Glycerin rivers?

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Mistrael

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I've been incredibly fortunate with my soaping - I've only had a couple batches go sideways and never so badly that they can't be used. (Friends & family only, selling is still a dream.) This batch has plagued my mind for about a year because it went missing during our move last winter. It was supposed to be my holiday gift soap but... well, lessons were learned!

My husband found it over at our old house (long story) and brought it home to me today. It's been thoroughly abused. Someone who wasn't me stuck it in a box with dog fur & dust 😱, left it sitting in an empty, dusty house 😱😱 w/out a/c or a dehumidifier through the Michigan summer. 😱😱😱

There's no DOS or any new discoloration or anything else. I cleaned off the dust & hair with alcohol & a paper towel and they look just like they did when I last saw them. Ugly af but definitely usable soap! 😱🥴🤯

So now I'm working out what went wrong and how not to do it again. For one, I soaped WAY too hot. Not volcano hot, but just shy of soap on a stick hot. I didn't test the FO in advance and it was my first time using TD. (Maybe my only time. I'm not big on white soap.)

Recipe:
28% palm
25% coconut (76°)
15% cocoa butter
15% olive (Costco, not EVOO)
10% sunflower (not HO)
7% castor
SF @ 5%
Water/lye 2:1
Additives: coconut milk powder, sodium lactate
Fragrance: Cranberry Fig EO/FO blend from WSP - UR 3% (it still smells so dang good, will be buying more)
Colors: TD, ruby red, purple vibrance, super sparkles, all from NS

Oh, and I made 3 kilos, all at once. This was never going to end well. 🤣

I think it's glycerin rivers, but I've only ever seen pictures. What do y'all think? It bubbles beautifully and isn't at all drying, but man... I shredded most of it, including taking the fugly tops off the "best" bars. I have a ziplock of shreds, another of chunks, and 8 bars. (3"×3"×1" - sorta) I had planned to do a confetti soap with the same FO - can I still do that a year later?

Tips, thoughts, opinions?
 

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Zing

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I've been incredibly fortunate with my soaping - I've only had a couple batches go sideways and never so badly that they can't be used. (Friends & family only, selling is still a dream.) This batch has plagued my mind for about a year because it went missing during our move last winter. It was supposed to be my holiday gift soap but... well, lessons were learned!

My husband found it over at our old house (long story) and brought it home to me today. It's been thoroughly abused. Someone who wasn't me stuck it in a box with dog fur & dust 😱, left it sitting in an empty, dusty house 😱😱 w/out a/c or a dehumidifier through the Michigan summer. 😱😱😱

There's no DOS or any new discoloration or anything else. I cleaned off the dust & hair with alcohol & a paper towel and they look just like they did when I last saw them. Ugly af but definitely usable soap! 😱🥴🤯

So now I'm working out what went wrong and how not to do it again. For one, I soaped WAY too hot. Not volcano hot, but just shy of soap on a stick hot. I didn't test the FO in advance and it was my first time using TD. (Maybe my only time. I'm not big on white soap.)

Recipe:
28% palm
25% coconut (76°)
15% cocoa butter
15% olive (Costco, not EVOO)
10% sunflower (not HO)
7% castor
SF @ 5%
Water/lye 2:1
Additives: coconut milk powder, sodium lactate
Fragrance: Cranberry Fig EO/FO blend from WSP - UR 3% (it still smells so dang good, will be buying more)
Colors: TD, ruby red, purple vibrance, super sparkles, all from NS

Oh, and I made 3 kilos, all at once. This was never going to end well. 🤣

I think it's glycerin rivers, but I've only ever seen pictures. What do y'all think? It bubbles beautifully and isn't at all drying, but man... I shredded most of it, including taking the fugly tops off the "best" bars. I have a ziplock of shreds, another of chunks, and 8 bars. (3"×3"×1" - sorta) I had planned to do a confetti soap with the same FO - can I still do that a year later?

Tips, thoughts, opinions?
I have a bit more time to talk about preventing glycerin rivers. I also do not like them -- but no one else knows what your original plan was and in general people are thrilled with homemade soap.

Using titanium dioxide can increase the chances of glycerin rivers. So now when I use TD, I soap at a low temperature -- room temp or warm-to-the-touch and definitely below 100 degrees F. Also, I set my ratio of lye to lye-liquid at 32.5%. I have successfully avoided glycerin rivers ever since.

Lots more info here - Glycerine Rivers: Secret Revealed .

Incidentally, I discovered this forum by accident the first time I got glycerin rivers and didn't even know that term. I was googling "ridges", LOL.
 

Mistrael

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Thanks Ali & Zing! And yes, the lather is glorious, which shocked the heck out of me. My husband has threatened to take some to his work buddies and I just want to hide them away b/c i just hate the way they look. At the same time I don't want to be wasteful by throwing away usable soap. Perfectionism is a curse and I'm probably not going to use TD again. I know myself and patience is not a virtue I possess, so I will probably continue to soap too hot on a regular basis but maybe if I skip the TD it will be okay. 🤞
 

cmzaha

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Thanks Ali & Zing! I know myself and patience is not a virtue I possess, so I will probably continue to soap too hot on a regular basis but maybe if I skip the TD it will be okay. 🤞
The lather should be good with the high percentage of CO, so that is not a surprise. But I do question what soaping too hot has to do with patience? It accelerates trace especially with the high Palm and Cocoa Butter, plus CO tends to heat up and risk a volcano and does not speed cure time. Even when I soap my high palm, low CO recipe I will tend to soap my oils cloudy and wait through the false trace until my batter starts to heat and thin out so I have more working time, this is using a 30-31% Lye Concentration. I de-mold my soaps in 8-12 hrs. I am just curious...
 

AliOop

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@Mistrael I would be honest and tell you if they were ugly... but I don't think they are ugly at all, and I wouldn't hesitate to give them to people who want to try your soap. That's a great way to use up bars that are outside your preferred visual standards. My friends who get lots of free soap for me really don't care how it looks. Smell seems to be #1 for most of them, with lather feel and post-washing-skin-feel tying for second.

Regarding impatience, do you mean that you soap too hot because you hate waiting for the oils and lye to cool? That's where masterbatching even small batches will help a lot. Make enough lye solution for at least 3-4 batches, and keep it in a tightly stored container. Then you never have to use hot lye solution.
 

Mistrael

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About my impatience... I have very limited time and space for soaping, plus kids, critters, and my mother's questionable sanity, so masterbatching lye isn't an option yet. There simply isn't a safe space to store it because wherever I put it and however I label it, I don't trust that everyone will read the darn label and remember lye is dangerous. It's ridiculous, but that's where I'm at.

I suppose I could say I've started masterbatching oils in that I've done it once and it worked well. I'll likely continue to do it, so that will help a lot. But waiting for lye to cool is the worst because I can only work late at night when everyone else is in bed or else I'll have nosy busybodies wanting to know all the details until I lose my temper and yell at everyone.

Alas, these are my monkeys and this is my circus. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

AliOop

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Gotcha. Do you have room in your freezer for distilled water ice cubes? or AVJ or whatever you use for lye liquid? Using those to dissolve your lye will result in a much cooler lye solution to start with.
 

Mistrael

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Gotcha. Do you have room in your freezer for distilled water ice cubes? or AVJ or whatever you use for lye liquid? Using those to dissolve your lye will result in a much cooler lye solution to start with.
Nope! There are 6 people in this house and the fridge that came with it looks to be 20 years old. We're planning to get a chest freezer eventually, and also a fridge for my future soaping space in the garage, but for now we're still in chaos. These supply chain issues are making it very difficult to get everything we want and need. We're still trying to find a new fridge for the kitchen that has everything we want. Money isn't an issue right now because my mother just sold her house, it's just a matter of finding a good one with the right features.
 

Babyshoes

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Nope! There are 6 people in this house and the fridge that came with it looks to be 20 years old. We're planning to get a chest freezer eventually, and also a fridge for my future soaping space in the garage, but for now we're still in chaos. These supply chain issues are making it very difficult to get everything we want and need. We're still trying to find a new fridge for the kitchen that has everything we want. Money isn't an issue right now because my mother just sold her house, it's just a matter of finding a good one with the right features.
Man, sounds like life is a bit tough right now! I hope things settle down soon.

When I soap, I tend to make the lye solution for all the batches I'm planning that day before I start anything else, then take a break. Then I start on the oils, get them melted, then take another break. By the time my oils are ready, the lye is generally cool enough to use. I'm wondering if you could make the lye solution, then take a break to do something else you want/need to do, then come back to it in half an hour or so?

I've also seen folks stand their lye container in a bowl with ice cubes around it, though of course it needs to be heavy enough to stay upright with the ice melts. I wonder if that's something to consider? Or how about one of those flexible gel ice packs held on with an elastic band? They don't take up much freezer space.
Something like this: Koolpak Deluxe Reusable Hot/Cold Gel Packs - x3 (Triple Pack) Koolpak Deluxe Reusable Hot/Cold Gel Packs - x3 (Triple Pack) : Amazon.co.uk: Health & Personal Care
 

Peachy Clean Soap

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I actually like glycerin rivers' I think it brings a uniqueness to the bar. I tried to produce glycerin rivers using a technique called the "Ghost Swirl" I posted a picture here somewhere. Your soap is pretty. 💫🧼
 

cmzaha

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My recommendation for cooling your lye would be to plan ahead and have a pitcher of cold water in the fridge for mixing your lye or put your lye mixing container in the sink in a larger container containing ice to make an ice bath. Planning ahead is the key. If that is not possible I hate to say it but maybe soapmaking needs to go on hold until safer conditions can be in place. When my daughter and I were selling she did M&P because she had a toddler and severe health issues hindering her from safely making lye soap, so I made the lye soap, when my granddaughters visited they knew they had to stay out of the kitchen completely. Both children learned and respected the rules. My cats were not interested and stayed away or they would have been removed to a safe area.
 

Mistrael

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Man, sounds like life is a bit tough right now! I hope things settle down soon.

When I soap, I tend to make the lye solution for all the batches I'm planning that day before I start anything else, then take a break. Then I start on the oils, get them melted, then take another break. By the time my oils are ready, the lye is generally cool enough to use. I'm wondering if you could make the lye solution, then take a break to do something else you want/need to do, then come back to it in half an hour or so?

I've also seen folks stand their lye container in a bowl with ice cubes around it, though of course it needs to be heavy enough to stay upright with the ice melts. I wonder if that's something to consider? Or how about one of those flexible gel ice packs held on with an elastic band? They don't take up much freezer space.
Something like this: Koolpak Deluxe Reusable Hot/Cold Gel Packs - x3 (Triple Pack) Koolpak Deluxe Reusable Hot/Cold Gel Packs - x3 (Triple Pack) : Amazon.co.uk: Health & Personal Care
Alas, this IS the settled down version. 🤣 That bowl of ice is an idea though, I'll have to try it.

My recommendation for cooling your lye would be to plan ahead and have a pitcher of cold water in the fridge for mixing your lye or put your lye mixing container in the sink in a larger container containing ice to make an ice bath. Planning ahead is the key. If that is not possible I hate to say it but maybe soapmaking needs to go on hold until safer conditions can be in place. When my daughter and I were selling she did M&P because she had a toddler and severe health issues hindering her from safely making lye soap, so I made the lye soap, when my granddaughters visited they knew they had to stay out of the kitchen completely. Both children learned and respected the rules. My cats were not interested and stayed away or they would have been removed to a safe area.
I'm sad to say the biggest problem isn't my kids, it's my mother. She's only in her 60s and overall quite healthy, but she had a trauma in 2020 and hasn't been quite right since. She's a newly retired chemical engineer with a masters degree and knows more about chemistry than I ever will, but I've still had to block her from coming into my space while I have lye out. I'll try using a bowl of ice in the sink to cool my lye and see if that makes it all go better & faster. If not, you might be right and I might have to pause until I have quieter space.
 

cmzaha

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Alas, this IS the settled down version. 🤣 That bowl of ice is an idea though, I'll have to try it.

I'm sad to say the biggest problem isn't my kids, it's my mother. She's only in her 60s and overall quite healthy, but she had a trauma in 2020 and hasn't been quite right since. She's a newly retired chemical engineer with a masters degree and knows more about chemistry than I ever will, but I've still had to block her from coming into my space while I have lye out. I'll try using a bowl of ice in the sink to cool my lye and see if that makes it all go better & faster. If not, you might be right and I might have to pause until I have quieter space.
I am very sorry to hear about your mom, I hope it is something that can get better and does get better. Many times kids are easier to work with than moms.

If you make your lye for each batch you are making it will cool pretty quick in an ice bath since it will not be a large batch of lye at a time. Good luck to you.
 

Mobjack Bay

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If you want to avoid rivers, soaping cooler should do the trick at that lye concentration. If your TD is mixed with water, you can compensate for the added water by increasing the lye concentration a little.

When I mix lye and need it to cool down quickly, I mix it using cold water, make sure the NaOH is dissolved and then stick the sealed/covered container in a water bath (dishpan) with a frozen “blue ice” block.
 

Mistrael

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Do you recall if you used water to disperse your TD?
Nope! I do my best to take accurate notes as I work, but this batch accelerated so quickly I lost my cool entirely and went into "chef in the weeds" mode. It wasn't pretty and I completely forgot to note the things I hadn't put down in advance.
 

earlene

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I feel for you. When a parent becomes incapable of being the capable person we learned so many life skills from as we grew up, lour lives get turned upside down. I suppose it's a reminder of the many things they may have had to deal with when we were all still dependant on them for our very safety. But even so, none of us wants to be a burden to our children, so I imagine in her moments of lucidity (which I suppose she has) this must be very difficult for you mother.

But on another note, if you can manage an ice bath, that means you have ice or the capacity to make ice that you could use to make at least part of the lye solution. So perhaps you can weigh out some ice to take the place of part of the water for your lye, sprinkle the NaOH onto the ice, stir while it melts, then add the rest of the water to that. Then keep it in a cold water bath. Just filling the sink with enough water from the cold water tap works fine for this. Just be sure to make sure your container cannot tip over, which can happen if your sink is large and holds a lot more water than your lye solution. You may have to stabilize the lye container in the sink to prevent it from tipping over and spilling out into the sink full of water.

I actually had that happen once when the lye solution container was displaced by the water in the sink. So I learned to use a slightly bigger bucket to put the lye solution vessel into, then fill the sink with water as well as the water in the outer bucket. This way the container can't tip over and spill out.
 
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