salty/rancid smell from soap

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lauratryingsoap

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Hello so I've make several batches of CP soap but every single one has a weird salty/rancid scent. It is strongest immediately after making and mellows out. It doesn't fully go away because I have a bar from 4 years ago that still has this problem. Strange thing is, its not noticeable from the bar itself, but I can smell it on my fingers after I touch a bar. (the first few days after making the soap I can smell it from the actual soap). I don't know whats wrong. Ive tried changing my lyes, my oils, fragrances, colourants, water, tried doing it with hp but I always get this scent.
 

ResolvableOwl

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Mould?

I have had a silicone mould that was probably stored too close to FOs at the seller's warehouse. The first soap batch smelled weird (not exactly objectionable, I just didn't expect it). I had the several new oils under suspicion, just to find out that single-oil soaps from each of them didn't smell at all (of course in another mould…). Weird scents really have a tendency to stick to/soak into silicone.
 

Bubble Agent

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Hello so I've make several batches of CP soap but every single one has a weird salty/rancid scent. It is strongest immediately after making and mellows out. It doesn't fully go away because I have a bar from 4 years ago that still has this problem. Strange thing is, its not noticeable from the bar itself, but I can smell it on my fingers after I touch a bar. (the first few days after making the soap I can smell it from the actual soap). I don't know whats wrong. Ive tried changing my lyes, my oils, fragrances, colourants, water, tried doing it with hp but I always get this scent.
I understand that must be very frustrating. Especially if you can smell it 4 years later, and on your hands too!

But we can`t really help you narrowing things down if you don`t give us any aditional information about which oils, lye, or the process.

High water? Additives? Do you use milks? If so - which ones, cow, goat, or coconut? Do you use high superfat? (lye discount) Are the oils used before (i.e frying oils?) Do you use lard? Do you have brown spots, or is it just sour smelling and without anything showing?

Do you you soap safe equipment? High grade stainless steel is ok, but do you use aluminum? That will foster rancidity.

I am sorry if I am asking a lot of questions, but that just means that we don`t have anything to go on, because there are so many variables that can be the culprit, that it is like shooting an arrow in the dark.

We also preferably need your recipe in %.
Also, where do you cure your soaps? Where do you live, are you in the tropics? The dry desert? Things like that can helps us helping you better.

Noticed just now that @ResolvableOwl mentioned your molds. Good point! Not sure if a 4 year old soap should smell bad after 4 years if the mold had lingering fragrance in it, but who knows, really. Do you clean them between uses?

Have a ponder and get back to us with more info and we will try to help you the best we can, we want you to get this sorted out so you can enjoy making soap again:)
 

ResolvableOwl

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Yes, @lauratryingsoap, it is important to know which oils you replaced by which (botanical/animal sources, suppliers, batches/lots). I can understand your frustration, and believe you that you have done your best to exclude error sources, but maybe someone else finds a culprit from a bit more of a distance.

Noticed just now that @ResolvableOwl mentioned your molds. Good point! Not sure if a 4 year old soap should smell bad after 4 years if the mold had lingering fragrance in it, but who knows, really.
I can still recognise the “original scent” of the moulds in said soaps, nearly a year in. And heck I boiled the hell out of this mould (multiple dishwasher cycles, boiling with dishwashing detergent for > 1 hour). Soaps made in these moulds don't catch the smell noticeably any more, but when I put my nose close to the silicone, I can still smell it.
 

lauratryingsoap

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Mould?

I have had a silicone mould that was probably stored too close to FOs at the seller's warehouse. The first soap batch smelled weird (not exactly objectionable, I just didn't expect it). I had the several new oils under suspicion, just to find out that single-oil soaps from each of them didn't smell at all (of course in another mould…). Weird scents really have a tendency to stick to/soak into silicone.
I have been using different molds so i dont think that is the case :( although i have definitely 'stained' my silicone mold with lots of fragrances
 

Bubble Agent

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I can still recognise the “original scent” of the moulds in said soaps, nearly a year in. And heck I boiled the hell out of this mould (multiple dishwasher cycles, boiling with dishwashing detergent for > 1 hour). Soaps made in these moulds don't catch the smell noticeably any more, but when I put my nose close to the silicone, I can still smell it.
Wow! Ick, that must be super frustrating! I only have silicone molds and neither has that smell, so I can only try and imagine how that must be. Sounds like the chemicals used in the mold are some pretty hefty ones...🤢
 

lauratryingsoap

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I understand that must be very frustrating. Especially if you can smell it 4 years later, and on your hands too!

But we can`t really help you narrowing things down if you don`t give us any aditional information about which oils, lye, or the process.

High water? Additives? Do you use milks? If so - which ones, cow, goat, or coconut? Do you use high superfat? (lye discount) Are the oils used before (i.e frying oils?) Do you use lard? Do you have brown spots, or is it just sour smelling and without anything showing?

Do you you soap safe equipment? High grade stainless steel is ok, but do you use aluminum? That will foster rancidity.

I am sorry if I am asking a lot of questions, but that just means that we don`t have anything to go on, because there are so many variables that can be the culprit, that it is like shooting an arrow in the dark.

We also preferably need your recipe in %.
Also, where do you cure your soaps? Where do you live, are you in the tropics? The dry desert? Things like that can helps us helping you better.

Noticed just now that @ResolvableOwl mentioned your molds. Good point! Not sure if a 4 year old soap should smell bad after 4 years if the mold had lingering fragrance in it, but who knows, really. Do you clean them between uses?

Have a ponder and get back to us with more info and we will try to help you the best we can, we want you to get this sorted out so you can enjoy making soap again:)
I've played with quite a few different recipes so I can't say what the percentages are.
I don't use anything aluminium. The only thing that could possibly have it is my stick blender but i dont have a way to check.
i use 33% lye concentration (although I have changed it around between different recipes)
I use 5% superfat for all of my recipes
i use a combination of palm, coconut, olive, castor, (sometimes sunflower, rice bran) in my recipes. I have noticed though that soaps with higher coconut oil content do have a stronger smell
I haven't tried milks before
additives i've used a range including micas, oxides, charcoal, essential oils, fragrance oils, carrot, honey. but have the same scent regardless of additives
no dos, no weirdness to the soap
i don't pay particular attention to where I cure my soaps. I live in NZ where its not particularly cold or warm or humid or dry. But i've cured in cold damper rooms, warmer dryer rooms etc with the same result
 

Bubble Agent

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I've played with quite a few different recipes so I can't say what the percentages are.
I don't use anything aluminium. The only thing that could possibly have it is my stick blender but i dont have a way to check.
i use 33% lye concentration (although I have changed it around between different recipes)
I use 5% superfat for all of my recipes
i use a combination of palm, coconut, olive, castor, (sometimes sunflower, rice bran) in my recipes. I have noticed though that soaps with higher coconut oil content do have a stronger smell
I haven't tried milks before
additives i've used a range including micas, oxides, charcoal, essential oils, fragrance oils, carrot, honey. but have the same scent regardless of additives
no dos, no weirdness to the soap
i don't pay particular attention to where I cure my soaps. I live in NZ where its not particularly cold or warm or humid or dry. But i've cured in cold damper rooms, warmer dryer rooms etc with the same result
The stickblender:
You have a way to check. Does it have a metal or plastic bell? Also - if you look at the blade, is it matted? Or rusted? Turned black`ish? If it is ANY of the above (rusted, black etc then stop using it right away and get a new one)
However, if it is shiny and not rusted, and looks clean, then it sounds like it is stainless steel blade. That should not be an issue. My food stickblender has an aluminum bell, but stainless steel blade, so that would not have been suitable for soap.

The coconut increases the smell... Have you used the same coconut oil throughout, but switched the other oils? And you use distilled water? Tap water/well water can have metal ions in them that can foster rancidity, even if it doesn`t make it apparrent straight away.

The palm oil, how old is it? Is it a no-stir? How does it smell when you put your nose up to it?

You said i don't pay particular attention to where I cure my soaps:
Well, actually it would be wise to do so. A stable environment is key to let the soaps cure. Fluctuating temps can affect the soaps.

Are they exposed to sunlight/light from windows etc, when you let them cure? Thinking that the warmth of the dryer room/sun will cure them faster, evaporating water quicker etc. ?

Have you tried to use an chelator and ROE before? I am getting out of options now, mentioning everything I can think of under the sun (others may have some better ideas)

If all else fails - if it were me I would try the following:

Make a brand new batch if you can (just a pound).
- All oils must be fresh, straight from the store, no oils from previous stash, but all new oils.
You don`t have to get a lot, just to make a small batch!

-Keep it simple: olive, coconut and castor (and another one if you wish, but we just need to try a new recipe to see if there is anything that will change to the better).

- NO fragrance.

-Use distilled water, new, unopened.

-I would switch the stickblender. If there is someone you can borrow one from that are willing to lend it to you for soap, then I would use that, if it has a stainless teel knife.

-Clean the mold well.
- Make the soap.
- After it has hardened, cut it.
- Let it cure on an airy surface, no metal.
- Cure it in a dry, dark space, with airflow. As dark and dry as you can. Not inside a locked cabinet or drawers, but a dark and dry enough space for it to be able to have circulating air, and stable temps.

If you need to cover them, depending on the surroundings, use gauze cloths or other thin and breathing cloth. Nothing thick, and no plastic.

If you don`t have a suitable dark space, you can use a cardboard box and punch a lot of holes so it can get enough air to circulate, and close the lid, to keep it dark enough. Don`t set it on the floor, set it on a table or on top of a cabinet or whatever is high to get it higher up.

If nothing of the aformentioned advice works I don`t really know what else to say. I will assume that you soap with well cleaned tools, but if you don`t clean the tools really well between uses, you may want to start now so that is not an issue if you want to try a new and fresh batch.

I hope you have found anyting i have said helpfull, and this is all I can think of. Others can perhaps have other insights and ideas.

Good luck :)
 

earlene

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Perhaps the smell is not truly rancidity if you are not also getting color changes. Rancidity in brand new soap made with brand new oils is extremely unlikely. Rancidity in 4 year old soap (that you say has been rancid all along) should have very visible signs. It's called DOS for a reason. The rancidity causes 'Dreaded Orange Spots', hence the term DOS. Over time, these spots grow from smaller yellowish (perhaps sometimes brownish to the eye, I suppose, but to me they look yellowish) to larger softer orange-ish spots, often permeating the entire bar of soap if kept and not tossed out. In addition to that, the odor becomes much much MUCH worse and can travel throughout your house if you keep all your doors open and your house isn't mansion-sized. I mean, this odor is highly offensive (to most people) as the rancidity spreads. Also the spots get softer and stickier than the rest of the bar, and if you keep it around, the whole bar begins to turn to a sort of sticky slightly mushy smelly yellow-orange object that not even a rodent will go near.

But for it to be present in brand new soaps is just very unlikely unless the oils were rancid to start with.

Have you tried any other soapmaker's homemade soap? Does their soap also smell rancid to you? In other words, does your nose perceive the same odor given the same conditions that bring it up in your soap? If you have not tested this out with anyone else's soap, I suggest you attempt to get ahold of homemade soap that uses a formula similar to yours (same oils AND additives, for example) and see what you smell. If you do smell the same things, then I would guess it is you and not the soap. That is not a bad thing, but it would help to narrow down what the problem is.

There are things that can interfere with the sense of smell, so don't discount that possibility. Certain prescription and some OTC drugs & herbal supplements can alter one's sense of smell. It's entirely possible that something like that could affect how certain things smell (I have experienced this myself in the past & it's very disconcerting when it happens!) Although I think you would have noticed other altered odors as well. Pregnancy can cause this too, but I doubt you've been pregnant this whole time. ;)

If you have photos of the soaps in question, that would be helpful to confirm or help rule/out DOS.

I do hope we can help you figure out what is going on here.

Other thoughts: I may have missed it, if asked or answered, but do you always use a particular ingredient? What comes to mind is something that might contain or create sulfur (rotten egg smell) to become a part of your soap.
Do you use teflon-coated pans or utensils in the process of soap making? Teflon+soap=horrible smell, although I don't know what the long term effect is on the soap itself. Do you always use butter (butter like what we spread on toast) or buttermilk or milk?

I read that you said it happens with every single bar of soap, and unless ALL the soaps have at least one ingredient in common, then I'd look elsewhere to the reason for smelling the same offensive odor in all the soaps.

Do you have hyperosmia? Are you a super-smeller? Do you notice odors that other people often cannot even identify? It's a thing, a very real thing.
 

Tara_H

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If the stick blender is the only common factor that would definitely be my first suspicion. I've been surprised by one or two in the past that I thought were perfectly clean and dry only to taken them on and have liquid seep out of the shaft at the seal where the blade is. It seems quite possible that something off-smelling has found it's way in there over time...
 

lauratryingsoap

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Perhaps the smell is not truly rancidity if you are not also getting color changes. Rancidity in brand new soap made with brand new oils is extremely unlikely. Rancidity in 4 year old soap (that you say has been rancid all along) should have very visible signs. It's called DOS for a reason. The rancidity causes 'Dreaded Orange Spots', hence the term DOS. Over time, these spots grow from smaller yellowish (perhaps sometimes brownish to the eye, I suppose, but to me they look yellowish) to larger softer orange-ish spots, often permeating the entire bar of soap if kept and not tossed out. In addition to that, the odor becomes much much MUCH worse and can travel throughout your house if you keep all your doors open and your house isn't mansion-sized. I mean, this odor is highly offensive (to most people) as the rancidity spreads. Also the spots get softer and stickier than the rest of the bar, and if you keep it around, the whole bar begins to turn to a sort of sticky slightly mushy smelly yellow-orange object that not even a rodent will go near.

But for it to be present in brand new soaps is just very unlikely unless the oils were rancid to start with.

Have you tried any other soapmaker's homemade soap? Does their soap also smell rancid to you? In other words, does your nose perceive the same odor given the same conditions that bring it up in your soap? If you have not tested this out with anyone else's soap, I suggest you attempt to get ahold of homemade soap that uses a formula similar to yours (same oils AND additives, for example) and see what you smell. If you do smell the same things, then I would guess it is you and not the soap. That is not a bad thing, but it would help to narrow down what the problem is.

There are things that can interfere with the sense of smell, so don't discount that possibility. Certain prescription and some OTC drugs & herbal supplements can alter one's sense of smell. It's entirely possible that something like that could affect how certain things smell (I have experienced this myself in the past & it's very disconcerting when it happens!) Although I think you would have noticed other altered odors as well. Pregnancy can cause this too, but I doubt you've been pregnant this whole time. ;)

If you have photos of the soaps in question, that would be helpful to confirm or help rule/out DOS.

I do hope we can help you figure out what is going on here.

Other thoughts: I may have missed it, if asked or answered, but do you always use a particular ingredient? What comes to mind is something that might contain or create sulfur (rotten egg smell) to become a part of your soap.
Do you use teflon-coated pans or utensils in the process of soap making? Teflon+soap=horrible smell, although I don't know what the long term effect is on the soap itself. Do you always use butter (butter like what we spread on toast) or buttermilk or milk?

I read that you said it happens with every single bar of soap, and unless ALL the soaps have at least one ingredient in common, then I'd look elsewhere to the reason for smelling the same offensive odor in all the soaps.

Do you have hyperosmia? Are you a super-smeller? Do you notice odors that other people often cannot even identify? It's a thing, a very real thing.
I guess its not the soap being rancid since I've never used rancid oils and no colour changes. I actually haven't used any other handmade soaps but my own. I haven't thought of the possibility but seeing as I'm used to the smell of commercially made soap maybe its a scent present in all handmade soaps. I'll definitely have to grab a few in some markets to try them out.
I only use plastic containers, my plastic + stainless steel (I think) stick blender and silicone molds so teflon wouldn't be an issue.
I've almost always used coconut oil in my recipes always from the same brand so that might be something I need to swap out.
But that you for your input! I am quite sensitive to smells so it definitely could be just me noticing it. I really gotta get my hands on some other soapmakers soap or maybe send my soaps to some experienced soapmakers to give me feedback
 

lauratryingsoap

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The stickblender:
You have a way to check. Does it have a metal or plastic bell? Also - if you look at the blade, is it matted? Or rusted? Turned black`ish? If it is ANY of the above (rusted, black etc then stop using it right away and get a new one)
However, if it is shiny and not rusted, and looks clean, then it sounds like it is stainless steel blade. That should not be an issue. My food stickblender has an aluminum bell, but stainless steel blade, so that would not have been suitable for soap.

The coconut increases the smell... Have you used the same coconut oil throughout, but switched the other oils? And you use distilled water? Tap water/well water can have metal ions in them that can foster rancidity, even if it doesn`t make it apparrent straight away.

The palm oil, how old is it? Is it a no-stir? How does it smell when you put your nose up to it?

You said i don't pay particular attention to where I cure my soaps:
Well, actually it would be wise to do so. A stable environment is key to let the soaps cure. Fluctuating temps can affect the soaps.

Are they exposed to sunlight/light from windows etc, when you let them cure? Thinking that the warmth of the dryer room/sun will cure them faster, evaporating water quicker etc. ?

Have you tried to use an chelator and ROE before? I am getting out of options now, mentioning everything I can think of under the sun (others may have some better ideas)

If all else fails - if it were me I would try the following:

Make a brand new batch if you can (just a pound).
- All oils must be fresh, straight from the store, no oils from previous stash, but all new oils.
You don`t have to get a lot, just to make a small batch!

-Keep it simple: olive, coconut and castor (and another one if you wish, but we just need to try a new recipe to see if there is anything that will change to the better).

- NO fragrance.

-Use distilled water, new, unopened.

-I would switch the stickblender. If there is someone you can borrow one from that are willing to lend it to you for soap, then I would use that, if it has a stainless teel knife.

-Clean the mold well.
- Make the soap.
- After it has hardened, cut it.
- Let it cure on an airy surface, no metal.
- Cure it in a dry, dark space, with airflow. As dark and dry as you can. Not inside a locked cabinet or drawers, but a dark and dry enough space for it to be able to have circulating air, and stable temps.

If you need to cover them, depending on the surroundings, use gauze cloths or other thin and breathing cloth. Nothing thick, and no plastic.

If you don`t have a suitable dark space, you can use a cardboard box and punch a lot of holes so it can get enough air to circulate, and close the lid, to keep it dark enough. Don`t set it on the floor, set it on a table or on top of a cabinet or whatever is high to get it higher up.

If nothing of the aformentioned advice works I don`t really know what else to say. I will assume that you soap with well cleaned tools, but if you don`t clean the tools really well between uses, you may want to start now so that is not an issue if you want to try a new and fresh batch.

I hope you have found anyting i have said helpfull, and this is all I can think of. Others can perhaps have other insights and ideas.

Good luck :)
Wow thank you for your reply!!
1. my stickblender has a plastic bell and no rust (despite years of use) so i'm guessing its not aluminium
2. i have used coconut oil in almost all of my soaps, always from the same brand. So it definitely might be the source of the smell. In terms of water, I recently got some distilled water (i was using tap water previously) and haven't noticed any changes
3. i got some palm oil a few weeks ago and its bb next year january. but i'm not sure what you mean by no stir?
4. currently i'm letting my soaps cure in my garage (where it is cold and more damp) and my room (warm and dry) but i'll have to find a place in my house thats more stable
5. i'm not sure what a chelator and ROE is
I'll definitely have to try making soap with a completely new set of ingredients and equipment. I'll have to get some stuff here and there and hopefully it'll be successfull
 

ResolvableOwl

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what you mean by no stir?
It's a type of palm oil, processed to be easy to work with in soapmaking:
Point is, palm oil varies vastly in quality and is a regular culprit in soap troubleshooting. No-stir is made/ideal for soapmaking, while other varieties might or might not.
 

earlene

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If the stick blender is the only common factor that would definitely be my first suspicion. I've been surprised by one or two in the past that I thought were perfectly clean and dry only to taken them on and have liquid seep out of the shaft at the seal where the blade is. It seems quite possible that something off-smelling has found it's way in there over time...
Good call. My first soaping SBer's rubber-ish seal deteriorated over time & pretty much fell apart. Soap does get up in there & stick, dry out, etc. I pay very close attention to careful cleaning & maintenance of my SBer ever since that happened with the first one I used for soapmaking.
 

Bubble Agent

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Wow thank you for your reply!!
1. my stickblender has a plastic bell and no rust (despite years of use) so i'm guessing its not aluminium
2. i have used coconut oil in almost all of my soaps, always from the same brand. So it definitely might be the source of the smell. In terms of water, I recently got some distilled water (i was using tap water previously) and haven't noticed any changes
3. i got some palm oil a few weeks ago and its bb next year january. but i'm not sure what you mean by no stir?
4. currently i'm letting my soaps cure in my garage (where it is cold and more damp) and my room (warm and dry) but i'll have to find a place in my house thats more stable
5. i'm not sure what a chelator and ROE is
I'll definitely have to try making soap with a completely new set of ingredients and equipment. I'll have to get some stuff here and there and hopefully it'll be successfull
You are very welcome!
Sounds like your stickblender is in the clear then! But if it is old, and you can get a new one, it won`t hurt.
As I mentioned before I assume you are taking care of cleaning all tools well before making soap, and that includes the blender too. Hopefully you will have no more issues when you go through the steps.

Btw - I am happy that you are not giving up on this! Others may have called it quits before gotten to this point, so good for you that you want to stick with it and figure this out! We will cheer you on, and be just as happy as you if you figure this thing out. We want you to succeed😊

@ResolvableOwl explained the palm oil thing better than I would have, so no need for me to repeat.

I can mention that ROE and chelator are ways to protect and prevent issues with oils and soap, just on different levels.
ROE is added to the oils, and the chelator is added to the water before the lye (or dispersed separately with a part of the pre-lye water and combined with the oils when making the soap. Which is what I do)

A chelator in a soap is like the police. It handcufs those bad contaminants (as the crooks they are!) that sneaks in by the back door to the house of innocent soapmolecules and take them straight to prison before they get to make much trouble. Contaminants can come from trace metals from soapmaking tools, or from the factory where the fats and oils are made, or other things. This is not possible to avoid 100%. We can only soap as clean as we can, use clean molds, use fresh ingredients etc.

In this "chelating prison" the contaminants are locked up tight so they can not hurt or interact with those poor innocent soap molecules that really just want to lead a peacefull life all by themselves, eating their popcorn, watching Bubbleflix and chill.
That said, nothing is 100% foolproof, but it is a huge help and makes a real difference.

ROE is sort of like a sunscreen for oils. We use sunscreen to keep our skin healthy as long as possible, avoiding sun damage. You will get a tan eventually, but the likelyhood of burning and getting damages to the skin is decreased a lot because you took precautions. So although ROE won`t be able to hold off oxidation forever, it will prolong the lifespan of your oils quite substationally.

I reccomend you read more about it here, there is a lady here that has a blog that talks about the inner workings of a lot of things in chemistry, so pop in and take a look! I found it not long before I registered with SMF, and have found it to be of a tremendous value, because it explains things in a easy to understand way for someone like me, who needs to be fed things with a tiny spoon. (Thank you @DeeAnna , I am so grateful, I understand this must have taken a lot of work and research!) 🌺
 

Mistrael

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Perhaps the smell is not truly rancidity if you are not also getting color changes. Rancidity in brand new soap made with brand new oils is extremely unlikely. Rancidity in 4 year old soap (that you say has been rancid all along) should have very visible signs. It's called DOS for a reason. The rancidity causes 'Dreaded Orange Spots', hence the term DOS. Over time, these spots grow from smaller yellowish (perhaps sometimes brownish to the eye, I suppose, but to me they look yellowish) to larger softer orange-ish spots, often permeating the entire bar of soap if kept and not tossed out. In addition to that, the odor becomes much much MUCH worse and can travel throughout your house if you keep all your doors open and your house isn't mansion-sized. I mean, this odor is highly offensive (to most people) as the rancidity spreads. Also the spots get softer and stickier than the rest of the bar, and if you keep it around, the whole bar begins to turn to a sort of sticky slightly mushy smelly yellow-orange object that not even a rodent will go near.

But for it to be present in brand new soaps is just very unlikely unless the oils were rancid to start with.

Have you tried any other soapmaker's homemade soap? Does their soap also smell rancid to you? In other words, does your nose perceive the same odor given the same conditions that bring it up in your soap? If you have not tested this out with anyone else's soap, I suggest you attempt to get ahold of homemade soap that uses a formula similar to yours (same oils AND additives, for example) and see what you smell. If you do smell the same things, then I would guess it is you and not the soap. That is not a bad thing, but it would help to narrow down what the problem is.

There are things that can interfere with the sense of smell, so don't discount that possibility. Certain prescription and some OTC drugs & herbal supplements can alter one's sense of smell. It's entirely possible that something like that could affect how certain things smell (I have experienced this myself in the past & it's very disconcerting when it happens!) Although I think you would have noticed other altered odors as well. Pregnancy can cause this too, but I doubt you've been pregnant this whole time. ;)

If you have photos of the soaps in question, that would be helpful to confirm or help rule/out DOS.

I do hope we can help you figure out what is going on here.

Other thoughts: I may have missed it, if asked or answered, but do you always use a particular ingredient? What comes to mind is something that might contain or create sulfur (rotten egg smell) to become a part of your soap.
Do you use teflon-coated pans or utensils in the process of soap making? Teflon+soap=horrible smell, although I don't know what the long term effect is on the soap itself. Do you always use butter (butter like what we spread on toast) or buttermilk or milk?

I read that you said it happens with every single bar of soap, and unless ALL the soaps have at least one ingredient in common, then I'd look elsewhere to the reason for smelling the same offensive odor in all the soaps.

Do you have hyperosmia? Are you a super-smeller? Do you notice odors that other people often cannot even identify? It's a thing, a very real thing.
All. Of. This.
And I speak from some very unpleasant personal experiences when I say your own sense of smell is probably messing with you. If there was genuinely something wrong with your soap there would be more signs and you wouldn't be the only one who notices. I've had this experience with my own soaps and have determined I don't care for the scent of raw or unrefined cocoa butter mid-cure. Also, there are a couple EO blends that smell awful to me in soap after a couple years. As in, there was nothing wrong with those soaps and everyone else liked them, but I had to throw them away for my own sanity. It sucks and I highly recommend sticking with the lowest percentages of fragrance you can manage. I rarely go over 2% with FO or 3% with EO b/c I simply cannot handle any more scent. It's part of why I started soaping, so I could have less fragrance in my daily life. 😂
 

cherrybleach

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maybe the lye or the water or both?
have noticed when I use older batch lye solution my soaps end up smelling a little chemically-earthy-salty. It's a hard smell to describe. The first time it happened I thought my FO had burnt. I've also noticed the smell when I use a certain brands of distilled water. The smell diminishes over time but it never quite goes away. I hate it
 

KiwiMoose

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I sometimes get what i call a 'perm solution' (remember those 80s hairdos?) smell. I mostly occurs when I use coconut milk and the soap gels. For the first day or two it completely takes over any FO I have used, but after a week it disappears and the FO comes back. If you have sensitive smell - it could well be the same smell that I describe, but you can still smell a hint of it years later.
 

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