How do you “clean up” soap?

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Nyknits

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Hello everyone, I’m 2 years in with soaping and I am still enjoying it. Experimenting and making my share of ugly bars. I love them all. Even the ugly ones. This is my first experience with a fragrance oil changing the color of my bars. I’m quite happy with this accident. However, the top has what I believe is soda ash and the body looks dusty. What can I do clean them up? Happy Thanksgiving and knitting.
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CpnDouchette

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Not ugly at all, its a really pretty swirl.

I have horrible problems with soda ash. Here's what I do:

1. Reduce the water content. I use about 38% lye concentration
2. Use distilled water not tap
3. Cover it with cardboard and/or cling film tightly for about 3 days (so after I've cut the bars too)
4. Good old spritz with rubbing alcohol after I've poured
5. Make sure I have a stable emultion when I pour. If I pour at really thin trace then I'm more likely to get ash
6. Steer clear of activated charcoal. It always ashes on me.

Edit: and then I realised that wasn't your question!!!

You can plane the endless off or even just use a stainless steel peeler to remove the affected areas. Or steam it off or even just wash it off.
 

Peachy Clean Soap

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Pretty Soap'sagree w/ @CpnDouchette good tips above. What I do w/ soda ash' I shave it off. then after cure if any has returned or I missed a few spots I'll shave it again' Wrap it in its shrink wrap pkging. this usually takes care of the problem. some soapers steam their soda ash off' i've never tried it.
Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours. 💐🍁💐🍁💐
 

Nyknits

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Not ugly at all, its a really pretty swirl.

I have horrible problems with soda ash. Here's what I do:

1. Reduce the water content. I use about 38% lye concentration
2. Use distilled water not tap
3. Cover it with cardboard and/or cling film tightly for about 3 days (so after I've cut the bars too)
4. Good old spritz with rubbing alcohol after I've poured
5. Make sure I have a stable emultion when I pour. If I pour at really thin trace then I'm more likely to get ash
6. Steer clear of activated charcoal. It always ashes on me.

Edit: and then I realised that wasn't your question!!!

You can plane the endless off or even just use a stainless steel peeler to remove the affected areas. Or steam it off or even just wash it off.
Thank you. Those are all great tips. I never knew about steaming. I think I’ll try that first. I’ll look over my recipe. This is the first time I’ve had this happen. I appreciate your advice.

Pretty Soap'sagree w/ @CpnDouchette good tips above. What I do w/ soda ash' I shave it off. then after cure if any has returned or I missed a few spots I'll shave it again' Wrap it in its shrink wrap pkging. this usually takes care of the problem. some soapers steam their soda ash off' i've never tried it.
Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours. 💐🍁💐🍁💐
Many, many thanks. I have my clothes steamer and my potato peeler ready. I’ll give them a go.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I might be one of the fee who ignore it. When I give a soap away I let them know that it's just cosmetic. But then I make fairly plain looking soaps usually because I (and no attack or anything on anyone who does multiple colours and swirls and so on) I want people to enjoy my soap for the scent and how it is when actually used for washing - avoiding the whole "oh no, it's far too pretty to use!" issue.
 

Nyknits

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I might be one of the fee who ignore it. When I give a soap away I let them know that it's just cosmetic. But then I make fairly plain looking soaps usually because I (and no attack or anything on anyone who does multiple colours and swirls and so on) I want people to enjoy my soap for the scent and how it is when actually used for washing - avoiding the whole "oh no, it's far too pretty to use!" issue.
Oh! Never occurred to just leave it be. Thank you.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I can understand not leaving it when the look of the soap is also part of your process. As an example, my latest "chocolate orange" soap for Christmas gifts is only "chocolate" because the orange colour I was aiming for turned out brown instead! I am really not a good person to reference when it comes to making soaps extra pretty
 

TheGecko

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I bought a fabric steamer to steam it off, but I found that it's quicker just to plane it off (and it takes care of wire marks too). Sometimes I leave it since it doesn't take away from the bars.

Soda ash is one of those great mysteries of the world. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't...no particular rhyme or reason.
 

Obsidian

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I might be one of the fee who ignore it. When I give a soap away I let them know that it's just cosmetic. But then I make fairly plain looking soaps usually because I (and no attack or anything on anyone who does multiple colours and swirls and so on) I want people to enjoy my soap for the scent and how it is when actually used for washing - avoiding the whole "oh no, it's far too pretty to use!" issue.
I ignore it too, doesn't bother me at all. I suppose if I sold, it would be a different story.

I avoid the its to pretty to use by gifting uncolored or a simple one color in the pot swirl. My gramma still has a ugly, warped black and white bar from when I first started soaping. No scent left, whole star anise on top. Its awful.

I should take it back and see what its like to use, its cured long enough😄
 

Rsapienza

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I use my clothes iron to steam ash off. Some people actually rinse their soap, which I have done also. They come out beautiful with a glossy finish. The only thing I don’t like about using this method is that when I set them up to dry on the counter, the bottoms get all slimy and mushy from the water, making it so I have to plane the bottom off. I suppose I should find some thing with some airflow to let them dry on.
 

earlene

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I have tried 5 different methods to clean up soap with soda ash (each method is followed by drying/polishing using a microfiber cloth.) Here are the methods, in no particular order.

Dip in very hot water
Spray with alcohol & wipe with cloth to dry
Rinse off with steam (wear heat resistant gloves)
Rinse off using vegetable glycerine
Plane/cut/scrape it off the surface

Obviously, for fancy tops or decorative designs atop soap (piping, or soap dough additions), most of these methods will destroy the art work, so in those cases, you pretty much have to live with the ash.

For soda ash removal, all of these methods work, but I only tried the glycerine once, and it doesn't work any better than alcohol or plain old hot water. The steamer process works, but requires extra equipment, set up, tear down, etc. that I don't need if I use alcohol or hot water. I always have a spray bottle of alcohol in my kitchen and I always have very hot water available. Wearing heat resistant gloves requires extra equipment if you don't already have a pair (I bought some especially to use with the steamer, because the first time I tried that method I burned my hand.
 
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