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My soap won't harden

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Hi there

I also facing the same problem here, the soap won't get harden.
I have been making many batches of soap and all came up so well. But what happening right now is i follow all the process and ingredients, the soap is difficult to get trace, even though using hand held blender for about 40 mins to get medium trace. I then pour into the mold, the soap still feels warm and heat up just only few hours and immediately cool down.

I totally making 4 batches, all were failed. Addition note : weather in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is Raining Season, 26 - 31 Celsius, for some reason, i do believe the weather would affect the soap ?

My recipe is simple, total of oil weight : 400 gram / 2 teaspoon of Lemongrass EO.

Almond Oil, sweet 4 gram
Canola Oil 50 gram
Soybean Oil 50 gram
Coconut Oil 60 gram
Castor Oil 2 gram
Palm Oil 234 gram

I would happy if someone able to shed me a light!

***
Water 132 gram
Lye - NaOH 58.29 gram (round up to 58 gram)


My process is the lye down to room temperature, pour into the oils. It totally takes up most longer time to get trace, compare to my previous soap making process. The soap only with Lemongrass EO & red clay.

Once get medium trace, i pour into mold and wrap it with thick towel as i usually do. I used to make many of soap previously but i just can't figure out why this time totally messed up (4 times failure continually), with same recipes, ingredients, and same method.

***
The water was flowing on the surface. The photo was taken after poured the water from the mold.


IMG_6096.JPG
 
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galaxyMLP

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You said its been raining, where/how do you keep you lye?

Since you've used this recipe in the past and things were ok and not much has changed, I would guess your lye is "loosing strength" from the humidity in the air. One thing that made me think this is that your trace time took especially long. The other is the separation you're getting. With a very high superfat (which is the case with lye that is loosing strength) you are more likely to get separation.

Try getting new lye and seeing if this still happens. I did not get a chance to run the recipe through the calculator though so hopefully someone can comment on that aspect!
 
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You said its been raining, where/how do you keep you lye?

Since you've used this recipe in the past and things were ok and not much has changed, I would guess your lye is "loosing strength" from the humidity in the air. One thing that made me think this is that your trace time took especially long. The other is the separation you're getting. With a very high superfat (which is the case with lye that is loosing strength) you are more likely to get separation.

Try getting new lye and seeing if this still happens. I did not get a chance to run the recipe through the calculator though so hopefully someone can comment on that aspect!
The lye is well air tight sealed container. I realized soap loose the temperature during stick blend process. High amount of hard oils, why the soap taking too long to get trace? It definitely something wrong!
 

KristaY

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I ran your recipe through Soapcalc and it looks good. Your SF is at 2% and water:lye ratio is 2.27:1 which is also okay. Based on your oils, SF and water, all should be good so I wonder what else may be happening. As Susie suggested, it might be overheating. Since it's your rainy season I'm guessing your humidity is high. Even with air tight packaging, humidity can seep in causing your lye to be "weaker". Susie is brilliant when it comes to this - she weighs her lye container after each use and before the next. When the weights are different, she compensates by decreasing SF. Another thought is what type of water are you using? If it's anything other than distilled, there might be some other chemicals coming into play. Someone with more chemistry experience will have to chime in on that. If you've double checked that you haven't accidently used a different oil, your lye hasn't been weakened by humidity, and your water is distilled, I'm really baffled!
 
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I ran your recipe through Soapcalc and it looks good. Your SF is at 2% and water:lye ratio is 2.27:1 which is also okay. Based on your oils, SF and water, all should be good so I wonder what else may be happening. As Susie suggested, it might be overheating. Since it's your rainy season I'm guessing your humidity is high. Even with air tight packaging, humidity can seep in causing your lye to be "weaker". Susie is brilliant when it comes to this - she weighs her lye container after each use and before the next. When the weights are different, she compensates by decreasing SF. Another thought is what type of water are you using? If it's anything other than distilled, there might be some other chemicals coming into play. Someone with more chemistry experience will have to chime in on that. If you've double checked that you haven't accidently used a different oil, your lye hasn't been weakened by humidity, and your water is distilled, I'm really baffled!
Thank you for the great advise :)
I would only think about the kitchen scale ?!
I'll read through all the comment from all of yours, I then will decide whether to make one more batch tonight.
 

KristaY

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Thank you for the great advise :)
I would only think about the kitchen scale ?!
I'll read through all the comment from all of yours, I then will decide whether to make one more batch tonight.
I thought about the scale after I posted, lol. Is there a way to test it? In the states we can use 5 quarters which should equal one ounce. Do you have coins known to equal certain gram weights? Hopefully someone else that measures grams will have a suggestion. Also, since it might be over heating, try letting it sit out at room temperature instead of insulating it. Just leave it, uncovered, on your work counter.

If you try another batch and it does the same thing, take galaxy's suggestion and start with fresh lye. The humidity might have gotten to it. Good luck!
 
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I thought about the scale after I posted, lol. Is there a way to test it? In the states we can use 5 quarters which should equal one ounce. Do you have coins known to equal certain gram weights? Hopefully someone else that measures grams will have a suggestion. Also, since it might be over heating, try letting it sit out at room temperature instead of insulating it. Just leave it, uncovered, on your work counter.

If you try another batch and it does the same thing, take galaxy's suggestion and start with fresh lye. The humidity might have gotten to it. Good luck!
When i place a measurement cup on the scale before push button to zero, the scale hits the exact weight, lol!
Anyway, i would like to give it a try tonight. Let see the result afterward.
 

Jstar

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"even though using hand held blender"

"loose the temperature during stick blend process"

Which are you using?..a hand mixer will not give you the speed you need to combine the oils and lye properly.

"The water was flowing on the surface. The photo was taken after poured the water from the mold"

Are you saying your lye water is what you poured off the soap? Just trying to make sure that Im reading that right...

If you are pouring the lye water out of the mold, then its not incorporated with your oils...either you have used a hand mixer, or your lye is bad because thats the only thing I can think of that would cause the lye water to be able to pour out.

The only other thing I see, is that there is an awful lot of soft oils and only a small amount of hard {the coconut} so it could be the palm as well if it never becomes solid like Top stated.
 

shunt2011

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It looks like it overheated to me as well. I would certainly check to make sure the scale is accurate. If you are using regular Palm Oil, your recipe should be just fine. The humidity may be causing it to overheat. I wouldn't insulate it much and see what happens then.
 

topofmurrayhill

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No soap that takes 40 minutes to trace with a stick blender overheated, I would think. Logically, it's the lye or its the oils. I suspect the palm because there are various palm olein products, some of which would work much like palm and others that would be closer to maybe olive oil. Take the latter and add canola and soybean oil, it will certainly be reluctant to trace and eager to separate.
 
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Does it get solid? If you are using a highly fractionated palm olein sold as a liquid cooking oil, that would be the reason for your problem.
I have been use for Palm Oil for many years in soap making :) In Asia, we didn't sell Coconut Oil or Palm Oil in solid type :))
 

not_ally

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If you've used the same recipe and process for ages w/success and the last few batches have gone wrong, I'm voting w/the others, it is the lye. This happened to me a little while ago, the lye was fine for most of the bottle and then towards the end of it, my soap just went wrong for several batches in a row for no apparent reason, I assumed I must have gotten moisture into the lye bottle (things have been OK subsequently.) It is frustrating w a lye issue b/c you have to eliminate everything else, but it does help there are so many constants in your case.

ETA: posted after you, what was the problem? Don't keep us hanging :)
 
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No soap that takes 40 minutes to trace with a stick blender overheated, I would think. Logically, it's the lye or its the oils. I suspect the palm because there are various palm olein products, some of which would work much like palm and others that would be closer to maybe olive oil. Take the latter and add canola and soybean oil, it will certainly be reluctant to trace and eager to separate.
Hi, we only have 1 type of Palm Oil in Malaysia :)
 
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"even though using hand held blender"

"loose the temperature during stick blend process"

Which are you using?..a hand mixer will not give you the speed you need to combine the oils and lye properly.

"The water was flowing on the surface. The photo was taken after poured the water from the mold"

Are you saying your lye water is what you poured off the soap? Just trying to make sure that Im reading that right...

If you are pouring the lye water out of the mold, then its not incorporated with your oils...either you have used a hand mixer, or your lye is bad because thats the only thing I can think of that would cause the lye water to be able to pour out.

The only other thing I see, is that there is an awful lot of soft oils and only a small amount of hard {the coconut} so it could be the palm as well if it never becomes solid like Top stated.
"The water was flowing on the surface. The photo was taken after poured the water from the mold"

This mean after the soap get trace and pour into the mold. After 24 hours, the water flowing on the top of the mold.
 
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If you've used the same recipe and process for ages w/success and the last few batches have gone wrong, I'm voting w/the others, it is the lye. This happened to me a little while ago, the lye was fine for most of the bottle and then towards the end of it, my soap just went wrong for several batches in a row for no apparent reason, I assumed I must have gotten moisture into the lye bottle (things have been OK subsequently.) It is frustrating w a lye issue b/c you have to eliminate everything else, but it does help there are so many constants in your case.

ETA: posted after you, what was the problem? Don't keep us hanging :)
Thank you. Kindly read the above post, i just updated.

I have been using this recipe for many batches with success. Just only few previous batches has failure.
However I made a batch again last Friday night, the soap turns out very fine.
I didn't figure out what happened before and why now succeed.
I use the same recipe, I also didn't change the lye, I still cover it with thick towel as i usually do :)
 
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