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Particulates in my master batched lye solution

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TeresaT

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I master batched a 50% solution a couple of weeks ago. I used approximately 20 oz each NaOH and distilled water. After it completely dissolved and cooled down, I poured it into an empty vinegar bottle with screw on lid. I've been using it fir my soaping and noticed some particulate matter in the solution. Before I use the solution, I made sure the lid is on tightly and give it a few good shakes. I was pretty careful when I weighed by water and NaOH, I definitely double checked the weights before I combined them, and I stirred until completely dissolved. The only thing I can think of is that either I didn't completely rinse the soap out of the vinegar bottle after I washed it or I used one that I didn't actually wash, just rinsed out "well" with copious amounts if water. (I have a bunch of them saved. I don't remember if they're washed or just rinsed and I didn't consider it when I made the solution.)

So, has that ever happened to anyone? I've made two batches with it when it dawned on me, "this might be an issue." Should I discard the solution? The interesting thing is both batches failed to reach a medium trace after SBing for 10 minutes. However, it was "cold" when I soaped. It was only 77 degrees with a 70% humidity and all of the oils and solution were at room temperature. I've never soaped that cold. It's always been at least 85 degrees at room temperature or the oils & lye solution were hot.

This is the recipe I used. It's a master batch I made at the same time and a slow mover to boot (because I made the wrong one). (There are three mistakes I've made here. Using a master batch recipe that I'm not 100% sure of. Using a master batched solution for the first time. Experimenting with EO anchors. I'm living dangerously.)

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TeresaT

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I'm on my iPhone, so I have to do these one at a time. This is what it looks like.

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TeresaT

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Last one. This is left in the cup after I pour it off. I don't know why these are sideways. Sorry!

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IrishLass

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Theresa- when you make your 50% lye solution, do you add back the water that evaporates during mixing before you bottle it? That's what I do when I make mine. It turns out that my solution looses about 6 or 7 grams of water to evaporation while mixing it. I just add it back in before I bottle it.

Also- I always strain mine as I'm pouring it into my storage bottle. I use silk in my master-batched solution and sometimes not all of it dissolves perfectly.

Re: the particulates. Do they float on top? If so, they are not lye. Lye will sink to the bottom. It could very well be soap residue from when you washed the bottle. I've had that happen to me before. I no longer wash my lye solution container with soap. I just rinse it out with water (it's clean enough from the lye solution itself, if you know what I mean).

Your posted recipe looks like a very slow-mover to me, so it could very well be a contributing factor.

I wouldn't throw the solution out. Instead I would try the solution with a faster mover and see what happens. A recipe with a fair amount of PKO and cocoa butter and lots of castor should do nicely....oh, and maybe an ornery FO, too. ;)


IrishLass :)
 

kchaystack

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It is probably soda ash. The lye is reacting with the CO2 in the air. It won't hurt the soap - but it is weakening your solution a bit. I only mix up enough to last me about a week or 10 days if I am going to be making alot of soap for that reason.
 

TeresaT

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Theresa- when you make your 50% lye solution, do you add back the water that evaporates during mixing before you bottle it? That's what I do when I make mine. It turns out that my solution looses about 6 or 7 grams of water to evaporation while mixing it. I just add it back in before I bottle it.

Also- I always strain mine as I'm pouring it into my storage bottle. I use silk in my master-batched solution and sometimes not all of it dissolves perfectly.

Re: the particulates. Do they float on top? If so, they are not lye. Lye will sink to the bottom. It could very well be soap residue from when you washed the bottle. I've had that happen to me before. I no longer wash my lye solution container with soap. I just rinse it out with water (it's clean enough from the lye solution itself, if you know what I mean).

Your posted recipe looks like a very slow-mover to me, so it could very well be a contributing factor.

I wouldn't throw the solution out. Instead I would try the solution with a faster mover and see what happens. A recipe with a fair amount of PKO and cocoa butter and lots of castor should do nicely....oh, and maybe an ornery FO, too. ;)


IrishLass :)
No. This is the first time I have master batched lye. It never occurred to me to check for evaporation.

Yes, they're floaters! It actually does look like soap scum, now that I'm examining it closely.

I will strain the whole thing and put it into a fresh vinegar bottle. I just emptied one yesterday and haven't done anything to it yet. I'll just rinse it out a bit and do the switch. I can't do anything about evaporation now, but I'll remember to check for it the next time. I'll also remember to strain the solution first.

I will use my master batch oils, this solution and some clove EO. I know that is an accelerator. I'll do everything the same as yesterday except swap the citronella with the clove to see if that makes a difference. I don't really want to adjust the oils and the EO at the same time because then I won't know which madevthe difference.

Thank you so much for your help! When I master batched, I did the wrong recipe. My "go-to" recipe is 50% lard, 30% OO, 15% CO & 5% Castor. Same ingredients as this, different percentages. I didn't realize until I had the OO & CO in the pot and the lard melting. I didn't realize what a huge difference it would make. Soaping is such fun!

Edit: i use silk too. But I was afraid to add it to this master batch. How much silk do you put in your master batch? I usually just pinch off a piece about 1/2 the size of a cotton ball for a 2# batch of soap and smoosh it through a sieve if it doesn't all dissolve. Your way sounds so much easier. I also add 2% citric acid to every batch. Is there any way to master batch that, too?
 
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TeresaT

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TEG, I just looked at the phone app and remembered why I no longer use it. I can't stand all of the adds. Is there any way to turn them off there like I did here?
 

IrishLass

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i use silk too. But I was afraid to add it to this master batch. How much silk do you put in your master batch? I usually just pinch off a piece about 1/2 the size of a cotton ball for a 2# batch of soap and smoosh it through a sieve if it doesn't all dissolve. Your way sounds so much easier
That is pretty much the same amount of silk that I like to use, too. When I make my lye solution, I estimate how many of my normal batches my solution will make, then I pinch off as many pieces of silk as I'll need for that many batches. Next, I pull each pinch apart until it looks like a wispy cobweb, and then add it to my water to soak for about 20 minutes before I add my lye to it. I would say that about 98-9% of it dissolves, with 1 to 2% of leftover bits flotsam and jetsam that get strained out.

I also add 2% citric acid to every batch. Is there any way to master batch that, too?
Do you mean adding the citric to your master-batched lye solution or just making up a master-batched solution of citric alone? For what it's worth, I use tetrasodium EDTA in all my batches for probably the same reason you use citric, but I've never tried adding it to my master-batched lye solution. Just the thought alone of trying to figure out the math to be able to do that stops me in my tracks, because I add the EDTA based on my total batch weight, including any additives I may choose to use for any given batch, which means that not all my batches weigh the same. lol

However, I do master-batch my powdered EDTA into a 39% solution that's easier to weigh out and incorporate into my batches- it's much less messy than having to deal with dissolving the powder each time (39% is a good solution strength for EDTA to where it won't precipitate out of solution, btw). I'm not sure what would be a good strength for citric, though. Oh- and with my EDTA solution there's a little bit of a math calculation/conversion I have to perform in order to make sure my batch will contain the proper amount of actual (powdered) EDTA, but it's a very simple calculation.

I'd be curious to know if anyone has tried to do the same kind of thing with citric. Hopefully someone will chime in on that.


IrishLass :)
 

TeresaT

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I totally suck at math. So, to make things easier for myself, I've been making 2# batches. This way, I know that I have to add 18 gm citric acid to the water to dissolve it and an extra 11 gm NaOH to the total weight of the NaOH. I can't imagine doing anything more complicated. Figuring out the extra water in my recipe for the 50% solution is taxing my brain capacity.

Since I've been using the 50% solution, I weigh that out and drop my silk into it. Then I weigh my distilled water into a different jar and add the CA to that. Once the CA is dissolved, I add that solution to the lye/silk and add the extra 11 gm NaOH to the bunch and stir until it is dissolved. The heat from the extra NaOH helps dissolve the silk. Whatever is left gets smooshed through a fine sieve. That gets all of the liquid out of the silk and sometimes is just the thing needed to break up the silk fibers completely. I'm going to stick with the citric acid for awhile. Then maybe test sodium citrate before I try out EDTA. I already use sodium lactate in all my batches. I want to keep the chemicals down to as few as possible while still making a good soap.
 
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The Efficacious Gentleman

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TEG, I just looked at the phone app and remembered why I no longer use it. I can't stand all of the adds. Is there any way to turn them off there like I did here?

This forum where you get your wonderful information cost money to run, money that comes through 2 ways - people pay to help support it or they don't pay directly but have more advertising. By blocking ads and not donating, you could be putting the viability of this forum in jeopardy
 

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The only thing I can think of is that either I didn't completely rinse the soap out of the vinegar bottle after I washed it or I used one that I didn't actually wash, just rinsed out "well" with copious amounts if water. (I have a bunch of them saved. I don't remember if they're washed or just rinsed and I didn't consider it when I made the solution.)
Since others have helped with the actual issues, I just wanted to comment on this. :) When I was in college, my chem profs instructed us to clean our glassware by rinsing it three times, using DI water for the third rinse. And by rinsing, we would put in maybe a quarter full of water, and then swirl it around and rotate it as we dumped the water out, to make sure we got all surfaces.

I still rinse that way any time I need to rinse something for reuse without using soap. And if it's a test tube or something else needed for reactions or anything else resembling chem lab operations, I do all three rinses with DI/distilled water.
 

TeresaT

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That's funny. I filtered the lye twice and rinsed out the bottle a couple of times. Then, just for good measure, I got the distilled water out and did it again. I finished rebatching my first disaster and came online. And saw your excellent advice. I'm glad I did the distilled water and wasn't just being paranoid about it.
 

FlybyStardancer

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I really want to get a good RO unit for a sink... At my college, the chem professors would get together during the summer break and make the DI water, which was then stored in a tank and piped in to all of the lab sinks for the building. I so miss having it on tap!
 
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