My first attempt ... soda ash got me. What to do?

Discussion in 'The Photo Gallery' started by WallyN, Jul 11, 2019 at 1:47 PM.

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  1. Jul 11, 2019 at 1:47 PM #1

    WallyN

    WallyN

    WallyN

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    Hey y’all!
    My first soap is a activated charcoal and Lemongrass combination. Honestly, pretty happy with how they came out. Solid bars, decent colors (just used charcoal) and the smell is awesome. Even happy with the wavy top design. However, soda ash hit me. I can’t scrub them because of the tops. I read you can steam them, but should I wait until they are fully cured? They are in week 3 of curing.
    Thanks in advance!
     

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  2. Jul 11, 2019 at 3:23 PM #2

    amd

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    Embrace the ash! But if you can't: you can use a microfiber cloth to wipe it off, you can steam it off, or you can wash it off.
     
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  3. Jul 11, 2019 at 4:11 PM #3

    Nanette

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    Steaming works well with intricate tops...like you have. I bought a $9 steamer at Harbor Freight which is a really cheap tool store here..it does the trick! BB says you can use a nylon stocking piece to wash off the ash but that doesnt do with the fancy tops...
     
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  4. Jul 11, 2019 at 4:20 PM #4

    WallyN

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    Thank you both !! I’ll be at a Harbor Freight store this afternoon to pick up a steamer. Is it ok to steam now at 3 weeks of curing, or should I wait until fully cured (3 more weeks) ?
     
  5. Jul 11, 2019 at 4:45 PM #5

    Nanette

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    I steam as part of my ritual of finishing the soaps if they have ash, so usually 4 or 5 weeks. It would not hurt to try now, but sometimes some ash comes back if you do it too soon. So you could try it and find out. I do a fast rinse after the steam because to me the steam smells chemical-ish and I dont care for it. Put soaps on a dish towel..handle with latex or neoprene gloves on so you dont leave fingerprints.....and let them dry overnight. Move them a couple of times so they dont stick to the dishtowel! What a lot of work...fussing with the soaps.
     
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  6. Jul 11, 2019 at 4:54 PM #6

    catandravendesigns

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    This! Because of our climate, every once in awhile we get soda ash and steaming too soon always brings a lot of it back for us.
    To help avoid it in the future, spray liberally with rubbing alcohol every 15 minutes for the first 1-1.5 hours after you finish. Helps tons!
     
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  7. Jul 11, 2019 at 11:24 PM #7

    jcandleattic

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    You can do it now. It's so dry here it's doubtful it will come back. I rarely get ash, and when I do, it's because I am using what is considered "full water". Don't know what concentration lye solution you use, but you can try a "water discount" from what you are using now, and that will help keep the ash at bay.

    I don't think I've had ash in about 6 years or more since going to a 33-35% lye solution.
     
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  8. Jul 11, 2019 at 11:37 PM #8

    newlee

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    It's still a nice soap even with the ash.
     
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  9. Jul 11, 2019 at 11:56 PM #9

    Zany_in_CO

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    Nice soap, Wally! I agree with amd... it adds character or something to the overall look.
     
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  10. Jul 12, 2019 at 12:53 AM #10

    cmzaha

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    I simply embrace the ash :D
     
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  11. Jul 12, 2019 at 1:26 AM #11

    Mobjack Bay

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    Nice looking soap! I’m in the “embrace the ash” camp :).
     
  12. Jul 12, 2019 at 3:23 AM #12

    WallyN

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    Lol! Thanks y’all. I’m going to meditate and try to “embrace the ash” as well.
     
  13. Jul 12, 2019 at 3:41 AM #13

    Lin19687

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    Wait till it is done curing, you might like the ash that forms.
     
  14. Jul 12, 2019 at 4:49 AM #14

    Mooicle

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    :lol:
     
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  15. Jul 12, 2019 at 4:56 AM #15

    KristaY

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    I got mad ash when I used the default setting of "full water". Once I started increasing my lye water strength, almost no ash. I typically use 33-35% lye water concentration and I'm mostly good. I have a few FO's that will create ash no matter what I do so I make sure I pour those in silicone molds then wash the tops off (and let them dry) before I pull the sides away from the mold. Keep in mind I live in a very arid environment so things may different for those who live in high humidity.

    When I use AC I mix it in water so that portion of my batter will have a higher water amount than the non AC portion. Since I often get ash when using AC I wonder if that's part of the problem.

    @WallyN very pretty soap!
     
  16. Jul 12, 2019 at 4:02 PM #16

    Nanette

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    Has anyone found their ash on soap to be somewhat irritating when you wash with that bar of soap? I know ash is supposed to be a neutral harmless cosmetic issue, but I have found it irritating. ????
     
  17. Jul 12, 2019 at 4:09 PM #17

    catandravendesigns

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    Never had a problem myself but that’s the funny thing about skin, I suppose. We all react a little different. Maybe your skin is more sensitive to it?
     
  18. Jul 12, 2019 at 4:22 PM #18

    Nanette

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    Yes my skin is very sensitive.
     
  19. Jul 12, 2019 at 8:39 PM #19

    WallyN

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    Thanks again everyone. I’ll keep my lye between 33-35%,and spray with alcohol before wrapping it up to gel.
     
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  20. Jul 12, 2019 at 10:30 PM #20

    steffamarie

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    Actually, soda ash is sodium carbonate, which is an alkali as well. While not as strong as sodium hydroxide, it forms when NaOH reacts with CO2 in the air, and can be used all by its lonesome to make soap! It takes a lot more time and heat, though.

    When you hear someone talk about potash and straining water through wood ash to make lye solution for old world-style soap, that's potassium carbonate! Sodium carbonate, or soda ash, is simply the sodium salt instead of the potassium salt.

    All this is to say that it's not surprising that you might get a little irritation from soda ash since it is an alkali itself.
     

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