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Is rebatching soap "bad"?

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KaijinDono

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Hi all,

Yes, I've only just joined and here comes my first question.

Is rebatching soap "bad"? By that I mean, are there any real drawbacks to rebaching soap?

Let me let you what I'm thinking -

Rather than making a few small batchs of soap for each recipe I have, could I just make one big, plain, batch of soap, grate it and then just rebatch it when I want to use specific additives (superfat, colour etc)?

Would the soap be in anyway "worse" than making individual batches?

It aslo occurs to me that if I let my big batch fully cure, then I only need a small amount of liquid to rebatch, wouldn't the rebatched soap cure quicker?


Any thoughts?






KD
 

DeeAnna

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I personally wouldn't do what you're proposing, especially if you intend to sell. If you're making it for personal use, sure, it can be done, but I would rather make multiple small batches of HP or CP soap in various flavors. I would be happier with the soap and happier with the process of making it.

Rebatching is fiddly and tedious, at least in my experience. It's not like reheating a bowl of soup where you nuke, stir, and eat. You have to shred, heat, add liquid, stir, hover, stir some more, cool, add scent, mold up, let firm up, unmold, cut, and finally let dry and cure. It does not lend itself to anything but plain solid colors without more fiddling. In short, It's not my idea of a fun and efficient way to make soap. I also think the texture of rebatch soap is not to my liking as much as my CP soap.

The cure time for rebatch is as long if not longer than for CP and HP soap. You have to fully melt the soap for a rebatch, so you're breaking down the solid crystalline structure of the soap, and that essentially sets the cure time back to zero. And any time you add extra liquid, such as for HP or rebatch, the cure has to be longer to evaporate the extra water, even if the added amount of liquid you add is as tiny as you can manage. My experience with the rebatches I've done is that the soap really isn't ready any sooner than CP or HP soap.
 

Kittish

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It's not "bad" but there are some drawbacks.

For one, you won't be able to do the complex designs with rebatch soap. You'll be ok if you want to stick with a single color per rebatch set, but you won't be able to do swirls and stuff.

Your soap won't melt quite completely during a rebatch, so it'll have a very rustic look to it and visible bits of uncolored, unscented soap all through it. If you don't mind that, it's not really a drawback, though.

You will need to add water to rebatch, and you'll need more water the older the soap is, so you'll need to cure it almost as long as you do straight up CP.

It would be less work overall for you to make smaller batches and just add your colors and fragrance and such then than to go through the trouble of making soap then remaking it to add stuff.
 

penelopejane

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This might just be me but I find it more difficult to detect small differences in recipes with HP soap.
With CP soap small differences are more easily identified by me anyway.
I think (could be wrong) HP soap may lose some of the good characteristics of the oils and ingredients as it is heated higher for longer but I have no scientific proof of this.
 
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psfred

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At best, a rebatch soap will work like a HP soap, meaning thick, relatively non-homogenous soap prone to making "rustic" (lumpy and rough) bars. It's perfectly good soap, but it's not gonna be pretty. Even extra water will never make it a fluid as soap at trace, even pudding trace.

Even with extra water, the soaps I've re-batched were rougher and lumpier than the originals, so I'd not plan on re-batching without a good reason like too much lye from a measuring mistake.

For designs or scents, you are better off making separate batches, it's really quite a bit less work that getting set soap soft enough to do anything with.
 

SherylG

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I have seen posts from people online who do what you are suggesting. I have read that it can be done well so the hot soap is smooth. However, as said above, it takes a long time to get it that melted and I hate grating anything! I usually don't have the patience to wait for it to completely melt and I'm a bad judge of how much water to add to it. That said, Sometimes the rebatched soap is my best soap with great colour blends... other times its lumpy and not at all smooth.

If you overcook it and don't keep enough liquid in it, it can be dry and crumbly when finished. You must add enough water to keep it smooth, but not too much or you will have spongy soap that takes forever to dry. It's hit and miss. I have read that using milk or yogurt to rebatch is better than water. No experience myself with that.

My recommendation would be to not go there on purpose, but sometimes can't be avoided.
You may find it easy. In my opinion, if you follow a good recipe correctly, you can only ruin soap by burning it. You can always melt it down, yet again with more water if needed, and remold...over and over again and eventually get there. I have once melted down a recipe of soap three times and had it turn out great.

If you used the same recipe all the time and got practiced at melting it down so you knew exactly how much liquid and what kind to use, temp and time in order to get it really smooth, a machine to grate it, you might like doing it. I find it enough work to make the soap the first time.
 

earlene

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Another drawback to this plan, is that you could end up with a huge batch of bad soap. What if your 'superbatched' soap develops DOS? You'd have to toss it all and what a waste as well as a huge personal disappointment.

Also, until you've made several different formulas and tried them all out yourself, you don't really know what formula you and your skin may like the most. This process makes soapmaking for one's personal use more satisfying, in my opinion.

Re-batching in and of itself is not bad, in my experience. I certainly do it on occasion and it can produce some improvements to soaps that didn't quite meet my expectations in their first life.

What you are suggesting, though does put me in mind of hand-milled or French milled soaping methods, which is a bit more complex than plain re-batching.

My suggestion would be to try a few different formulas and see how they perform over time and how your skin responds to them. Then choose your favorite recipe and maybe try out your idea using a double or tripple batch and see if it works for you before going full on prduction.
 

IrishLass

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Rebatching soap isn't bad. In the end you have perfectly good soap, but it's just extra work, and it's difficult when it comes to coloring and molding.

In my very early days of soaping when I was still skittish around lye, I made a couple of 3 lb. batches for the express purpose of grating it up and rebatching a few bars here and there at a time as needed. Although it worked out great for me at the time, I all but abandoned the method once I lost my fear of working with lye and fell head over heels in love with CP. I only rebatch now if I absolutely have to, i.e., in order to fix a mistake, or to use up scraps I have lying around.


IrishLass :)
 

jcandleattic

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Instead of rebatching, why not masterbatch your oils for the specific recipe you were planning on making as a big batch, and then you can adjust your SF, etc., at time of soaping? It's less time consuming, more controllable, and you won't have the look of rebatched soap...

As other's have said, rebatching is not "bad" it's just usually used to fix a problem, not a typical method of soaping. Most only use it as a last resort.
 

SherylG

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I have only had DOS a couple of times and it wasn't rancid or bad smelling, just had the orange spots right away. It made good soap after rebatching. I think mine were caused by handling with bare hands as they looked like fingerprints. Using gloves at all times seemed to fix that problem. DOS is not necessarily rancid. I think you can have bad smelling rancid soap without DOS, as well.
 

Kittish

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I have only had DOS a couple of times and it wasn't rancid or bad smelling, just had the orange spots right away. It made good soap after rebatching. I think mine were caused by handling with bare hands as they looked like fingerprints. Using gloves at all times seemed to fix that problem. DOS is not necessarily rancid. I think you can have bad smelling rancid soap without DOS, as well.
I disagree that DOS is not necessarily rancid. You might have caught it before it developed a detectable odor, but those orange spots were developing rancidity. Rebatching the bars did nothing to remove the oxidized fats, and I'd keep a super close eye on them if I were you, because unless you trimmed the spots away first, you've got basically seeds in your soap that rancidity can spread from.

Yes, a bar of soap can go all rancid and bad smelling without showing those icky orange spots.
 

SherylG

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That was about 8 years ago. I had those rebatched bars for a year, still great looking, smelling and working soap after a year. I eventually used them all, no problem with them.
 

earlene

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I have also used soap that had a tiny little DOS spot or two and not worried about it for my own personal use. But soap batches that have developed DOS are ones I would not give away to others because I don't know how long they may wait before using them and just don't want anyone to experience my soap gone bad.

I have had soap that developed a tiny DOS spot become a solid rancid bar of discolored soap with a horrendous odor. I do believe that several factors contributed to this event, including oil that was too old before I even made the soap; perhaps I didn't use distilled water (I don't really remember if I did, but there were times I didn't); I did not use any additives to help prevent DOS (EDTA + ROE is what I use now); in a addition to curing upstairs during a very hot summer hurried the process along. No amount of re-batching would have prevented the spread of rancidity with that soap!

If you take a look at this Wikipedia article, perhaps it might explain why some soaps may not develop that horrendous odor (fewer triglycerides to hydrolyze?), but that is not the only form of rancidity involved in what happens to soap when DOS appears. I still consider Dr. Kevin Dunn the scientific expert on the matter and he has done the research as well as published on this topic. http://cavemanchemistry.com/DreadedOrangeSpot-Dunn.pdf

Another interesting article on oxidation is this one: https://www.oilsfats.org.nz/documents/Oxidation 101.pdf
It gives good tips on how to store the oils to postpone oxidation.

For me I concluded there were a few take-aways from this experience and my research since: One was to use very low superfat amounts in my formulas, in addition to ensuring my oils are as fresh as possible. Another was to always add ROE to my oils as soon as I open the bottles. The other was to use EDTA in my formulas in addition to the ROE-protected oils. (There are other combinations to sued, but those are the two I chose.) Another was to do something to guard against curing in a very hot environment, which can be a bit more harder to control unless I move to a more temperate climate.

In my environment, hot summers, hotter second story rooms
 
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Okay so like everybody I have been studying and looking at everybody's mistakes and I finally went ahead and made my first batch of soap and of course I overcompensated on my oils and I under compensated on my lye so I tried to compensate with my lye but accidentally overcompensated by doubling up on my measurements of my lye and of course my soap came out lye heavey so I've been looking online for soap rebatching and had noticed not many people realize vinegar is a natural counteracting part to lye so when I rebatch my lye heavy cold process soap I added vinegar and water and yes even 91% alcohol in small quantities blending these items together gave me a smooth rebatch fluid enough to work with and place in a mold and the vinegar was strong enough to counteract the heavy lye rendering my CP soap safe for skin use and bring it down to a neutral pH level tolerable for even someone with sensitive skin. And my soap came out very bubbly and luxurious left my skin feeling nice and moisturize.

15239489048791519449911.jpg now all of these were super smooth but I had to move them from one area to the other because I have small kids and unfortunately moving the bottom part wrinkle a little but it's far too late to add alcohol to these but they should demold very smoothly just will take a few days from this rerebatch I need to wait for all the alcohol to evaporate when it's all said and done I will take photos of my finished product once again this is a heavy lye rebatch fix then rebatch for color additional oils and remolding .1523949065069175426370.jpg 15239489645772071426531.jpg
 
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shunt2011

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Okay so like everybody I have been studying and looking at everybody's mistakes and I finally went ahead and made my first batch of soap and of course I overcompensated on my oils and I under compensated on my lye so I tried to compensate with my lye but accidentally overcompensated by doubling up on my measurements of my lye and of course my soap came out lye heavey so I've been looking online for soap rebatching and had noticed not many people realize vinegar is a natural counteracting part to lye so when I rebatch my lye heavy cold process soap I added vinegar and water and yes even 91% alcohol in small quantities blending these items together gave me a smooth rebatch fluid enough to work with and place in a mold and the vinegar was strong enough to counteract the heavy lye rendering my CP soap safe for skin use and bring it down to a neutral pH level tolerable for even someone with sensitive skin. And my soap came out very bubbly and luxurious left my skin feeling nice and moisturize.
You may want to start a new post. However, you can't have a neutral PH soap. It won't be soap. Soap will naturally have a PH of 8.5-11 or so.
 

cmzaha

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You first course of action to fix your batch would have been to correct your lye amount for the total oils you used in your batch. Most of us here do know about using vinegar in soap, it adds to the overall superfat it does not necessarily correct your mistake. Now you will have a soap high in free oils depending on the amount of vinegar you used. Some of us use vinegar as water replacement adding in extra lye to form sodium acetate. As for adding alcohol, not sure where you came up with that one, but it is one of the solvents some use to make transparent ie m&p soaps, but most prefer other solvents.

As Shunt mentioned you cannot have a ph netural soap it is just not possible. If you want to make proper soap please learn how to measure properly with an accurate scale and use a lye calculator so you know how much lye to properly use. You could have fixed your soap very easily without trying to use vinegar and alcohol. Other than new soapers here we Do Know how to use Vinegar properly in soap without adding extra superfat to our soap. You most likely do not even know how much superfat you ended up with from the vinegar. Here is a good link for you written by our resident chemist and forum member, DeeAnna. She has a lot of fantastic information on her site and it would serve you well to read through her information https://classicbells.com/soap/aceticAcid.html
If you scroll up the page you will see a posting from DeeAnna and her link in her signature line.
 

dixiedragon

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I really have no idea what you ended up with! Adding vinegar, alcohol, etc...I'm glad you like the end result!

"overcompensated on my oils and I under compensated on my lye so I tried to compensate with my lye but accidentally overcompensated by doubling up on my measurements of my lye and of course my soap came out lye heavey"

I don't understand how this happened. How did you do all of these things? What is all of this "compensating"? Did you not have a recipe to follow?

You may want to try using melt and pour, since you seem to want to more play with color and scent vs play with soap recipes. That's my guess from your earlier plan to make a large batch and rebatch a bit at a time.
http://www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com/products/basic-clear-soap-base-10-pounds.aspx
 

DeeAnna

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Jeanette -- A favor, please. It would be helpful if you added punctuation and paragraph breaks to break your thoughts into readable bites. Your long run-on descriptions are difficult to follow. This discourages people from understanding what you want to share with the group. Thanks!

Okay so like everybody I have been studying and looking at everybody's mistakes and I finally went ahead and made my first batch of soap and of course I overcompensated on my oils and I under compensated on my lye so I tried to compensate with my lye but accidentally overcompensated by doubling up on my measurements of my lye and of course my soap came out lye heavey so I've been looking online for soap rebatching and had noticed not many people realize vinegar is a natural counteracting part to lye so when I rebatch my lye heavy cold process soap I added vinegar and water and yes even 91% alcohol in small quantities blending these items together gave me a smooth rebatch fluid enough to work with and place in a mold and the vinegar was strong enough to counteract the heavy lye rendering my CP soap safe for skin use and bring it down to a neutral pH level tolerable for even someone with sensitive skin. And my soap came out very bubbly and luxurious left my skin feeling nice and moisturize.
 

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