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Help With Soft Soap Please

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Kcryss

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Hi Everyone,
Hoping someone can help me with this.

I made my 4th batch of soap a few days ago. My first batch using lard. It got hard enough to unmold and slice within a few hrs, but still has not gotten any harder. I'm sure I did something wrong, but I have no idea what it was. I always do the zap test when I'm 99% sure it's cooked and it passed the test.

I want to try and do a rebatch and have looked through previous posts but not seeing an answer to my question. There are lots of posts so it's possible the info is there and I just missed it ...

I have a few questions I'm hoping someone can help answer:

1. Do I need to figure out why it's soft before the rebatch so that I can fix whatever caused the problem?

2. Will adding more lye help it to harden the next time around?

3. Should I just trash it and start over?

Here is the recipe I used:

upload_2020-1-1_16-3-22.png
 

shunt2011

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I agree with Obsidian. You don’t say how old the soap is. It will take time to harden with that much liquid and OO.
 

Kcryss

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I made it on the 29th, so not a full 72 hrs.
I used the Soapmakingfriend calc this time instead of soapcal which is what I've used before. I used the soapmakingfriend calc this time because I added citric acid and wanted the calc to do the math so I wouldn't mess it up. lol :)

So, should I have used a different lye concentration? I used 27% thinking there would be more lye and less water ...

The first 3 batches actually had more OO and they were hard within 24 hrs. In all 4 recipes I did add 1 tbs greek yogurt ppo.

This is the recipe I used for the first 3 batches.

upload_2020-1-1_18-21-41.png
 

Kcryss

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I guess I left out one really important detail. I do HP. :)
 

Obsidian

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Yep, thats a important bit of info. Your water amount is fine for HP.

There is nothing wrong with your recipes or soap. Sometimes soap just does things we don't expect. No rhyme or reason.
I've have some batches stay soft for a few weeks. It eventually hardens.
 

Kcryss

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That's good to know. I can actually squeeze this stuff ... almost like a sponge. There is a lot of give and thought it was a lost cause. I actually considered just squeezing it to break it up. I wouldn't really even need a grater for it. haha.
 

KiwiMoose

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I don't HP but it still looks like your lye concentration is very low - try making it around 33%. I usually soap at around 28 - 30% which is considered low, but the one time I did a ghost swirl and used 40% - WOW! what a difference in hardness right off the bat.
 

Obsidian

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I've had spongy HP a couple times. I have no idea why but it did harden. I only do CP now, too many issues with HP for me.
 

Kcryss

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I don't HP but it still looks like your lye concentration is very low - try making it around 33%. I usually soap at around 28 - 30% which is considered low, but the one time I did a ghost swirl and used 40% - WOW! what a difference in hardness right off the bat.
Wow, 40%? Were you able to do swirls? I've been afraid to go too high on the lye, it's pretty gloppy now. I've been worried that I wouldn't be able to get it out of the crockpot into the mold. lol

Thanks for the link in the weird soap consistency thread. I'm reading the comparison study they did. They were very thorough. It's a great article! :)
 

KiwiMoose

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Wow, 40%? Were you able to do swirls? I've been afraid to go too high on the lye, it's pretty gloppy now. I've been worried that I wouldn't be able to get it out of the crockpot into the mold. lol

Thanks for the link in the weird soap consistency thread. I'm reading the comparison study they did. They were very thorough. It's a great article! :)
Actually I just looked at it was 45%!
Swirl is not just about amount of lye - it can also depend on the ratio of saturated/unsaturated fats. Increase your non-saturated and you have a more swirlable recipe in most cases ( also dependent on other factors like temp, which particular oils and their properties...)
 

Dawni

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I mostly use lard at 28-35% and olive only until 30% if I'm using it at all and all my soaps I let cure for 2mos generally.

They can stay a bit spongy for about a month after unmolding (depends a lot I think on my humid climate so could be less for you) so I let them be until they surprise me at about 6 weeks.

No idea why this batch is softer than the others. I wonder if the 5% less cocoa butter made that much of a difference but it shouldn't. I've not used citric acid yet but it could be a factor, since you didn't use it previously, but I also doubt it. It will harden eventually though, don't rebatch just yet.

If you've ever made CP.. The same soap will be harder and less soluble sooner than the HP one, even if you used less water than usual in the HP one. Just one of those things most don't realize...
 

SideDoorSoaps

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My HP soap is usually always softer than my CP. :/ I definitely use more water though in HP because I CP at a 40% lye concentration. But I’m not too worried so much about the fluidity of my soap batter for swirling most days because I like ITP swirling the best.

As for your recipe, that is a ton of olive oil but it will eventually harden through cure. Like Castile.
 

Kcryss

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I mostly use lard at 28-35% and olive only until 30% if I'm using it at all and all my soaps I let cure for 2mos generally.

If you've ever made CP.. The same soap will be harder and less soluble sooner than the HP one, even if you used less water than usual in the HP one. Just one of those things most don't realize...
Oh, I had no idea. I haven't tried CP yet, I will have to give it a try soon.
Thanks for the info. I'll wait for my surprise in a few weeks. :)
 

Kcryss

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My HP soap is usually always softer than my CP. :/ I definitely use more water though in HP because I CP at a 40% lye concentration. But I’m not too worried so much about the fluidity of my soap batter for swirling most days because I like ITP swirling the best.

As for your recipe, that is a ton of olive oil but it will eventually harden through cure. Like Castile.
I really only use the OO in such high amounts because I don't know what to use instead. I don't like the idea of palm due to deforestation. Even sustainable causes problems so trying to avoid it. I did find a source for beef and pork fat and will be trying that as soon as I get the beef fat rendered.

Any other affordable options I can try to replace the OO?
 

Obsidian

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You wouldn't replace olive with palm anyways, very different oil types.
You could use avocado, safflower, sunflower or almond. There are other but these seem to be the easiest to find. I use safflower.

What I suggest is just altering the amounts used. My go to recipe. SF 5% and 33% lye when done CP.

Lard 50%
Olive 25%
Coconut 20%
Castor 5%

If you want to include cocoa butter, reduce lard to 40% and add 10% cocoa
 

Kcryss

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You wouldn't replace olive with palm anyways, very different oil types.
You could use avocado, safflower, sunflower or almond. There are other but these seem to be the easiest to find. I use safflower.

What I suggest is just altering the amounts used. My go to recipe. SF 5% and 33% lye when done CP.

Lard 50%
Olive 25%
Coconut 20%
Castor 5%

If you want to include cocoa butter, reduce lard to 40% and add 10% cocoa
Thanks! Was just looking at both Safflower and Sunflower oils. It looks like it's best to use the high Oleic if using either of those. Is that correct or does it matter? Also, I've found that you can purchase Oleic Acid on it's own and seems inexpensive. If using lower oleic acid oils, is it good to use this as an additive?
 

Dawni

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If you can find high oleic that's better - reduces your chances of DOS.

You can up your lard. I have a 60% lard soap that my mom loves. The olive in that is only 20% with coconut n castor making up the rest. It makes a hard bar, and quite fluid too. I've managed a tiger stripe swirl with it and a layered soap. Don't forget the yogurt.

Or you can experiment with increasing your cocoa butter for harder soap.. I've tried it between 10-20% but I let mine cure slightly longer if I used a lot. Lathers better..

Oh, I had no idea. I haven't tried CP yet, I will have to give it a try soon.
Thanks for the info. I'll wait for my surprise in a few weeks. :)
I don't CP much either but I did notice that the few ones I've made took less time to harden than any HP ones. That's why I took to curing all my soaps regardless of recipe a minimum 8wks - 6 if I cannot.

It's most probably all that water - I try using the minimum if I'm not planning swirls and rarely use 3:1 lye ratio. Less water also lessens warping once they're cured.
 

Obsidian

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Yes, you want to use high oleic versions. I really like sunflower but its very expensive here.
I have no idea about using straight oleic as a additive. Maybe @DeeAnna can answer that.
I suspect there is more to it then just increasing the oleic level though.
 

Kcryss

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Thanks for the info Obsidian. It's pricey here too. Looks like online is the best option for purchasing. I'm finding that you can add oleic acid to the soap. I found it in soapcalc. It's actually relatively inexpensive. 10 dollars for a whole quart. Guessing it would last a while. Not sure if that would make up for using a regular sunflower oil that wasn't high in oleic acid ... maybe DeeAnna knows.
 
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