help with 1:1 NaOH:water

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rain_darned_owl

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Hi, I like to make goat milk soap and recently read an article where the soapmaker made a 1:1 solution of NaOH and water, then mixed this with the oils, and then added in the remaining liquid amount as Goat Milk at trace.

I wanted to try this method as so far I have just been freezing the goat milk and then taking a good 10 minutes to stir in the NaOH.

So to the question ... I have tried the 1:1 ration twice now and both times I could not get the lye water to go clear, even with lots of mixing. I know when people master batch their lye they use the 1:1 ratio so what am I doing wrong? Or will this strength solution not actually go clear???

BTW the 1st batch I ended up adding in a bit extra H2O to get the solution clear and the 2nd batch I gave up on the goat milk (was making shampoo bars so wasn't really sure the goat milk was a good idea anyway) and just added the remaining H2O in and the solution went clear within a minute.
 

Arimara

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I'm a little confused. So for the 50% lye solution, you used 50-50 water to lye? What type of water are you using to soap with anyway, since it would be unusual for distilled water to give you clarity issues?
 

cmzaha

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A 50/50 lye solution will not be completely clear. I always use 50/50 masterbatch. Just make sure it is all dissolved
 

dillsandwitch

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Yep mine never goes clear either. Just a sorta opaque whitish. Except for the last time i made up my masterbatch i had some blue mica on my funnel so it went blue. Haha
 

rain_darned_owl

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I always use distilled water for soaping. My NaOH comes in small crystals and I felt like I still had crystals that hadn't dissolved yet the 2nd time around. My water is probably a little cooler than room temp as I store it in the basement and just bring it to the kitchen when I am about to use it -- wouldn't think that should be a problem though as it obviously heats up as soon as I add the NaOH.

Thanks for the feedback, maybe I will try again with lots of stirring. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. I have some fresh goat milk I have to use up or put in the freezer soon. So much to learn when making soap.
 

kchaystack

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I always use distilled water for soaping. My NaOH comes in small crystals and I felt like I still had crystals that hadn't dissolved yet the 2nd time around. My water is probably a little cooler than room temp as I store it in the basement and just bring it to the kitchen when I am about to use it -- wouldn't think that should be a problem though as it obviously heats up as soon as I add the NaOH.

Thanks for the feedback, maybe I will try again with lots of stirring. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. I have some fresh goat milk I have to use up or put in the freezer soon. So much to learn when making soap.
One thing to consider is that there is some evaporation when you add the lye to the water, so you loose some of your liquid in the process to that.
 

DeeAnna

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KC has a good point. At 50% concentration, you're pretty close to the limit on what will stay dissolved at normal room temperatures. If you have any evaporation of water when you make the master solution, it's possible a bit of the NaOH might not fully dissolve. After the solution cools down, add a bit of water to bring your total solution weight back up to your starting weight. See if that helps.

Also it's possible you're seeing some residue of sodium carbonate (soda ash), which will inevitably form when NaOH reacts with carbon dioxide in the air. Carbonate will look like fine white "snow flakes" that typically float on the surface and stick to the sides of the container. Undissolved lye crystals usually end up on the bottom of the container in larger lumps.
 
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rain_darned_owl

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DeeAnna you rock!! I think it might be soda ash as it was all floating at the surface, I didn't realize the NaOH would collect on the bottom if it's not dissolved. Thanks KC, I hadn't thought of that.

I feel much better trying this again with just a little bit more water for the lye solution next time and see how it goes.
 

Arimara

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The evaporation makes sense. I've only done the 50% lye things a few times so I never noticed. I also have a tendency to slightly over pour water when I need it.
 

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