lye cooling

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sunflowerb

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hey maybe a dumb question but is it possible for lye to cool to quickly? had a weird thing happen this is the only thing different thing I can think of!
 

sunflowerb

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true! so I cold processed oils at 110 lye at 115, oven processed for an hour at 170. pulled it out the top was all bubbly and not the right color, picked at it a little and the bubbly not the right color stuff was a film that easily peeled off to reveal the color I was expecting underneath. I let it cool and checked on it today, took it out of the mold and the bubbles are all around the outside, the soap that was the correct color is now not the correct color. I've used this recipe before, but I more than doubled it for a big big batch. but everything else was the same other than I noticed my lye cooled way faster than normal since it was super chilly out. that's the only thing I can figure!
 

DeeAnna

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Your oil and lye temps are fine. What you should probably change is the idea of doing CPOP at 170 for an hour.

The key clue is this -- "...but I more than doubled it for a big big batch..."

The bubbly texture you're seeing is due to overheating during saponification. When you increase the size of a soap batch, the total amount of heat created by saponification will increase. That means the temp of the larger batch of soap will rise higher compared to a smaller batch using the same recipe, all other things being equal. You don't need to CPOP the larger batch of soap as much (or even at all!) during saponification to get the same results.

Even with your smaller batches, I'd lighten up on the CPOP. Most of us who do CPOP will preheat the oven to about 150-170 deg F, turn the oven OFF, and then put the molded soap in the oven. Let the whole thing cool to room temp naturally. You really don't need to do much more than that to get good results, but you risk overheating (as you've found out) if you push it. The consequences are bubbling like your soap, separation of the soap batter in the mold, and possibly even a volcano.

I know many tutorials say to do the 1 hour at 170 F -- that's how I started too -- but it's really overkill.
 
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sunflowerb

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thanks! I cooked another batched at 170 for an hour and I swear it was perfect I thought I figured out the secret! must remember that all oils are different! I also messed this batch up a week ago on a smaller scale by not retaining enough heat afterwards (I think). so I must have over compensated.

so then, is there anyway to have your lye cool it quickly? or is the temp the temp, bottom line?
 

DeeAnna

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"...is there anyway to have your lye cool it quickly? or is the temp the temp, bottom line? ..."

I don't understand what you're asking at all -- can you ask your questions more clearly? With complicated issues, it's always best to spell things out. If you don't, you take the risk that your questions might be ignored because they're not understandable or that you might get answers that aren't accurate because people are misunderstanding your point.

"Cool it" => what is "it"?

"is the temp the temp" => Well, of course, temperature is temperature, but I don't think you mean that literally. Clarify?
 
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Millie

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I get a nice gel from plain old CP. Maybe wait on OP until you know how each of your fragrances and additives affect your soap. Search 'Auntie Clara' and you'll find a shop with a fantastic blog that covers all things temp related :)

Love her style! http://auntieclaras.com/blog/
 
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IrishLass

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Right here, silly!
Seeing as how lots of soapers deliberately/on purpose cool their lye solution in a quick manner by putting the lye mixing container in an ice bath (such as when making milk soaps) and/or directly adding the lye to frozen cubes of milk or other frozen liquids without any problems, I doubt very much that the quick cooling of your lye solution is the problem.

I'm with DeeAnna on this- I believe 100% it is your CPOP method. It's just too hot for too long.

I don't know where the idea originated that '170F for 1 hour' was the official or only way of doing CPOP for every batch every time, but the idea- faulty though it is- is unfortunately quite pervasive on the internet and leads many a new soaper astray. The truth of the matter is that time and temp with CPOP are not written in stone. They can vary greatly from soapmaker to soapmaker depending upon ones particular formula, the water amount used, and/or even the chosen FO.

For example, I soap most of my formulas with a 33% lye solution with a soaping temp between 110F and 120F, and I've found through trial and error that in order for my soap to fully gel, I only need to preheat my oven to 110F and then turn it off as soon as I set my soap inside it. If my oven temp is anywhere too much higher than that, I'll start noticing certain unsightly anomalies in my finished soap such as air bubbles and the like.

How much water do you normally use in your formula, and what are your soaping temps?



IrishLass :)
 

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