Liquid soap is oily!

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neeners

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Hi all! Still quite a newbie with LS making. Yesterday I made 100% CO LS paste, let it sequester for a day. Today I went to dilute (no...didnt check for cloudiness), and not there's oil in the pot and the water is very cloudy. What can I do with it now?
 

Susie

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Could you please post your entire recipe in weights, please? Including water, KOH, and any additives. Also, how much superfat were you aiming for, and what use did you want to use the soap?
 

neeners

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448g CO
128g KOH
110g distilled water
65g glycerine

0% SF
38% water

I used the CP method for LS, which has worked the last 5 times I've made LS.
 

Susie

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I see three possibilities after running your recipe through Soapee.com.

1. Did your KOH come from the same supplier, and is it new? Are there any clumps?
2. Is your scale accurate? Did you check it against something with a known weight? A US nickel weighs 5 grams.
3. Did you stick blend to full emulsion or paste?
 

neeners

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I see three possibilities after running your recipe through Soapee.com.

1. Did your KOH come from the same supplier, and is it new? Are there any clumps?
2. Is your scale accurate? Did you check it against something with a known weight? A US nickel weighs 5 grams.
3. Did you stick blend to full emulsion or paste?
1 - same supplier, but it's not new. it's about a year old, but not clumpy
2 - yes, it's accurate. I made another batch of 100% OO LS paste, which is diluting now, but not oily.
3 - yes i did. it gelled quickly.

it seems that it's getting less and less oily as it's diluting. i'm wondering if it just didn't completely finish saponifying, and it's doing it now? I zap tested it before diluting, and it didn't zap.....
 

DeeAnna

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I'm wondering how do you know the "oily" part is actually oil? Could it just be very syrupy liquid soap instead?

Also, if you don't use distilled/deionized water to make and dilute the soap, "hard water" minerals will cause the diluted soap to be cloudy. Or sometimes insoluble materials in the ingredients can cloud the soap. A lot of soapers agonize over the cloudiness, but I'm not always sure all this worry is warranted.
 

neeners

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I'm wondering how do you know the "oily" part is actually oil? Could it just be very syrupy liquid soap instead?

Also, if you don't use distilled/deionized water to make and dilute the soap, "hard water" minerals will cause the diluted soap to be cloudy. Or sometimes insoluble materials in the ingredients can cloud the soap. A lot of soapers agonize over the cloudiness, but I'm not always sure all this worry is warranted.
Thanks DeeAnna. It does look like oil. I don't mind the cloudiness so much as it'll be kitchen soap. I may just ignore the oil and use this as is.... I just wanted to see what the issue was that I can try to avoid in the future....
 

DeeAnna

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I understand it ~looks~ like oil, but what I'm getting at is sometimes liquid soap can look kind of oily, but it's really not oil -- it's all soap but it just doesn't look typical. So that's why I'm asking if you tested it -- does the oily looking portion dissolve when mixed with water or does it float in droplets on water? Does it make suds or does it leave an oily film behind? Maybe a pic would be helpful?
 

neeners

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I understand it ~looks~ like oil, but what I'm getting at is sometimes liquid soap can look kind of oily, but it's really not oil -- it's all soap but it just doesn't look typical. So that's why I'm asking if you tested it -- does the oily looking portion dissolve when mixed with water or does it float in droplets on water? Does it make suds or does it leave an oily film behind? Maybe a pic would be helpful?
Here it is. Been chilly so it looks like the CO on top congealed....

IMG_20160925_1434418.jpg
 

DeeAnna

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Or it could be a slight film of fatty acids or unsaponifiable content from the CO. Or it could be a film of stubborn soap suds or residue of soap scum (that is if you didn't use distilled/deionized water to dilute). Given your recipe has enough KOH for the fat weight and given the stuff on top is so slight, I'm not sure I'd be too concerned. Perhaps someone else will have better insight and advice for you, however.
 

Soapmaker145

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What DeeAnna said. I always check the pH of liquid soap after I'm done diluting. The reason for that is the purity of the lye is very hard to predict unless you get a lot of lye that comes with a certificate of analysis from the manufacturer. If what you have is oil, the pH of the diluted soap would have dropped below 9.0.

Take a small amount of the liquid soap, dilute it 1:1 with deionized water, check the pH with pH paper and report back. Below 9.0, you can potentially get some microorganisms growing in the soap. FWIW, 100% CO ls soap feels oilier than others.
 

Susie

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pH strips are notoriously inaccurate when testing salts. Soap is a salt resulting from mixing alkali (KOH) with acid (fatty acids in oils). If you MUST check the pH, you need to use a pH meter that you can calibrate.

But why would you need to, other than if you were adding preservative? The pH of soap actually tells you nothing about its safety or whether it was properly made or not.
 

topofmurrayhill

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pH strips are notoriously inaccurate when testing salts. Soap is a salt resulting from mixing alkali (KOH) with acid (fatty acids in oils).
pH paper is not at a disadvantage when testing the pH of a solution of a salt. That's quite an ordinary thing to do. The issue you are referencing is that the presence of neutral salts -- like salt -- in the solution being tested can throw off the reading.

The issue with the number you get from pH papers is that it is approximate.

The pH of soap actually tells you nothing about its safety or whether it was properly made or not.
It tells you more than nothing, but it's informative mostly when it is outside the expected range.

For people who refuse to perform the zap test, Kevin Dunn recommends the use of pH paper. This could be informative if the pH is unusually high. Soapmaker145 is suggesting a test for a pH that is unusually low.
 

Soapmaker145

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pH strips are notoriously inaccurate when testing salts. Soap is a salt resulting from mixing alkali (KOH) with acid (fatty acids in oils). If you MUST check the pH, you need to use a pH meter that you can calibrate.

But why would you need to, other than if you were adding preservative? The pH of soap actually tells you nothing about its safety or whether it was properly made or not.
What TOMH said. I can't think of a more useless tool for a soapmaker than a pH meter. Most people can't afford one with a decent enough probe to approach adequate. For the most part, getting a very accurate reading is not useful for a soap. All I need to know is the general neighborhood. pH paper can be very useful for that purpose if people learn how to use them properly.

The pH test I recommended to the OP will tell her if her soap is oily because she didn't have enough lye to begin with. It would have dropped the pH much closer to neutral and outside the acceptable range for a lye based soap (where the soap is actually stable). This is the first step in troubleshouting what went wrong with her soap. She has to rule this possibility out first before considering alternatives.

People vary in their tolerance to high pH. The pH of a soap really matters to me. It is something I test for before use.
 

Sapo

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let it sequester for a day.
Not sure if this is a typo or not, but sequestering is done AFTER dilution, you mention doing it BEFORE dilution. The function of it is to have non-soapy parts settle to the bottom or rise up, so the soap can be siphoned/decanted away from them.

As for the oily part; I get it frequently on a small scale, but especially last batch when I had to fix a bit of lye excess by adding citric acid and went overboard. If I had to guess, I'd say you have a visible superfat going on (either the KOH purity isn't what you think it is or a slight mismeasurement occurred (user error, scale error).
Mine is completely transparent and cannot be seen (thin invisible layer on top) until I shake the jar up a bit and it descends down into the soap, forming transparent oily streaks and patterns.

You could try:
-heating the soap for an hour or so up to 90 C (seemed to fix cloudyness for me once, might fix oilyness).
-heating it up, dropping a few (water dissolved) flakes/drops of KOH into it and stickblending, then waiting (days?) to see if the oil goes away. And repeating. If the issue isn't a superfat you'll just be making your soap caustic as hell :D.
-if the oily stuff stays on top, just get a tube and siphon the soap out into another container. You can even try running it through a coffee filter and most of it will likely get trapped.
-just use the soap :D, if you don't really care why this fluke happened (only option 2 of my suggestions attempts to find out), there is likely no harm in using it.

Keep in mind these are just things I would do, no verifiable scientific advice from me, sadly!
 
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