New to site, need rebatch help.

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JenZen

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Hello 👋🏻
I’ve made a batch that is so so soft, when I’ve checked with other Soapers, they say I have too much water in it.
looking for suggestions of how to rebatch and what oils to add to harden it.
thanks in advance.
jen
 

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Hi @JenZen, I agree, that is a lot of water for a cold process soap recipe. However, adding more oils isn't going to fix that; only evaporation will do the trick. How it evaporates is up to you, to some extent:

1. You can let it cure on its own in a well-ventilated area.
2. You can do #1 plus set fans to blow on it to increase air circulation.
3. You can shred it up and rebatch it with no additional water or oils. Rebatching adds heat, which speeds evaporation.

For future, to avoid the excess water problem, select the Lye concentration setting instead of Water as percent of oils. A good starting point for lye concentration is 33%. That should give you enough liquid to keep your batter fluid for designs, but not so much that your soap stays soft for a long time.

Hope that helps, and let us know how it turns out.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I’ve made a batch that is so so soft,

I think that is due to 11% SF. It will harden over time. Is that a recipe by Suzanne Miller Cavitch by any chance? She used high superfat combined with GSE (Grape Seed Extract) -- an antioxidant to extend shelf life of oils and to protect a high SF batch from going rancid later on. GSE has fallen out of favor since Cavitch wrote her books. It didn't do what it was meant to do and it was expensive.

The INS Value of 147 is good, but it means it may take a little longer to cure than normal 4-6 weeks. Patience, Grasshopper. 😊 I would wait at least 4 weeks before deciding whether to rebatch or not.

I see no problem with 38% water as % of oils. I've been soaping since 2003 and often use that "full water" amount the first time I make a new recipe. Once you learn more you may want to try adjusting your lye concentration to 33% to see if that works better, based on the oils you choose to use in whatever formula you design and what your objective is.

While you're waiting for that batch to cure, you may want to try making the BASIC TRINITY OF OILS Starter Formula for Beginners. Use the default settings on SoapCalc (5% SF) and see how you like it. Once you experience what each leg of the trinity of oils brings to the final result, you can tweak to your heart's content. 😉:thumbs:
 

TheGecko

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I think that is due to 11% SF.

Which could be to counteract the approximate 32% Coconut Oil.

I’ve made a batch that is so so soft, when I’ve checked with other Soapers, they say I have too much water in it. looking for suggestions of how to rebatch and what oils to add to harden it.

Yeah...that's a lot of water, but the nice thing about water is that it evaporates. Stick the soap on a shelf somewhere out of the way for the next couple of months and you should be fine. And the extra curing time is good for soap overall...makes for gentler bar.
 
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JenZen

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Thanks so much everyone.
I’ve only done a few cp batches. (Still waiting for them to cure)
Started off with m&p and loved the quick result.
I still don’t fully understand the soap calc. If I follow what is says I still mess up. When you all start talk about reduction and percentages I get a little lost. I’m still learning big time.
I’ll ignore it for a long while and see how it dries. That’s the preferred option otherwise I’ll lose the slight swirl. i put in a tablespoon each of French green clay and turmeric powder, even two teaspoons of salt dissolved in a tiny bit of hot water, thinking all of these things would add to the water absorption and eventually assisting hardening.
im so pleased to have found this site.
Grasshopper.
 
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Hi JenZen,

With the clays in there to help absorption, and some time on the curing shelf, your soap will probably be fine.

Regarding the SoapCalc, the main benefit of that to beginners is knowing how much lye to use for the specific fats you have chosen. After that, most of the settings are really up to you. For instance, I personally never pay attention to the INS number, or the Sat:Unsat ratio. Some folks do, because the factors behind those numbers are important to them.

What's important to me for my soap, and my skin, is keeping the cleansing number low (usually between 10 and 12), and conditioning high. I also keep the superfat low (usually 2 to 3) because I want more bubbles and less soap scum. I don't personally care about longevity because I don't sell my soap, and I make a lot, so for me, it's good if it is used up fast. I also don't use lots of olive oil or coconut oil, because they don't agree with my skin in large amounts.

Regarding the water and lye setting, I use lye concentration because then my soap recipes are more consistent when scaling up or down. Using water as percentage of oils can cause lye-heavy soap edit: undissolved lye and not enough water for fluid designs in small batches, and water-heavy soap in large batches. I also believe it is actually easier for beginners to use and stick with a 33% lye concentration until they are comfortable knowing how and why to change that.

You can see how other people with different priorities, skin preferences, or soapmaking goals might make different choices than what I make. Keep that in mind when you hear conflicting advice. We are all here to help, but we won't always suggest the same thing. Stick with it, and soon this stuff is going to make sense. :)
 
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Zany_in_CO

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Which could be to counteract the approximate 32% Coconut Oil.
Oh, I hadn't thought of that! Good point!!!
We are all here to help, but we won't always suggest the same thing.
Good point! But I feel I should mention that in all my 18 years of soapmaking I've never experienced DOS or Soda Ash as many others seem to have.

For example,, @KiwiMoose mentioned in a recent post that she found DOS on one of the first soaps she ever made. I saved most of the first soaps I ever made in a drawer in the guest bedroom. Still no DOS or ash.

I've tried to figure out why that is. At this point, I think it might be because I live in a dry climate (Colorado) where KiwiMoose is in NZ where high humidity prevails on a daily basis. :smallshrug:

ETA: Not trying to Hijack this thread into a discussion of DOS/ASH. Not at all. I'm just sayin'...
 

TheGecko

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I’ve only done a few cp batches. (Still waiting for them to cure) Started off with m&p and loved the quick result.

M&P is very much instant gratification, but it has its Pros and Cons as much as the other kinds. I've done a little M&P...perfect for the grandkids as they could help and they could use as soon as it hardened. I also did a demo for a crafting weekend so everyone could make and take two bars of soap home with them (I used cavity molds). Did the same with making lotion bars.

But man...I love CP soap making. Yeah, you have to wait for the bars to fully cure to get the best, but I also make a little extra batter for some 'me' soap so I can play...um, I mean test while I'm waiting.

I still don’t fully understand the soap calc. If I follow what is says I still mess up. When you all start talk about reduction and percentages I get a little lost. I’m still learning big time.

The purpose of a soap calculator is to make sure you are using the correct amount of Sodium Hydroxide for the oils/butters that you have selected to turn them into soap. For 16 oz of oils/butters that I use in my recipe, I need 2.21 oz of Lye. But let's say I change something in my recipe...a different oil/butter or I raise/lower my Super Fat...it will change the amount of Lye that I need. You can calculate it by hand (everyone should learn how to), you just need the SAP (saponification) value of your oils/butters and then calculate your Lye Concentration (which is a minimum is 1:1).

And for a beginning soap maker, it can help determine if the combination of oils/butters in xx amounts will make for a decent bars of soap by offering a 'range' to aim for with 'soap qualities'. The problem comes in understanding what those 'soap qualities' actually mean. Take Cleansing...soap is supposed to clean so you'd think you'd want a high Cleansing value. Thing is...soap is going to 'clean' regardless of what oil or butter you use, but too high a value can also strip the skin of its natural oils and dry it out. You can counteract this by increasing your Super Fat (oils/butters not turned into soap), but this can cause other problems. Condition is another one...folks think that a high Condition will make the soap more 'moisturizing', but that is not soap's job. Too high a Condition can leave you skin feeling slimey.

And while you can use any and all of the oils/butters to make soap and have your Soap Qualities smack dab in the middle, it doesn't mean that it will make good soap. Like most soap makers, I experimented with a lot of different oils and butters until I found a combination that less about the 'numbers' and more about what I liked (and what my customers like).

And yeah, you can still mess up because a soap calculator is just that...a calculator.

i put in a tablespoon each of French green clay and turmeric powder, even two teaspoons of salt dissolved in a tiny bit of hot water, thinking all of these things would add to the water absorption and eventually assisting hardening.

Clays will absorb water that is true, they can also absorb too much water. Salt will not absorb water, but it will help to harden your soap. But too much salt and you won't be able to cut your soap without it shattering.

im so pleased to have found this site.

And we're pleased to have you here.

You will get a lot of helpful advice. You'll also get a lot of different advice. It doesn't mean that one person is wrong and another is right (and vice versa)...it just means that we all have different experiences. Also, there are so many different factors that can contribute to an issue. I know when I try to give advice, I look to where the person is from since it can have a direct bearing on available ingredients, equipment and weather conditions.[/QUOTE]
 
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Hi JenZen,

With the clays in there to help absorption, and some time on the curing shelf, your soap will probably be fine.

Regarding the SoapCalc, the main benefit of that to beginners is knowing how much lye to use for the specific fats you have chosen. After that, most of the settings are really up to you. For instance, I personally never pay attention to the INS number, or the Sat:Unsat ratio. Some folks do, because the factors behind those numbers are important to them.

What's important to me for my soap, and my skin, is keeping the cleansing number low (usually between 10 and 12), and conditioning high. I also keep the superfat low (usually 2 to 3) because I want more bubbles and less soap scum. I don't personally care about longevity because I don't sell my soap, and I make a lot, so for me, it's good if it is used up fast. I also don't use lots of olive oil or coconut oil, because they don't agree with my skin in large amounts.

Regarding the water and lye setting, I use lye concentration because then my soap recipes are more consistent when scaling up or down. Using water as percentage of oils can cause lye-heavy soap in small batches, and water-heavy soap in large batches. I also believe it is actually easier for beginners to use and stick with a 33% lye concentration until they are comfortable knowing how and why to change that.

You can see how other people with different priorities, skin preferences, or soapmaking goals might make different choices than what I make. Keep that in mind when you hear conflicting advice. We are all here to help, but we won't always suggest the same thing. Stick with it, and soon this stuff is going to make sense. :)
I pretty much agree with Alison, but I did formulate my soaps to last with longevity in mind since I sold soap for many years. But I also kept the cleansing lower and worked around the lather issue with low superfat, chelators and very seldom milk use.

Just a little history, I was the one in the forum that started using low superfat several yrs ago and was told I could not do that. Well, it finally caught on and became popular with experienced soapmakers in this forum. It is better for your plumbing not to have a lot of free oils going down your drains on a daily basis, which was the reason I started experimenting with low superfat, my drains were constantly stopped up when I started my soapmaking career.

ETA: I use a 30-33% Lye Concentration because that is what I am used to using.
 
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DeeAnna

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...I use lye concentration because then my soap recipes are more consistent when scaling up or down. Using water as percentage of oils can cause lye-heavy soap in small batches, and water-heavy soap in large batches.

With respect, I want t explain the amount of lye in any given batch of soap isn't affected by the water setting, whether you choose to use "water as % of oil" or lye concentration or water:lye ratio. YOu won't get a lye-heavy batch if you use "water as % of oils" as opposed to lye concentration. Only the superfat (lye discount) percentage and the weights of the various fats determine whether a recipe is going to be lye heavy or not.

It also doesn't matter which water setting you use if you decide to scale a specific recipe to make a larger or smaller batch of that recipe. A 1000 gram batch will have the same relative proportion of water to fat as a 500 gram batch will. A smaller batch won't have any more water in proportion to the other ingredients as a large batch will -- it makes no difference whether you used lye concentration, water:lye ratio, or water as % of fats to set up the recipe.

The choice of water settings, however, does become important if a person wants to make soap with different types of recipes. If you want the ability to use a variety of recipes AND get more consistent results from those recipes, you really do want to calculate the amount of water based on the alkali (lye) weight. To do that, you should use either lye concentration or water:lye ratio.

It's a long slog to explain the mathematical reasons why lye concentration and water:lye ratio are more useful than "water as % of oils" ... and not everyone is interested in the geeky details. If you want to know more, check out my article Water in soap | Soapy Stuff

I also believe it is actually easier for beginners to use and stick with a 33% lye concentration until they are comfortable knowing how and why to change that....

No argument there -- this is very sound advice.
 
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@DeeAnna you are absolutely correct, and thank you for pointing out my incorrect wording. My understanding is that when using the water-as-percent-of-oils setting in some small batches, one can end up with not enough water to dissolve the NaOH. So what I should have said was that one could end up with undissolved lye - not a lye-heavy soap. Is that correct? I've edited my post above and will do so again if I'm still not on point.

There is also the lesser issue of trying to work with low water, which isn't a problem necessarily but can definitely be a challenge.
 

TheGecko

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My understanding is that when using the water-as-percent-of-oils setting in some small batches, one can end up with not enough water to dissolve the NaOH.

I tried 2 oz of oils with my recipe...at 33% Lye Concentration, my Lye 0.28, DW was 0.56. I had to drop down to just under 15% Water as % of Oils in order for the Calculator to drop water below my Lye.***

*** - I was kind of surprised that I didn't get a 'warning' that my water to lye was less than 1:1
 
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I tried 2 oz of oils with my recipe...at 33% Lye Concentration, my Lye 0.28, DW was 0.56. I had to drop down to just under 15% Water as % of Oils in order for the Calculator to drop water below my Lye.***

*** - I was kind of surprised that I didn't get a 'warning' that my water to lye was less than 1:1
Well, I must be utterly confused on that issue then, and will look back on the threads that talked about why not to use it.
 

DeeAnna

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...when using the water-as-percent-of-oils setting ... one can end up with not enough water to dissolve the NaOH. So what I should have said was that one could end up with undissolved lye - not a lye-heavy soap. Is that correct?...

Oh, okay, I see where you're going now. Thanks for explaining!

Yes, you're perfectly right. If a person sets the "water as % of oils" percentage low enough, they could unknowingly create a recipe that has too little water to properly dissolve the dry alkali for that particular recipe.

The only way to know if this is a problem or not is to check the lye concentration to see if it's 50% or lower.

Now that I see your point, this is another argument for ignoring "water as % of oils". If you have to understand enough about lye concentration to do this double check (and also understand you need to do the check, which would be my failing!), then why not just use lye concentration in the first place?

I guess I still don't see how batch size comes into play in this problem, however -- it seems to me that this problem could happen with any size batch. I'm feeling a little under the weather today, though, so I could easily be missing an important point.
 
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I guess I still don't see how batch size comes into play in this problem, however -- it seems to me that this problem could happen with any size batch. I'm feeling a little under the weather today, though, so I could easily be missing an important point.
Hope you feel better soon DeeAnna.
 
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Oh, okay, I see where you're going now. Thanks for explaining!

Yes, you're perfectly right. If a person sets the "water as % of oils" percentage low enough, they could unknowingly create a recipe that has too little water to properly dissolve the dry alkali for that particular recipe.

The only way to know if this is a problem or not is to check the lye concentration to see if it's 50% or lower.

Now that I see your point, this is another argument for ignoring "water as % of oils". If you have to understand enough about lye concentration to do this double check (and also understand you need to do the check, which would be my failing!), then why not just use lye concentration in the first place?

I guess I still don't see how batch size comes into play in this problem, however -- it seems to me that this problem could happen with any size batch. I'm feeling a little under the weather today, though, so I could easily be missing an important point.
Sorry you aren't feeling well, and thanks for replying while in that state. I honestly can't remember which threads I was reading here on SMF on this issue. Someone ran a bunch of calcs to show the problem with using that setting; I'm probably just remembering them wrong. If I do find them, I'll circle back and clarify. Meanwhile, it sounds like the only for sure thing with water-as-percent-of-oils is that it can be way too much water for CP soap. ;)
 

TheGecko

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Someone ran a bunch of calcs to show the problem with using that setting

Are you sure it was about "Water as a % of Oils" or that the Calculator is allowing for a less what 1:1? Cuz I just tested SoapCalc and SMFCalculator and I was able to use a 55% Lye Concentration. I was going to try BB's, but it doesn't allow you to choose and I calculated it at 31%. I try more, but those are the only three I know off hand.
 

JenZen

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With respect, I want t explain the amount of lye in any given batch of soap isn't affected by the water setting, whether you choose to use "water as % of oil" or lye concentration or water:lye ratio. YOu won't get a lye-heavy batch if you use "water as % of oils" as opposed to lye concentration. Only the superfat (lye discount) percentage and the weights of the various fats determine whether a recipe is going to be lye heavy or not.

It also doesn't matter which water setting you use if you decide to scale a specific recipe to make a larger or smaller batch of that recipe. A 1000 gram batch will have the same relative proportion of water to fat as a 500 gram batch will. A smaller batch won't have any more water in proportion to the other ingredients as a large batch will -- it makes no difference whether you used lye concentration, water:lye ratio, or water as % of fats to set up the recipe.

The choice of water settings, however, does become important if a person wants to make soap with different types of recipes. If you want the ability to use a variety of recipes AND get more consistent results from those recipes, you really do want to calculate the amount of water based on the alkali (lye) weight. To do that, you should use either lye concentration or water:lye ratio.

It's a long slog to explain the mathematical reasons why lye concentration and water:lye ratio are more useful than "water as % of oils" ... and not everyone is interested in the geeky details. If you want to know more, check out my article Water in soap | Soapy Stuff



No argument there -- this is very sound advice.


With respect, I want t explain the amount of lye in any given batch of soap isn't affected by the water setting, whether you choose to use "water as % of oil" or lye concentration or water:lye ratio. YOu won't get a lye-heavy batch if you use "water as % of oils" as opposed to lye concentration. Only the superfat (lye discount) percentage and the weights of the various fats determine whether a recipe is going to be lye heavy or not.

It also doesn't matter which water setting you use if you decide to scale a specific recipe to make a larger or smaller batch of that recipe. A 1000 gram batch will have the same relative proportion of water to fat as a 500 gram batch will. A smaller batch won't have any more water in proportion to the other ingredients as a large batch will -- it makes no difference whether you used lye concentration, water:lye ratio, or water as % of fats to set up the recipe.

The choice of water settings, however, does become important if a person wants to make soap with different types of recipes. If you want the ability to use a variety of recipes AND get more consistent results from those recipes, you really do want to calculate the amount of water based on the alkali (lye) weight. To do that, you should use either lye concentration or water:lye ratio.

It's a long slog to explain the mathematical reasons why lye concentration and water:lye ratio are more useful than "water as % of oils" ... and not everyone is interested in the geeky details. If you want to know more, check out my article Water in soap | Soapy Stuff



No argument there -- this is very sound advice.
Hi AliOop
I did read soapy stuff. Geeky yes. Thank you so much so much info. I will keep referring to that document over time for sure.
many thanks
jen
 

DeeAnna

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... I was able to use a 55% Lye Concentration....

I agree with you -- there's nothing to stop a person from setting the lye concentration or water:lye ratio too high. (Although I suppose a programmer could set up a flag to alert a person if they do this.) But if a person did do this, it is a known fact that NaOH or KOH won't dissolve properly if the lye concentration is over about 50%. There are chemical tables and soap making articles and experienced soap makers that can quickly advise against using 55% lye concentration and explain why it's a bad idea if the soap maker wasn't already aware of this fact.

If you use "water as % of oils", though, the results are inconsistent and a lot harder to troubleshoot.

For example, I found a setting of 15% water as % of oils results in a lye concentration of just under 50% for one of my recipes. So if I was a beginning soap maker and this was my first recipe, I might draw the conclusion that 15% water as % of oils is a good number to use for ALL recipes.

Unfortunately, using that same setting (15% water as % of oils) with another recipe that uses a different blend of fats can result in a lye concentration of over 50%. There's no consistency. And there's also no way just by looking at the "water as % of oils" percentage to know why there are chunks of undissolved alkali lying in the bottom of the lye pitcher or embedded in the soap. A person has to reconstruct the entire recipe and evaluate it with an experienced eye to learn what the problem is.

This problem of inconsistency happens at the other extreme when people consistently use the old default "38% water as % of oils". At least there's no problem getting the lye dissolved, but think about it -- How many times have we had to troubleshoot problems -- as we're seeing here -- where the 38% setting results in too much water in the soap for good performance. The soap maker complains about the soap stays overly soft in the mold, is more likely to have "glycerin" rivers, is more likely to overheat during saponification, etc., etc., etc. Again, we have to reconstruct the recipe and evaluate it to know there's too much water for good results.

Sometimes -- and perhaps a lot of the time -- the default of "38% water as % of oils" works just fine ... until it doesn't. But there's no way to know why it works or why it doesn't by just looking at that one number.

***

Thanks for the well wishes! I got laid low by an digestive bug. I'm going to take it easy for one more day, but I'm on the mend.
 
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