Oh boy, I messed up.

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BadPanda74

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Ok, I got impatient for my 100% pure lye to show up and used the lye from my hubbies machine shop. It worked fine before when I made just plain coconut oil soap. Turns out it's only about 70% pure lye. Uh yeah.... that particular batch of soap is still soapy, but soft with a capital SOFT! Like, with a little effort, I can smoosh my finger through it. Can this be salvaged? Can I melt this down and chunk it with some of my super hard all coconut oil soap? Or do I chalk this up to poor decisions and toss it? I mean, it smells soooooo lovely, it's just so darn soft. Just a little more solid than Silly Putty. Ugh. I don't want to give up on it, I just don't know how to salvage it.

Oh, and yes, I did make the coconut soap with this lye. It turned out lovely. No adverse effects from not being 100%. The other portion of the lye is anti-rust agents. I know, I know. Don't go swiping lye from the machine shop, but I was excited to make something.

Anyway, I could use any advice anyone has to offer.
 

earlene

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When you say it is only 70% pure, do you mean you tested it and got that percentage, or that it says that on the label? Or are you sort of guesstimating?

If it's the label that says 70%, does it list any other ingredients? If so, are those ingredients of concern in soap? (If yes, I'd toss it.) If no, re-batch is possible.

If you tested it, then you can figure out how much more lye to use for a re-batch to lower the excess super-fat. (Using a lye calculator and some reverse-engineering.)

If it's a guesstimate, that's more complicated and might not be worth the trouble of trying to salvage the soap.

If you want to re-batch, read this post: Too little lye... how can I fix it??

and if you have not yet learned how to re-batch soap, here is one of possibly thousands of tutorials on the process:


I do not advocate the instructions on using pH strips because they are notoriously unreliable, but the method for how to do re-batch for soap without enough lye is adequate. But DeeAnna's post above is more succinct on how to determine the amount of lye needed to obtain your intended formula.

For a very mushy soap like you describe, you probably cannot really 'grate' the soap, but because it is so soft, it should become fairly molten when you heat it up, so adding the new lye solution and mixing it in well, will give the soap you intended, although it may look more rustic than previously planned. You probably won't have a lot of time to pour it into the mold, so watch it carefully after getting it well incorporated.
 

BadPanda74

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Thank you so much! It took a couple days to bring up the courage to read your response. I couldn’t find a lye percentage on the drum anywhere. However, hubby called the sales rep and told him what I did. If the sales rep told him what the other ingredients were, they must not have been important enough for hubby to tell me to toss it. He did say that his rep said no one had tried to make soap that he had heard of because it was only 70%. To which I just hang my impatient head in shame.
I promise to stop using his “caustic soda” and just use the proper lye I have found online. I mean, there are rookie mistakes and then there is this.
As far as all your advice given, I feel like that insurance commercial where I want to print the internet to save it all for future reference. I was sure I was going to have to make a harder soap and batch them together. That doesn’t work either, does it?
 

earlene

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Well, yes it does work, however it is a bit complex for a beginner and I don't really recommend the hassle. Besides if you don't know what other ingredients are in the caustic soda, I wouldn't suggest it be used for bathing. Could be lead for all I know. Probably not, but who knows?
 

BadPanda74

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That there is an excellent point. I gave back his caustic soda and got my own. That was my first royal blunder and has been given the ol’ heave-ho! Now my curiosity has me all about shampoo bars and such. Oh this ADD!
 

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