Instant trace!

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spenny92

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Gah. I made this exact soap just a few days ago, but I wanted to make it again as I wasn't happy with the clumps of oxides and TD that I hadn't managed to fully incorporate. I soaped at 30% lye concentration and 7% SF, exactly the same as before. EOs used were a blend of pine, cedarwood, wintergreen, eucalyptus and tea tree.

I should have let my lye water and oils cool down more before I mixed, as I think that's what my problem was - unless I'm missing something elsewhere? I can't remember how long I left them to cool a few days ago, but I think I must have left them longer than I did today! As soon as I poured the lye water into the oils (EOs had already been added to oils), I buzzed the SB just once for a half second, and the whole thing instantly traced! I freaked out as this was supposed to be a pretty swirly soap, but luckily I managed to incorporate everything and still pour at reasonably light trace.

I just had a moment of panic, I've never had that happen before. I wondered if any of the EOs I used might be potential accelerators? Failing that, I'm leaning towards the temps being too hot. What do you guys think?

Oh, my recipe is just my standard palm-free, animal fat-free recipe that I've been using for months with no problems.
 

DeeAnna

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Another thought -- and this might or might not be an issue for you -- is if you were using a new batch of fats? If so, perhaps one or more of the new fats had a high level of free fatty acids (FFAs).

Fatty acids react instantly with lye (unlike the parent fats from which FFAs come) and this instant reaction will cause fast trace even with a recipe that normally traces slowly. This is exactly the same as what happens as when people add stearic acid to a shave soap recipe.

Rancid fat usually has a high level of FFAs, but even fresh, non-rancid fats can have a certain % of FFAs and still be perfectly edible and look and smell fine. For example, lower grades of olive oil are allowed to have a higher % of FFAs, but extra virgin OO must be very low in FFAs.

Just a possibility to consider along with higher soaping temps and EOs that accelerate trace. And, yes, EOs can -- clove is notorious -- but I can't speak about the EOs you actually used -- maybe someone else can help you with that.
 

spenny92

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Another thought -- and this might or might not be an issue for you -- is if you were using a new batch of fats? If so, perhaps one or more of the new fats had a high level of free fatty acids (FFAs).

Fatty acids react instantly with lye (unlike the parent fats from which FFAs come) and this instant reaction will cause fast trace even with a recipe that normally traces slowly. This is exactly the same as what happens as when people add stearic acid to a shave soap recipe.

Rancid fat usually has a high level of FFAs, but even fresh, non-rancid fats can have a certain % of FFAs and still be perfectly edible and look and smell fine. For example, lower grades of olive oil are allowed to have a higher % of FFAs, but extra virgin OO must be very low in FFAs.

Just a possibility to consider along with higher soaping temps and EOs that accelerate trace. And, yes, EOs can -- clove is notorious -- but I can't speak about the EOs you actually used -- maybe someone else can help you with that.
Thanks IL - that's really interesting about the oils. I'll have to make a note of that! I used the same batches of oils that I used before, though, and they haven't been open very long.

I do use olive pomace and discount water so my recipe is generally quite fast moving, anyway, which is why I increased the water content for this batch so I could attempt a swirl. I'm just perplexed as to why it instantly traced today, but behaved beautifully a few days ago. Hmmmm. The only other variable seems to be my temps, so I'll jot down a note to remember to soap cooler next time! :)

ETA: Sorry DeeAnna, I seem to have gotten you confused with IrishLass. It's 6am here and I wrote that in a state of not quite woken up confusion! Whoops!
 
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DeeAnna

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I'd say you're narrowing down the culprit to higher temps -- good to know!
 

IrishLass

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Thanks IL - that's really interesting about the oils.
Boy oh boy, I'd love to be able to take credit for that (and lots of other wonderfully helpful tidbits of knowledge she shares), but methinks you meant to give thanks to DeeAnna. ;)

By the way, thank you DeeAnna for that bit of info. I was not aware of that. :)


IrishLass :)
 

spenny92

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Boy oh boy, I'd love to be able to take credit for that (and lots of other wonderfully helpful tidbits of knowledge she shares), but methinks you meant to give thanks to DeeAnna. ;)

By the way, thank you DeeAnna for that bit of info. I was not aware of that. :)


IrishLass :)
Gah, sorry about that. It's 6am here and I'd just woken up as I wrote that!

I'm probably just so used to reading your awesome information and subconsciously thought it just had to come from you! :) But yep, thanks DeeAnna - definitely something new to my ears.
 
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