isopropyl alcohol & labeling

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soapygoat

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I actually joined this forum just to ask this question (but I do plan to stick around!). I have made cold process soaps for 5-6 years now, always in a slab mold, and while I always try to make them a little on the prettier side, my main concerns have been function and smell.

I am now in a position however where I'm going to start using a loaf mold, so I intend to go for prettier soaps. In the past I've never worried about soda ash, but now of course it is becoming a concern. I intend to try spritzing with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, but that raises a question for me that I've not been able to find an answer to: do I need to include the isopropyl alcohol on my labels? I know this is probably a silly question, and I am aware that due to the nature of alcohol, it will pretty much all just evaporate, but I don't want to mess up here, and I've seen others selling soap with the claim of them being "alcohol free." Any words of advice would be much appreciated.
 

lsg

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No, I don't think you need to add isopropyl alcohol to your ingredient label as you are only spritzing the soap with it.
 

TeresaT

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No, you don't need to list the alcohol. I believe you don't have to list anything that is less than 1% of the formula. However, I don't know what I did with my Marie Gale book right now so I can't give you a direct quote. Maybe someone else has their copy and can give you the exact quote from it.
 

kchaystack

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No, you don't need to list the alcohol. I believe you don't have to list anything that is less than 1% of the formula. However, I don't know what I did with my Marie Gale book right now so I can't give you a direct quote. Maybe someone else has their copy and can give you the exact quote from it.
Things at less than 1% still have to be listed. They just can go in any order at the end of the list.

I don't think you need to list the alcohol either. But I also don't think it does that much to inhibit ash.
 

lsg

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Have you tried forcing gel to prevent ash? You can do a cp/op.
 

Susie

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I get ash even with beeswax, alcohol, and/or CPOP. But if I am super concerned about the appearance of the soap, I just wash the whole loaf under warm water before cutting.
 

BlackDog

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I've tried using alcohol spritzes to discourage ash and can't get it to work. The only things that help me are a) use lower water and b) keep plastic wrap over the top of the mold until it's time to cut. I will still sometimes get a little ash but it's minimal.
 

coffeetime

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I think the alcohol-free soaps may be referring to MP bases that use it? I'm not a MP soaper, so that's only a guess.
 

KristaY

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Hi Soapygoat & welcome! :wave: Like cmzaha, I've never had any luck with alcohol spritz helping the ash problem so I don't bother with it anymore. The one thing that's helped me the most is decreasing my water. I typically use 35% lye solution which is 1.8:1 water:lye ratio. Covering well and not peeking helps too. But I live in a very arid part of the country (average humidity is about 15-20%) so that might play a role too.
 

soapygoat

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Thank you all so much for the feedback. Hmmm. That's a bit ... disheartening, to hear that alcohol spritzing doesn't do anything.

I have heard some people using bees wax, but I'm really reluctant to add anything more to my soap simply because shipping to Alaska is ridiculous. I just did some shopping for base oils, and was constantly running into a $35 order costing an additional $75 to ship. Amazon Prime to the rescue on that one.

I guess I'll try the plastic wrapping technique, then washing after I unmold and cut. Thanks, all!
 

CaraBou

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Thank you for reminding me of an upside to leaving Alaska. Shipping isn't great Outside either, but it generally stings a lot less. Prime is awesome no matter where you live, but unfortunately most soap supplies don't qualify.

Low water, covering, and rinsing are all reasonable mitigations. Give them a try and let us know how it goes. We'll also be interesting in seeing your swirling adventures!
 

dillsandwitch

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Try a higher lye concentration. I usually use 33% and cpop my soaps. very rarely do I get ash anymore. It may be the recipe I use that plays part in it too. no beeswax in it though.
 

Spice

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Thank you all so much for the feedback. Hmmm. That's a bit ... disheartening, to hear that alcohol spritzing doesn't do anything.

I have heard some people using bees wax, but I'm really reluctant to add anything more to my soap simply because shipping to Alaska is ridiculous. I just did some shopping for base oils, and was constantly running into a $35 order costing an additional $75 to ship. Amazon Prime to the rescue on that one.

I guess I'll try the plastic wrapping technique, then washing after I unmold and cut. Thanks, all!
Welcome, from what I have learned about ash, is that it's part of the mix. For me anyway. I dont even look for it anymore. I cut, wait for cure and then I wash, with alcohol. Done. I could change my recipe....I'm just lazy and the many times I have; I have issues. But they are good suggestions...I just try to do things easy. I actually get a little tub of water with alcohol and dunk my soaps in, put them on a rack and dry. I can be very lazy.:silent: Soap can be bipolar.
 

soapygoat

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I cut, wait for cure and then I wash, with alcohol. Done. I could change my recipe....I'm just lazy and the many times I have; I have issues.
I've never heard of washing with alcohol. Can I ask what purpose that serves?

Everyone seems to be suggesting increasing my lye concentration. I'm certainly thankful for the suggestions, but I think I'll just seal with plastic, and beyond that, just live with the ash and wash later, if necessary. If I lower my liquid, it would mean less goat milk in my bars, which I'm unwilling to do. One of my selling points is the high goat milk content of my soaps. If I increase the lye, that's going to mean more lye in the long run, and again, shipping to Alaska. Also as Spice mentioned, I'm a bit scared to mess with my recipe. I've used this recipe the entire time that I've soaped, and I've never had a failure or disaster with it. This recipe and I get along nicely I guess, haha. Plus my customers love it.
 

Neve

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Covering with plastic wrap works for me. Alcohol doesn't. It's easier than messing with your recipe so I think you'll be happy with it.
 

Spice

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I've never heard of washing with alcohol. Can I ask what purpose that serves?

Everyone seems to be suggesting increasing my lye concentration. I'm certainly thankful for the suggestions, but I think I'll just seal with plastic, and beyond that, just live with the ash and wash later, if necessary. If I lower my liquid, it would mean less goat milk in my bars, which I'm unwilling to do. One of my selling points is the high goat milk content of my soaps. If I increase the lye, that's going to mean more lye in the long run, and again, shipping to Alaska. Also as Spice mentioned, I'm a bit scared to mess with my recipe. I've used this recipe the entire time that I've soaped, and I've never had a failure or disaster with it. This recipe and I get along nicely I guess, haha. Plus my customers love it.
What happen last year, I was having issues with my soap turning yellow. I have airtight wraps. So I unwrap my soap, like 20, and after a couple of days I was rewrapping them; after about the 10th soap, I was thinking that I didnt like wrapping much less rewrapping. I noticed my wine soap, I dont use this soap expect for special times and so this soap has been wrapped for 2 years. In the same airtight wrap. But the soap wasnt yellow. The only difference was the wine. So I took the soaps that wasnt wrapped and sprayed it with alcohol; let it dry; the soap had a shine to it and it wasnt yellow.
So now I give my soaps a bath after cure, get rid of ash and gives them a shine.
 

earlene

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I also started using alcohol to rinse my finished soaps. What I like about it is that it adds a nice sheen to the soap, more so than without it. But I had not thought of dunking it into an alcohol bath. That would certainly be better than what I'm doing now, which is spraying them. I could use less alcohol that way. I started doing it to clean off the ash when it appeared and liked the added sheen so much, that now I just do it with all my soaps. Besides that, I believe it will inhibit a bit of whatever bacteria or virus may have had a chance to land on the curing soaps before they are then packaged. Now, as a nurse, I can tell you that it will not be 100% effective against everything, but by using 70% isopropyl alcohol it will inhibit a lot, even with the short term exposure that one would do with a bath or a spraying. However that is not why I do it. I do it for the sheen it brings to the soap.

https://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/Disinfection_Sterilization/6_0disinfection.html
 
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roryk

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I recently made two batches of olive oil and tallow soap, one I cooled at room temp and never had any ash, the other I gelled in the oven, and it developed terrible ash all over. BUT I used a steamer to get rid of it, which worked very well (two weeks and no ash has returned). Depending on how many bars you have it might be too labor intensive, but a kettle or steamer will get rid of it for good.
 
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