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Help! Advice needed for better melting techniques

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Barbs

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Hi All, I'm new to MP soap making and have my heart set on making embeds (soap and other things) using clear soap. I am struggling with melting my soap as I either burn it or it develops a skin before I even start pouring (meaning I am wasting soap or am getting imperfections in my bars).

I am using the microwave for 10 sec at 50% power and am only heating enough for 1 or 2 bars at a time. I use a glass jug and have tried a cover over it while heating and when in the microwave sitting the jug on a plate with some water on it to warm the jug a little from the base and in an attempt to stop moisture loss (I assume that is causing the skin to form).

I am pouring at about 58c (136f).

What do you guys do to overcome this? Thanks in advance.
 

lsg

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Have everything ready to go before melting the base. If you are mixing in colorants and fragrance, pour as soon as those additives are mixed in. If the soap develops a skin, put it in the microwave and reheat for just a few seconds and stir well. Spray the top of the soap with rubbing alcohol right after you pour. Where are you getting your base? You may need to switch M&P bases. You might try using a double boiler on a stove burner to melt your base if your microwave is burning the soap.
 

Seawolfe

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I found with small amounts like that they dry super quick, so I found it better to make a sort of double boiler with my glass pouring things (small one inside the other, boiling water in the outside). Put the whole setup in the microwave to melt the soap initially, then move the whole setup to my work area for the additives/colors and add those while the melted soap is still in the container surrounded by hot water. I pulled the soap container out and stirred a bit to let it cool slightly before adding fragrance, and then poured into the molds.
 

cmzaha

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If it is a base other than a hobby store base you can call the supplier or manufacturer to find out the best melting temp. Some bases can substantially degrade if melted to a to high temp for the base, some do not act nice if melted to a to low temp. My daughter has large melters and has one brand of base she uses that cannot be held at temp in her melter, it damages the remelt-ability of the base. When we take it from the micro we continue to gently stir until it is poured
 

jblaney

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I do exactly what Seawolfe does and it works for me. It's important to have the soap in something that retains the heat like glass so it cools slowly and won't harden before you can add your additive. Keep stirring so no skin develops.
 

Barbs

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You guys are wonderful, thanks. I like the homemade double boiler idea, I will try that one. I am in Australia and have bought from a reputable supplier, so I think it is me rather than the base. I am pouring at the right temp according to the supplier and do have everything all ready to go first... I think I just need more practice.
 

Barbs

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So, I tried all your advice and it is still getting a skin on it. The only time I don't get a skin is when I boil it... Any other ideas???
 

galaxyMLP

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What type of base is it? If it is a low sweat base, you may always have problems with it developing a skin.

You can also try adding a bit (like 1 tbsp pp base) of water. That may help with the skin developing. Or, if you are in a particularly dry place, you can also try adding more glycerin (However, that will make the base sweat more and can be a big problem in humid environments)

I also just re-microwave in short bursts if I get a skin to develop too early as others have said.
 

Barbs

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Thanks GalaxyMLP, it is not a low sweat base, it already contains 25% glycerine. I have tried to reheat it, the soap gets hotter but it won't seem to melt the skin.
 

Cindy2428

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When I do M&P I generally melt 12-15# each of clear and white base. I bought some soup kettles and they work great for large batches, but I have to keep the cover on or else I get a skin as well.

For small batches what about those countertop induction heaters for small batches?
 

lisamaliga

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A covered double boiler should be very helpful. If using Stephenson's base it sets up quickly!
 

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