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Help, how do I deal with my liquid soap separation?

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Michelle Anugrah

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I've been making liquid soap with avocado, castor, coconut, olive, ricebran and sunflower, superfatting with 5 % cocoa butter, 20% of the water is replaced with glycerine. On some days, my soap came out okay, clear with no cloudyness or separations. But on some days, it separates into two layers, cloudy on the top and clear at the bottom. I How do I deal with this? I diluted the soap paste using crockpot on keep warm heat and left it overnight (around 6 to 7 hours). The mixture is always cloudy, but as I said, on a good day, the cloudyness is thin, like only 10% of the soap, and I could redilute it again or use it as hand soaps. But most of the day, the cloudy part can be as much as 25%.

What should I do to deal with this?

Thank you
 

DeeAnna

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It is very likely you are using too much superfat. Most of us keep the superfat at 3% or less. If there's too much superfat, that can lead to cloudiness and separation of the excess fats and fatty acids. Some people claim to use more than 3% SF with success, but if your soap is not clear and there are no other factors that would lead to cloudiness/separation, the superfat level is probably the culprit.

Another issue can be the particular fatty acids and amount of unsaponifiable content in the soap. It's been my experience that liquid soap high in stearic and palmitic acids tends to be cloudy and can separate. The cocoa butter is a source of these fatty acids.

Unsaponifiable content is high in avocado and possibly cocoa butter. This can also lead to cloudiness and separation.

Temperature can also affect the degree of transparency. Warmer -> more clear. Cooler -> more opaque.

You can add a solubilizer such as polysorbate 80 to see if that will clear up your soap. Or you can reformulate the recipe. Or you can skim off the stuff that floats to the top and call it good. Or you can just live with it and shake the soap up every time you use it.
 

Michelle Anugrah

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Thank you for the reply. I tried cooking it again for another 4 hours, only the cloudy part, and it seems to work fine. The soap is clearer now, though not as clear as my regular non cocoa butter soap. I guess I need to add more time in the crockpot when I dilute it. It's now sitting in my huge mason jar to be cured. I hope it stays clear after 24 hours.

I will cut down on the superfat, thank you.
 
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