Question about gel

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bookreader451

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I just made my first CP soap ever. I soaped at 106 degrees and used 28.14% water as ratio to oils. I was worried about partial gel so I am just leaving it out on my table covered with the lid that came with the mold. I took the temperature and it is about 132 degrees right now. Will I still get a partial gel if it is getting that warm in the center?

I did a three color in the pot swirl and other than the colors blending a lot on the top as I textured it I am really happy with the way it looks and I am afraid I will have a big blob in the center where it partially gelled.
 

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KristaY

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Do you want to gel or avoid gel?

If you're trying to encourage it, leave the lid on. You can cover with a light towel or cloth if you want. If you want to avoid gel, pop it in the fridge or freezer but you'd want to do that immediately after making the soap.

If you do end up with partial gel it'll be aesthetic only so the quality of the soap won't be affected, only the appearance. I've had a couple of partial gels and the effect can be pretty cool looking! I know it's not the look you want with this batch but don't get overly stressed out about it. Sometimes the soap will do what the soap wants to do!
 

bookreader451

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I was trying to avoid gel. I thought that if I just left it out by the window ac unit it wouldn't get hot enough to gel, but when I saw it heating up I was afraid of partial gel. So next time I guess I will put it in the fridge as soon as I am done and this time I just have to wait and see if it gels on me.
 

DeeAnna

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Keeping the soap cooler is certainly a strategy that can help, but it's not necessarily a surefire solution. A reliable way to avoid gel is to use less water in your recipes.

Less water doesn't keep the soap cooler. What less water does is increase the temperature at which that particular soap will go into the gel phase. Use 33% or higher lye concentration (this is not "water as % of oils"). That will help a lot.

You can put your soap mold on something like some soup cans so air can flow under and all around the molded soap. Direct a fan on the soap. That's an efficient way to cool the mold that doesn't tie up your fridge or freezer. Cool, flowing air can be more efficient at cooling than cold, still air.
 

bookreader451

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Thanks I did use a 33% lye solution. Next time I will either insulate and commit to gel or refrigerate. I will see what happens when I unmold it.
 

penelopejane

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Thanks I did use a 33% lye solution. Next time I will either insulate and commit to gel or refrigerate. I will see what happens when I unmold it.
You said you used 28.14% water as % of oils that is equal to 31% lye concentration (if you used OO) not 33% lye concentration. That extra 2% will make a big difference.
 
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Baqn

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Don't worry. It shouldn't gel. I think so. 28% water is pretty low for beginner but it looks nice on the picture. Keep on working like that ;)
 

DeeAnna

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Did you use the default water as % of oils setting? If so, that's 38% water as % of oils, not 28%. At 38% water as % of oils, the lye concentration will range anywhere from 26% to 31%, depending on the fats in the recipe. That range of lye concentration is right in the range where gelling is fairly likely.

If you really did use 28% water as % of oils, then the lye concentration will be a fair bit higher -- maybe in the 35% to 40% lye concentration. The actual lye concentration will depend on the fats in your recipe. Soap made with that range of lye concentration is much less likely to go into gel.
 

bookreader451

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I used soap calc and that is what the recipe said the % was. I used 33% lye concentration as the basis of the calculation with a 5% superfat and that is what it said.
 

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bookreader451

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Don't worry. It shouldn't gel. I think so. 28% water is pretty low for beginner but it looks nice on the picture. Keep on working like that ;)
Thanks for the encouraging words. I researched the heck out of soapmaking before trying it. Then watched youtube to see how to make it pretty. I have been using melt and pour and making body butters and sugar scrubs.....decided it was time to finally dive into CP.
 

DeeAnna

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Okay, so now I understand. Thank you for sharing your recipe so I can see the entire picture. Yes, you are correct -- your recipe is set at 33% lye concentration and that happens for this particular recipe to also be 28% water as % of oils.

A 33% lye concentration is perfectly safe and fine for beginners as well as for accomplished soapers, so stick with it if you like how your soap behaves at that lye concentration. The soap at 33% lye concentration is not very likely to go into gel. It could, but not very likely.

Speaking in general, the water as % of oils percentage isn't nearly as helpful as lye concentration in predicting how the soap might react. I suggest leaving the "water as % of oils" percentage out of the story -- lye concentration is plenty fine.
 

bookreader451

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Okay, so now I understand. Thank you for sharing your recipe so I can see the entire picture. Yes, you are correct -- your recipe is set at 33% lye concentration and that happens for this particular recipe to also be 28% water as % of oils.

A 33% lye concentration is perfectly safe and fine for beginners as well as for accomplished soapers, so stick with it if you like how your soap behaves at that lye concentration. The soap at 33% lye concentration is not very likely to go into gel. It could, but not very likely.

Speaking in general, the water as % of oils percentage isn't nearly as helpful as lye concentration in predicting how the soap might react. I suggest leaving the "water as % of oils" percentage out of the story -- lye concentration is plenty fine.
Thanks for the reassurance. I thought I had things right. I was so worried about measurements I used a pipet to make sure every oil was exact.
 

jcandleattic

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Are steric spots from the palm? I melted it in the container before I measured it
Yes, stearic spots typically come from palm. The oils may have started to cool a bit before you actually poured your soap.

Honestly I can't see any spots, but that is probably my computer, more than anything else.
Did you use a wire cutter? Sometimes cutting ungelled soap too soon will give spots to a soap as well.
 

KristaY

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Yes, they're from the PO. My oils are always clear and at about 100 - 110 F when I add the lye water. I always gel and sometimes I get stearic spots and sometimes I don't. The only real correlation I've noticed is I usually get more stearic spots with accelerating FO/EO's and none with well behaved FO/EO's. I don't know if that's because those accelerating scents make the batter heat faster and higher or what. I just know to expect them when I use a bratty FO.
 

penelopejane

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I used soap calc and that is what the recipe said the % was. I used 33% lye concentration as the basis of the calculation with a 5% superfat and that is what it said.
So sorry. I really hadn't seen a recipe before where 33% lye conc was equivalent to 28% water as a percent of oils! When I plugged in OO as you hadn't posted the recipe it was way different. So, sorry about that.

The stearic spots are avoidable if you soap at 110-115*F I know that is pretty close to what you used but next time try a little hotter. After you poured all those layers your soap probably cooled down a fair bit.

I always gel my soaps because it is easier for me to avoid partial gel that way. I am not sure what putting a soap into the fridge or on an airflow rack after you finish it does to stearic spots. I've not had a problem with stearic spots and accelerating FO's because I never use accelerating FO's! Too difficult for me. :rolleyes:
 

drummergirl

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I really appreciate all of this info on gel. I have been avoiding it, even though I want to to get brighter and deeper color with natural plant colorants. The last time I covered a soap was my dog soap bars - I used lard instead of shea and used canola oil. Colorant was ground safflower petals. I covered it a room temp but it cracked open and being afraid of a volcano, I uncovered and put in the fridge. I had to cut the cracked part off. Now I wonder if the EO's I used accelerated and caused heat - anise? My current soap went into the fridge to avoid gel because I can't abide wasting my time and money on cracks or messes. When you gel - are you using mostly soft oils? I soap palm free but use coconut and shea and also lard in some recipes. I have been soaping now at room temp, masterbatching my lye, in order to be more efficient and avoid glycerin rivers and cracking.
 
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