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FRUSTRATED about the "correct way" to weigh

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Desirae

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I did a general search and didn't come across any threads that talk about this so maybe I'm the 1 st person to all this on here. So here it goes. ...

What is the PROPER way to weigh out in ounces? I've read some recipes listed in grams some ounces, however there seems to be a controversy about when weighing everything whether it be olive oil, coconut oil or shea butter should all be weighed when using ounces to ALWAYS use the weight of lbs and ounces where other sites say to weigh everything as fl oz, then other sites say to weigh liquid oils as fl oz while the solids coconut oil/shea butter as lb oz.

So can someone please set my extreme confusion to rest so I can make sure I'm weighing out everything CORRECTLY BC im seriously confused about what way to weigh, 85% of the sites I read say to weigh everything even liquid oils as lbs to oz. Thank you ladies
 

Kamahido

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I weigh everything in grams myself. The reason everything should be weighed (not by fluid ounces) is so your amounts are EXACTLY correct. Any site that measures their oils by fluid ounces is not one I would suggest using. Imagine having lye-heavy (soap with more lye than can be combined with your oils) soap on your... unmentionables. OW! As long as you run every recipe you make (especially ones off of a fore mentioned websites) through a soap calculator before you do anything else you will be fine.
 

Desirae

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I weigh everything in grams myself. The reason everything should be weighed (not by fluid ounces) is so your amounts are EXACTLY correct. Any site that measures their oils by fluid ounces is not one I would suggest using. Imagine having lye-heavy (soap with more lye than can be combined with your oils) soap on your... unmentionables. OW! As long as you run every recipe you make (especially ones off of a fore mentioned websites) through a soap calculator before you do anything else you will be fine.
Thank you for answering my thread quick. I know that grams is best but to be honest bc of the scale I have, I have to use oz by weight not fluid oz bc too often when I have ran a recipe through the lye calc using grams at least half the time I get a crazy number like (just example ) 6.2 well unfortunately my scale does not have that capability to do 6.2 grams but can do 6.2 oz (again just a number example ) my scale in grams only gives me rounded numbers so instead of it being 6.2 it will weigh 6 grams and I know with lye is extremely important to weigh it exactly right so it if the lye calc tells me 6.2 I have to recalculate it using oz, see where I'm going with this? Or am I wrong about the grams and take the 6.2 and just round it to 6? Just wanting to b be extra sure, I have when lye calc doesn't give me a rounded number bc then I have to redo it under ounces
 

Kamahido

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As far as grams go, feel free to round. My scale only measures in whole grams as well. A fraction of a gram of lye one way or the other will not be noticeable. Kudos for trying your best to be precise.
 

kchaystack

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Metric measures are the way to go. And while lye weight is important, if you round down to the nearest whole gram (so if it calls for 7.8 grams just use 7) you are fine.

UNLESS you are doing really small batches. But really the smallest batch you should be attempting, whether you use grams or ounces is 1 pound or 460 grams.

Also, fluid ounces are a volume measure. So you don't weight that on a scale, you use a measuring cup. Which should never be done with soap. Always use weight
 

Desirae

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As far as grams go, feel free to round. My scale only measures in whole grams as well. A fraction of a gram of lye one way or the other will not be noticeable. Kudos for trying your best to be precise.
Thank you. Just one thing that's off topic but hate to start a new thread over it, what's the lowest temp allowable when it comes to lye? I wanted to get my temp to drop low bc I used a combo of milk and water, so I froze my milk night before, I set the milk and water in my pitcher that I use sitting in an ice bath with lots of ice to make sure is cold enough (I had thought can't be too catious) so I added the lye little by little as I've read about milk scorching and didn't want that to happen to me, so after the lye solution is done, my oils where already melted and cooling, when I checked the temp of my lye solution literally 10 min later and the ice certainly did the job of being an ice bath, my temperature was reading 48 degrees, my lye solution only sat in the ice bath maybe 20 min at the most so I'm assuming the combo of the ice bath and the frozen milk it kept the lye solution very low. Is it on for the lye solution to be that low? I've read that oils and lye must be within 10 degrees of each other, but haven't found any reading on what to do with lye when is cold, need less to say I ended up dumping it bc I had no clue if it was still ok to add the lye to my oils. Your thoughts? Any advice on how to avoid the lye solution dropping that low in temp using Ice bath and frozen solid milk? Could I have still used my lye solution even being that low of a temp? Thanks for all advice
 

Desirae

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Metric measures are the way to go. And while lye weight is important, if you round down to the nearest whole gram (so if it calls for 7.8 grams just use 7) you are fine.

UNLESS you are doing really small batches. But really the smallest batch you should be attempting, whether you use grams or ounces is 1 pound or 460 grams.

Also, fluid ounces are a volume measure. So you don't weight that on a scale, you use a measuring cup. Which should never be done with soap. Always use weight
Thank you for clarifying for me, I've been using weight on my scale bc I really wasnt sure what to do with grams and a number that's not rounded
 

Susie

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Thank you. Just one thing that's off topic but hate to start a new thread over it, what's the lowest temp allowable when it comes to lye? I wanted to get my temp to drop low bc I used a combo of milk and water, so I froze my milk night before, I set the milk and water in my pitcher that I use sitting in an ice bath with lots of ice to make sure is cold enough (I had thought can't be too catious) so I added the lye little by little as I've read about milk scorching and didn't want that to happen to me, so after the lye solution is done, my oils where already melted and cooling, when I checked the temp of my lye solution literally 10 min later and the ice certainly did the job of being an ice bath, my temperature was reading 48 degrees, my lye solution only sat in the ice bath maybe 20 min at the most so I'm assuming the combo of the ice bath and the frozen milk it kept the lye solution very low. Is it on for the lye solution to be that low? I've read that oils and lye must be within 10 degrees of each other, but haven't found any reading on what to do with lye when is cold, need less to say I ended up dumping it bc I had no clue if it was still ok to add the lye to my oils. Your thoughts? Any advice on how to avoid the lye solution dropping that low in temp using Ice bath and frozen solid milk? Could I have still used my lye solution even being that low of a temp? Thanks for all advice
Please don't take this any way other than a suggestion to help you get more help faster. You need to avoid run on sentences that become unintelligible for some of us. That is simply too much information for some folks to try to wade through without some intermediate punctuation.

You needed to EITHER use frozen milk, OR an ice bath. You really do not need both. Also, no need to have frozen solid milk. Some slush is OK. Just not much, and add the NaOH slowly. And you do not need the temperatures to be within 10 degrees of one another. I don't even use a thermometer any more. No one on here is even sure how that rumor got started.
 

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You just have to be certain that all the lye is fully dissolved. Lye water can be room temperature or cool or warm and it doesn't HAVE to be within 10 degrees of the oils. Most people gauge the temp of the lye water by touching the container with their hand and getting a feel for it. The issue they may come up using cold lye water is if your recipe has a lot of solid oils in it. Putting cold lye water in could possibly result if false trace, where the oils thicken because they are cooling down to temp that they become solid again. You can think because it's thick that you have achieved trace, but you won't have and your batch can later separate.

I usually use room temp lye water and room temp or just slightly warmer oils.
 

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If I use 100% milk, I do use a thermometer. I have an infrared thermometer to as I mix ly with frozed milk, I can check the tempt as the milk is melting. I judge my lye to be ready when the temp starts to drop. I tend to keep my oils just melted so I don't have to worry too much about the milk lye being cooked further.

When doing the 50/50 method with milk, it's easier to make a 50% lye solution with water, add that to the oils, bring the batter to light trace and then add the milk. I definitely worry less about temps then.
 

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You needed to EITHER use frozen milk, OR an ice bath. You really do not need both. Also, no need to have frozen solid milk. Some slush is OK. Just not much, and add the NaOH slowly. And you do not need the temperatures to be within 10 degrees of one another. I don't even use a thermometer any more. No one on here is even sure how that rumor got started.
I on the other hand if mixing my lye with milks do use frozen and set it in an ice bath for goat's milk only, not other milks, but do not leave it in after all my lye is mixed in and cooled down some. I also do not take temps. I melt all my solid oils then add in my liquid oils to help cool down my oils.

As for weighing, I use grams and ounces depending on what I am weighing. Oh horrors I know but that is how I do it and it works for me. As mentioned before always go by weight not volume when making soap. My other suggestion is to make simple soap with simple ingredients and leave out the milk until you get used to making soap. I personally prefer soap made with water and or aloe juice because they do not kill lather, which is all I notice goats milk accomplishing. Some of us feel aloe adds to lather. I use goat's milk for label appeal because people think it is great.
 

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I agree with the others -- weight measurements only!

If you want to convert a recipe from volume measurements to weight measurements, remember that a cup of oil is lighter than a cup of water. That means you just can't replace "fluid ounces" with "weight ounces" and call it good. The old saying "a pint's a pound the world around" only applies to water.

If your scale can weigh to an accuracy of 1/10 of an ounce, it isn't as accurate as you might want for soaping. You may want to upgrade some day, especially if you make smaller batches of soap. If you are weight is off by 1/10 ounce, that means you're off by about 3 grams. In a small recipe, that level of error could really affect the quality of your soap.

Many people use the MyWeigh KD7000 or KD8000 and similar scales. These scales are accurate to whole grams (or 1/100ths of an ounce), and that level of accuracy is fine for most soaping projects. More: http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/candle-and-soap-making-scales.html
 

Desirae

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Please don't take this any way other than a suggestion to help you get more help faster. You need to avoid run on sentences that become unintelligible for some of us. That is simply too much information for some folks to try to wade through without some intermediate punctuation.

You needed to EITHER use frozen milk, OR an ice bath. You really do not need both. Also, no need to have frozen solid milk. Some slush is OK. Just not much, and add the NaOH slowly. And you do not need the temperatures to be within 10 degrees of one another. I don't even use a thermometer any more. No one on here is even sure how that rumor got started.
Thank you, sorry about that my fingers where typing faster then my brain, or the other way around. I think my biggest question was, what is the lowest in temperature allowable for a lye solution whether it be water or milk? Is 48 degrees too low or should it stay with in the 90-110 degrees range as I've read in some areas?
So it's ok if lye solution is say 110 and oils are 90, you can still add the lye?
 

Desirae

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I agree with the others -- weight measurements only!

If you want to convert a recipe from volume measurements to weight measurements, remember that a cup of oil is lighter than a cup of water. That means you just can't replace "fluid ounces" with "weight ounces" and call it good. The old saying "a pint's a pound the world around" only applies to water.

If your scale can weigh to an accuracy of 1/10 of an ounce, it isn't as accurate as you might want for soaping. You may want to upgrade some day, especially if you make smaller batches of soap. If you are weight is off by 1/10 ounce, that means you're off by about 3 grams. In a small recipe, that level of error could really affect the quality of your soap.

Many people use the MyWeigh KD7000 or KD8000 and similar scales. These scales are accurate to whole grams (or 1/100ths of an ounce), and that level of accuracy is fine for most soaping projects. More: http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/candle-and-soap-making-scales.html
Holy cow, I can't believe the prices of those scales, I'm definitely buying one today, and it's costs right around the same price the scale I'm currently using, I'll order this for sure. Thank you bunches for that link.
 

Desirae

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Thank you everyone for your help its much appreciated, I just wanted to make sure I was doing it right by using weight and not fluid oz. I'm not good at figuring out how to take a recipe that says fluid oz and changing it to weight so I think it best for me to avoid those kinds of recipes, it'll save me the frustration of the math part of it, lol
 

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If you use a lye calculator, and hopefully you do, your calculations need to based on weight using a scale (pounds, ounces, grams, etc.)

All of the lye calculators I've used base the lye amount on the saponification values of the various oils, and that is determined by weight of the oils.

Weight and volume are two different things. Measuring by volume (displacement inside a container) is what you are doing when you measure fluid ounces. But the volume of one oil is not always the same weight of another oil. (See this site to look up the difference in weight vs. volume of various soaping oils.) So it is completely unreliable when trying to determine the saponification value of different oils.

For more information about how sap values are determined see here and here. Both demonstrate that weight is essential to the process of sap value determination.

I think my biggest question was, what is the lowest in temperature allowable for a lye solution whether it be water or milk? Is 48 degrees too low or should it stay with in the 90-110 degrees range as I've read in some areas?
So it's ok if lye solution is say 110 and oils are 90, you can still add the lye?
I can't answer specifically what is too low a temp for the lye solution, but I can tell you that if you have solid chunks of anything in your lye solution, it is not safe to add to your oils. So if you add your lye to the frozen milk make sure it is fully dissolved and has no solid chunks. Stir it well do make sure it remains fluid before adding to your oils. Straining it through a sieve is another thing you can do if you want to avoid small solid particles, but make sure it is fully dissolved first.
 
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Arimara

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Thank you, sorry about that my fingers where typing faster then my brain, or the other way around. I think my biggest question was, what is the lowest in temperature allowable for a lye solution whether it be water or milk? Is 48 degrees too low or should it stay with in the 90-110 degrees range as I've read in some areas?
So it's ok if lye solution is say 110 and oils are 90, you can still add the lye?
Some people use room temperature lye. I don't like to unless I really want and need to soap that cool.
 

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Temperatures are only super important when dealing with milks, or swirling. That's it. And you sort of have to learn for yourself on the swirls. The milks only need to keep from overheating. If you end up with something roughly room temperature before mixing with the oils, then you should be good. No need to keep it in the 48 degree range.
 

kchaystack

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Thank you everyone for your help its much appreciated, I just wanted to make sure I was doing it right by using weight and not fluid oz. I'm not good at figuring out how to take a recipe that says fluid oz and changing it to weight so I think it best for me to avoid those kinds of recipes, it'll save me the frustration of the math part of it, lol
Once you are more confident about what is going on, you can convert the volume measures to %, and then your lye calculator will do the hard work.

To convert, you simply have to divide the single oil volume by the total volume of oils. if you have a recipe you want to try, just post it here and ask for some help with the calculation. Members can also comment on the recipe and let you know if they think about how suitable it is for soap.

Some of the stuff we have seen out there is just crazy.
 
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