Lye pockets?

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Doc_sava

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Hello everyone. I'm a new member but not a new reader, i generally just have nothing to offer for advice as I'm not that experienced. Anyhow, my question is what are the spots I'm getting everytime I use my vanilla fragrance oil? It doesn't matter what recipe I use either. Sometimes they leak fluid. The bar itself isn't like heavy when zap testing. One batch with a leaky pocket I zap tested the spot once cured and dry and it did burn my tongue. So i trashed every batch that has done this since.

Recipe used in these pics:

14 oz coconut oil
17 oz olive oil
4 oz avocado oil
4 oz sunflower oil
1 oz castor oil
0.5 oz vanilla fragrance oil
0.7 oz sandalwood fragrance oil
5.7 oz sodium hydroxide
15.2 oz water

5% superfat

It's only when i use vanilla fragrance that I get this. Any thoughts on this matter are greatly appreciated. There's so much more experience on this site than what I have I'm hoping someone knows what's going on here.

Thank you :)

Ken

Oh this batch is 4 days old now.

Sorry for posting in the wrong section and thank you for moving it to where it belongs :)
 

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TheGecko

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That dark brown spot almost looks like a burn spot...the other looks a bit like DOS (dreaded orange spots).

Where did you get your Vanilla FO from?
 
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@TheGecko I was wondering about the FO.

Most vanilla fragrances turn your soap really dark. So I wonder if it was the fo not being for soap. I can't explain the spots, but I think you should find a new source for fragrance oils. What was the brand? Can you show us a picture of the label?
 

TheGecko

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Most vanilla fragrances turn your soap really dark. So I wonder if it was the fo not being for soap. I can't explain the spots, but I think you should find a new source for fragrance oils. What was the brand? Can you show us a picture of the label?

Depends on the amount of vanilla it it. My Chocolate Espresso has 9.2%, but it isn't nearly as dark as my Autumn Harvest at 6.8%.

My concern is that he isn't using a FO that isn't approved for Cold Process Soap.

Maybe the FO wasn't fully mixed into the batter?

That could account for the DOS-like spotting, but not the 'burn' spot.
 

Doc_sava

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Thank you for the replies. I get my fragrance oils from new direction aromatics. It's for use in soap and other soapers love it in cp soap. I only get those spots with that fragrance. They do look like burn spots but in a couple instances a couple spots were leaking. Zap test on the bars is always fine but once i did it with bubbles from a spot that was dried but previously leaking and it didn't zap but more seemed to burn the tongue. These spots are present when unmolding after 24 hours. Maybe i should try a batch in the fridge and see if that stops it.
 

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TheGecko

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Thank you for the replies. I get my fragrance oils from new direction aromatics. It's for use in soap and other soapers love it in cp soap. I only get those spots with that fragrance. They do look like burn spots but in a couple instances a couple spots were leaking. Zap test on the bars is always fine but once i did it with bubbles from a spot that was dried but previously leaking and it didn't zap but more seemed to burn the tongue. These spots are present when unmolding after 24 hours. Maybe i should try a batch in the fridge and see if that stops it.

I 'embrace the brown' so I have made quite a few soaps over the past couple of years that have different amounts of vanillin in them and sometimes I will add Hershey's Cocoa or Brown Oxide or a Brown Mica or TD to either deepen or lighten the color, but I have never seen a FO leave what amounts to 'burn' or DOS spots on a soap.

I'm going to recommend that you run some test batches. Do you have any cavity molds...something like This or That or even some of These? They usually hold between two and three ounces of soap batter. And you're going to want some of those Dixie Bathroom Cups and copy/paste the below and print it out.

First things first...mix up your oils and divide evenly into six cups. Mix up your lye solution, but wait.

1) This is going to be your 'control'. No colorant, no scent, just soap. Add the proper amount of Lye Solution, mix to light trace and pour into a cavity.

2) Make the soap as you normally would.

3) Add an appropriate amount of the Vanilla FO to the oils and blend well. Then add in the proper amount of Lye Solution, mix to light trace and pour.

4) Add in the Lye, mix to emulsion. Then add in the FO, mix to trace and pour.

5) Repeat #2, but also add in your colorant to the oils.

6) Repeat #3, but also add in your colorant to the emulsified batter.

One the soap has started to firm up, write the corresponding number on the top of your soap, put it to bed for 24 hours.

What you are trying to do here is find out what exactly the problem is. Is it the FO, is it the colorant, is it how you are mixing either/or?

I do have a suggestion on your recipe...reduce your Lye Concentration from 28% to 33%.
 

Doc_sava

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I'm thinking it has to do with the fragrance as no colorant was used and the spots are only on the part of the batch with the French vanilla but I've never had this happen before.

I 'embrace the brown' so I have made quite a few soaps over the past couple of years that have different amounts of vanillin in them and sometimes I will add Hershey's Cocoa or Brown Oxide or a Brown Mica or TD to either deepen or lighten the color, but I have never seen a FO leave what amounts to 'burn' or DOS spots on a soap.

I'm going to recommend that you run some test batches. Do you have any cavity molds...something like This or That or even some of These? They usually hold between two and three ounces of soap batter. And you're going to want some of those Dixie Bathroom Cups and copy/paste the below and print it out.

First things first...mix up your oils and divide evenly into six cups. Mix up your lye solution, but wait.

1) This is going to be your 'control'. No colorant, no scent, just soap. Add the proper amount of Lye Solution, mix to light trace and pour into a cavity.

2) Make the soap as you normally would.

3) Add an appropriate amount of the Vanilla FO to the oils and blend well. Then add in the proper amount of Lye Solution, mix to light trace and pour.

4) Add in the Lye, mix to emulsion. Then add in the FO, mix to trace and pour.

5) Repeat #2, but also add in your colorant to the oils.

6) Repeat #3, but also add in your colorant to the emulsified batter.

One the soap has started to firm up, write the corresponding number on the top of your soap, put it to bed for 24 hours.

What you are trying to do here is find out what exactly the problem is. Is it the FO, is it the colorant, is it how you are mixing either/or?

I do have a suggestion on your recipe...reduce your Lye Concentration from 28% to 33%.

Are you meaning to increase to 33%?
 

TheGecko

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I'm thinking it has to do with the fragrance as no colorant was used and the spots are only on the part of the batch with the French vanilla but I've never had this happen before.

So then you make three test soap...1) control w/no FO, 2) mix the FO with the oil, 3) mix the FO after you add the lye to your oils.

I had an FO that accelerated to concrete. I wasn't sure if it was my colorants, the temperature of my batter, how I mixed, etc. So I made test batches. It turned out to be just a badly accelerating FO, but because of my tests, I did learn how to work with it.
 

Doc_sava

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Yes I'm going to do some tests tomorrow. I generally mix around 115 to 125 then wrap the molds in a towel. Some soaps i put straight into the fridge for a few hours but not these. I wasn't sure if a fragrance could burn as I've never had this happen. I've only ever had one batch with a lye pocket and it didn't look like this so it has me stumped. Then again the older i get the easier i seem to become stumped ;)
 

TheGecko

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Are you meaning to increase to 33%?

Yes, I'm sorry. That's what happens when two trains of thought collide. You're reducing your water by increasing your Lye Concentration.

I generally mix around 115 to 125 then wrap the molds in a towel.

Since your recipe is high in Soft Oils and your Hard Oil is Coconut, try lowering your soaping temperature to 90F-100F. Every recipe has its own best temperature. Even with 60% Hard Oils of Palm and Coconut Oils, and Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter, my recipe performs best at 80F-85F...I get lots of working time.

Most of the time I work with Master Batched*** Oils and Lye Solution, but sometimes I like to work outside the box (layers, single color) and rather than potentially damage my oils by reheating them too much, I'll just make a fresh batch of Lye and use Heat Transfer Method### putting my batter at around 120F and it sets up much quicker.

*** Master Batch - Premixing your Oils and/or your Lye Solution (either 50/50 or ready-to-use). I usually MB 40lbs of Oils/Butters and store in a food grade 5 gal bucket. I usually made up a gallon or two of Ready-to Use 33% Lye Concentration. The Hard Oils/Butter never fully solidify because of the Soft Oils...it's just thick and I use a commercial paint stirrer on a drill to give it a good mix. The Lye Solution is tightly capped and stored in my soap cart (rolling kitchen island) and never gets below 70F.

### Heat Transfer Method - As you know, freshly made Lye Solution is around 220F-225F. You can use that heat to melt your Hard Oils and Butters. Takes about five or six minutes to melt my Hard Oils/Butters and then I had my Soft Oils. With your Hard Oil only being Coconut, you could just weigh all your oils together and then add your fresh Lye Solution.
 

Doc_sava

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I have some test batches in molds right now. Could those spots be the vanilla fragrance burning and not lye pockets dome they only appear on the part with vanilla? I'm not going to force gel on one batch tonight. One I'm forcing gel and one is in the fridge for a couple hours then I'll just leave it out covered in the mold. All same batch and mixing temps for this run. I'm even starting to wonder if it's because i switched to lye crystals instead of flakes. I found I could get the crystals much cheaper from my local hardware store but the lye water doesn't seem to get as hot. Only about 165 vs the 185 I was getting with the flakes.
 

Doc_sava

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Ok i reduced amount of vanilla. No colours added. All same recipe. Still getting the spots with that vanilla. The one with no spots was in the fridge for a couple hours then taken out to sit. Even it does have some spots but not as many as the others. Zap test seems fine but didn't do it with the actual spots.
 

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TheGecko

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You mentioned above that you had changed your NaOH; that it was heating up to 185F with 'flakes' and was now 165F with 'crystals' and that you had purchased it from the local hardware store. I know that you can purchase a good quality Sodium Hydroxide from the hardware store, but you really have to be careful to make sure you are actually purchasing 100% Sodium Hydroxide/NaOH and not something that has been cut with something else or that isn't 'food grade'.

I used to purchase my Lye from BrambleBerry, then I discovered I could purchase EssentialDepot Lye from Amazon and I went for it because 1) ED is a soap supplier and 2) free shipping. Of course, I missed the sound that the flakes made since it continued to make noise until dissolved. Then I found a local soap supplier and can get 8lbs for what I used to pay for 2lbs.

So...as I previously advised, you need to make a 'control' batch. Simply reducing the amount of Vanilla FO isn't enough IF there is a problem with the FO as a whole. You need to make a small batch with and WITHOUT the FO. And then I would suggest purchasing new Lye...either purchase the stuff you were using with success previously or purchase it from a reliable soap supplier. The latter is my recommendation because you Lye should be hotter than 185F...it should be over 200F. Then with the new Lye, make a small batch with the Vanilla FO.

I know that this is a real PITA, but your only other option would be to quit using the Vanilla FO.
 

Doc_sava

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It's 100% lye and not cut. I have several other batches going and out of all of them before and after the only ones with the spots are the ones containing the vanilla hence why i didn't make one without it in the control. The one batch in previous photos only half the batter contained the vanilla and the half without it didn't get spots while the half with it did. I'm just going to toss those batches to be safe and the FO and not bother with it again.
 

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