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ChattyCathy

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when using soap calc and looking at the recommended hardness range 29-54 im wondering what the lower ranges produce . if my recipe says low 30's for example is that still a hard bar of soap or is it soft and needing to be closer to the 50 range to be hard ?
Ive been adding a tsp of salt to lye water for my 3lb batches so I guess that makes it harder than my calculated range anyway ?
 

IrishLass

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Those 'qualities' numbers on SoapCalc really need to be taken with a grain of salt because there are some things that SoapCalc did not figure into their calculations when they came up with their 'qualities' numbers. DeeAnna has a great explanation of this conundrum several places on the forum. I'll see if I can find some..... Aha- here are a few:

http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=52285&highlight=hardness+SoapCalc

http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=33563&highlight=hardness+SoapCalc (especially see post # 17)

For what it's worth, my 100% Castile shows a hardness level of 17% on SoapCalc, but contrary to what one would expect if just going by the numbers, it cures out very hard indeed.

I have other formulas with varying levels from 28% hardness, to 31% hardness to 33% hardness, to 35%, 38% 40% 45%, etc... all the way up to 79%. And they all cured out to be hard bars. Of course, some may feel harder/denser than others, but the point is that all are firm and solid, and none are soft as pillows or anything like that.....well...except for that one batch I made with a ton of sugar. That particular one stayed spongy for over a year, but even that one became good and hard after 2 years or so.

IrishLass :)
 

girlishcharm2004

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I believe the hardness value is how hard it will be when unmolding. If you're adding salt to your recipe, Soapcalc isn't calculating that. However to answer your question, the lower the number, the longer it will take to unmold it (theoretically, since it's not calculating additive that can affect it).
 

shunt2011

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I don't find a lower hardness making it any harder to unfold in my experience anyway. I've always been able to unfold between 12 to 24 hours. My recipes anyway. I suppose it varies from recipe to recipe. But I do always use 2% SL which helps too
 

topofmurrayhill

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All things being equal (for instance, no additives), the hardness number tells you how QUICKLY a cold process soap will saponify and harden up, and how resistant it will be to softening in contact with water. A high hardness number also does usually indicate a soap will end up being pretty hard. All this because the hardness number is derived directly from the amount of saturated oil you use (generally the solid or semi-solid oils).

A lower hardness number indicates a soap that will saponify more slowly. It may still get very hard depending on the oils you use, but it will tend to absorb more water and soften more in active use. Olive oil is a good example of an oil that comes out this way. Trace and ultimate hardening just takes longer.

What really complicates it is the use of non-traditional polyunsaturated oils. These can slow down saponification even more. Certain types and quantities of these oils can make soft soap or even soap that never totally hardens, soap that softens a lot in contact with water, and soap that is much more likely to get rancid.

Paragraph 2 and paragraph 3 can represent very different cases, but Soapcalc doesn't distinguish between them in the hardness number. You have to understand the oils. Basically, a lower hardness number can be okay if you are using liquid oils like olive and not much polyunsaturated oil.
 

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