Lumpy Castille soap

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Nov 21, 2014
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Hi Everyone,

I haven't been back here in awhile, but I have made some soaps since the first time I had posted over a year ago now.

I have made a few Castille soaps recently scented with Lavender essential oil, just small batches and they turned out well. They are still curing, so I haven't had the chance to use them yet.

I just made a Castille tonight and I think it accelerated or something on me. It was all fine and emulsified well, I added my colours, just a little bit of Mica, I would say less than half a teaspoon and I had it a light trace. Once I was ready to pour it into the mould I noticed it had thickened a lot and had a look of oatmeal with medium sized lumps.

It is the same recipe I used the last 3 times with the only difference being I used a Vanilla essential oil instead of lavender. I used the room temperature method all 4 times.

What could have gone wrong? Should I try to re-batch it or throw it out?

Here is the recipe:

24 oz of Olive Oil
3 oz of Lye
12 oz of water
1% Vanilla Essential oil

I think that's everything. Thanks for your help!
As far as I know there is no vanilla essential oil. I've only seen crazy expensive vanilla absolute, or vanilla fragrance oil. So I'd suspect the scent - where did you get it? Does the manufacturer say it's safe for cold process soap?

FYI, it will probably discolor to brown as well.

I'd let it cure a bit before making a decision about what to do with it, it might be fine.
Thank you IrisLass!

Oh, I'm sorry, it's an FO, I'm used to using my essential oil that I assumed it was one too, but it's not.

I got it at Michael's Craft store less than a year ago now. It was with the other soap making tools, the moulds, the melt and pour soap, cutters and other essential oils they sell.

Do you think it could still be a safe soap, even if the texture was of oatmeal? Maybe? Yes I had read that it will probably turn brown and I didn't think of that when I chose the vanilla to use. I remembered it after I had put the fragrance into my olive oil.

Thank you both for your help, I really appreciate it.
Thank you for the links! They are very interesting.
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My brain is still stuck on 3oz lye with 12oz water. That's a lot of water! Even "full water" is only about 9oz. I wonder if the extra water played a part of the problem.
You are right again, this goes to show me never ask for help after midnight, I'm just too tired. The recipe was 6 oz of water to 3 oz of lye. When I was looking again at the recipe to type it out here, I combined two of my Castille recipes into the one. I'm very sorry.

It's good to know that excess water could potentially cause it to go like that.I never knew that, i thought it might make for a soft bar though. Thank you for that.
The scents and colors at my Michael's is intended for MP soaps, not CP. Yours may be different, but I would look right there as being the issue.

However, your soap may be fine. If it hardens like the others, and you cut it about the same time as the others with similar results, then I would assume the soap is fine. I would not be surprised, though, if your scent changes or disappears. That stuff is probably not intended to mix with lye.
Hey there,

When I first started soaping I picked up 4 or 5 fragrances from Michael's. I thought I was doing something wrong because each of them went to a very lumpy mashed potato state within about 20 seconds of adding the fragrance. Hasn't happened since with FO from a good supplier that are known to behave. I haven't used fragrance from Michael's or Hobby Lobby since.
The scents and colors at my Michael's is intended for MP soaps, not CP. Yours may be different, but I would look right there as being the issue.

The FO is the problem. I made the same mistake. Once.
If you did not beat the lumps into submission I think you won't be happy with the results. The lumps will mellow but not disappear over cure time.

If it was my soap I would look at a quick rebatch ASAP.
But that's just my opinion.

Thank you so much everyone! I had a feeling it might be the FO but I wasn't sure and wanted to check with you more experienced soapers.

Ah, thank you for the tip on Michael"s scents and colours, I won't be using it again in my CP soap. I have found some good reputable suppliers since so I will get my FO from there for now on.

I'm still debating whether to let it cure and deal with the yucky looking soap or to rebatch. I might wait for a bit to see how it cuts and looks.

Thank you again!!:) I love this forum, there is so much great information here!
I would wait and see how it is before rebatching. Rebatch very rarely fixes cosmetic issues and you might end up with even worse looking soap in the end.
I almost made that mistake! I have a sweet almond oil FO from Michael's. I can't remember who told me, those FO's are not meant for CP! They're for M&P.
Hi everyone!

This is an update on my lumpy Castille soap, I unmolded it last night and it looks like it's going to be just fine. The top of the soap was still lumpy, but when I cut into the bars, I looked for lye pockets or seeping and there isn't any.

The inside of the bars and the bottom of them are smooth and silky, I was very surprised to see that. I thought the whole bar would be lumpy and it doesn't appear to be. I also zap tested them as it was about a week since they were made and they don't zap.

The scent is gone like you guys figured it would be but that's ok. I'm just glad the soap is still usable! So far it hasn't turned brown which I find interesting. I guess it goes to show you they didn't use real vanilla in the FO.

The wait is on for cure time to see how it changes. Thank you again for your help!