Lye solution expiration?

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wikkedsuzanna

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Just recently I started using premixed lye solution (1:1)
I had some solution left over from December and used it in my latest batch, but my soap which usually hardens after 1 day is still soft and oily after 5 days. This is something I've never experienced in the past. So I'm wondering if the lye goes bad.
It came to trace just fine. A little slow, but I attributed that to me being extra cautious with the SB to avoid seizing, which has been my usual problem.
 

IrishLass

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I make my own pre-mixed/master-batch lye solution, too. If stored well, it can last a very long time. As an experiment, I have used solution of mine that is over a year old, and it soaped perfectly fine without any issues when I went to use it. I store mine in a reclaimed laundry detergent bottle with a tight-fitting lid, and I make sure to weigh before and after using so I'll know if there has been any evaporation when in storage. How do you store yours?


IrishLass :)
 

TheGecko

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I’ve used a Lye Solution that was many months old with no problem. I keep in a food safe jug, in the back of a cabinet, tightly closed (the lid and the mouth of the jug is cleans with distilled water before storing each time..
 

wikkedsuzanna

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Thanks for the feedback!
I keep my lye solution in an emptied, clean gallon jug that previously had olive oil in it. I know there's no residual oil, as I've refilled the jug with the lye solution a few times already. Also, now that I remember, I had gotten some soap batter on my hand while working and it did indeed sting, so there's another indicator that the lye was still good.
The oily-ness of the soaps once I cut them has gone away, now that they are drying, but they still feel soft.
I'm so frustrated! I've gone from awesome batches, then to seizing in the pot, now to soft batches.
 

DeeAnna

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Lye will sting on the skin even if it's a lot less concentrated than what you'd want for making soap. This is probably not a good "test" to know if your lye concentration is good for soap making.

I don't have a test written up to determine the concentration of lye solution although I do have a test on my website to do a rough check of lye purity that could be adapted to checking lye solution concentration -- NaOH or KOH purity check | Soapy Stuff But I haven't got that done yet.

If you have any doubt if your solid NaOH is okay, you could mix up a batch of 50% NaOH and test the temperature immediately after the dry NaOH is dissolved -- the solution should be at least 180F and preferably 210 F or higher.

NaOH solution won't go bad unless it's stored improperly. It's best to store the solution with as little air in the container as possible.
 
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Zany_in_CO

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I'm so frustrated! I've gone from awesome batches, then to seizing in the pot, now to soft batches.
So, what else is new? 😂 Sounds normal to me. I know, I know, I shouldn't laugh, but we all go through something similar from time to time.

You can blame it on the "Soap Gremlins" or you can double check your technique. I've noticed that once we get to "awesome batches" we tend to be less conscientious in the making of the soap. So, take a few breaths and review how you went about making each batch.
I think that's where you will find the answer... :nodding:
 
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Thanks for the feedback!
I keep my lye solution in an emptied, clean gallon jug that previously had olive oil in it. I know there's no residual oil, as I've refilled the jug with the lye solution a few times already. Also, now that I remember, I had gotten some soap batter on my hand while working and it did indeed sting, so there's another indicator that the lye was still good.
The oily-ness of the soaps once I cut them has gone away, now that they are drying, but they still feel soft.
I'm so frustrated! I've gone from awesome batches, then to seizing in the pot, now to soft batches.
I also experienced my batches seizing. I thought it was because I put the shea butter in at trace. Nope it did it again. After a 100 good batches, this recipe did not work. I even did a calculation for ingredients. That one seized. I went back to original, this time I omitted the EO, it still got hard quick but not as fast as last time. It's still sitting in a bowl in my soaproom waiting to get rebatched. I'm a little timid now with soapmaking having two batches doing that in a row. I feel your pain lol. It's tough but try try again. That's what I am going to do today. Hopefully no surprises. It was a new recipe BTW. I am not going to try any fancy stuff for awhile and just stick with basic ingredients.
 

wikkedsuzanna

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I think I may have found the problem: I don't usually make soap when it's winter because it's so difficult to keep the oils liquid. I think that even though I warmed the oils, I was working at or below 100F. I have to start getting my inventory curing for opening the farmstand for the season, so I will check the temps on my next few batches.
Kittyclark53- I hope you figure out what it causing your seizing. For me, I was accelerating trace too much with the SB.
 
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