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Mixing lye and oil at room temperature

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AntropoDani

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Hi guys! I'm new into making home-made soaps, well, not so new, in the past I tried twice with disastrous results, so for this time I decided to do it right, but after reading many recipes and getting the basics I have one doubt:

In every soap recipe I read people always heat the oils until a certain temperature (around 100 Fº) to match with the temperature of the lye, because mixing both liquids at the same temperature is essential for saponification. But my question is, is it okay to make the mixture when both ingredients are at room temperature or the soap will come up wrong? it would be much easier for me to leave lye all night to cool down to room temperature instead of getting a thermometer, heating the oil and so on.

Apologies for my bad english!
 

spenny92

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I'm a new soaper too, and I ordered a thermometer before I made my first batch. It hasn't arrived yet, and I was impatient, so I've made around 12 batches without taking the temperatures of the oils or lye. I probably should, but I haven't encountered any problems with this method and I try and make sure that they're at similar temperatures. I start by mixing the lye and liquid in an ice bath in the sink, and leave it there to cool whilst I weigh and melt my solid oils. I then add my liquid oils, which help bring the temperature down of the oils. By this time, the lye shouldn't be boiling hot and the oils also aren't too hot. If I'm using milks, honey or other sugars, I'll freeze my mould before I start soaping, let everything cool down a little more than usual, and pop the soap straight in the freezer once it's poured so that it doesn't overheat.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that my soaps have all turned out great (as in, they are soap at least!) so far, without using a thermometer.
 

TeresaT

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Yes, you can do that. That's my favorite way of doing my soaps. I believe the cooler the temperature the longer it takes to reach trace (and saponification).
 

MoonStruck

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I don't use a thermometer. I mix my lye, often hours in advance, melt my oils and when the container is no longer feels warm to the touch, I soap.
 

KristaMarie

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You can definitely soap at room temperature! I used a thermometer for my first few batches, it broke, and I never replaced it. Keep in mind that temperatures will have an effect on your trace time, but as long as you have the correct amount of lye to oils, it will saponify.
 

Obsidian

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Your oils and lye do not need to be the same temps, that a myth. There are many people who actually use hot lye solution to melt their oils. If your first two batches failed, it was due to something else.

Mix room temp oils/lye will slow trace and thats what I generally do. Sometime if I don't need slow trace, I will soap hot so trace is very quick. I don't even bother taking temps anymore, just another step I found un-necessary.
 

cmzaha

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Really the only time you would need the higher temps is when soaping with hard and even hydrogenated butters, and especially beeswax. Beeswax with its high melt temp can harden back up before you finish mixing and gel sets in. The butters can start to thicken prematurely and give you what most call false trace. Other than those scenarios soaping cool is not a problem.
 

AntropoDani

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Glad to read that is okay to mix lye at room temperature, thank you all for the answers!
 

AntropoDani

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Your oils and lye do not need to be the same temps, that a myth. There are many people who actually use hot lye solution to melt their oils. If your first two batches failed, it was due to something else.

Mix room temp oils/lye will slow trace and thats what I generally do. Sometime if I don't need slow trace, I will soap hot so trace is very quick. I don't even bother taking temps anymore, just another step I found un-necessary.
So the temperature of the liquids when mixing is not important at all? For instance, is perfectly fine to mix hot mixed water and lye with room temperature oils? Good to know, but I will stick to mixing at room temperature, just in case.

Yes, I'm sure that the reason why my two first batches failed was due to the wrong lye/oil proportion, because I measured them by volume instead of weight. Now that I'm learning the basics of CP soap making I'm realizing all the mistakes that I made the first two times :smile:

Your English is perfect. Are you not a native English speaker? You sound like one ....
I'm from Spain, but thanks for that compliment if it's not ironic, haha! I'm still trying to get the Certificate in Advanced English, so I expect my English to be far from perfect!

I think the original reason for all the beginner books saying to mix them at the same temp was to avoid people soaping too hot - too hot can cause problems itself. But rather than going too deep it's just easier to write "mix them together when they are around x degrees"
Maybe, but beginner books should explain the temperature part better because otherwise it gets a bit confusing for newbies :smile:
 

galaxyMLP

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Temperature can effect trace time but will likely not effect the overall soap. For example, if you are wanting to do fancy swirls, you would soap at the lowest temperature that your oils will stay liquid at (that means the lowest temperature after you mix the lye and oil together). You also want to do this for fragrances you know will accelerate.

When doing non-swirled (or colored)/non-fragranced soap there is no need to measure temperature. The only thing you wouldn't want to do would be to soap very hot as that may cause the better to overheat and trace too quickly, seize, or separate. This is especially true if sugars are added to the soap.

None of this applies the HP soap. With HP soap you can plop everything together as long as your oils are melted. Even if you're at 180+ deg F. (Not that I would recommend that of course). Just be careful as it can begin to overheat in the crock pot and volcano if it gets too hot, too fast.
 
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Seawolfe

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If I'm in a hurry and not swirling or anything, I perform the highly scientific method of putting my gloved hands on the outside of the lye and melted oil containers and if I can hold my hands to the sides comfortably (ie not too hot), I get mixing. If Im in even more of a hurry and my recipe has lots of lard I pour the hot lye into the cool oil and lard mix and let it melt it. But cooler IS better if you want any control over colors and patterns, or use sugars, and I think it's gentler on the fragrances.
 

Susie

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I do color my soaps, but I don't swirl. I mix my NaOH with my room temperature water, and when that is completely dissolved, I use that VERY HOT mixture to mix my solid oils, then add that to the liquid oils with the color and EO. Gets trace fast and saves me lots of time. If the house is fairly cool, I will melt my solid oils first.
 
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I'm totally new here. But I just have to put in my two cents worth! :)

I gave up cooling lye and heating oils a few years ago. I have found that my soaps turn out great just slowly pouring in hot lye to room temp oils. Never had any trouble doing it this way. And I can make a lot more soaps and get the whole job done from start to finish in much less time. I'm surprised that more people don't do it this way. I just had a really hard time wasting all that FREE Energy from the Lye. Before I made soaps like this: Lye was sooo hot- Free Energy, Cool lye, Paid for that Energy use in one way or an other. Oils were cold/cool, Paid for Energy to Heat. So I finally took a leap and went against all the rule books and used the FREE energy from the Lye to heat my oils. So easy.

But that's just me. Everyone makes the best soap! :)
 

hopalongkat

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Potentially really stupid question, but whatever! Even though the oils and lye are room temp, they're still going to heat up when emulsified and still go through gel phase...right?

Like, could you still force gel with oven process using room temp oils and lye or would heating it up cause a reaction?
 

commoncenz

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Potentially really stupid question, but whatever! Even though the oils and lye are room temp, they're still going to heat up when emulsified and still go through gel phase...right?

Like, could you still force gel with oven process using room temp oils and lye or would heating it up cause a reaction?
Yep, the batter will heat up in the mold as it goes through saponification. If you would like to force gel, you can still CPOP or use a heating pad. The only thing that's different with room temperature soaping in this regard is that if you are not forcing gel, it will take awhile longer for you to notice the heat that's occurs during saponification. But, it will heat up.
 

noodle

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Very interesting... I'm still a rookie but would prefer to avoid thermometers if I can. Hoping to try this method with a mostly lard based soap today
 

TeresaT

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Very interesting... I'm still a rookie but would prefer to avoid thermometers if I can. Hoping to try this method with a mostly lard based soap today
My kind of soaper. I bought one of those digital laser thermometers and the only thing I use it for is to check the dogs temperatures and the corners of the rooms and the chair I got out of...
 
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