Preferred Chelating Agents

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Sacto

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When it comes to using chelating agents, what are your preferences? I know some use EDTA others Sodium Citrate. Are there others you prefer to use? Also, why do you prefer one over the other?

I have been using Citric Acid and Sodium Hydroxide to make my own Sodium Citrate.
 

earlene

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I use Tetrasodium EDTA because in combination with ROE, it is effective against DOS (per Dr. Kevin Dunn's testing).

I have not tried Citric Acid, so cannot compare.

According to Kevin Dunn's experiments the combination of BHT and sodium citrate was more effective than EDTA + ROE, but when I made my decision it was based on a feeling at the time, that BHT sounded a bit less desirable than EDTA as an additive to my soaps.

Reference: http://cavemanchemistry.com/DreadedOrangeSpot-Dunn.pdf (skip to page 3, second column for the results)
 

IrishLass

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I use tetrasodium EDTA. I've never used sodium citrate, so I cannot compare. I chose to use EDTA simply because it's an ingredient I always have on hand as a part of my preservative system for my lotion formula.

I started using it in my CP soap about 6 years ago or so when I learned it could also help lessen the build-up of soap scum from showering with my soap in our hard water (we have crazy hard water), and it has helped tremendously with that.

RE: DOS- I've only ever gotten DOS once or twice in all of my 12 years of soaping , but the fact that it helps with that, too, is a wonderful extra bonus to me.

Lastly, its unique preservative-boosting qualities are also a nice bonus to my liquid soap formulas that I make for myself and family, for which I have chosen to forego using a preservative. Although EDTA is not a preservative in and of itself (i.e. it doesn't have the ability to actively kill molds and bacteria), it does have the ability to weaken them by disrupting their digestive system so that it's hard for them to thrive.


IrishLass :)
 

BattleGnome

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I use citric acid. This decision was mostly made because I had purchased 10# of it on sale for bath bombs right before I fell in the CP rabbit hole then shoved it in the back of the cabinet. I think I’ve made 2 batches of bath bombs and probably have 9 pounds of citric acid left (even after I started using a chelator about a year ago)
 

Sacto

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I use EDTA, because I was having trouble with citric acid crystallizing. on the outside of my soap
I'm curious, what does it look like? (The crystallized citric acid that is.) Does it look like soda ash? Also, what percentage were you using?
 

neonstudy

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I just finished making soap with varying amounts of citric acid. I used 0, 1, 2 and 3% citric acid, and added extra lye to compensate as per blog posting by classic bells about citric acid. I was hoping that the 3% citric acid would be outrageous, and I'd have weird crystals, or blobby soap, or something, but it actually feels great and looks normal (no crystals). The 3% soap feels less squeaky than the others. I have to motivate myself to try something higher now, like 5 or 10% for comparison, although my old citric soaps will then be more than a month older than the new test. We'll see if I feel motivated or not. So anyways, as of right now, I am a fan of 3% citric acid.
 

gloopygloop

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I just finished making soap with varying amounts of citric acid. I used 0, 1, 2 and 3% citric acid, and added extra lye to compensate as per blog posting by classic bells about citric acid. I was hoping that the 3% citric acid would be outrageous, and I'd have weird crystals, or blobby soap, or something, but it actually feels great and looks normal (no crystals). The 3% soap feels less squeaky than the others. I have to motivate myself to try something higher now, like 5 or 10% for comparison, although my old citric soaps will then be more than a month older than the new test. We'll see if I feel motivated or not. So anyways, as of right now, I am a fan of 3% citric acid.
Whoops not got to grips with this new format yet!
I now use Sodium Citrate where as before I was using Citric Acid neutralised with extra lye, have not used EDTA but may do in the future, the Citrate does help hugely with soap scum as did the Citric.
 
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Steve85569

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I use sodium citrate that I have reacted and dried slowly in the oven ( set on warm). It does take a bit to get it dissolved ( just wait a few seconds stirring) but I do not use more than 2% PPO. Sodium Citrate is a salt that really likes water and can soften soap for that reason. Soap can also only hold so much salt before it starts to produce "ash". Sometimes it's soda ash and sometimes the look can be sodium citrate, sodium acetate (vinegar for hardening), table salt etc...
 

Dahila

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I used CA then switched to sodium citrate, but the best results are when I use EDTA ;)
 

gloopygloop

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I use SC @2% of total oil batch NOT 2% ppo and find it is working very well, not softening my soap and as I HP dont have any ash issues, it really helps a huge amount at reducing soap scum as I live in a very hard water area. I shall be trying it with a CPOP to see what happens but interesting to hear the positives of EDTA.
 

Saffron

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I find handmade soaps with EDTA make my skin dry and rough. Has anyone else experienced that?
 

Shelldybop

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Hey, I'm new here. Been lurking for a while :)

So I'm making bar soap for hardwater, and had planned on adding citric acid to hp with sf and scent instead of citrate... it seemed idiot proof... has anyone done this and had it work well? Are there any useful guides on how much to use?

I know it depends on recipe, and ph testing after the cook is the way to go, but Im having trouble nailing down an exact ph for CA, and a formula for how much to use to get a 7 or 7.5 ph

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, I searched and couldn't find anything
 

shunt2011

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Hey, I'm new here. Been lurking for a while :)

So I'm making bar soap for hardwater, and had planned on adding citric acid to hp with sf and scent instead of citrate... it seemed idiot proof... has anyone done this and had it work well? Are there any useful guides on how much to use?

I know it depends on recipe, and ph testing after the cook is the way to go, but Im having trouble nailing down an exact ph for CA, and a formula for how much to use to get a 7 or 7.5 ph

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere, I searched and couldn't find anything
Hello and welcome! PH testing is useless in soap. You can't bring the ph down to 7-7.5. it will not then be soap. Soap's PH is generally 9-11. Zap testing is all you need when making soap. You want to know if there is any free lye. For Citric Acid, you will need to add more lye to account for the lye the citric will take in. DeeAnna has a great information here on all things soapy https://classicbells.com/soap/soapyStuff.html
 

cmzaha

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I'm curious, what does it look like? (The crystallized citric acid that is.) Does it look like soda ash? Also, what percentage were you using?
Looks a lot like soda ash but you could feel it. My usage rate was 2% of my total batch weight
 

cmzaha

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I have no issues with EDTA and no complaints from customers plus I find it much easier to use than citric acid with no crystallization on the outside of my soaps
 

Shelldybop

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Hello and welcome! PH testing is useless in soap. You can't bring the ph down to 7-7.5. it will not then be soap. Soap's PH is generally 9-11. Zap testing is all you need when making soap. You want to know if there is any free lye. For Citric Acid, you will need to add more lye to account for the lye the citric will take in. DeeAnna has a great information here on all things soapy https://classicbells.com/soap/soapyStuff.html
Thanks for the link, some very useful info :)

I'm interested in citric acid as a chelator for magnesium/calcium in hardwater, so looking to add it after the cook in HP and not into the soap while it is still caustic.

Ive been looking at its use in lotions ect., but cant seem to find consistent guides on how much is ok to use.

Would really appreciate any shared experience!
 

DeeAnna

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"...I'm interested in citric acid as a chelator for magnesium/calcium in hardwater, so looking to add it after the cook in HP and not into the soap while it is still caustic...."

It isn't citric acid that is the chelator. The chelator is citrate, meaning the dissociated salt of sodium hydroxide and citric acid.

You don't want citric acid to stay in its acid form, even if you could make it follow your orders. You want the acid to dissociate (break apart) into citrate to function properly as a chelator.

Citric acid WILL dissociate in an alkaline (high pH) environment, such as in soap, no matter when you add the acid. The result is that citric acid will raise the superfat unless you add the extra NaOH to compensate for the dissociation of the citric acid.

"...cant seem to find consistent guides on how much is ok to use..."

You won't find consistent guidelines for how much to use, because there is no one right answer -- there is a range of typical dosages for its use as a chelator in soap. More: https://classicbells.com/soap/citricAcid.html

If you're looking at its use in lotions and trying to extrapolate that to its use in soap, this is an apples and oranges comparison.
 

Nanditasr

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You won't find consistent guidelines for how much to use, because there is no one right answer -- there is a range of typical dosages for its use as a chelator in soap. More: https://classicbells.com/soap/citricAcid.html
Thanks; this is most useful. I used 10 grams per kilo of oil (plus appropriate extra lye), and it worked like a charm. No more scum in my bath water, and it made my hair more shiny! I have a couple of questions on a related note:

1. Just for curiosity, I did my dishes with this soap. Definitely less scum in the sink than with my earlier soaps. (I deliberately used soaps with the same SF %, for a fair comparison.) But not totally gone -- I see dry white droplets on my stainless steel dishes -- not as much as before, but it's still there. Therefore, should I up the citric acid until I get to the stage of no droplets on the dishes? Will it be harsh on the hands if I do this?

2. Suppose I use 20 grams per kilo of oil, for a bath soap (formulating it for harder water). If I then use this soap in softer water, will there be a problem? Will this feel stripping?
 
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