I can bring the coconut % down to 30 and less, but I'd rather use ingredients that everyone can be happy with if possible.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

NsMar42111

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 16, 2017
Messages
332
Reaction score
252
Location
South Florida
Too much castor and way too long of a cook! The oils don't smell that much by themselves, if they do, they're bad. Coconut might have a whiff of coconut, castor I'd have to stick up my nose to smell, olive just has a oily smell but not yakky. Castor should be around 5% or you're gonna have a stick slow to cure mess.

Uneven cooker=stir more. Stir a lot. Watch for volcanoes. Spend $20 on a new one :)

My HP is done in an hour, tops. However, I do melt the oils in the microwave before adding the lye-measure right into the stoneware insert, pop in micro (I do 6 lb batches so its usually 6 min for the shea to melt totally, I'd start with 1 min bursts for yours), put back in cooker, done. Current receipe starts to gel in 15 min and is done in 35-40. I think you overcooked :). Once it looks like applesauce, you're almost done!
 

Obsidian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Messages
10,407
Reaction score
8,347
Location
Idaho, USA
You overcooked it. HP generally only takes 30-60 minutes.
Next time, try less heat, less cooking and not so much stirring.

As far as the cleansing # goes, unless you have very oily skin or are a machanic, you really don't need the number to be more than 15.

The hardness # is pretty worthless. 100% coconut soap will show as very hard and it is but it's also very soluable and won't last long.

You need a recipe with a hard oil, something like lard or palm. You also used way too much castor. It's possible your soap may leave a sticky reside. Try to stay in the 5-10% range.

I understand wanting to make soap that everyone can use but you really should try lard, it makes the best soap.

My favorite recipe. This will make a hard, long lasting bar.

Lard 50% (or palm oil)
Olive oil 25%
Coconut oil 20%
Castor oil 5%

Remember that HP needs to cure just as long as CP. 4-6 weeks minimum but I prefer at least 8.
 

DianaMoon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
190
Reaction score
82
Location
New York, NY
or I can order CP essence from the UK and wait a knuckle-biting week.
They look like my first batch. I think they are very cute. I call them my little oat cakes.

PS when I first read this thread title I thought you wrote, "Smells like a sweaty Yank".

:)
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Techie Joe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
119
Reaction score
42
Location
Ireland
Thanks NsMar42111
...Uneven cooker=stir more. Stir a lot.
The oils were bought freshly for this project, and the brand new slow cooker cost me €26. I got a 6.5 liter one (6.5 quarts) so there would be plenty of room for Joe versus the volcano.
I don't use a microwave as it destroys the integrity of water cells.
I slowly heated up the jar of coconut in the slow cooker until I could cut it, then measured it into the jug with the other oils, then put it all into the slow cooker to melt all the way before adding the warm caustic soda (lye).

Thanks Obsidian
...1 hour tops, less heat, less stirring.
I handle metal a lot which is fairly dirty stuff (but very useful) and I value a good clean so I go for the higher number.
I assumed that if the soap wasn't hard enough it would be on the road to falling apart or just turn into goo.
Some you tube soap-makers say to keep the Castor around 8% too, again I mistakenly assumed that a high amount would lead to plenty of the anti-inflammatory analgesic effect.

I will try the recipe you suggest with a small adjustment... To swap the 20% with the 25%, that brings the INS to 160 on the nose, and raises the clean slightly at the expense of the conditioning.

I might also try buying a steel pot and doing the soap directly on the electric cooker to try and distribute the heat more evenly, what do you think?
Does anyone else have this uneven heat problem and how do you fix it?

They look like my first batch. I think they are very cute. I call them my little oat cakes.

PS when I first read this thread title I thought you wrote, "Smells like a sweaty Yank".

:)
Your right they are very cute :)
I thought that was my hand for a second.

Check out this awesome Yak
 
Last edited by a moderator:

[email protected]

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Messages
78
Reaction score
43
Location
Australia
if your slow cooker isnt heating evenly, could you use it like a waterbath and have a smaller heatproof dish sitting in the water, a small wire rack may help to lift the dish off the bottom of the cooker.

My soap has 3-5% castor, and more is not better once your close to 10%.
I keep my coconut down to 10-20% to avoid the lather being drying.
I use Tallow and Olive oil as well and my bars are excellent at cleaning, but are not too drying.

I dont think it is a good idea to add a food flavouring to your soap, as the ingredients are not for rubbing on your skin, and are likely not pH stable.
I never met a yak, but sweaty cows smell lovely! good job on your first batch, onward and upward.

ps, your microwave comment I found confusing...water doesn't have cells.
 

SaltedFig

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
2,225
Reaction score
2,127
Location
Australia
I use a stainless steel pot on the occasions I want to hot process. It works quickly. A double boiler makes a smoother soap (similar to making lemon curd - the heat is gentle and more evenly distributed). Some people use a pot with a lid on in the oven - I think this has the nicest even heat if you're using a pot that will fit in the oven.
 

Techie Joe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
119
Reaction score
42
Location
Ireland
Thank you [email protected]
Another dish inside the slow cooker instead of a plastic bag, good thinking, and a wire rack to assist, very good thanks, I will try that next HP I make. Thrift-shop wire rack plus pliers modification, sorted.

I studied the work of Schauberger about water and I have been studying fringe science for so long that I just think of it as a living carrier now instead of a collection of molecules.
I think what I meant is that precise microwave beams heat water so intensely and unevenly that it boils out of the cells in food, damaging the food's cellular structure.
No food in the soap, gotcha.
The PH of my soap is just over 9
I never met a Yak either but they look a bit crusty, and I think I'd prefer to be upwind on a hot day.
PS. I looked on ebay for essence of sweaty cow but they don't have it, maybe you could squeeze some into bottles and make a bit of cash?

Thanks SaltedFig
Whats a double boiler, a pot inside a pot?
If I can get a large glass oven dish to keep an eye on it, I will try that.
Mine is a fan oven so the mixture is going to get fairly annoyed I think.
 

SaltedFig

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
2,225
Reaction score
2,127
Location
Australia
Thanks SaltedFig
Whats a double boiler, a pot inside a pot?
If I can get a large glass oven dish to keep an eye on it, I will try that.
Mine is a fan oven so the mixture is going to get fairly annoyed I think.
A double boiler is a pot that is designed to sit over the top of another pot, and the heat into the top pot is only from the steam of the water in the bottom pot (hence the name double-boiler). It's a good way to ensure you don't overheat your mixture and provides better temperature control than a crock pot.

It can be as simple as a bowl over the top of a pot of boiling water, but please use stainless steel.
(Don't use glass, it is slightly dissolved by the caustic and will eventually shatter. Don't use aluminium, it dissolves quickly. Don't use copper, it will ruin your soap).

The only metal you would want to use is quality stainless steel.

The people who use a pot inside the oven put a lid on it, so it doesn't matter so much that it's fan forced (but it would require a large pot and careful monitoring - there have be oven accidents!).
 
Last edited:

BattleGnome

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2016
Messages
1,652
Reaction score
1,468
I handle metal a lot which is fairly dirty stuff (but very useful) and I value a good clean so I go for the higher number.
I assumed that if the soap wasn't hard enough it would be on the road to falling apart or just turn into goo.
I don’t HP and don’t have advice on your process or answers to most of your questions but I wanted to point someothing out.

When you have a chance, look up the numbers for a true castille (100% olive oil). One of the most popular soaps in the world for 1000’s of years and the numbers suck. 0 cleansing... maybe a 3 hardness... but if you make it right with a proper cure, a castille is one of the hardest bars you will find and will clean almost everything.

Take the numbers with a grain of salt. Most calculators have cleansing = stripping oils. If you have actual dirt caked on your hands (as opposed to grease or oils) the cleansing numbers won’t feel great after washing.
 

psfred

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
321
Reaction score
328
Don't take the numbers on the soap calculators for things like hardness and cleansing as some sort of gospel, they are really only percentages of the fatty acids in the soap.

"Cleansing" numbers are usually the percentage of myristic and the other "odd" fatty acid in coconut oil. These tend to strip natural skin oils and give people with dry skin problems, but they don't actually clean any better than palmitic or oleic acid salts.

If you are cleaning grease or oil off your hands, the mechanic's hand cleaners or dish detergent work better than soap, but will dry your hands out. For soap, you want a balance between short and long chain fatty acids and between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. That way you get good cleaning and some conditioning from the unsaturated fatty acids -- clean hands, less dry skin problems.

You can add hot water at the end of the cook for HP to make the soap more fluid for molding, just be aware that it will then shrink more while curing and you can get warped soap bars. I don't care, they all look the same after I use them in the shower or at the sink for a while, but it bothers some people.

A soap I find works really well for me and my skin is 50% canola and 50% soybean oil, soaped at 0% superfat by HP with some lard added after the cook for superfat. Sort of ugly yellowish soap, but it cleans very well and is skin friendly, and DOS free at 8 months so far. Was pretty soft to start with, as it has lots of oleic acid in it, but now it's quite hard and lasts well.

Experiment, and enjoy the trip!
 

earlene

Grandmother & Soaper
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2016
Messages
8,602
Reaction score
9,438
Location
Western Illinois, USA
Welcome to SMF and congratulations on your first soap. What a lovely color. I have never got that much green in any of my uncolored soaps. I wonder why yours is so green.

FYI, the cleansing number tells you more about how strongly the soap will emulsify oils, which includes stripping your skin of oils, than it tells you how well it actually 'cleans.' All soap cleans, even soap with a zero cleansing number.

Some folks don't respond well to high CO soaps, while others love it. I have a thought on one possible factor, but until I have more personal testing, I don't yet want to go into that thought process. In most cases, my skin does not respond well to high CO soaps, but there have been exceptions, and it appears the difference has been formula composition. But there may be other factors as well. The age of my skin is also a probable factor, which seems a valid qualifier, too. After all, I am nearing the end of my third quarter of my planned on centenarian life.

Regarding 'solidity' which I take it is the 'hardness' number, that's another unreliable number when OO is used, because although OO can give you softer soap to start, it actually becomes quite hard. And the solubility of CO makes it melt away more quickly than other hard oils, so IMO that offsets the hardness, because it shrinks so fast. Of course the latter is my opinion as I see it. Truthfully pure CO soap is rock hard, so that part is true.
 

[email protected]

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Messages
78
Reaction score
43
Location
Australia
Welcome to SMF and congratulations on your first soap. What a lovely color. I have never got that much green in any of my uncolored soaps. I wonder why yours is so green.
my 75% olive oil soap is a similar green. The oil I use is very grassy and fresh tasting with a fabulous green colour. It is a 2017, South Australian Virgin Oil.
 

Techie Joe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
119
Reaction score
42
Location
Ireland
It must be the 41% green Olive oil I used, its a nice darkish green from one of the nearby countries, if I were to guess I'd say Italy or Spain.
I expect a true Castille will be greener, sounds like a good experiment to make some and try to see how the numbers fit together afterward.
 

DianaMoon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
190
Reaction score
82
Location
New York, NY
Okay so I didn't use any fragrance, I wanted the soap to be all natural, here is what happened...

I made the recipe using SoapCalc, with Olive oil, Coconut and Castor oil. Full info in the picture below.
After taking a whiff of the soap mixture cooking away I decided to lob in a small bottle of lemon essence for food, which was all I had and seems to have had no effect besides relieving me of €1.40.

You can see the end result in the other pictures, here is a breakdown of what I think went wrong...
  • Slow cooker (crock pot) was too hot (the low setting), the whitish areas in the soap have dried first, next time I will set to "warm"
  • Didn't stir it often enough, the white areas contain little brown burnt bits
  • Cooked too long, pouring soap resembled thick mashed potatoes rather than wet cement
  • Used no fragrance, the resulting soap smell was reminiscent of a hot Buffalo that had been chased around a field all day by hungry Lions.
Luckily over the past few days, the roaring smell subsided to a more believable level, and can now be tolerated and used.

The final soap is alright, good bubbles and lather, and it cleans well not falls apart. Good for a first attempt I'd say.
I will however be using something smelly in the next batch, maybe a few drops of Essential Oil (the safe ones), or I can order CP essence from the UK and wait a knuckle-biting week.





As I said I don't think they are ugly at all, but then, I'm not a fan of the fancy looking soaps - what's the point? It's soap, it gets washed down the drain...

But what are the whitish spots in the middle? I don't think it's unsaponified lye.
 

Techie Joe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
119
Reaction score
42
Location
Ireland
As I said I don't think they are ugly at all, but then, I'm not a fan of the fancy looking soaps - what's the point? It's soap, it gets washed down the drain...

But what are the whitish spots in the middle? I don't think it's unsaponified lye.
The white spots formed during cooking, they were the bits that were touching the hottest edge of the cooker and dried first.

I like a nice simple soap aswel, the furthest I may go is 2 colour swirl, but there might be young kids looking for sparkly soap or whatever, that's fair enough but I prefer simple and it has to be effective. I will be sticking to combinations of the same 3 or 4 colours.

The smell has calmed down a lot after 4 days, I'm using one of the bars regularly at the sink, I can recognize the Olive smell now.

I like fragrances like freshly cut grass, forest and peach, and may experiment with WD40 and Fisherman's friend o_O
 

DianaMoon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
190
Reaction score
82
Location
New York, NY
The white spots formed during cooking, they were the bits that were touching the hottest edge of the cooker and dried first.

I like a nice simple soap aswel, the furthest I may go is 2 colour swirl, but there might be young kids looking for sparkly soap or whatever, that's fair enough but I prefer simple and it has to be effective. I will be sticking to combinations of the same 3 or 4 colours.

The smell has calmed down a lot after 4 days, I'm using one of the bars regularly at the sink, I can recognize the Olive smell now.

I like fragrances like freshly cut grass, forest and peach, and may experiment with WD40 and Fisherman's friend o_O
WD40? In the US that's a lubricant. Hm. Don't know what Fisherman's Friend is. OK I googled it. Hm.

I used to be a fragrance snob, only EOs for me, but I've learned my lesson, that fragrance/perfumery is mighty complicated, and the FO people know stuff we don't, so I am going to buy a dedicated fragrance from a reputable dealer in the future. The only exception would be lime & sandalwood, a combination that I like (although I dislike sandalwood alone). But for the most part EOs fade.
 

Latest posts

Top