Second soap attempt.

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James Handley

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hello everyone and thanks to all that read and commented on my other thread "First soap attempt".

It took a while for the tractor supply near me to get the 100% Lye drain cleaner in. But today I made for attempt number two.

I did several things differently.

1st: used 100% Sodium Hydroxide instead of home made soda ash from burnt backyard wood.

2nd: used distilled water over tap water.

3rd: changed recipe to 2% Bees Wax, 48% crisco shortening, 25% Lard, 25% coconut oil. And then replaced 10% by weight of the water to pure honey from my own bee hives. This is a 500 gram batch. Water and lye calculated with Soap calc app.

I put the wax and solid oils in crockpot and put it on high. Once it melted I added the honey and turned the heat off. I started mixing lye into distilled water and stirred until dissolved. Slowly added that to the oils and whisked with a rubber coated whisk.

Very quickly I noticed wisps of color coming off the whisk. I think the rubber coating was being dissolved by the lye!

I replaced that with a stainless steel fork and continued wishing. After about 20 min I believe it came to trace but looked quiet lumpy. My wife left to get a hand blender at this point for the next batch.

I then sat down and had the crock pot placed on low. At this point the lumpy mess looks very brown. I think the melted rubber has effected it. :( About 45 minutes later with a few whisks of the fork the stuff started to turn more solid.

I did a zap test on my tongue and got nothing. Spit that bit out and added a little water and rubbed it between the hands and it lathered up very well.

WE HAVE SOAP!

So I spooned it all into a glass bread baking dish and it is cooling now. My wife and I took little bits from the crockpot and washed our hands and it seems nice. Our hand feel clean and pretty soft afterwards. About 20 min after I think my hands deal a little dry but not bad.

The soap is very brown so tomorrow when I de-mold the soap I will try another batch using the stick blender and no rubber coated utensils.
 

SaltedFig

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Hi James,

You can get an orange/brown colour from the honey you've added.
You can alleviate this a little bit by adding your honey to your cooled lye solution (to reduce the chance of caramelizing your honey) ... the honey and the hydroxide will still react, but the mixture won't get as hot overall (you aren't adding the two heat producing reactions together at the same time).
If you leave the lye mixture (now with honey) to cool again before you add it to your oils, you will get less browning in your final soap.

A word of caution on using glass ... sodium hydroxide is able to dissolve glass.
Fresh soap can still be reactive enough to have an effect over time on your glass dish and the dish could eventually crack or explode (depending on the stress forces within the glass). Changing to a sturdy #5 plastic container, or a good stainless steel container, is a much safer option to use as your soap mold.

And ... congratulations on your second soap!!
(You won't know yourself when you get to use your stick blender! :D)
 

earlene

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Congratulations on your soaping success, James. The dryness is to be expected when your soap is so young. Let it cure for about 4 weeks or so, and you will see a huge difference, I expect.

Please heed SaltedFig's glass warning, not only because lye etches glass, but also dropping soap-filled glass would be an awful mess to clean up. If you can find a silicone bread loaf at a local thrift store, it would be a safer soap mold. In the meantime, you can use a cardboard shoe box, lined with freezer paper or parchment paper (from the grocery store) to mold your soap. Even milk cartons works well as soap molds, and unless you want to re-use them, you don't even have to line them.
 

Janine

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Thank you for answering about dryness after washing hands l had the same problem l thought maybe soap was going to be way to dry l will let it cure fingers cross it will be more moisturising.

My hands are terribly dry l took my gloves off to clean up never again my hands are all dry and cracked...
 

James Handley

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Good note on the glass warning. I see no etching on the glass tonight so that is good. I am retry good at wood working and may slap together a wooden mold tomorrow.

I am going to try reducing the temperature and not use mixing utensils that seem to melt in the lye. Let's see how the next batch does with those changes, and using a stick blender.
 

KristaY

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Congratulations on your 2nd batch! Every time I use honey I get brown soap which usually cures to a lighter golden color, so that part seems normal to me. I think you're going to enjoy the soap once it's cured nicely:) I also think building your own wood mold is a great idea! My hubby built my first molds for me and they work a treat. I suggest lining it with freezer paper, shiny side in, to make it easy to unmold. Good luck on future batches!
 

cmzaha

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^^^I call it shiny side out with freezer paper, anyway you want the shiny side against the soap. At least that is the way I line all my molds
 

KristaY

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^^^I call it shiny side out with freezer paper, anyway you want the shiny side against the soap. At least that is the way I line all my molds
You said it clearer than I did, Carolyn! Yes, shiny side toward the soap. Reminds me of a fish my son had a few years ago. His name was Lieutenant Shiny Sides. No idea why, a cartoon character maybe? :rolleyes:
 

msunnerstood

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Congrats on your soap!! Nothing wrong with brown soap, just looks more rustic and natural.
 

James Handley

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Ok I like to give closure to project forums so people know how things turned out.

I let the soap dry out for a couple weeks and now have been using a bar in the shower mainly.

I find it has a pretty good amount a lather. It has a "clean" smell? Not sure how to describe it. I used lemon grass essential oil in this soap, but that does not come out strong.

I think it does a good job cleaning well. I do a lot of work outside and get plenty dirty. This stuff has clean everything from dirt and grass stains to engine grease and tire gunk.

Skin does not feel tight like it does with some commercial soap bars. My skin does not feel oily or like there is a film on it. Just feels pretty natural.

I am going to continue tweeting the process. Like when I add the honey. Probably later in the process. Just to see if I can get a more honey color rather than refried bean color. However, overall I am very happy with this.
 

shunt2011

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Congratulations! As stated above, if you add your honey to your cooled lye solution, stirring well, then let it cool it will be more honey colored than brown or I add my honey into a bit of warm water from my batch and blend well into my oils before adding cooled lye mixture. I've not gotten brown but more of a light/medium beige. I also lighten it a bit with some TD.
 

lsg

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I suggest dissolving your honey in hot distilled water and letting that cool before adding the lye to that mixture.
 

dixiedragon

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Glad you are enjoying yourself! I think the "refried bean color" is probably from the rubber from your whisk. I strongly suggest you get a stick blender. They aren't that expensive - $10 - $20 at Wal-Mart - and even if you decide you aren't into soaping (which I don't think will happen, lol), it's great for lots of other things.
 

earlene

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Glad you are enjoying yourself! I think the "refried bean color" is probably from the rubber from your whisk. I strongly suggest you get a stick blender. They aren't that expensive - $10 - $20 at Wal-Mart - and even if you decide you aren't into soaping (which I don't think will happen, lol), it's great for lots of other things.
Just yesterday I was in a Super Walmart in Houston, TX and they had NO stick blenders! I was so surprised! The last one I bought was for $13 at a Walmart, so when my DIL said she wanted one, I went looking. That wasn't the only product I can normally find in a Walmart that this one didn't carry. It's so annoying that Walmart does not maintain a common standard for products that they carry in their various stores. I guess I'll try to find a Target next, as I know they are usually pretty good at carrying the same products in their stores. (Or I could be wrong and just hope that is true.)

James, it's so nice that your soap turned out so satisfying. I've not experienced re-fried beans colored soap yet, but brown soap made with coffee for my husband might be somewhat close. He was afraid I would hate the drippings on the shower as regards to cleaning, but it is not a problem. Good luck with your future tweaks of your recipe.
 

Kerry K.

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You can order stick blenders from their website and pick them up at the store. They are cheaper than Amazon, and you save on shipping.
 

James Handley

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Here is a pic of my soap and how the refried been look looks.

The two on the left are my second attempt and the ones on the right are when I used the stick blender and made a couple changes to reduce the color.

I made a new batch today as a comparison batch to these and made some changes as offered above. I made the lye water up front and let it cool to room temp before adding. I did not add the water to the lye water but rather to the whole batch 2 min after I started to stick blend.

I still have the same color.... I think is has to be something in my raw honey. Extra pollen, something picked up in my local floral. I don't know. I'll talk more about this batch in another post. Thank you all for the replies.
 

dixiedragon

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I've never had honey beeswax soap be that color. But I've never soaped with raw honey. But I don't think the raw honey should make THAT much difference. I'm inclined to think that is contamination from a container. Your lye water pitcher, mixing bowl, pot, spoon, mold - anything that touches your soap - can you say what materials they are?
 

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