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Help Please - Mold vs Ash

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cerelife

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Can anyone tell me if this is mold or ash? I’ve never had mold on my soaps before, but there’s always a first time! And I rarely get ash (and then only on the tops of the soap) but again, always a first time. Every bar in this batch looks similar to the bar in the picture.
I made this soap back in January and it’s my normal recipe with no food additives or anything like that. It was cut/cured/stored the same as all my other batches but it’s the ONLY batch that has this!! The only things different in this soap are WSP Froot Loops FO and WSP Crimson Sparkle Mica as colorant, neither of which I’d used before.
BTW, this stuff showed up fairly recently. I used a bar in March after it cured, and I think the last time I opened the box was maybe last month and it was normal. After seeing this stuff I checked every single batch and they are all totally normal - so I’m like WTH happened with this batch??
I’ve heard that some FO’s can cause more ash, so I’m wondering if that’s the culprit? Or if it’s mold, any clues as to why?
I rinsed the bars off under running water and let them air-dry and they look fine now, but if this is mold I’m just gonna toss ‘em...yuck!! If it IS mold, I would like to know what caused it so I can prevent this happening again in the future.
Pretty sure my recipe isn’t the culprit, but I’m adding it anyway along with a pic of how I store my soaps. I figure the more info I provide, the better y'all can help me diagnose the problem :)
My usual recipe:
Coconut oil
Palm oil
Olive oil
Castor oil
Rice Bran oil
Mango Butter
Tussah silk and sugar in lye water, kaolin clay and colloidal oatmeal in ‘soft’ oils, with a 7% SF.
Thanks in advance for any help or insight y’all can provide :)

mold2.JPG

mold.JPG

soap.JPG
 

cerelife

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Sorry for the last picture being upside down...not sure how I managed that!!
 

commoncenz

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Looks very much like ash to me also. I'd assume if it were mold you would get that moldy smell in your container and the mold would have begun breaking down your bars of soap (rotting them). The fact that you were able to wash it off also says ash to me.
 

KristaY

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It really looks like ash to me too but it's interesting that it showed up after 3 months cure. It would be interesting to learn why that may be. You don't note an "off" smell to the bars?
 

Jstar

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Looks like ash to me as well..

That being said, is it humid where you have those soaps stored? I don't cover my soaps where they can't get any air circulation
 

cerelife

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Nope, no 'moldy or off smell'...the soap actually smells great, just like the breakfast cereal!
And I was curious as well as to why ash would show up at this late date?
My soaps are stored in one of the guest rooms of our circa 1860's home. We have central heat and AC, but everything is humid down here in the Deep South :)
But still it's odd that this ONE batch got all ashy...maybe the FO?
 

TheDragonGirl

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yeah, some fragrances will do that. I've noticed a sharp increase in the presence of ash in anything that has menthol in it, for instance
 

lsg

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I agree, it looks like ash to me. You can just wipe it off.
 
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