How do I know my soap saponified?

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Dollyk8

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Hello,

First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone who encouraged me to resume my soapmaking activities despite my fears of hurting the kitten.
I locked her in the bedroom and made the soap in the kitchen and I am so glad I did.

Now, I'll get to the topic at hand. I have been making CP (and hot process) soap for nearly 5 years now. Yet, every now and then I have a surprise/challenging situation.
This time, I made cold process soap made with a high percentage of hard butters - 7% of cocoa butter, 19% of babassu oil, and 12% shea butter. Add to that olive oil and sweet almond oil.
I get very creative in my selection of fats. I created this recipe (very close to it) to develop a nice, creamy soap but hard.

The temperature of the oils in my crockpot were around 130 degrees Farenheit and the lye had cooled down to 110 degrees Farenheit.
I used a water amount that was 40% of oil weight. I began to stick blend and did so for half a minute. Paused to gather my essential oils. Turned around
and the oil and lye mix had become alarmingly solid. I added the essential oils and that softened the mix a little. I might have used the stick blender for another 30 seconds.
Then, hurriedly started to add the soap mixture into the molds.

The nagging thought I am having is, what if that was a false trace? How do I know if my soap saponified. It is not soft. But yet, I want to be a 100% sure that the fats, lye, and EOs did saponify (naturally).

Can anyone please help me ascertain that?

Yours truly indebted,
Dolly





then adding essential oils allowed me to stick blend more. How do I know that my soap saponified
 
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What EO combo did you use? The amount of hard oils (let alone the combo) is usually more forgiving than that. I'd actually be more concerned about whether the EOs were sufficiently incorporated. In anycase, I'd check the soap in about a week.
 

Dollyk8

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Hi Arimara,

I used the minty EOs. So you think my fears of the soap not saponifying are unfounded? I was wondering if I should hot process the bars. It has been 10 days since I plopped the mix into molds.

What should I look for, when I test in a week? The soap has been losing weight. The ph strips show between an 8 and a 9.

I think I read too many posts and articles on “soap on a stick”.

Thanks so much for replying!
Happy Friday!

Dolly
 

DeeAnna

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At 110 to 130 F, you were soaping very warm and you won't see false trace at those temperatures. If you said you were soaping at 80-90 F, that might be different. But you weren't so it's not an issue.

Soaping that warm and using a stick blender for 30-60 seconds ensured the soap was going to saponify a lot quicker than most people would like. You basically did a hot process method if the soap got as firm as you said it did before you put it in the mold. No need to hot process again.

If you're getting pH readings below 9 from your test strips, that should tell you the strips are inaccurate. There's no way a properly made soap will ever have a pH below 9.

The zap test or a free alkalinity test are the two ways to learn whether the soap has excess lye or not. The pH test alone can never tell you that.
 

Dollyk8

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Hi DeeAnna,

This is very helpful. I don’t know what the free Alkalinity test is…is that with the tongue (lol)?

I don’t know if I can trust my memory recall of the exact temperature. Both could have been 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I know that could change the whole story, I know.

Yet, it seems like there’s no need to hot process. Maybe the high percentage of olive oil too is what’s delaying the soap from being completely ready (despite the water discount).

Thanks a million for this v. helpful response.

Happy holidays!

Dolly
 

DeeAnna

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If the soap batter was at 100 F, it still would have been fine. Like I said in my earlier post -- If you said you were soaping at 80-90 F, that might be different. But you weren't so it's not an issue.

The zap test uses your tongue. The free alkalinity test is different. Not too many soap makers use it, but it's the gold standard for knowing if your soap has excess lye or not. The zap test is the second best test to know this.

"...Maybe the high percentage of olive oil too is what’s delaying the soap from being completely ready (despite the water discount)...."

I'm confused by these comments --

What do you mean that the "soap isn't ready"? Do you mean it is too soft or ???

What do you mean by the percentage of olive oil is high? It can't be any higher than about 62% at most. That's maybe higher than I'd use for a general purpose bath soap that needs to have decent longevity in the bath, but people make 100% olive oil soap all the time with good results.

And finally, what do you mean by "water discount"? That implies you used LESS water than some arbitrary standard, but in your first post, you said "I used a water amount that was 40% of oil weight...." A setting of "40% water as % of oils" will result in the recipe using MORE water than if you had used the default standard of "38% water as % of oils."

Honestly, the concepts of "water discount" and "full water" are not useful even though I know people use these concepts a lot. But from a chemistry point of view, they don't make any sense. My advice for the most consistent soap making is to stop using these terms and stop using "water as % of oils."

Start using "lye concentration" or "water:lye ratio" whichever you are most comfortable with. These two settings mean exactly the same thing; they just look different. More info: Soapy Stuff
 
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