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Rubbing alcohol and lye temperature questions

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bhelen

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These seem to be kinda silly questions for someone who has been making soap for several years, but I have recently returned to it after a 4 year gap and I feel I have forgotten quite a bit.

Firstly, is what you call rubbing alcohol the same as the alcohol spray we currently spray everywhere obsessively to avoid Covid?! (I don't live in the States so sometimes the terms people use on the forum confuse me).

Secondly, if my oils are around 100 Fahrenheit, how cool can my lye be? I have always tried to get oils and lye to around the same temperature, but the other day I tried with the lye at around 80 and it was great, it traced nice and slowly.
 

TheGecko

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Firstly, is what you call rubbing alcohol the same as the alcohol spray we currently spray everywhere obsessively to avoid Covid?!
Short answer is yes. But in soap making, Isopropyl Alcohol, which has a higher alcohol content, is generally used. Mind you, its use is dependent on what kind of soap you are making. I make Cold Process Soap and use it to spray the tops to [hopefully] prevent soda ash (doesn't always work).


Secondly, if my oils are around 100 Fahrenheit, how cool can my lye be? I have always tried to get oils and lye to around the same temperature, but the other day I tried with the lye at around 80 and it was great, it traced nice and slowly.
I wouldn't go below room temperature...usually around 70F - 75F. You can get your Lye Solution too cold...@DeeAnna can tell you exactly why. But you want to be careful that the overall temperature of your soap batter doesn't drop too much below the highest melting point of your ingredients as to cause 'false trace' (it's when your Hard Oils start to solidify and aren't emulsified).
 

jcandleattic

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I have always tried to get oils and lye to around the same temperature,
There's no reason to do this.
I soap at room temp lye with my oils warmed up just enough to make sure all my solid oils are melted and the mixture has just become clear. My typical room temp in my soap room can vary between 65-70 degrees F, (18-21C) and I never have problems, unless a FO doesn't want to play nice, but if it's going to be a problem it will be a problem no matter what temp I soap at unless I HP my soap.
 

Todd Ziegler

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I soap at around 85°F - 95°F for my oil and my lye is always around 75°-80°F.

I also force my soap into the gel phase, to shorten the hardening time and make my colors brighter.
 

lsg

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I fix my lye water first and then melt my solid fats/oils and then add them to my liquid oils and blend. By that time the lye water has cleared and is ready to add to the oils.
 
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