Help! Lye oozes out of fresh batch!

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Amna Tasneem

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Hi friends. I'm an amateur soaper and am facing one particular problem.
I love making clay soaps. Usually I add about one tablespoon per kilo of oils, and superfat at 7%. My usual recipe is as below:
Castor oil 15%
Coconut oil 15%
Shea butter 6%
Cocoa butter 6%
Tamanu oil 20%
Olive pomace 38%
Super fatting at trace @8% (2% lanolin or Shea butter, 3% cocoa butter, 3% jojoba oil)
1 tablespoon per kilo oils of clay ( I've used French clays once, and fuller's earth twice). This amount of clay has no problems.
But when I increase the clay (in order to get more benefits of the Clays), the soaps start oozing lye about 24 hours after making them! Its definitely lye, as I've done a zap test on all three occasions and my tongue tip has been burnt by that.

As to the process, the first time I added the (excess) clay at trace (1 tablespoon per 500 grams of batch - oils+lye water), and the lye oozed like glycerin dew 24 hours into the making. The second time I mixed the clay with lye water, and the third time I mixed the clay with the oils. All with the same results.
You can see the lye like glycerin dew on the top and on the sides in the pictures.

I soap around 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit, and weather has been temperate when I have soaped.

Please help me!
 

Amna Tasneem

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I Don't know the difference between zap and burn. When I put a little bit of the droplet on my tongue using an SS spoon, it stung immediately and my tongue feels burnt ( like with hot food), afterwards.
Oh, I forgot... I don't scent my soaps.
And thanks for your compliment ♥
 

shunt2011

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How much lye and water are you using. Generally, if it’s lye you will get a zap like touching a 9 volt battery with your tongue. How old is the soap?
 

jcandleattic

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What's the environment your soap is in? Is it humid where you are? I am with dixiedragon, let it sit for a couple days see if it reabsorbs, if it does, cut it and wait a day or 2, and then do the zap test again and see what happens. If it's lye heavy you can always rebatch adding in some extra oils.

Also, when doing CP superfatting at trace really doesn't guarantee that the oils you put in last will end up being your superfatted oils. Lye is indiscriminate and if there is fee oil, and active lye, the lye will saponify what it comes into contact with, regardless of when in the process it was added.
 

cmzaha

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First off I would never put even a scant droplet on my tongue if I am suspicious of lye, because lye can really do a lot of damage. Many soaps can still zap for 72 hrs. As for the weeping if it is humid it can cause weeping, and if you did not get your superfat oils mixed well they can ooze and your superfat is fairly high. I would leave it and see if it re-absorbs. Also if it is lye droplets once it is mixed with the carbon dioxide in the air it forms sodium carbonate (washing soda). It won't change immediately but how long were the droplets there before you tried it? I very well could be wrong and have been before but I doubt is is lye. Once other thought, how thin was your trace, sometimes pouring at emulsion soaps will sweat or seep. A thin trace my very well not have held onto the superfat oils
 

tussah

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I notice that when I make cold process clay soap it is often softer than my non clay soap. It does some weeping like yours did -- but it's just that it takes several days to completely saponify. It reabsorbs and is fine in a few days . I would wait a few days and see if it still zaps.
 

Amna Tasneem

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Thank you @ dixiedragon!
If you don't use fragrance I guess the burning would have to be from lye then.
How much lye and water are you using. Generally, if it’s lye you will get a zap like touching a 9 volt battery with your tongue. How old is the soap?
@shunt2011, I used brambleberry lye calculator. I'm appending the recipe screenshot.

What's the environment your soap is in? Is it humid where you are? I am with dixiedragon, let it sit for a couple days see if it reabsorbs, if it does, cut it and wait a day or 2, and then do the zap test again and see what happens. If it's lye heavy you can always rebatch adding in some extra oils.

Also, when doing CP superfatting at trace really doesn't guarantee that the oils you put in last will end up being your superfatted oils. Lye is indiscriminate and if there is fee oil, and active lye, the lye will saponify what it comes into contact with, regardless of when in the process it was added.
@jcandleattic its quite dry here... Humid months are july-october. Well, sadly, I'm not a patient person and on all occasions I simply washed the soap slabs a couple of times, let it dry another 24 hours, and the droplets did not reform.
Yes, I agree, lye has a mind of its own, but while choosing which oils to saponify, but then, how does one ensure that the intended oil remain the superfat in CP?
Thank you!
 
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Amna Tasneem

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Please give the whole recipe in grams/ounces rather than percentages, and include both water and lye amounts.
I'm posting the screenshot of my recipe, please do consider it. I used brambleberry's lye calculator.
Thanks
Please give the whole recipe in grams/ounces rather than percentages, and include both water and lye amounts.
Thanks! Have attached a screenshot of the recipe... I used brambleberry's lye calculator.
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First off I would never put even a scant droplet on my tongue if I am suspicious of lye, because lye can really do a lot of damage. Many soaps can still zap for 72 hrs. As for the weeping if it is humid it can cause weeping, and if you did not get your superfat oils mixed well they can ooze and your superfat is fairly high. I would leave it and see if it re-absorbs. Also if it is lye droplets once it is mixed with the carbon dioxide in the air it forms sodium carbonate (washing soda). It won't change immediately but how long were the droplets there before you tried it? I very well could be wrong and have been before but I doubt is is lye. Once other thought, how thin was your trace, sometimes pouring at emulsion soaps will sweat or seep. A thin trace my very well not have held onto the superfat oils
Thank you! That's very detailed indeed. The soap was 24 hours into the making.
Unfortunately patience is not a virtue I have :(( so I washed the soap loaf a couple of times. That got rid of the lye ooze, and now the soap loaf is curing another 24 hours before I shall cut it.

I notice that when I make cold process clay soap it is often softer than my non clay soap. It does some weeping like yours did -- but it's just that it takes several days to completely saponify. It reabsorbs and is fine in a few days . I would wait a few days and see if it still zaps.
I'll do that with the next batch! So many of the soapers have advised me to be patient that I'm kicking myself for my impatience.
 
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jcandleattic

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how does one ensure that the intended oil remain the superfat in CP?
In CP you can't. You can HP your soap, and cook through saponification and then add your intended superfat oils.. That's the only way to be sure, but even then it can be debatable depending on how long the soap cures for - I think Keven Dunn has a segment on superfat and HP'ing and how even after a certain time you can't be sure of the superfatted oils. I may be getting that wrong, it's been a while since I read his book or anything from him online, but I think I remember reading that.
 

DeeAnna

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Just think of those numbers as grams or ounces in a 100g or oz batch
My OT response: But that's not the point when people like Brewer George (and I) ask a poster for weights when the poster wants troubleshooting advice. This has nothing to do with OUR math ability. We're trying to get the poster focused on giving complete and coherent information.

Asking a poster for weights of all ingredients makes it more likely a poster will provide numbers actually used to make the batch. There have been far too many times where a poster realizes later on that the actual weights used for the batch were different than the percentages originally given.

And I can't count the number of times an OP has given the fats as percentages and the additives as weights.

And knowing the weights also helps when troubleshooting issues where batch size is a factor -- overheating, not gelling, etc.

It's simpler and better to ask a poster to provide the actual weights of ALL ingredients.
 

penelopejane

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I haven’t to access to my computer so can’t run your recipe through soap calc but I think you’ve used pretty high water / low lye concentration. In hot climates if you use high water amounts soap sweats.

Yes DeeAnna. So often after 10 posts someone says “oh yes and I also used super accelerator FO at 10%” or “I mixed my colours with 20g extra water per colour”.
 
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Candice Dean

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It may also be temperature or poor emulsion (or a combination) the only time I have had experience with this is when I have used low temperature ingredients and a very lightly emulsion so that I could have a fluid poor (like when you are doing multiple layers). The clay may thicken your soap mixture, masking if true emulsion has occurred.
 

DeeAnna

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"...the soaps start oozing lye about 24 hours after making them! Its definitely lye, as I've done a zap test on all three occasions and my tongue tip has been burnt by that...." [emphasis is mine]

Well, it's certainly an alkaline liquid, but that's about all a person can correctly say about that. The liquid in soap after saponification isn't the same thing as the lye solution you originally added, however. It's a mixture of glycerin, water, dissolved sodium hydroxide, sugars, maybe some fragrance, other water soluble chemicals, etc. To say it's "lye" implies it's the original lye solution, and that's inaccurate.

Sometimes soap weeps. It may be a function of slight overheating or additives in the recipe or pouring the soap at emulsion or who knows what. If you have reason to believe the soap is otherwise properly made, just give it time and it will be okay.

I want to warn everyone to never zap test liquid droplets on freshly made soap. It doesn't take a lot of free alkali to burn your skin. Take my word instead rather than risk your tongue -- this liquid is always going to be alkaline.

Be patient, and let the liquid reabsorb or react with carbon dioxide in the air. Very cautiously zap test the SOAP in a few days -- that's plenty soon enough to know whether the soap itself has problems or if it's skin safe.
 

Amna Tasneem

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It may also be temperature or poor emulsion (or a combination) the only time I have had experience with this is when I have used low temperature ingredients and a very lightly emulsion so that I could have a fluid poor (like when you are doing multiple layers). The clay may thicken your soap mixture, masking if true emulsion has occurred.
Hmmm. Food for thought. that may very well have been the case.
Thank you!

"...the soaps start oozing lye about 24 hours after making them! Its definitely lye, as I've done a zap test on all three occasions and my tongue tip has been burnt by that...." [emphasis is mine]

Well, it's certainly an alkaline liquid, but that's about all a person can correctly say about that. The liquid in soap after saponification isn't the same thing as the lye solution you originally added, however. It's a mixture of glycerin, water, dissolved sodium hydroxide, sugars, maybe some fragrance, other water soluble chemicals, etc. To say it's "lye" implies it's the original lye solution, and that's inaccurate.

Sometimes soap weeps. It may be a function of slight overheating or additives in the recipe or pouring the soap at emulsion or who knows what. If you have reason to believe the soap is otherwise properly made, just give it time and it will be okay.

I want to warn everyone to never zap test liquid droplets on freshly made soap. It doesn't take a lot of free alkali to burn your skin. Take my word instead rather than risk your tongue -- this liquid is always going to be alkaline.

Be patient, and let the liquid reabsorb or react with carbon dioxide in the air. Very cautiously zap test the SOAP in a few days -- that's plenty soon enough to know whether the soap itself has problems or if it's skin safe.
Thank you! That's very insightful!

Aside to all who took time out to read and reply... as a community, you are very helpful and generous
I'm so grateful to have a support group such as you! And I give deepest thanks and compliments to you
 
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