Keeping It Warm

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mensasnem

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If I keep my fresh soap in the oven at about 80 - 100° F will that shorten the cure time? My thoughts are that heat often accelerates chemical processes and heat also drives off moisture. But will it actually reduce the amount of time it takes to cure?

Based on responses so far, allow me to change the question: What is the optimum temperature for soap cure?
 
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Curing isn't about getting water out of the soap- that's easy- but about the newly-formed soap molecules becoming alkaline salts, which are by nature a type of crystal. There is no way to rush the formation of a crystal. You can melt it down and start over, but you can't speed it up.
 

AlexanderMakesSoap

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+1 on the above sentiment. I often soap at a 45% lye solution and they dry out pretty fast in my dry, warm So Cal. home, but my soaps still aren't that great until they've cured for 4-8 weeks and they seem to just get better as time goes by.
 

mensasnem

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I'm just wanting further clarification….

I've read posts here about wrapping up freshly poured soap to insulate it and keep it warm for the purpose of reducing cure time. That's where I got the idea of keeping it in a warm oven.

Certain crystals form more rapidly at certain temperatures.

Allow me to change the question: What is the optimum temperature for soap cure?
 
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I'm just wanting further clarification….

I've read posts here about wrapping up freshly poured soap to insulate it and keep it warm for the purpose of reducing cure time. That's where I got the idea of keeping it in a warm oven.

Certain crystals form more rapidly at certain temperatures.

Allow me to change the question: What is the optimum temperature for soap cure?
Are you referring to gelling cold process soap? Or have you been referring to melt and pour this entire time?
 

Obsidian

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I'm just wanting further clarification….

I've read posts here about wrapping up freshly poured soap to insulate it and keep it warm for the purpose of reducing cure time. That's where I got the idea of keeping it in a warm oven.

Certain crystals form more rapidly at certain temperatures.

Allow me to change the question: What is the optimum temperature for soap cure?

Wrapping fresh poured soap to keep it warm speeds up saponification time, not cure time.

Nothing will reduce cure and if the soap is kept too warm, it could cause it to go rancid. I try to keep mine at room temp of 85 or less.
 

mensasnem

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I'm asking about cure time -- not gel/hardening time?

OK. So keeping soap warm after gel/hardening is bad. Alright. Once hardened, then cool dry -- all the way.
 

DeeAnna

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The chemistry is getting a little garbled in this thread.

ALL soap molecules are alkaline salts of fatty acids once saponification is done.

It makes no difference whether soap molecules are in a solid crystal lattice or are in some other type of physical structure -- regardless, the molecules are still alkaline salts.

I have a handful of wood sticks. They're all wood sticks whether they're dumped in a random pile or stacked neatly.​
I have soap molecules -- alkaline salts of fatty acids. They're still soap whether they're arranged neatly or jumbled together.​

I don't think you're going to get a single number for the optimum temperature. I certainly don't have one for you. I suspect it varies with the types of fatty acids involved, all other things being equal.
 

mensasnem

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DeeAnna

OK. Got it. Thanks. That all makes a great deal of sense. Thank you.

Just hoping something could be done to reduce the cure time -- apparently, not.

Patience is not one of my virtues. I made a bar of Castille soap about ten months ago and it's still not usable. "Hurry up" and "Soap" are not compatible.
 

Obsidian

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I hate to say it but at 10 months, castile is pretty close to being as good as it gets.

Castile is one of those soap you either love or hate. It never does lather well and is slimy, it even dries some peoples skin. I hate the stuff, doesn't matter how old.
 

mensasnem

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Obsidian I was about to make more Castile soap -- assuming that it would actually/eventually turn into nice soap. That's what everyone says -- you just have to wait for it. That it lathered really well. Was a very high quality soap. And on and on and on. Nothing like pure 100% extra virgin olive oil for making the best soap ever. I really like my soap made with 100% coconut oil and aloe vera gel instead of water. For now, it least, I'll stick with that.

At this point, my single bar of Castile just barely behaves in a soap-like manner.

***

I've been trying to find information on what really happens during cure and all I can find is that the water evaporates. Which makes it sound as if a really cool dry environment would be best. But then I also read that cure really doesn't have anything to do with water evaporation. So, I still have no idea what's going on during cure.

I recently made 4 ½ pounds of anhydrous magnesium sulfate -- an excellent desiccant. I think I'll try closing some bars up in a plastic box with a bunch of anhydrous magnesium sulfate and see what happens.
 

earlene

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I've been trying to find information on what really happens during cure and all I can find is that the water evaporates. Which makes it sound as if a really cool dry environment would be best. But then I also read that cure really doesn't have anything to do with water evaporation. So, I still have no idea what's going on during cure.

Read this for a clearer description of what happens chemically during cure: Soapy Stuff: Curing soap
 

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