Mixing lye in ice water?

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Rusti

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Newbie soap maker. I've made all of one batch and I used the Soap Queen's basic soap recipe from her blog and some fragrance oil from Brambleberry and we are hooked. We were able to start using it this week since it'd been a month and we love it, so I thought I'd make more.

One question I have is I've seen some videos where people mixed their lye into ice water to lower the temperature faster than standing around waiting for it to cool. Is that a pretty simple thing to do? Make a third to half your water weight ice instead? Or is it better to just make an ice bath to lower your measuring cup into?

Plus, a recipe question.

This is the one I used:

Basic Cold Process Recipe (Super fat 5%):
8 oz. Coconut Oil (24%)
15 oz. Olive Oil (44%)
11 oz. Palm Oil (32%)
4.8 oz. Lye
11.2 oz. Distilled Water

Could I replace maybe 2% of the Olive oil and 3% of the coconut oil with shea butter so it's

21% coconut oil
42% Olive oil
32% palm oil
5% shea

and have it work out all right?
 
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IrishLass

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Welcome Rusti!

Regarding the lye solution, I think the ice bath method sounds easier than the ice cube method, but that's just me.

I actually make my lye solution a little bit differently with what I is think is an even easier method: I make a master-batch lye solution- enough lye solution at a time to last me through about 7 or 8 batches of soap- which I store at room temp in a tightly sealed lye-safe container until needed (which can sometimes be a few weeks/months down the road). In case you are wondering, lye in solution lasts a very long time (over a year or more at least), as long as it is properly stored. We have several threads on the forum about it if you want to do a search.

Your tweak of BB's recipe looks fine to me. Just make sure to run it through a lye calculator first before proceeding in order to get the proper lye and water amounts, which will have changed from the original amount due to the tweaking and addition of shea.


IrishLass :)
 

shunt2011

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Hi Rusti and welcome.

I tried the ice thing once and find an ice bath easier.

As for your recipe tweak it looks good to me as well. As suggested be sure to run all recipes through a calculator.
 

Little-Bits-N-Pieces

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I just mix my lye into ice cubes from the fridge and the last bit is water to get the lye going faster. After all the lye is dissolved the solution is usually about 75 degrees or so, so it's perfect if you soap with your oils on the cooler side too.
I actually find the cube method easier than the ice bath method. Just weigh the cubes, dump the lye in and stir, come back and stir a few more times and that's it.
 

kchaystack

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You really should be using distilled water for your soap. Tap water can have stuff in it that can cause soap to go rancid.
 

Susie

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If you aren't doing fancy swirls and such, you can just use hot lye water. It speeds trace up, which is a benefit if you aren't swirling.
 

dillsandwitch

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I also just dump my lye into pre mesured ice cubes. Ive been using filtered tap water and have bars that are over 2 yeats old with no dos from the water. It is filtered tank water if that makes a difference
 

Steve85569

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I freeze water or milk etc in zip lock baggies laid flat in the freezer and use that to mix lye with. As long as I don't try to put too much in a bag I can easily break off what I want or need for a given recipe and just mix the lye and slush mix under the exhaust fan in the bathroom.
The whole thing is in the sink in case I make a mistake or drop something ( insert curses here) the whole thing can just become drain cleaner.
It's happened.
Wear gloves and other PPE's when dealing with Lye and raw soap batter! Lye will eat you.

Welcome to the forum and also the addiction of soaping!
 

Arimara

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I also just dump my lye into pre mesured ice cubes. Ive been using filtered tap water and have bars that are over 2 yeats old with no dos from the water. It is filtered tank water if that makes a difference
I think the fact that you live in Australia makes a difference, no offense. Your region may very well treat water differently than how it's treated in the States or even Canada for the matter. Even within New York (example) There's a stark difference between NYC water and water from Syracuse, especially in the rural parts of Syracuse.
 

dillsandwitch

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I think the fact that you live in Australia makes a difference, no offense. Your region may very well treat water differently than how it's treated in the States or even Canada for the matter. Even within New York (example) There's a stark difference between NYC water and water from Syracuse, especially in the rural parts of Syracuse.
You could very well be right there. Either way it works for me :)
 

navigator9

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I used to use the ice bath method, but now I try to make my lye solution the day before I soap, and then when I'm ready to use it, it's at room temp.
 

penelopejane

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I make my lye as soon as I decide to make soap and put it in a sink of cold water. By the time I get myself organised it's about 100 F which is what I soap at. I am in Oz and I use filtered tap water and it seems to work well, so far.
 

Rusti

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I just used an ice bath today and it went pretty smoothly. Loaf #2 is in the basement all wrapped up and hardening. Probably cut it tomorrow evening and see how it went.
 

tinycyclops

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I measure out my distilled water the night before and freeze it. The next day when I make soap I just add my lye to the ice cubes and I'm on my way! I'm not really in a position to masterbatch, and I hate waiting for the lye solution to cool down, so this works nicely for me.
 

Relle

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You really should be using distilled water for your soap. Tap water can have stuff in it that can cause soap to go rancid.
No probs with tap water here and I don't filter it. Been using tap water since I started.
 

Rusti

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No probs with tap water here and I don't filter it. Been using tap water since I started.
Yeah, I'm using tap water too, though we've got a water softener. I know a lot of soapers push distilled but I just couldn't be bothered, personally. If something comes up down the road, maybe I'll change my tune, but so far it's not likely.
 

kchaystack

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Just relating what several of the chemistry minded soapers here have said, and what I remember from my chem classes in college.

Tap water is perfectly safe to drink ( with the rare exception, like Flint MI ) but it can have stuff disolved in it that can cause issues. Calcium, Magnesium, and other metal ions specifically.

No, not everyone will have a problem. But I think a buck a gallon for distilled water is worth my efforts and expense to not have to take the chance.
 

AZJen

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Welcome Rusti!

Regarding the lye solution, I think the ice bath method sounds easier than the ice cube method, but that's just me.

I actually make my lye solution a little bit differently with what I is think is an even easier method: I make a master-batch lye solution- enough lye solution at a time to last me through about 7 or 8 batches of soap- which I store at room temp in a tightly sealed lye-safe container until needed (which can sometimes be a few weeks/months down the road). In case you are wondering, lye in solution lasts a very long time (over a year or more at least), as long as it is properly stored. We have several threads on the forum about it if you want to do a search.

Your tweak of BB's recipe looks fine to me. Just make sure to run it through a lye calculator first before proceeding in order to get the proper lye and water amounts, which will have changed from the original amount due to the tweaking and addition of shea.


IrishLass :)
I've not yet made a single batch of soap and don't even have the supplies for soapmaking. So, I'm wondering if the lye solution releases toxic and corrosive fumes once cooled or only when the crystals are first mixed with water.
 

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