How to use stearic acid in CP soap?

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

mikvahnrose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2016
Messages
91
Reaction score
16
I read you use 5% of stearic acid to your batch of soap.

Is that 5% ppo, or 5% of the entire recipe? (lye/oils/water?)

Is 5% even correct? Because i made a recipe with it (i think i used to much) and it traced up almost instantly.

I am very confused by this. I want my soap to be harder but i think im going about this the wrong way
 

kchaystack

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
2,080
Location
Monroe, LA
Um, this is a bad idea.

Stearic acid will saponify instantly, accelerating your batch.

Try adding a teaspoon of table salt per pound of oil to your water and dissolving it before you add your lye.

You can also get some sodium lactate and add it at 3% of your oil rate to your lye water.

You can also change your recipe to use more palm, lard, tallow or butters. (tho more butters can reduce lather)
 

Soapmaker145

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Messages
537
Reaction score
450
Location
Midwest
I've used it in recipes when I wanted to adjust ratios of various fatty acids. I've never used more then 5%. It works fine as long as you know what to expect.

Stearic acid will react instantly and it will look like you have trace but it's false trace. The rest of the oils haven't had a chance to react yet. You need to stir for a while longer until you are sure you reached stable trace. Since stearic acid forms soap, it helps emulsify the oils and lye and speeds up trace a little. Also, you need to work at a higher temperature to avoid stearic spots in the soap.

I like to add it to a mostly hazelnut soap that I make for a friend that takes forever and a day to trace. As far as hard soap, time cures all. Alternatively, you can add 5 to 10% Mango or shea butters. They'll add the stearic acid to the soap batter and help harden soap better than anything else I tried.
 

mikvahnrose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2016
Messages
91
Reaction score
16
Does salt behave the same way the stearic acid would to make a harder bar of soap?

I bought about 1/2 lb worth of stearic acid and would like to figure out how to use it at least. What is recommended usage of stearic acid to ppo?

I upped my solid oils (palm and coconut) to almost 55% as total yield. But i hear that is too high? I do not like soft slimy bars of soap. This is what the soapcalc determined my recipe to be.

Hardness: 48
Cleansing: 20
Conditioning: 49
Bubbly: 24
Creamy: 31
Iodine: 50
INS: 163
 

kchaystack

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
2,080
Location
Monroe, LA
Well, you can make shaving soap, or use it to thicken lotions.

I would not go over 35 - 40 percent palm, and I do not like more than 15 - 20 percent coconut.

As for those numbers... they do not mean what common sense tells us they mean. Salt does harden your bars, but not for the same reason stearic acid does.

How long are you curing your bars? You might not be curing them long enough.

What is your full recipe? including water and NaOH amounts? If you use the water as % of oils setting instead of a lye concentration setting, it can lead to soft bars that need to cure longer.

How do you store your soap between uses? It needs to be in a soap dish that allows it to completely dry between uses, and no sit in any water what so ever.
 

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,694
Reaction score
9,181
Location
Texas
Is that 5% ppo, or 5% of the entire recipe? (lye/oils/water?)
That would be 5% of the total amount of oils. For example:

Lard 60%
Olive Oil 15%
Coconut Oil 15%
Castor Oil 5%
Stearic Acid 5%

Now, having said that, just because you CAN use it in a recipe, that does not mean you SHOULD use it in a recipe.

I have never used it, so I have no opinions about it. I was just answering the question.
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,237
Reaction score
11,056
Location
Right here, silly!
Stearic acid can be quite tricky to use in CP, but it can be done if you keep the % of stearic on the low side and soap on the hotter side, as Soapmaker145 pointed out. I used it @ 3% ppo once in a CP batch, but I much prefer using cocoa butter or mango butter in my formulas to increase hardness in my soap instead, because they bring with them other nice qualities to my soap that straight stearic acid doesn't.

Having said that, though, I do regularly use 28% stearic acid ppo in soap, but only in my shaving soap which I make via HP, and I can say without a doubt that it's so much easier to work with in HP as opposed to CP.

You may want to consider HPing with it instead.


IrishLass :)
 

mikvahnrose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2016
Messages
91
Reaction score
16
Im very new to this (5 batches of soap) so i really don't know exactly what water as % of oils mean tbh.

I have been using brambleberry and started out using measurement in oz rather than percentages.

I just make the batch of lye water for whatever it tells me to for the amount of oils i am using at the time at superfat levels of 5%. I don't even know how to measure a master batch of lye (to use for everything) or consider water discount. That is probably easier than i am making it out to be

This is my first time i am doing percentages.
 

kchaystack

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
1,906
Reaction score
2,080
Location
Monroe, LA
I just went to look at the new BB calculator.

I really do not like it. It defaults to 38% Water as percent of oils, or about a 28% lye concentration. So that could be why your soap is soft.

Again, your recipe would really help us figure out what's going on.

There are many posts on the forum that explain why this is not the best way to go.

I would strongly suggest reading the thread on soapcalc, and following the tutorial also in the forum on how to use it. Also changing the default lye setting to concentration and using about 30%.
 

lenarenee

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2014
Messages
3,698
Reaction score
3,309
Does salt behave the same way the stearic acid would to make a harder bar of soap?

I bought about 1/2 lb worth of stearic acid and would like to figure out how to use it at least. What is recommended usage of stearic acid to ppo?

I upped my solid oils (palm and coconut) to almost 55% as total yield. But i hear that is too high? I do not like soft slimy bars of soap. This is what the soapcalc determined my recipe to be.

Hardness: 48
Cleansing: 20
Conditioning: 49
Bubbly: 24
Creamy: 31
Iodine: 50
INS: 163
I love stearic acid in lotions and lotion bars. In fact, I won't use beeswax any more, I find the stearic more soothing, plus easier to use than beeswax.
 

Obsidian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Messages
10,296
Reaction score
8,086
Location
Idaho, USA
with a hardness if 48, it shouldn't be a soft slimey bar. How long are you curing it before use and does it get a chance to completely dry between uses? No matter the recipe, if handmade soap can't dry thoroughly, it will get soft.
 

mikvahnrose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2016
Messages
91
Reaction score
16
The hardness of 48 is a totally new recipe and i wanted to try out something with stearic acid to harden the soap. I usually cure it for 5 weeks.

I use
30% coconut
25% palm
25% olive
15% shea butter
4% castor
.5% stearic
.5% E.O

Before i had the
Coconut: 25
Palm: 25
Olive:30

But it ended up making the bar not the way i like it. Idk i'm just playing around and finding what i like. I LOVE bubbles. I need my bubbles. To me bubbles is king haha. So i want to do whatever to get my bubbles. Sounds childish yes...but BUBBLES. xD
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
8,980
Reaction score
9,076
Location
Austria
Try make making this -

Palm 40%
Olive 35%
Coconut 20%
Castor 5%

Before you add the sodium hydroxide to the water, dissolve some sugar in to the water at a rate of 3% sugar compared to the oil weight. So if you are using 500g of oils in total, the sugar should be 5% of 500g.

This will boos the bubbles a great deal, but it will also make the soap hotter as it saponifies so if you usually insulate your soap you will need less - exactly how much will be some trial and error.

Susie is another bubble-lover and she uses lower coconut with no issues at all
 

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,694
Reaction score
9,181
Location
Texas
Indeed! I use Coconut oil 15%, Castor oil 5%, and sugar or honey in every batch. I have to have my bubbles!

If you are unopposed to using animal fats, you can try this:

Tallow 30%
Lard 35%
Olive Oil 15%
Coconut Oil 15%
Castor Oil 5%
Sugar or honey 5-10 g PPO

I find my honey tends to overheat soap far more than sugar does.

I subtract 1 oz of water from the total amount the recipe calls for, and use that as hot water to dissolve that sugar. I add that sugar water to the oils before the lye water.

In this recipe, the tallow tends to give big bubbles and hardness, where the lard gives dense, creamy lather. It is the best of both worlds lather wise. I add the sugar or honey for more bubbles and the castor oil to help those bubbles stay around longer.
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,237
Reaction score
11,056
Location
Right here, silly!
The hardness of 48 is a totally new recipe and i wanted to try out something with stearic acid to harden the soap. I usually cure it for 5 weeks.

I use
30% coconut
25% palm
25% olive
15% shea butter
4% castor
.5% stearic
.5% E.O

Before i had the
Coconut: 25
Palm: 25
Olive:30

But it ended up making the bar not the way i like it. Idk i'm just playing around and finding what i like. I LOVE bubbles. I need my bubbles. To me bubbles is king haha. So i want to do whatever to get my bubbles. Sounds childish yes...but BUBBLES. xD
Susie is not the only bubble-lover around here. :lol: I gotta have my bubbles, too- as do my hubby and son (they're bubble-lovers as well).

Depending on the formula, my normal amounts of coconut oil and/or pko run between 28% to 31.5% (other than the formula I make using 100% coconut oil with a 20% superfat). Most (but not all) around here consider those percentages pretty high, but they are what work for me.

Besides the higher amounts of CO/PKO, I also use 5% sugar ppo, and .5% tetrasodium EDTA per the weight of my whole batch. We have very hard water, you see (which diminishes bubbly lather), and so all these things help tremendously to combat that.

Edited to add: For what it's worth, my 5% amount of sugar ppo (roughly 2 tablespoons ppo) does not make my soap heat up at all. Honey will heat it up for me, but not regular table sugar.


IrishLass :)
 

mx6inpenn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
602
Reaction score
608
Location
NW Pennsylvania
I use a high lard recipe with 5% castor and 15% coconut. With 1tsp ppo of sugar added, after a 3 month cure, this makes a very hard bar with enough bubbles to keep my 2 and 4 year olds happy. :)
 

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,694
Reaction score
9,181
Location
Texas
Susie is not the only bubble-lover around here. :lol: I gotta have my bubbles, too- as do my hubby and son (they're bubble-lovers as well).

Depending on the formula, my normal amounts of coconut oil and/or pko run between 28% to 31.5% (other than the formula I make using 100% coconut oil with a 20% superfat). Most (but not all) around here consider those percentages pretty high, but they are what work for me.

Besides the higher amounts of CO/PKO, I also use 5% sugar ppo, and .5% tetrasodium EDTA per the weight of my whole batch. We have very hard water, you see (which diminishes bubbly lather), and so all these things help tremendously to combat that.

Edited to add: For what it's worth, my 5% amount of sugar ppo (roughly 2 tablespoons ppo) does not make my soap heat up at all. Honey will heat it up for me, but not regular table sugar.


IrishLass :)
I have soft water, which makes the tetrasodium EDTA, extra sugar, and extra CO unnecessary. I am very glad I am not the only person that has experienced the overheating of honey. It makes for lovely lather, but I have to watch it like a hawk.
 

BrewerGeorge

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2015
Messages
1,337
Reaction score
1,899
Location
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Does salt behave the same way the stearic acid would to make a harder bar of soap?

I bought about 1/2 lb worth of stearic acid and would like to figure out how to use it at least. What is recommended usage of stearic acid to ppo?

I upped my solid oils (palm and coconut) to almost 55% as total yield. But i hear that is too high? I do not like soft slimy bars of soap. This is what the soapcalc determined my recipe to be.

Hardness: 48
Cleansing: 20
Conditioning: 49
Bubbly: 24
Creamy: 31
Iodine: 50
INS: 163
That should not be a slimy bar. Forty-eight is a respectable hardness. I suspect it just needs to cure longer - especially if you used BB's default water amount.

As for stearic, I use it in my basic body bar at 1%. I probably don't need it, but like you I bought it so I'm using it albeit slowly.
 

cmzaha

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
11,854
Reaction score
11,328
Location
Southern California
I use the same amount of sugar as IL with no overheating problems, but Honey heats up with considerably with less used, 2 tbs in my 60 oz oils and it heats up
 
Last edited:

FNG

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2016
Messages
20
Reaction score
10
As others have mentioned, there are a multitude of other ways to get a harder bar aside from using SA. However, if you do choose to use SA in any amount, I have found it easier to work with in CP and HP settings by following a few recommendations:

1) Don't skimp on the water (or water replacement) in your lye solution as the extra fluidity helps you mix the SA in. You may need to cure longer or let the soap sit in the mold a bit longer depending on your oils and water % used overall.

2) Blend all of your other oils with the lye solution and add the SA last. It will still stiffen up immediately but I find it's easier to blend in this way, even with high SA% shaving soaps. It has a melting point of 156.7 degrees F so make sure you keep it around this temp before trying to add it.

3) Soap at a higher temp, as mentioned by and for reasons mentioned by others already.

4) If you plan on using lower flash point Essential/Fragrance oils, be ready to stir by hand like mad as your stick blender is going to be useless at lower temps if you have enough SA in your soap to cause the batter to seize due to insta-saponification when added.
 

Latest posts

Top