SL makes soft bars but brine lye solution bars demold just fine? Wha?

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SoapMoo

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I hope someone can shine a light on my situation. I am perplexed!

I have a recipe that is 58% soft oils, 48% hard oils (no palm). I found that using SL (1 tsp PPO) makes my soap too soft. I had to wait 2+ days to demold. I switched to using a brine lye solution and have had much better results. Has anyone else has such an experience using SL?

Edit: I forgot to mention I am doing CP. >.<
 
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I'm not sold on lactate either (in CP – it's a miracle ingredient for HP, but that's another story). Many people swear on it, more than I can believe really have made side-by-side blind test with/without SL, with everything else equal.
Like coconut oil, it might speed up for-unmoulding hardening – or might not. I don't know, I don't care much either. I use it rarely, and even more rarely I miss it.

If brine works for your oil blend, working temperatures, and lye concentration – then stay with it! :)
 

SoapMoo

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I'm not sold on lactate either (in CP – it's a miracle ingredient for HP, but that's another story). Many people swear on it, more than I can believe really have made side-by-side blind test with/without SL, with everything else equal.
Like coconut oil, it might speed up for-unmoulding hardening – or might not. I don't know, I don't care much either. I use it rarely, and even more rarely I miss it.

If brine works for your oil blend, working temperatures, and lye concentration – then stay with it! :)
Thanks! I was beginning to think I was crazy as so many soapers really love using SL. I'll stay with the brine! :D
 
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I use sodium lactate in every batch of cold process soap I make. However, the other day I was making a soap (getting ready for Christmas gifts) and I got interrupted. I forgot to add the sodium lactate and let's just say it was an issue getting that out of the tall and slender soap mold.
The loaf was much softer and stuck to the sides of the mold rather tenaciously. I put it into the fridge for about 6 hours and then it finally released and came out okay with a few dents or misshapen areas on the soap loaf. I even spray the insides of my molds with a food grade silicone spray to help with the release of the soap loaf and still with no sodium lactate the loaf was sticking.

The batches I use with sodium lactate always... I mean always, come out of the mold firmer and very little sticking to the mold. I use it in the ratio of 2% to total oils weight. I add it to the cooled lye water mixing very well to ensure it's dispersed well, just prior to adding the lye solution to the oils.
I believe that adding it to the cooled lye solution is the key. Some have stated to add it to the oils, tried that once and didn't work. My mind said to me: "Hey self... since SL is in an water solution @ 60% concentration, doesn't it make more sense to mix it into the lye/water solution?" I did some more research and discovered it really does it's cold process magic when it's dissolved in the liquid rather than the oils.

Yes and @Johnez is correct in stating that adding SL at the end of the hot process does make more fluid and easier to spoon or ladle into a mold. I use it when making my shave soaps. It makes the soap go from a pasty consistency to a heavy custard-like state. Of course, elbow grease, a large silicone spatula and a decent tater masher help to get the SL integrated into the cooked soap.

You do what works best for you though! We can all get to a similar result without having to take the exact same route.

What I described above works best for me personally. I am not implying I am totally correct in the manner I do things related to my CP soap and the loaf's firmness and sticking to the molds, I just know that this process works for me, so therefore I stay with this method.

As long as we get results we're looking for that's all that matters.
 
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Tara_H

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What is your recipe like without sl or salt? I tried sl for awhile but found it didn't do anything to my recipe. Didn't make it softer then normal, just didn't harden it.
From what I can tell, the hardening effect only happens in the short term - ie for those who get impatient to unmould! After those first days I don't think it makes much of a difference.
 

Obsidian

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From what I can tell, the hardening effect only happens in the short term - ie for those who get impatient to unmould! After those first days I don't think it makes much of a difference.

Thats the thing, it didn't help my soaps unmold sooner or cleaner. It had zero effect on my CP.

It was wonderful in HP though and if I had continued making HP, I definitely would have kept using sl.
 

Tara_H

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Thats the thing, it didn't help my soaps unmold sooner or cleaner. It had zero effect on my CP.

It was wonderful in HP though and if I had continued making HP, I definitely would have kept using sl.
Ah, interesting! I do use it in mine and I *think* it helps, but I also CPOP so it's hard to say how much each of these contribute...
 
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In addition, SL helps to increase the longevity of the soap's life, at according to several websites such as Soap Queen, etc. It acts as a humectant too, helping to draw moisture to the skin although olive oil and avocado oils are better at the humectant properties than SL.

We can all learn from each other's experiences. That's one reason why I joined this forum months ago.
 
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In addition, SL helps to increase the longevity of the soap's life, at according to several websites such as Soap Queen, etc

This is like the 3rd time I’ve heard this over the years. I’m not too sure if this is necessarily true. I know that from my own personal experiences, it has not proven to be true. Personally, I think that many group hardness and longevity together, not realizing that they are totally different qualities. This could possibly be where that came from, as SL, like salt, will harden a loaf, but most of us know it is pretty much for the purpose of unmolding sooner.
 

Becky1024

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I regularly use salt (about 1 tsp PPO) in my CP soaps. I tried sodium lactate in a few batches and thought it was a little softer too and didn’t see any benefits over plain old salt. Now in HP soaps it’s a different story. Like what’s been mentioned before it’s much more fluid and easier to pour in the mold. I swear the bars last longer too although sodium lactate should not affect the longevity.
 
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I regularly use salt (about 1 tsp PPO) in my CP soaps. I..............."
Do you dissolve the salt in the water before adding the lye? Do you use regular table salt, with/without iodine? I've got some dendritic salt left over. Do you think I could use that? (I bought it to make scrubs but found it to be too harsh.)
 
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You can use table salt, and yes, dissolve it first before adding the lye.

I would save the dendritic salt for bath bombs or bath soaks/milks. It is wonderful for scent retention if you soak it in you FO/EO before making up your batch. Look up Emilie Leffler on YT to learn more about those. They are wonderful gifts and soooo easy to make, with ingredients you probably have around.
 
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I have never used SL in cp soap so I am no help there. At one time I did use salt but discontinued it when I tweaked my recipes and cut my water/liquid using a 33% Lye Concentration (not water as percent of oil). I now and have for several years soaped with vinegar which really helps demolding quicker. You mention your hard oils are 48% Soft oils 58%. What are your soft/liquid oils and your hard oils? It can make a difference since high OO can be slow to trace and setup as can other high percentages of High Oleic oils. Just liquid to hard oil percentage is not always the answer.

As for using salt brine if you are using a 25% (max) salt brine it will cut lather depending on your CO percentage. In fact, I quit using salt in my regular soap and went to vinegar because I soap somewhat low CO and wanted nothing to deter lather. Side note: soaping with vinegar questions is best as a new thread or research, you do not just replace water/liquid with vinegar.
 
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What a coincidence. Just this past weekend made soap with SL for the first time because I needed to unmold it as quickly as possible. This was a 60% lard soap, with lavender eo, and I've made this recipe dozens of times and know it takes 3 to 4 days before I can cut. Used 1 tsp of SL per lb of oil, mixed into the oils, and cut it at 20 hours - and it was almost too hard! All of the corners and edges came out of the silicone perfectly clean!! And no, I don't gel.

I did use a 35% solution rather than 33% - could this alone have made such a big difference?
 
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I did use a 35% solution rather than 33% - could this alone have made such a big difference?
Yes it does make a difference with CP soap. I used to use the 2:1 water / lye ratio but it was tracing too quickly for me so I have cut back to a 30% lye to water percentage. Yes... I know it's goes against convention here on this website but it works for me. Soaps unmold after very easy after 18 hours or so. I believe this is due to the sodium lactate, just my opinion and observed fact. I also add my fragrance oil with the warmed oils prior to adding the lye solution, for me it has lessened the problems of the soap tracing too quickly. I let the oil and the lye solution get to around 105 to 110F before stirring in with a whisk and then a quick stick blend to a medium custard consistency and then pour into the loaf mold.
 

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