Opaque layer on my liquid soap

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Dear all,
As you can see from the pictures, there's a layer on top of my soap that doesn't blend with the rest. If I mix it, the day after it's separated again.
before dilution, the paste was all that creamy colour you see on the top layer, but then it separated after dilution.
I looked into previous threads about this, and re-checked my recipe on soapmaking friend. That's when I noticed I had somehow typed a KOH purity of 98%.
I changed it to 90%, worked out the difference, dissolved 4 grams of KOH and emulsified it into the soap. It still separated the day after!
What to do?
Here's my recipe:
Sunflower Oil: 90g
Olive Oil: 60g
Coconut Oil, 76 deg: 50g
Water 138.13 g
KOH Weight41.26 g at 98% Purity (44.95g at 90% -> added 4g)
Superfat2%
Lye Concentration23%
Liquid : Lye Ratio3.35 :1

Thanks in advance for your help!
Romi
 

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ResolvableOwl

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Sadly enough, this might not work always, especially when the soap is already diluted. I have had liquid soap from an actually well-behaved oil (babaçu, which easily and quickly saponifies, has very little unsaponifiables, and I've made successful clear LS batches before). It just refused to clear up, even after adding a double-digit percentage excess of KOH. It was VERY zappy (the sign of unreacted lye), but still not everything reacted.

I wish you best luck with your batch! When you notice that lye addition doesn't change anything any more (even with heat applied), you might sequester it: Place the soap in a tall container that is just large enough to hold all the soap, but you can still scrape off the turbid top layer after a week or two of waiting.

Also, 2% superfat is actually a considerably large amount for LS. Just barely what a LS can hold in solution by itself. When you then overestimate your KOH purity only by a bit, you'll end up with excess half-reacted oils.

Tip: If you overdo KOH addition and end up with a lye-heavy LS, you can use castor oil to balance out the excess lye. It will dissolve/react quickly, and traces of excess castor oil don't make for a turbid LS.
 

Zany_in_CO

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Sunflower Oil: 90g
Olive Oil: 60g
Coconut Oil, 76 deg: 50g
Oh my goodness! 90 grams (45%) sunflower oil + 60 grams (30%) olive oil in a 200 gram batch is the problem. This is based on my experience with sunflower oil -- it just doesn't seem to work well for me, although I love it in leave-on products like lotion & lip balm. My suggestion is to throw it back in the pot and cook some more.

As a 10-year member of the Liquid Soapers Yahoo Group (now defunct) we would see this type of separation with beginners. They just didn't have a sense of how long to cook a batch. A high percent (75%) of liquid oils to hard oils (25%) takes longer than if you switched to at least 50% coconut oil and the rest in liquid oil(s) of choice.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM VARIOUS OILS IN LS

Also, with recipes high in liquid oils, especially olive oil that is high in unsaponifiables, it's best to use 0% SF so that as much of the oil gets saponified as possible or you likely end up with an opaque layer like this.

You didn't mention Dilution Rate. For this batch, I would try 25% soap to 75% water. The end result is somewhat watery but produces great lather.

HTH (Hope This Helps) :)
 
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Oh my goodness! 90 grams (45%) sunflower oil + 60 grams (30%) olive oil in a 200 gram batch is the problem. This is based on my experience with sunflower oil -- it just doesn't seem to work well for me, although I love it in leave-on products like lotion & lip balm. My suggestion is to throw it back in the pot and cook some more.

As a 10-year member of the Liquid Soapers Yahoo Group (now defunct) we would see this type of separation with beginners. They just didn't have a sense of how long to cook a batch. A high percent (75%) of liquid oils to hard oils (25%) takes longer than if you switched to at least 50% coconut oil and the rest in liquid oil(s) of choice.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM VARIOUS OILS IN LS

Also, with recipes high in liquid oils, especially olive oil that is high in unsaponifiables, it's best to use 0% SF so that as much of the oil gets saponified as possible or you likely end up with an opaque layer like this.

You didn't mention Dilution Rate. For this batch, I would try 25% soap to 75% water. The end result is somewhat watery but produces great lather.

HTH (Hope This Helps) :)

I diluted 50/50.
I don't mind the soap being opaque, but I'd rather it didn't separate 😅
As for the sunflower oil, I have previously made several batches of 100% sunflower liquid soap (I recycle cooking oil that has been used 1 time) and never had these issues.

I dared a bit with the superfat there, so probably that's what messed it up completely.
Wasn't aware of unsaponifiables in olive oil, maybe that's why soap from OO is so gentle on the skin? 🤔

I might try sequestering it, scooping out the top layer, and trying to add KOH only to that part. Will it work? Who knows! experiment time!

Thank you all for the tips!
 

ResolvableOwl

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I might try sequestering it, scooping out the top layer, and trying to add KOH only to that part. Will it work? Who knows! experiment time!
That's a great idea! In the worst case you waste a few hours of time, and a small part of the batch; the best what can happen is that it works, and this method will be named after you. 😃
 

Zany_in_CO

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As for the sunflower oil, I have previously made several batches of 100% sunflower liquid soap (I recycle cooking oil that has been used 1 time) and never had these issues.
Good to know! TY

There are about as many different ways of making LS as there are members who make LS! :D

Please don't take offense, but in order for us to better help troubleshoot problem batches in the future it's best to post in the RECIPE FEEDBACK FORUM. Include a printout of your recipe and details of the method you used. :thumbs:;)
 
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Update!
I sequestered the soap for about a week, scooped out the white part and added Koh to it.
Now it looks and feels like a cross between heated mozzarella and pudding! 😂
I don't know what will happen next, but I'm having fun in the meantime.
Till next time!

Edit:
I have a theory. Could it be that coconut oil separated from sunflower oil and saponified too but later, therefore creating a layer on top? 🤔
 

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ResolvableOwl

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@Romiriam
At first glimpse: congrats to your cheese fondue! 😂

Then I read the text and was, umm, confused. First off, @Zany_in_CO is most likely right: coconut oil is a notorious fast-tracer and will react with lye very quickly, to form a thin, runny liquid soap. If anything in there is lazy, then it's the sunflower and/or the olive oil. There is just no way how lauric oils (coconut) can form such slimy soap. But oleic/linoleic oils (olive, sunflower) do.
What might help now: heat (like Zany suggested), time (let it sit for another few days to let the new KOH react), and/or indeed a bit more water (dilution makes the slime less viscous, and helps the soap “finished on the second attempt” to collect at the bottom). It also might be the case, though, that this goo just refuses to accept that it is intended to become soap, and stays more or less that way forever. I have no idea why oils sometime decide to act that way, but they do.
 
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That white layer is telling you the soap needs still more KOH.

Ideally the calculations should give you accurate numbers. But with liquid soap, sometimes even a small error can make a big difference in how the soap behaves, as in this case.
Same thing happened to me…can I just scape off the top and use the liquid below?
 

Zany_in_CO

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Same thing happened to me…can I just scape off the top and use the liquid below?
Maybe. It all depends on what caused that much foam.

Allow it to sequester for two full weeks before deciding what to do. If only a narrow white film lingers on top, you may be able to spritz it with alcohol to then incorporate it into the batch.

NOTE: Use a light touch. Too much alcohol can flatten the lather.

ETA: If that doesn't help, please start a new thread. Include your recipe, method and any additives or other helpful info to make it easier to troubleshoot. :)
 
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Maybe. It all depends on what caused that much foam.

Allow it to sequester for two full weeks before deciding what to do. If only a narrow white film lingers on top, you may be able to spritz it with alcohol to then incorporate it into the batch.

NOTE: Use a light touch. Too much alcohol can flatten the lather.

ETA: If that doesn't help, please start a new thread. Include your recipe, method and any additives or other helpful info to make it easier to troubleshoot. :)
I don’t think mine is foam… I think it is unsaponified oils. My super fat was kind of high and I did not account for the CA.
 

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