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I am zapless,options?

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hozhed

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I have been making soap for a while now, and have tried the zap test on different soaps and cannot seem to get any "zap". Did I spend too much time checking 9V batteries or is it the bad experience I had as a kid with a frozen steel pole and my tongue? Whats the next easiest way to insure soap is fully cured? Is there time tables based on soap ingredients and percentages available anywhere?:?
 

Obsidian

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When are you testing your soap? Zap test doesn't tell you if your soap is cured, only that there isn't any lye left in the soap. I only get zapped if I test fresh soap, not getting zapped is a good thing.
 

not_ally

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I don't think anything replaces the zap test to see if there is too much lye roaming around. Which - I'm sure you know this, just saying it for others who may not - is not the same thing as having a soap be fully cured. Ie; if it zaps, there is too much lye at that point in time, it may cure out later. If it doesn't, that is good, but it still needs the normal amount of time to cure.

If it is not zapping, why do you think there is something wrong?

ETA: sorry, cross post w/O.
 

rparrny

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I have been making soap for a while now, and have tried the zap test on different soaps and cannot seem to get any "zap". Did I spend too much time checking 9V batteries or is it the bad experience I had as a kid with a frozen steel pole and my tongue? Whats the next easiest way to insure soap is fully cured? Is there time tables based on soap ingredients and percentages available anywhere?:?
You can weigh your soap after cutting and then each week. Once it stops losing weight, it's cured.
 

Obsidian

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Where did you come up with that info? Curing is about more than the soap drying out. Take castile for example, it needs a good long cure, close to a year for best results. It would have stopped losing water weight long before that time has passed.

Testing new recipes is really the only way to know when it's at its best. I have one recipe that I consider cured at 4 weeks but others that need longer. My salt bars need at least 4 months to be their best.
 

hozhed

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I just figured soap a day old would have at least a little zap to it.
 

hozhed

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I was wondering about that very thing, losing a certain percentage of weight must be a half way good judge of cure at least?
 
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cmzaha

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I just figured soap a day old would have at least a little zap to it.
If soap goes though gel it will usually be zapless the next day. A soap that has been in a fridge or freezer to stop gel will take up to 72 hrs before it is fully saponified and zapless. Heat, trace, your recipe etc will control how long it will take to become zapless. My slow tracing recipe, which I pour just past emulsion will easily take 72 hrs, on the other hand I have a recipe I soap a little warmer than room temp because of the tallow and butter will usually be zapless when I pull it the next day.
 
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rparrny

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Where did you come up with that info? Curing is about more than the soap drying out. Take castile for example, it needs a good long cure, close to a year for best results. It would have stopped losing water weight long before that time has passed.

Testing new recipes is really the only way to know when it's at its best. I have one recipe that I consider cured at 4 weeks but others that need longer. My salt bars need at least 4 months to be their best.
I saw that on a video for soap making industry...
Isn't it the water that remains that causes the lye to remain caustic? If you get lye powder on you it will only burn because of the moisture of your skin. Is it possible that olive oil holds that water in much long than most? I could see how salt would do the same thing...
Just sayin...
 

not_ally

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I almost alway gel, usually cut w/in about 12 hrs, and v. rarely have zapping. I think you should not worry, that is a good thing!
 

Obsidian

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I saw that on a video for soap making industry...
Isn't it the water that remains that causes the lye to remain caustic? If you get lye powder on you it will only burn because of the moisture of your skin. Is it possible that olive oil holds that water in much long than most? I could see how salt would do the same thing...
Just sayin...
Not really, if you use the proper amount of lye then it won't be caustic once the soap if fully saponified. Saponification should be complete within 72 hours.

If soap was caustic just because it hadn't dried fully, how do you explain soap being zap free after just a few days? or HP being safe to use immediately upon being cut?

Cure and saponification are different. Cure allows for the soap to dry, become harder and undergo chemical changes that improve the performance.
 

nsmar4211

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I did not experience a zap until I tried a freshly unmolded soap. You're not missing anything! In my case it reminded me of biting down on a metal strip around a pencil eraser (since I've never tested a 9V)....BLEH
 

Seawolfe

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if soap zapping depended on water then liquid soap would never stop being zappy (and yes uncooked new LS paste can zap thankyouverymuch).
 

rparrny

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Cure allows for the soap to dry, become harder and undergo chemical changes that improve the performance.
Okay, then that goes to my original question. We all know how salt hold moisture...hence the rice in our salt shakers...isn't it possible that they take that much longer to cure. Have you weighed your soaps from start to finish at regular intervals to see?...mind you I would never have the patience to do so but some would...
Just sayin,,,
 

DeeAnna

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"...weigh your soap after cutting and then each week. Once it stops losing weight, it's cured...."
"...Have you weighed your soaps from start to finish at regular intervals to see?..."

Sloooowwwww down there, dogies. :razz: Yes, I have weighed a few of my soaps during cure. No, soap doesn't stop losing weight over time, but it will slow down a lot.

If you've ever shrink wrapped your soap or put a cigar band on soap, you know it continues to shrink in size (and weight) indefinitely, albeit much, much more slowly as time goes on. That is telling you that SOMETHING is leaving the soap -- and that can only be water. I'd say the "normal" soaps I've made look like the moisture content stabilizes pretty well 30-40 days after making (see first chart). Some experimental soaps take much longer (second chart shows the same two soaps from the first chart plus two "superlye" soaps made with a lot more water).

How do I know when they're cured? There's no black-and-white answer to that, but honestly the 4 week rule of thumb is pretty good for a normal type of soap. I have also noticed that cured bars of soap have a bouncy resonance when you gently tap a couple of bars together -- it's an odd vibration you can feel with your fingers. And the development of the lather is a good, if rather subjective test -- soaps that don't lather well for the first few weeks will begin to lather much better about 3-5 weeks after they were made. (But sometimes the lather development takes quite a bit longer for some soaps.)

Shrinkage, drying, and curing has nothing to do with excess lye and whether a soap zaps or not. As Carolyn (cmzaha) and others have explained, the lye in a typical soap made with a typical modern-day recipe and modern-day soapmaking method should be chemically reacted into soap within a short time after the soap is made -- hours up to a day in most cases (examples: soap that gels, hot-process soap) and certainly within a few days at most (example: soap put into the freezer to prevent gel).

moisture loss graph.jpg

water loss for superlye normal soaps.jpg
 
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rparrny

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Cure and saponification are different. Cure allows for the soap to dry, become harder and undergo chemical changes that improve the performance.
Okay I did a little research on Castile soap and this is what I found:
Unsaturated fatty acids, in this case Oleic and Linoleic give soaps that very slowly create tension with water, that is why it takes so long to trace and why some soapmakers do a water discount in order to accelerate trace. The excess water that it holds onto is the reason why it takes so long to get foam when washing. The drier the bar the more the foam. The two processes that decrease cure time, water discount and CPOP work for the same reason, they decrease the water. The water discount by using less water and the CPOP by evaporation.
So everything I could find says the same thing, cure, in the case of castile soap is based on the amount of water in the bar. That being said, it makes complete sense that weighing the bars until they stop losing weight would indicate a cured bar.
As far as the salt bar, it makes sense to me that the salt would hold onto the water..I don't need research for that I only need to try to get salt out of a shaker on a humid day....
Just sayin...
 

rparrny

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Yes, I have weighed a few of my soaps during cure. No, soap doesn't stop losing weight over time, but it will slow down a lot.
Lol, I knew there would be someone out there that weighs their soaps. Thank you for the very impressive chart. Based on your chart, it looks like what I saw on that video is accurate, after a while the weight will stop reducing from week to week (not to say you won't lose more but it will take more than a week to show up on a scale). I have not made enough soap to get a feel for the perfectly cured bar...maybe someday...but in the meantime it seems that the weighing technique is a good indicator of cure.
I hope you sell cause if your that OCD as a hobbiest...all I can say is...step away from the lye bottle...:smile:
 

Obsidian

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I'm going to have to disagree with you on your thinking. Water discount and CPOP doesn't decrease cure time, sure it might make a harder bar of soap initially but once again I say, cure is about more than simple water loss. If drying out the soap was all that is needed to cure it, we could use dehydrators but that doesn't do anything except make a warped bar of dry soap.

I've not weighed my salt bars and I don't plan too. I feel the long cure they require is due to the high coconut oil content. My 100% CO bars need a long cure too or they are harsh.
 

not_ally

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I am w/Obsidian on this, I discount water some (generally use a 33% lye solution) and CPOP, almost always. Those things speed saponification, let me cut quicker, make the bar drier/harder faster, reduce ash, intensify colors, cut down on glycerin rivers, they do lots of things that I like. But they do not speed/change the cure time.

There seems to be some kind of magic thing that kicks in at 4 -6 weeks out (w/most soaps) that just makes a cognizable difference in how the soap feels and lathers, whether I use full water or a discount, CPOP or not.
 
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IrishLass

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I hope you sell cause if your that OCD as a hobbiest...all I can say is...step away from the lye bottle...:smile:
I don't consider DeeAnna OCD at all. All the soap-weighing and graph-making (which are very much appreciated) stem from her vocation as engineer and teacher, as well as being an all-around curious science-y person who loves the craft of soap-making and just wants to understand, along with many of us, what's going on behind the scenes inside a bar of soap.

If that's OCD, then I guess about 95% of us here are OCD! lol


IrishLass :)
 

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