Help: My cp soap doesn't perform like I hoped

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steffamarie

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Old forum, but I have been struggling with this squeaky feeling with boughten soaps and with my own soaps until today. Even my melt and pour soaps leave that squeaky feeling while we use them and while I can more or less get over it, my boyfriend is finding it very difficult to deal with.

I soaped a recipe yesterday that I tweaked from Royalty Soaps' recipe (hers is 30% Olive, 30% Coconut, 30% Palm, 5% Castor, and 5% Sweet Almond, and she lists this in the descriptions of her YT videos). [edit: it's worth noting that her recipe DOES make me feel squeaky.] I don't have palm oil, so I developed my own formula based on hers. 35% Olive, 20% Coconut, 15% Crisco, 10% Rice Bran, 5% Castor, and 5% Shea Butter. I used a SF of 8% since I wanted to balance the effect of the activated charcoal and mixture of bentonite, rhassoul, and kaolin clays I added. I unmolded them this morning and did a lather test today. It lathers beautifully with a moderately fluffy, very creamy lather!! It also did NOT leave me feeling squeaky at all - my hands feel moisturized and soft.

I did use 1/2 tsp ppo of sodium chloride dissolved in some of my water to help with the unmolding process. I think due to the clay and/or soaping at room temp, the recipe traced up on me REALLY fast but I was able to stick blend through it (I think I hit a false trace) and get it plopped into the molds before it got too hard. It was hard enough to unmold about 8 hours later, but I left it overnight just to be safe.

I have STL city water with no water softener. My other 40-50% OO soaps make my skin feel squeaky (though they haven't cured very long). I'm gonna have my bf try out this new recipe after it's cured and hopefully he'll like it like I do!!
 
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I've lived in the St. Louis area and had hard water. Since you've tried a variety of different types of soap, I suspect that's is more the issue. People use citric acid, sodium citrate or edta to chelate with the minerals in the water for better rinsing.

I use sodium citrate because I don't have to calculate for the lye difference that comes with using citric acid. Recommended use is 1 to 2 percent of the total oil weight of your recipe.

Many people find 30% coconut oil to be very drying. I prefer no more than 20.
 

DeeAnna

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I agree with Lenarenee -- it's probably your hard water that makes the "squeaky clean" feeling. It's actually less about being super clean and more about a sticky, squeaky soap-scum feeling. The clay is probably masking the effect of the soap scum.

"...35% Olive, 20% Coconut, 15% Crisco, 10% Rice Bran, 5% Castor, and 5% Shea Butter..."

I'm not the best at adding in my head, but I don't think this adds up to 100%.
 

steffamarie

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I agree with Lenarenee -- it's probably your hard water that makes the "squeaky clean" feeling. It's actually less about being super clean and more about a sticky, squeaky soap-scum feeling. The clay is probably masking the effect of the soap scum.

"...35% Olive, 20% Coconut, 15% Crisco, 10% Rice Bran, 5% Castor, and 5% Shea Butter..."

I'm not the best at adding in my head, but I don't think this adds up to 100%.
I may have mucked up those percentages lol...forgot to look at my paper to find the amounts. I'm pretty sure that should say 30% Coconut. Rest assured I did run this through a lye calculator before soaping!! I wonder if it would be different if I tried with distilled water...maybe I'll give it a shot! Thanks, both of you!!
 

earlene

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I am surprised that soap you made less than 24 hours earlier left your skin feeling soft and moisturized, especially with 30% CO. Or maybe I read that wrong. I may have misunderstood what you said. Either way, if you have hard water, a chelator as an additive may help to some degree, at least with the soap scum.

Young soap never leaves my hands feeling soft and moisturized. It invariably leaves my hands feeling rough and dry. Which is why I wonder if I misunderstand what you wrote. Or maybe you have better skin than I do, which is certainly likely given that I am almost 70 years old. ;)

When you say 'try with distilled water' do you mean in your lye solution or as your hand washing water?
 

steffamarie

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I am surprised that soap you made less than 24 hours earlier left your skin feeling soft and moisturized, especially with 30% CO. Or maybe I read that wrong. I may have misunderstood what you said. Either way, if you have hard water, a chelator as an additive may help to some degree, at least with the soap scum.

Young soap never leaves my hands feeling soft and moisturized. It invariably leaves my hands feeling rough and dry. Which is why I wonder if I misunderstand what you wrote. Or maybe you have better skin than I do, which is certainly likely given that I am almost 70 years old. ;)

When you say 'try with distilled water' do you mean in your lye solution or as your hand washing water?
When I initially tried it, it didn't seem to have that squeak or the dry feeling. It is squeaking a little today, so it may have been a fluke or I may have had some lotion on my hands that was masking it. Come to think of it, that's probably what happened. It's still not as squeaky as some of my other soaps, though, old and young.
Sorry about that, that was confusingly written lol - I meant to wash with. I do use it to soap with :)
 

DeeAnna

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That's a good way to figure out if it's your water that's causing the weird skin feel. Wash your hands using distilled water, then repeat with your regular tap water. If it's hard water scum that's the problem, your skin should feel fine after the distilled wash and not so fine after the tap water wash.
 

steffamarie

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Soap update! I did test out washing with the distilled water. I just about froze my fingers off (I keep my distilled water in the fridge) but I found that there's not near as bad a squeak as there is when I use my tap water. I tested with a boughten soap from another soaper that I know is plenty well cured rather than trying my still-curing baby soaps. :)

My final question is - what do you guys find is the best chelator? I'm not too keen on having to adjust my lye amounts (though as I gain more experience that may be something I get comfortable with) and I know @lenarenee, you said you use sodium citrate. Is there any real difference between using sodium citrate and something like tetrasodium EDTA? I'm finding the prices to be fairly similar. I'm also not too concerned about anything being "natural". Do you find one to be better than the other as far as performance goes?
 

earlene

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I use EDTA and find it works pretty well at reducing soap scum with Illinois water, even when our water softener runs out of salt (which it does sometimes if we don't buy it often enough.) EDTA + ROE is effective for DOS prevention, too, so that's an added benefit of the EDTA.

For more feedback on chelators see this thread: https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/preferred-chelating-agents.69127/

Here is DeeAnna's article about chelators: https://classicbells.com/soap/chelator.html
Click on the specific chelator to read about how to use it.

Here is Dr. Kevin Dunn's paper on DOS prevention, which in part, I based my choice on when I went with EDTA + ROE:
http://cavemanchemistry.com/DreadedOrangeSpot-Dunn.pdf

And how to use ROE, should you decide to add that to your repertoire (even though you did not yet ask):
https://classicbells.com/soap/ROE.html
 

steffamarie

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@earlene, thank you so much for all those references!! I think I'll be trying EDTA as that seems to have the most positive reviews on that board about chelators. I so appreciate you all being willing to answer my questions. Love being part of a community full of helpers!! :)
 

steffamarie

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Question mostly for @DeeAnna but of course I would love to hear anyone's answer - I was reading DeeAnna's EDTA Soapy Stuff post/info section. It seems like it will be easier to use a 50% EDTA solution instead of trying to incorporate the powder itself into the lye solution. My question is - do you discount your water for your lye solution to account for the extra water you're getting in the EDTA solution? For example, my 1400g final batch weight of soap would call for 70g of EDTA powder or 140g of a 50% solution. Will it make much difference for me to discount the water for my lye solution by 70g? I tend to soap with a 38% lye solution.

ETA: SoapCalc says the difference between a 40% lye solution and a 38% lye solution is somewhere in the vicinity of 25g of water. By this math, I would think a more concentrated lye solution would not need the water discount, but a more dilute lye solution could benefit from limiting the extra water introduced. For a more advanced soaper, this might not make a difference but my concern is that it would be quick to trace on me and my inexperience would be my downfall lol
 

DeeAnna

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I believe your number is off by a factor of 10. You've calculated EDTA weight based on a 5% dosage rate. If you meant to use the usual dosage that most people use, the percentage should be 0.5%.

EDTA weight = 1400 grams X 0.5 / 100
= 1400 X 0.005
= 7 grams

Yes, I account for the water included in the EDTA solution, but it's honestly not a big deal if you don't. For your recipe, you'd only be adding 7 grams of extra water if you use a 0.5% dosage rate. That's not anything to be overly worried about.

If you use online soap calculators and want a simple way to compensate for this, you could increase your lye concentration by about 0.5%. In other words, if you normally use 33% lye concentration, go to 33.5%.

(Note to newbies -- I really do mean lye concentration here, not "water as % of oils")
 

steffamarie

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I believe your number is off by a factor of 10.

HA! You're totally right! Does it show that I haven't taken a math class for years?? :oops: This is why I should have checked my work. Could have answered my own question! 7g ain't no thang!! I appreciate your patience with my math mistakes...and for your super informative Soapy Stuff! Though I do wonder what would have happened had I actually soaped with 5% EDTA...
 

Alfa_Lazcares

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HA! You're totally right! Does it show that I haven't taken a math class for years?? :oops: This is why I should have checked my work. Could have answered my own question! 7g ain't no thang!! I appreciate your patience with my math mistakes...and for your super informative Soapy Stuff! Though I do wonder what would have happened had I actually soaped with 5% EDTA...

And share your results please! I think I am gonna go the EDTA way too.
 

DeeAnna

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I've used EDTA at 1% to 3% in laundry soap. If the lye concentration is over about 35%, EDTA becomes insoluble in the lye solution. The EDTA-NaOH-water mixture turns into medium thick white gravy with the EDTA at 1% to 3% -- it's basically at a medium trace thickness before you even start to make the soap.

Even at 0.5%, the EDTA is still insoluble in 35% or higher lye solution, but there is so little EDTA in the batch, its "pudding effect" is small.

I honestly don't think it's useful to use EDTA over the usual 0.5%. Even at 1-3% in soap, there is not enough EDTA to sufficiently soften all the water in a laundry tub, dish pan, or bath tub. You can't remotely stuff enough EDTA or other water softener into soap to treat large amounts of water. Or if you try, you won't really have soap anymore. ;)

IMO, it's better to use sufficient EDTA to protect against rancidity (DOS) and to reduce soap scum when you shower or wash your hands -- I'd say 0.5% is plenty good for that. Use a separate water softener product such as washing soda for treating water in the tub, laundry, or dishes. Or use a whole-house water softener.
 

KristaY

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Just another note on EDTA use and it's effects: not only have I noticed a decrease in soap scum in the shower, but the soap also rinses better off my skin. It has the effect of binding with the hard water at the site of application (my skin) so rinses off better. I use tetrasodium EDTA in all my recipes!
 
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