Same recipe/soap is softer

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FragranceGuy

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Hey soap friends! As a beginner I’ve been making 1lb batches of new recipes. I liked my previous recipe so much that I decided to go into the lye calculator and adjust the recipe to make a 4lb batch. I’m using 45% lard and the first batch made a very hard bar of soap, which I like. 3 weeks ago I made the 4lb batch and these bars aren’t nearly as hard. All of my oils are stored properly and well within their shelf life. Although it’s possible that I made a mistake while measuring, I highly doubt it. I’m a triple checker. Here are a few things I did different from the first batch...

1. The first batch was a total of 5% EOs and the second batch was 6% FOs.

2. The EOs on the first were added at emulsion and the FOs on the second were added at light trace.

3. The first was poured after long emulsion and the second was poured at medium trace.

4. The humidity is higher now than it was the first batch.

Any ideas? Do you think it will harden up by 6 weeks cure? Thank you 🙏
 
A

amd

I agree with earlene, likely it could be a lye concentration difference. When you scaled up your recipe did you make sure that your lye concentration and SF were the same? This is something I often forget to adjust when I scale up or start a new recipe. The difference between SF 3 (my default) and SF 6 (my calc default) usually gives me a softer soap, and an extra week or two cure will put it back on track.
 

FragranceGuy

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Thank you all!! @AliOop I’m relieved to hear your larger batches tend to take a while longer to harden.

@earlene @amd @Tara_H I just checked my recipes and I used a 37% lye concentration for both. I’ve been using lye percentage for a few months now per the lovely advice I’ve gotten from you all here on the forum.

I’m REALLY hoping the softness isn’t being caused by my FOs because I’ve finally found my go-to signature scent blend for unisex, people pleasing yet unique smelling soap.
 

violets2217

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Out of curiosity, how are you storing you lye? I live in a very high humidity place and I had to start storing my lye in an airtight bucket with a damp rid container in it. My lye was becoming clumpy storing it out in the open. It was absorbing moisture from the air and becoming less effective... Just a though!
 

The_Phoenix

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Hmmm. My larger batches are usually harder sooner because they go into gel sooner than much smaller batches. I use a 1.8:1 water:lye ratio.

What did you do differently between the two batches after you poured the soap batter?

Did you use any micas? If so, did you disperse them in extra oil? What mold did you use for the larger batch? What was your super fat % for this batch? Did you keep the sf the same? What else did you change?
 
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Quick story' Cause we both love Scents... " my signature scented So' Peachy Soap " I load'ed w/ FO & EO still designing it' I made this batch back in September' It was really soft, smelled great' 🤣 Re-batched 1/2 then kept the others' I wanted to know if it would ever firm up? It did took 9 months. Your soap may need time' hopfully not 9 months. It held its scent too 🤣😂😀👍🏼
 

FragranceGuy

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@violets2217 I store my lye in the container it came in. It’s Roebic 100% lye. I keep it high in a dark, well ventilated room without plumbing above it. I don’t believe I’m having hygroscopic issues because it pours evenly with the sound of millions of tiny grains of sand. I love that sound!

@The_Phoenix I used 3% super fat for both batches. I didn’t use any micas or additives for the second batch. The first batch I used paprika added directly to the warm oils. The first batch was poured into an unlined plastic Lay’s Stax potato chip container and wrapped with 3 towels and I achieved gel. My second batch was a freezer paper lined cardboard box. I poured 9x6x3 in of soap. Because the cardboard has insulation value and it was such a large slab I was concerned about overheating, so I covered the mold with only 1 towel. I checked the temperature a few hours in and it was 134 degrees F. I decided to leave it alone for 24 hours and when I unmolded it (too early) it was pretty soft and to my surprise, it appeared like it didn’t gel, not even partially 🤷‍♂️ It has a rustic appearance. I’ll post a photo.

@Peachy Clean Soap 😱 9 months!!! 😆🤣 At least it smells wonderful. Did you continue to tweak your fragrance profile?

Here’s documentation of both batches. The pink is batch 1, the white is batch 2…
 

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@violets2217 I store my lye in the container it came in. It’s Roebic 100% lye. I keep it high in a dark, well ventilated room without plumbing above it. I don’t believe I’m having hygroscopic issues because it pours evenly with the sound of millions of tiny grains of sand. I love that sound!

@The_Phoenix I used 3% super fat for both batches. I didn’t use any micas or additives for the second batch. The first batch I used paprika added directly to the warm oils. The first batch was poured into an unlined plastic Lay’s Stax potato chip container and wrapped with 3 towels and I achieved gel. My second batch was a freezer paper lined cardboard box. I poured 9x6x3 in of soap. Because the cardboard has insulation value and it was such a large slab I was concerned about overheating, so I covered the mold with only 1 towel. I checked the temperature a few hours in and it was 134 degrees F. I decided to leave it alone for 24 hours and when I unmolded it (too early) it was pretty soft and to my surprise, it appeared like it didn’t gel, not even partially 🤷‍♂️ It has a rustic appearance. I’ll post a photo.

@Peachy Clean Soap 😱 9 months!!! 😆🤣 At least it smells wonderful. Did you continue to tweak your fragrance profile?
Yes i've been tweaking it. Ive ordered a new FO "Peche de Vigne" that @AliOop suggested looking forward to trying it.
Q. have you run across a "mangosteen" FO' or EO thats good?.
 
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@FragranceGuy I guess you didn't make that perfect ombré gradient in the tall mould intentionally? This could point to some sedimentation/unstable emulsion issues with your latest batch.

Make sure that neither of your soaps is zappy (on the underside of each pour). If this is the case, then the soap is safe, and it's just a cosmetic/curiosity issue. With coarse subdivision of lye droplets in the oils, the distances for the lye and oils to diffuse together are longer, which delays full saponification (although for hours, maybe day, but not as long as weeks).

You wrote about “medium trace”. Can you exclude false trace? Were you triply pedantic in scraping down/reincorporating oils from the sides and bottom of your mixing container with a spatula (not the stick blender) multiple times?

ETA: Nvm. Re-read your comment and the column mould was the first batch, i. e. the one that hardened more satisfactorily.
 

TheGecko

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Any ideas?

My money is on the humidity. I live in the Pacific Northwest and saponify/cure my soaps in my garage. During the times when we get a lot of rain I increase my Lye Concentration from 33% to 35%. I don't normally gel my soaps, but when the temp in the garage drops below 50F, I will set my molds on a towel and cover them. I also bring the molds inside for 24 hours before unmolding and then wait another 24 hours before cutting. And I clip a small oscillating fan to my curing rack which cuts down curing time from twelve weeks to about nine.

Do you think it will harden up by 6 weeks cure?

Possibly...could take longer.
 

FragranceGuy

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@Peachy Clean Soap I’ve never blended with mangosteen 🤔 Now you’ve peaked my curiosity…

@ResolvableOwl No, I didn’t create that gradient on purpose. That batch wasn’t brought to full trace and I got worried that may have been a mistake when I saw the gradient. I zap tested the top, middle and bottom bars 3 days after cutting and they passed. Luckily none of my 4 batches of soap have been zappy 😅 But I’ve decided to bring all future batches to at least a light trace after the gradient scare. I don’t think I was duped by a false trace. I stick blended and stirred for a good 15-20 minutes and the trace came at a steady pace without visible separation. I’ve never used a spatula while incorporating my oils and lye solution 😳 I’ve only stirred and blended WITH my stick blender. I’ll start scraping and incorporating. Thanks!!

@TheGecko Thanks for the tips and advice 🙏 Our summers get quite humid and now I’ve got a few more tricks for the swampy months 🥵

I’m beginning to wonder 💭 I assumed I never reached gel phase because of the “rustic” look of my bars. That surprised me because it was such a large batch. I’m beginning to wonder if I not only achieved gel, but I slightly overheated the batch. The rustic look is mostly due to tiny, tight glycerin rivers (see above photo). Could the glycerin rivers contribute to the soap giving to a squeeze and feeling softer?
 

Marsi

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I used 3% super fat for both batches. I didn’t use any micas or additives for the second batch. The first batch I used paprika added directly to the warm oils. The first batch was poured into an unlined plastic Lay’s Stax potato chip container and wrapped with 3 towels and I achieved gel. My second batch was a freezer paper lined cardboard box. I poured 9x6x3 in of soap. Because the cardboard has insulation value and it was such a large slab I was concerned about overheating, so I covered the mold with only 1 towel. I checked the temperature a few hours in and it was 134 degrees F. I decided to leave it alone for 24 hours and when I unmolded it (too early) it was pretty soft and to my surprise, it appeared like it didn’t gel*, not even partially 🤷‍♂️ It has a rustic appearance. I’ll post a photo.
*my bold

the new soap has no paprika, more humidity, more EO's and you thought it did appears it did not gel
all of these changes will make the soap softer

lack of gelling will make the soap the softest

you can trying CPOPing the bars
or wait


*edited to add
I’m beginning to wonder 💭 I assumed I never reached gel phase because of the “rustic” look of my bars. That surprised me because it was such a large batch. I’m beginning to wonder if I not only achieved gel, but I slightly overheated the batch. The rustic look is mostly due to tiny, tight glycerin rivers (see above photo). Could the glycerin rivers contribute to the soap giving to a squeeze and feeling softer?
slight separation can also makes a softer soap
 
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earlene

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I am curious about the rest of your recipe. You mentioned 45% lard, but I didn't see how much CO or other oil you use. I think this is your "Grocery Store" recipe, which you mention in this post, but percentages are missing, so I wonder as to the amount of CO in this recipe. And I will get to why in a bit.

Because CO is second on your list, I think you probably used less than 45% and possible a percentage higher than (or equal to) sunflower and canola oils (based on the order in which you listed them. I could be wrong of course. Going back through another one of your posts, you mention that your linoleic is 18, so I am guessing your formula is this:

45% Lard
23% CO
17% Sunflower Oil
15% Canola
3% SF, 37% Lye concentration
an unidentified FO
no other additives & no colorants
Soaped cool, Highest recorded temp 134° F in the first 24 hours after the pour (?)

I may have missed it, but as far as I can find you don't mention a colorant, such as TD, so if you didn't use one, AND the soap did not overheat, I am not at all sure what you have are glycerin rivers, as you used a high enough lye concentration that I would not necessarily expect them.

What that cut bar reminds me of is an uncolored high CO soap, but I don't know that a soap with 23% CO would come out looking like a 100% CO bar looks. However, some FO's can overheat and contribute to glycerin rivers, but you say it didn't overheat, so I am stumped as to why it looks like that.



As for the fact that it's much softer than you expected at this point, that's been addressed already.
 

FragranceGuy

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Thanks @Marsi It sounds like finding one “boogy man” cause probably won’t work in this situation 😆 Soaping is very complex. Back to the drawing board…

@earlene Yes, it is my grocery store recipe ☺️ I poured half the batch unscented and half the with EOs. Both turned out wonderful with the only discernible difference between fragrance. You got the recipe VERY close, only I made a mistake in this thread… it was 48% lard 😬 sorry!! Here’s my recipe.
 

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