Liquid at bottom of mold, and Castile still soft

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Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2012
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Ok... I'm back again

I was successful in making a couple batches of soap, my second attempt at Castile is curing on the shelf, my third attempt was not so great, which is why I'm here...again...

I don't know where I went wrong or how to fix this if possible, and I'm hoping it can be. I think I have miscalculated on the oil and somehow added too much, as for now, there is oil or liquid sitting on the bottom of my container, and on the mini molds I have they have not hardened at all and its been over 24 hrs, the mini molds are the red rubberized baking molds and I can't see through those ones

How can I save this? I don't know would I add more lye water, stir up, try and OP?

Now, I tried something different with this particular one, I put it into the fridge after it reached a medium trace, so could this be the problem instead?
The other smaller molds in the rubberized baking molds were not placed in the fridge, they were just left out on the counter

Please help

If it's separating, it's most likely you didn't reach a true full trace :(
Castile can be sneaky that way sometimes. It will look like it's starting to trace and then it's liquid soup again.

But also if you put it in the fridge it takes longer to get hard. Sometimes another couple days to get hard. Then you have to bring it out of the fridge and sometimes give it another day to get beyond the cream chhes-like stage.
I think we're better off getting that oo soap out of the mold as soon as it's hard enough. My shaving soap was cpop and it's still a bit gooey after several days. But I pulled them out of the silicone muffin mold tonite to get some air. I think air is the key because the tops were solidifying nicely. The soap I put in the mugs will just have to harden itself I guess. Still have a few weeks til Father's Day.
Photo's of soap


After reading the posts late last night, left the soap til this afternoon when i checked on it, I had thought I brought it to trace, based on what I saw, as you can see the pour pattern still on top of the soaps.

They all hardened up nicely. I took them out of the molds and took a photo

no more liquid in the mold that was on the largest soap

do you still think the soap is bad?


It looks okay. But you're going to want to check it to make sure there's no lye left in the soap.
Your soap looks perfectly fine to me, and going by just the trace patterns on top, it looks to me like it traced just fine. It is on the soft side right now mostly because it did not go through the gel stage from the sound (and look) of it, and also because it's a Castile. Those can take long to set up depending on your water amount, even when gelled.

Sometimes oil beads can 'perspire' from soap for one reason or another, such as over-heating for example, but as long as it's not a huge separated pool and it absorbs back in, all should be well and good.

I would let your soap cure for about a week before testing for zap via the tongue test to make sure it doesn't have any excess lye.

IrishLass :)
Thanks a lot for all your replies, I have some pH test strips but they say for saliva/urine, so i don't think that's what I need,

I have some other PH test strips from a local soap-making supply co. coming next week, as I want the best results when testing, does it make sense then to purchase some Phenolphthalein strips, my guess this is different
I'm afraid that pH strips are not known for their reliabilty when it comes to testing the pH of soap, mainly because of the surfacant nature of soap itself. It messes with the dye on the strips and can give you false readings that can be up to 3 points off the mark. If you're going to use them, the best ones to use are the plastic laboratory grade pH strips. As pH strips go, they give the most reliable readings.

Here is an excellent article that explains the problems with using pH strips and also informs you of the best ones to buy for testing soap:

As for Phenolphthalein, I've never used it, but from what I've read and understand it comes in liquid form, and for your test to be accurate the soap must be disolved in a solution first, otherwise you can get false readings.

pH meters are the most accurate of the testing gadgets you can buy, provided they are calibrated properly, but the best, quickest, simplest (and most inexpensive) way to see if your soap is in the safe zone is to apply what is known as the 'tongue test' or 'zap test'. The only equipment you'll need is the very tip of your tongue. It can be done either of 2 ways:

1: you take a finished bar of soap and stick the very tip of your tongue to it


2: you can wet your finger, rub it on your finished bar of soap, and stick your soapy finger to the very tip of your tongue

What you are looking for (or rather 'feeling' for) is a zapping or stinging sensation. If it zaps or stings the tip of your tongue, that means there is still unreacted lye in your soap. If it doesn't zap or sting (i.e. is 'tongue neutral), that means your soap has reached the safe zone of pH.

IrishLass :)
Well I did the tongue test, sometimes i felt nothing, and then other times I thought i felt some sting, so I don't think i will use this batch for bathing

aside from tossing it out, can this be used for future laundry soap or something or will that leave a sting in your clothes?

also, I think I will leave this tongue testing to my husband for when he gets on my nerves.. :)

Also, I noted there is some white powdery residue on one of the bars (it wasn't there before), I don't know if that's good or bad.

This batch has me confused.
How long ago did you make the soap? Castiles, and especially un-gelled castile, can take awhile to stop zapping. My first castile zapped for a few days and I did gel. But after a week or so it stopped. Give it some time before you decide to scrap it.

Edit: saw your last sentence about the white powder. Might be soap ash. I don't know the exact science behind the ash other than it forms on soap and it's perfectly safe, just a cosmetic thing. As long as the white powder doesn't zap you should be fine.
Ditto what tryanything said. Don't scrap your batch or give it up to the laundry just yet. :) It may yet be perfectly fine for bathing- just give it time.

It is perfectly normal for soap that did not go through the gel stage to zap for a week or so before saponification is totally complete. That's why I mentioned to wait about a week before zap testing in my earlier post.

The white powdery substance is most likely harmless soda ash or sodium carbonate, which tends to form on ungelled soap or soap that hasn't quite finished saponifying all the way yet. What happens is that when the partially saponified soap hits the air, some of the as-of-yet unreacted sodium hydroxide in the soap rises to the surface of the soap and deposits itself there as the water evaporates. Once on the surface, it reacts with the carbon dioxide in the air and produces sodium carbonate, which shows itself as a white, powdery substance. Some people like the powdery look and keep it on their soap, while others wash it away or plane it off.

IrishLass :)
aahh ok I see

thanks guys

I just made the soap, its just about 3 and a half days old now, not even a week old yet. this is my first time trying to have it not gel so I
guess the soap response will differ a bit in some areas

IrishLass, I guess in my panic i didn't see your first suggestion to wait a week before doing the zap test.

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