Please help! Lye pockets maybe?!

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Steffane

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I have made close to 200 bars of soap for a market I have this weekend. My soap molds are small and only make 16 bars so if you do the math I have made about 12 loaves of soap. Every single soap loaf has lye pockets in it, I think. They are these white blobs in my soap that leak glycerin. The market is on Saturday and being that today is Thursday I’m thinking I need to cancel. However I need to solve this problem because I have another market coming up in a few weeks. I have no idea what is causing this. I make my soap through hot process, I make sure that the soap is cooked for at least an hour, then I do the zap test and have never had an issue. My recipe hasn’t changed in three years so I really have no idea what could be causing this. Any help would be very appreciated
 

shunt2011

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What makes you think they are lye pockets? Have you zap tested them? PH strips won’t tell you anything. Also, how long have they been cured. If just made they won’t be ready to sell for 4-6 weeks.
 
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cmzaha

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If you have been making soap for 3 years you should know a week cure is not long enough and I doubt your soap is leaking glycerin. What is the possibility it is leaking fragrance oil that is not mixed in well? Also, the white blobs look like either dried soap from scraping the sides of the pot or some that did not get colored well. You do know that ph paper strips pretty much mean nothing when it comes to soap I assume?

I am sorry, but if you have soaped for 3 years and are selling and have had 12 batches act badly I suggest you step and reassess your method, measurements, check your scale etc. If I have one batch go south I step back and think about what happened.
 

Steffane

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What makes you think they are lye pockets? Have you zap tested them? PH strips won’t tell you anything. Also, how long have they been cured. If just made they won’t be ready to sell for 4-6 weeks.
I zap tested them when they were done cooking and going through the different stages of Hot Processing. Technically hot process soap is ready to use right after cooking but I like to wait at least a week before doing anything with them. Just based off of research and trouble shooting, I assumed they were lye pockets leaking glycerin.
 

Steffane

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If you have been making soap for 3 years you should know a week cure is not long enough and I doubt your soap is leaking glycerin. What is the possibility it is leaking fragrance oil that is not mixed in well? Also, the white blobs look like either dried soap from scraping the sides of the pot or some that did not get colored well. You do know that ph paper strips pretty much mean nothing when it comes to soap I assume?

I am sorry, but if you have soaped for 3 years and are selling and have had 12 batches act badly I suggest you step and reassess your method, measurements, check your scale etc. If I have one batch go south I step back and think about what happened.
I don’t used fragrance oils or any dyes or artificial coloring. I do however scent with essential oils. I don’t normally use pH strips but I was just testing in case they were highly acidic because I couldn’t figure out what could be causing it. I thought maybe that it was just dried soap also but it has droplets coming out of the white pockets so I assumed it was glycerin. It could be nothing and I would be over the moon if it was. Also are you saying when you do Hot Process soaping you let your soap dry/cure for longer? Isn’t that the point of doing Hot Process soap? To not have such a longer curing time? I mean I could be completely wrong and have just been doing it wrong this entire time.
 
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GML

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Some say to let the soap cure for 1 to 2 weeks, others say 3 to 4 weeks.
 

DeeAnna

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"...Also are you saying when you do Hot Process soaping you let your soap dry/cure for longer? Isn’t that the point of doing Hot Process soap? To not have such a longer curing time?..."

You're confusing the time to saponify with the time to cure. Two entirely different things, although hot process soapers often confuse the two.

Hot process soap is done saponifying in a few hours. Cold process soap is usually done saponifying in a day or two. That's ALL the time you save when making soap with a hot process method versus cold. Just a day or day and a half, tops.

After that, the cure time starts. Every soap -- HP or CP -- needs at least 4 weeks of cure so it is nicely hard, lasts longer, lathers well, and is as mild as possible. Some soapers even cure their HP soap a couple of weeks longer than their CP soap since HP soap is often made with more water. It needs more time to lose that extra water.

If you're selling your soap a week after its made, you are selling soap that is comparatively soft, won't last as long, and probably isn't lathering nearly as well as it could. If those qualities are not important to you, sure go ahead and sell. But understand 1-week-old soap isn't going to be close to its best so early in the game.
 

Elena 64

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I am sorry, but if you have soaped for 3 years and are selling and have had 12 batches act badly I suggest you step and reassess your method, measurements, check your scale etc. If I have one batch go south I step back and think about what happened.
I would cancel Saturday's event and follow the advice above; while this would read all about HP in this forum.
You received great advice, your soap is not ZAP so it's a matter of understanding about the cure because you certainly want to make it a successful business.
Your victory / failure will be everyone's.
I don't even think about selling yet. Not that I don't want to.
 

Steffane

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"...Also are you saying when you do Hot Process soaping you let your soap dry/cure for longer? Isn’t that the point of doing Hot Process soap? To not have such a longer curing time?..."

You're confusing the time to saponify with the time to cure. Two entirely different things, although hot process soapers often confuse the two.

Hot process soap is done saponifying in a few hours. Cold process soap is usually done saponifying in a day or two. That's ALL the time you save when making soap with a hot process method versus cold. Just a day or day and a half, tops.

After that, the cure time starts. Every soap -- HP or CP -- needs at least 4 weeks of cure so it is nicely hard, lasts longer, lathers well, and is as mild as possible. Some soapers even cure their HP soap a couple of weeks longer than their CP soap since HP soap is often made with more water. It needs more time to lose that extra water.

If you're selling your soap a week after its made, you are selling soap that is comparatively soft, won't last as long, and probably isn't lathering nearly as well as it could. If those qualities are not important to you, sure go ahead and sell. But understand 1-week-old soap isn't going to be close to its best so early in the game.
Taking all this into consideration, what do you think is causing the marks on my soap? Is it just the dry soap from around the crock? I’m hoping I don’t have to rebatch these but am totally willing just to save what might be tossed if these are ruined.

Also I haven’t had problems with my bars being soft. They are hard after a day or two of “drying”. I have also had clients tell me it’s some of the most lathering homemade soap they have ever had. From all that I had read in books and other soaper pages I was under the understanding that it was fine after a week. This is very discouraging since I have been doing this for a while now and haven’t had any issue until now. But I very much appreciate your advice. I thought this post was going south in the beginning and it’s good to read this before bed and at least have one person giving positive criticism
 

cmzaha

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Your soap will get milder, lather better and last longer with a 4-6 week cure time. I am still betting the white spots are dried soap. BTW, soap is alkaline, not high acid. If it was high acid it would be a ball of mush. :eek:
 

Steffane

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Your soap will get milder, lather better and last longer with a 4-6 week cure time. I am still betting the white spots are dried soap. BTW, soap is alkaline, not high acid. If it was high acid it would be a ball of mush. :eek:
Yea I realized that last night after rereading through my posts haha I don’t think soap having a pH of 9-10 is “acidic” lol
 

Steffane

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Thank you for all of your help you guys! I just want to make sure I making the soap correctly and I'm not harming anyone I sell soap to. My next market is in 4 weeks so these bars should be perfect to sell then. Thanks again <3
 

Quilter99755

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I do HP soap and have for years. I don't sell so the white spots in my soap don't bother me. I know for sure that in my soap it is that I stir the soap at the end and scrape every bit off to plop in the molds. I don't want to leave any soap in the pot. Those bits turn white...even in my soaps that I don't color, those scrapes at the end will be paler than the rest of my soap. If they are at the edges sometimes they will crack off, but for the most part are not a problem.

Sometime during my 2nd or 3rd year of soaping I discovered "curing" my soaps a few more weeks. Now I do a minimum of 4 but mostly 8 weeks and by slowly testing each soap I can definitely tell the difference between a new and cured bar. Hand made soap is so much better than the commercial junk that you don't realize how much better it will be until you cure it longer. One of our members said it is the difference between aged bourbon and moonshine. I liked that analogy a lot!
 

Steffane

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I do HP soap and have for years. I don't sell so the white spots in my soap don't bother me. I know for sure that in my soap it is that I stir the soap at the end and scrape every bit off to plop in the molds. I don't want to leave any soap in the pot. Those bits turn white...even in my soaps that I don't color, those scrapes at the end will be paler than the rest of my soap. If they are at the edges sometimes they will crack off, but for the most part are not a problem.

Sometime during my 2nd or 3rd year of soaping I discovered "curing" my soaps a few more weeks. Now I do a minimum of 4 but mostly 8 weeks and by slowly testing each soap I can definitely tell the difference between a new and cured bar. Hand made soap is so much better than the commercial junk that you don't realize how much better it will be until you cure it longer. One of our members said it is the difference between aged bourbon and moonshine. I liked that analogy a lot!
That is a GREAT analogy! It’s good to know you learned that after your 2nd or 3rd year. It helps me not feel so dumb haha
 

Megan

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I'm still concerned that you say it is leaking fluid...did you zap test the fluid itself? I see you zap tested the batter and the bar...but it shouldn't leak fluid.
 

cmzaha

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I would not zap test the liquid. You could try your test strips on just the leaking liquid which could contain a higher amount of alkaline liquid. If it is oily and amber which it looks like on my screen I am guessing fragrance/eo leaking
 

Steffane

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I'm still concerned that you say it is leaking fluid...did you zap test the fluid itself? I see you zap tested the batter and the bar...but it shouldn't leak fluid.
It is a clear fluid and I did do a zap test on it. It tasted like oil lol so I’m sure it’s essential oils coming out
 
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