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my soap is too soft and not holiding shape help me

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Kalpanaganesan

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hi friends
I made a soap with the following recipe
castor oil- 2 oz that is 6.06%
coconut oil-7oz that is 21.21%
pomace oilve oil-24 oz that is 72.72%
water ---12 oz
lye (Sodium hydroxide)-4.4oz.

I did the curing for more than 4 months.Still the soap is very soft and when i use it it becomes like a jelly and not holding shape.IS it because of using too much of pomace oilive oil.can i use 35% cocunut oil and reduce the olive oil content accordingly so as to get a hard bar and if anyone could suggest me some alteration in this recipe it would be useful for me.Or the curing time is less.If there is any methodology to calculate the curing time let me know.
Thanks in advance
 

Marsi

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olive oil based soaps do best with a high lye concentration and a low superfat

your lye concentration is very low
at under 27% lye concentration you are close to the most amount of water you can add to a (successful) CP soap recipe
enter the 36% in the lye concentration field (not the water as a percentage of oils field) - your soap will be much firmer (with less water)

your superfat is high for an olive based soap
even with your coconut at slightly over 20% a lower superfat will help
try 3% or less SF and see how you go

a small amount of salt (some people also add the same quantity of bicarbonate of soda) can help harden your soap
measure these at a teaspoon per pound of oil, dissolved in your water (before you add the lye)

forcing gel will help harden the soap quicker
then there are additives, such as hard waxes - use waxes sparingly (at 1% ppo or less) with olive soaps
add a teaspoon of sugar ppo or add starches (like rice water) to counter the lather reduction when using butters or waxes

to summarize
reduce both your water and your superfat and your soap will be firmer
add extra ingredients (such as salts, waxes, butters) to add hardness
counter the reduction in lather by adding sugars or starches
 

Kalpanaganesan

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Many thanks for your response.If iam not bothering you I used the lye calculator and as per it only i used the lye.I have attached the pdf for your perusal.The lye calculator asks to enter the oils and i am not able to understand what you say.If you could have a look at the attached pdf and give me suggestion to get a firmer bar I would be grateful to me.Most of the blogs and videos i watched asks to go for a superfat of 5%.I used the same.Thanks in advance
 

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earlene

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If you use this soap calculator: Soapmaking Recipe Builder & Lye Calculator

You will see some of what we are talking about when we mention lye concentration and some other terms when it comes to designing a soap formula.

Here is your actual soap (the formula you listed in your first post) in the soapbuilder calculator:

1609525854079.png

Notice that your actual SF is 7% in your original formula, which is different that what you have in your pdf above, as are the amounts of lye and water in your amounts above. The reason the superfat is higher is because you used less NaOH (lye) in the actual soap than indicated in your pdf.

One thing I would re-iterate is that with such a high amount of water and being a high oleic soap (lots of Olive Oil), it's going to require a longer cure to harden up. BUT, you may also have somehow made a measuring error. AND/OR, your lye is not as pure as the lye calculator assumes.

High oleic soaps require a longer cure time, but in my experience, soap made with this formula should be much harder by now. So I think it's more likely your lye is less pure or you made a measuring error.

Are you sure you used the coconut oil you picked on the lye calculator? Is it possible you used liquid coconut oil that comes in a bottle for frying (fractionated CO) instead of plain spreadable CO (which will harden to a solid white when cool)? If you used the frying liquid CO (fractionated), then you would actually have a SF of 13, all else being equal. I don't know how that would affect the softness of this formula, but I suspect it could make a difference.

1609526716099.png

How to get a harder bar: Use less water. Use more hard oils, but not necessarily Coconut Oil, because it draws water to itself and will melt away faster during use, make it a shorter-lasting bar of soap. So if you can get palm oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, or another hard oil such as these, try subbing some of it for some of the olive oil. On the plus side, less OO and more hard oils means a shorter cure time. But water is the main thing. Decrease the amount of water. When you keep the lye amount the same, but decrease the water, what you have is a Higher Lye Concentration, and that's what we are talking about to help this soap firm up faster.

The other thing I suggest is to use fresh lye purchased from a good source. Are you sure you used NaOH and not KOH? Also, are you storing your lye in an air-tight container so it won't draw water into the container? If it has clumps of lye, it could be weaker due to absorbing ambient moisture from the air. I believe India is often quite humid, so it can happen if the lid is off the lye container for too long. Weaker lye leads to a weaker lye solution, which in turn alters a soap formula, making a softer soap.
 

Kalpanaganesan

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Thank you for your response.If you can could you please tell me how much of water and lye i should use for this recipe.because it is a bit confusing for me.so that i can make one more batch and see.The coconut oil in the soapbuilder has two options as some 76 degrees and 96 degrees.I use the coconut oil purchased from store.I do not know the freezing point.can i modify the recipe as
castor oil 2 ounces
coconut oil 7 oz
palm oil 4 oz
olive oil(pomace) 20oz
I have attached the calculation as pdf.i use NaOH.From the calculatio the amount of water is 12.28oz and NaOH is 4.55oz.Could you please correct me.In the calcualtion i chose 76 degrees for coconut oil.
 

Dawni

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Thank you for your response.If you can could you please tell me how much of water and lye i should use for this recipe.because it is a bit confusing for me.
You will need to try to understand water and lye ratio/concentration. I realize there could be some language issues - maybe someone here can explain it to you - but there is a lot more going on than just increasing and decreasing water and lye amounts.

In general, the more soft oils you use, the less water you'd need.

Adding coconut oil will harden it up some, but it will also be more drying. It also won't help much with how long your soap lasts.

Lastly, I suggest making smaller batches until you figure out how much water is best for which recipes. You waste less and practice more

P.S.
If you PM me what language you're more comfortable with, I can maybe try to find someone to explain it to you via recording or something. I have native Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Konkani, Punjabi speakers at my quick disposal but I'm sure I can find others lol
 
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rdc1978

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Wow, look at the two of you going above and beyond! Super high olive oil soap is on my 2021 bucket list so these posts were great, and how nice to offer to find someone to translate. Sorry I'm waiting for my lye water to cool, so I'm all up in people's beeswax
 

Kalpanaganesan

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You will need to try to understand water and lye ratio/concentration. I realize there could be some language issues - maybe someone here can explain it to you - but there is a lot more going on than just increasing and decreasing water and lye amounts.

In general, the more soft oils you use, the less water you'd need.

Adding coconut oil will harden it up some, but it will also be more drying. It also won't help much with how long your soap lasts.

Lastly, I suggest making smaller batches until you figure out how much water is best for which recipes. You waste less and practice more

P.S.
If you PM me what language you're more comfortable with, I can maybe try to find someone to explain it to you via recording or something. I have native Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Konkani, Punjabi speakers at my quick disposal but I'm sure I can find others lol
Thanks for you reply.I can understand english but the issue is in the soap calculator there is an option enter water:lye ratio.In that default it is 2:1.I have a confusion as if we have to change it to 2.7:1.That is my confusion
 

KiwiMoose

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Hi @Kalpanaganesan,
I think you should use the Soap Making Friend calculator - the one that @earlene showed you in her post above.
Here are some suggestions:
Step 1 - select solid soap (using NaOH)
Step 2 - select percentages - and then grams (suggest 500 grams)
Step 3 - select lye concentration and enter the number 33.33
Step 4 - select 5% superfat
Step 5 - select your oils: as per your suggestion - castor oil, coconut oil (76 degrees), Palm Oil, Olive Oil Pomace
When the box appears add your percentages of each as:
Castor Oil 5%
Coconut Oil 20%
Palm Oil 40%
Olive Oil Pomace 35%
(These are suggestions to get you started - as you learn more you might want to experiment with different amounts and different oils)
Then You will see a new column pop up on the right side of your screen - it will give you the total measurements you need of everything for your soap recipe. Click save or print as necessary.
 

Marsi

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Many thanks for your response.If iam not bothering you I used the lye calculator and as per it only i used the lye.I have attached the pdf for your perusal.The lye calculator asks to enter the oils and i am not able to understand what you say.If you could have a look at the attached pdf and give me suggestion to get a firmer bar I would be grateful to me.Most of the blogs and videos i watched asks to go for a superfat of 5%.I used the same.Thanks in advance
i missed your reply
sorry for replying so slowly

your oil combination is the same in your opening post and your pdf
(olive pomace 24oz, castor 2oz and coconut 7oz)
however your water and lye concentration are different between your opening post and your pdf

your opening post recipe has 12oz of water and 4.4oz of sodium hydroxide (around 27% lye concentration and 7% superfat)
your pdf recipe has 10.05oz of water and 4.5oz of sodium hydroxide (31% lye concentration and 5% superfat)

if you have made the recipe you described in your opening post, your soap could stay soft for months but will eventually harden
if this is the recipe you have made, then you should be seeing shrinking in at the sides of your soaps by now (unless it is very humid - that could keep the soap soft - Dawni is expert on soapmaking in humid conditions)
the pdf recipe should work and be hard, so the problem could be the oils or clumpy lye crystals - was your lye clumpy?

please confirm the recipe you have made
and provide the actual weights you measured

i agree that you need to work with small recipes first
use no more than a pound of oils in total while you are learning
 

Dawni

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Thanks for you reply.I can understand english but the issue is in the soap calculator there is an option enter water:lye ratio.In that default it is 2:1.I have a confusion as if we have to change it to 2.7:1.That is my confusion
Ah, sorry about that then.

In that case, your best place to learn about water is here and here, if you've not been before. If you have and you're still confused, I suggest reading again. It took me a while too in the beginning and I still go back every now n then when I'm trying something new.
 

Kalpanaganesan

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Ah, sorry about that then.

In that case, your best place to learn about water is here and here, if you've not been before. If you have and you're still confused, I suggest reading again. It took me a while too in the beginning and I still go back every now n then when I'm trying something new.
Thanks for your response

Hi @Kalpanaganesan,
I think you should use the Soap Making Friend calculator - the one that @earlene showed you in her post above.
Here are some suggestions:
Step 1 - select solid soap (using NaOH)
Step 2 - select percentages - and then grams (suggest 500 grams)
Step 3 - select lye concentration and enter the number 33.33
Step 4 - select 5% superfat
Step 5 - select your oils: as per your suggestion - castor oil, coconut oil (76 degrees), Palm Oil, Olive Oil Pomace
When the box appears add your percentages of each as:
Castor Oil 5%
Coconut Oil 20%
Palm Oil 40%
Olive Oil Pomace 35%
(These are suggestions to get you started - as you learn more you might want to experiment with different amounts and different oils)
Then You will see a new column pop up on the right side of your screen - it will give you the total measurements you need of everything for your soap recipe. Click save or print as necessary.
Many thanks for your reply
 

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