First Batch - What did I do wrong?

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Sep 2, 2007
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I made my first batch of soap yesterday. It hasn't quite been 24 hours but I pulled it out this morning to cut it and it is very hard and crumbles and falls apart when i try to cut it. I thought it would still be sort of soft at this point. I used:

12 oz coconut oil
19 oz vegetable shortening
12 oz olive oil
6.5 oz lye
15 oz water
1 oz orange EO

After I poured it in the mold I wrapped it in a blanket and stuck it in the closet where it sat until I pulled it out this morning. You can see a picture here: ... G_5583.jpg

So, what went wrong?
I'm new to the forum, but not new to soap making.

Having run the oils through the lye calculator,

it came out with

6.4 ounces lye
18 ounce (liquid) water

So it may be really lye heavy.........

I'll let you do the maths part but according to ONE of the lye calculators that I use it says that

your base oils should be about 2/3 of recipe, that would be your shortening.

your softer oils should be about 1/3 of recipe, olive oil.

and your lathering oils should be 20% of recipe, which would be your coconut oil. This comes out to about 3 ounces for every 13 ounces of other oils.

I do know that not all oils are created equal, and need to adjust recipes to come up with the right amounts of each oil.

Hope this helps......
Not sure if this helps or not but this is one recipe that I use.......

I make mine in my blender so I've doubled it for a 2 pound batch for you. And I've also found that it helps to convert everything to grams and measure in grams for a more accurate measurement of ingredients. I also weigh all my oils in one container, adding the container and each weight as I go to get a more accurate measurement as well. Taking my container on and off the scale letting it zero out as well, just to make sure it's right on the button.

8 ounces shortening
6 ounces coconut oil
10 ounces olive oil OR canola oil

4.4 ounces lye
12 ounces of liquid (water)

With the water i often split that up if I'm using other liquids.

I love dairy soaps!!!

And because I don't have any local goats to me (that i know of for milking) I buy the canned goats milk in the grocery store. It's found where the evaporated milk, condensed milk and powdered milk is found. It's concentrated so it needs to be mixed with 1/2 water and 1/2 goats milk concentrate.

I freeze the goats milk that I'm not going to use in baby bottles, already pre-weighed so i just need to thaw. Yes I use my liquid measurements by weight not volume.

Because the goats milk is concentrated I use 1/2 water and 1/2 concentrate, so it equals goats milk. I like to keep it this way so i don't have to freeze the milk to add the lye to it. Makes it easier to work with!!!!

i mix my lye with my water, and add the goats milk with the oils, or mix the goats milk in after I pour in the water/lye mixture and blend it up a bit. This makes it easier to deal with so you don't risk curdling the milk.

I also love to use heavy whipping cream in my soaps as well. And with that I also use just enough water to mix with the lye and the remainder of the liquid amount is the cream. Cream makes a very luxurious soap i think.

Then I also make a soap with tomato juice as well. And like the dairy soaps i use just enough water to mix with the lye and pour in the tomato juice with the oils or later after I pour in the lye and it's mixed up a bit.

but that's just me.........
yep, lye heavy. don't wash with it.

According to you have excess lye (your are superfatted at -1%, usually you want +5% or so).

You would have wanted 6.1 oz of lye to get the 5% SF.

Regarding the proportions of oils to butters, I tend to be all over the place with those ratios, but I would NOT suggest a beginner be above 50% hard oils/butters because those recipes tend to trace too quickly. But I make some LOVELY recipes that are way hard... just takes practice!

As a total aside, unfortunately orange EO (citrus in general) don't hold up in soaps so you may end up with no scent anyway. Something to keep in mind in the future.

I don't know if you use but it's a GREAT lye calculator.

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