# So, I thought my math was right- too much lye!

### Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

#### Andy7891

Supporting Member
So, I heard that 38% water to oil ratio was good for soapmaking. And then, I heard that 2:1 water to lye ratio was a good lye concentration. So I had a lye and water mixture that was 2:1 (222 g water, 113g lye (not exactly 2:1 but pretty close). 222/.38 = 584g (38% of 584g oil = 222g water).
So, I had my water to fat ratio right, and my lye to water ratio right, so I just stick blended them together and poured and then about an hour later I was like, "Oh, I never actually calculated my recipe!!". I plugged my weights into a soap calculater and discovered that I added 23g of lye more than I should have, or a 25% increase in the lye amount.
Shoot. Anyone else ever had this problem? I guess I learned something. Calculate how much lye you need first, then I guess calculate your water last. Or something like that lol. I'll always double check in the future.
My oils were:
Edit: 547g "Lots of Lather Quick Mix" (and equal mix of Palm, Coconut, and Olive Oil)
20g Coconut oil
17g Canola oil

The whole story behind this soap was that had extra soda that I didn't want to drink so I made soap out of it! I made a 50/50 lye/water mix, then added my left over soda so that the "water" to lye ration was 2:1. Then used up my bag of Quick Mix, then added some coconut and canola oil to make up the difference. Thanks for reading.

Last edited:

#### KiwiMoose

Supporting Member
So you had 621g oils, 222g water and 113g lye?

Yes, that is super-duper lye heavy soap. Even with 0% superfat you would only need about 95g lye for that recipe.

Are you not using a soap calculator to work out your lye/water amounts?

#### Andy7891

Supporting Member
So you had 621g oils, 222g water and 113g lye?

Yes, that is super-duper lye heavy soap. Even with 0% superfat you would only need about 95g lye for that recipe.

Are you not using a soap calculator to work out your lye/water amounts?
I had a typo- my total oils were 584g

#### AliOop

Supporting Member
So, I heard that 38% water to oil ratio was good for soapmaking. And then, I heard that 2:1 water to lye ratio was a good lye concentration. So I had a lye and water mixture that was 2:1 (222 g water, 113g lye (not exactly 2:1 but pretty close). 222/.38 = 584g (38% of 584g oil = 222g water).
So, I had my water to fat ratio right, and my lye to water ratio right, so I just stick blended them together and poured and then about an hour later I was like, "Oh, I never actually calculated my recipe!!". I plugged my weights into a soap calculater and discovered that I added 23g of lye more than I should have, or a 25% increase in the lye amount.
Shoot. Anyone else ever had this problem? I guess I learned something. Calculate how much lye you need first, then I guess calculate your water last. Or something like that lol. I'll always double check in the future.
My oils were:
Edit: 547g "Lots of Lather Quick Mix" (and equal mix of Palm, Coconut, and Olive Oil)
20g Coconut oil
17g Canola oil

The whole story behind this soap was that had extra soda that I didn't want to drink so I made soap out of it! I made a 50/50 lye/water mix, then added my left over soda so that the "water" to lye ration was 2:1. Then used up my bag of Quick Mix, then added some coconut and canola oil to make up the difference. Thanks for reading.
The main problem is that you need to pick EITHER water-to-oil ratio (a setting created for HP, not that great for CP), OR water to lye ratio (aka lye concentration). Trying to combine these two ratios into one recipe is confusing and completely unnecessary.

Water to lye ratio (aka lye concentration) is going to give you more consistent results for CP soap, especially if you size your batches up and down. In your soap calculator of choice, select water to lye ratio and set it to 2:1, which is a good middle ground for starters. You can do the same thing by selecting a 33% lye concentration.

Once you have plugged that into the calculator along with your selected oils, the correct amount of water and lye will be figured for you.

Another problem is that it sounds like you decided on a lye amount before choosing the exact amount of each oil you used. That doesn't work. Each oil has a different saponification value (amount of lye needed to make soap). So you can't just say, "Oh, I ran out of Quick Mix, so I'll top off my total amount of oils with random bits of different oils" - but then still use the same amount lye as if you had used all Quick Mix.

As you learned, by doing this, you won't end up with the right amount of lye. It sounds like you realize that now, but I am reiterating this point so that a new soaper who may read this thread next month or next year will be made aware that this isn't the right way to go about things.

Last edited:

#### Andy7891

Supporting Member
Looks like I may be learning how to make laundry soap with this lye heavy batch.

#### AliOop

Supporting Member
Looks like I may be learning how to make laundry soap with this lye heavy batch.
There you go!

#### Zany_in_CO

##### Saponifier
There you go!
And there goes the elastic in your underpants! LOL (Don't ask how I know.)

#### BWt

Supporting Member
And there goes the elastic in your underpants! LOL (Don't ask how I know.)
Hmmmm. Does lye heavy soap damage elastic in laundry?

#### Andy7891

Supporting Member
And there goes the elastic in your underpants! LOL (Don't ask how I know.)
I'm afraid I'm gonna have to ask! So far that's two of us! Please and thanks!

#### TheGecko

##### Well-Known Member
Rule #1: Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS run your recipe through a soap calculator in the first place and if you make any changes, run it through again!

You made a lot of mistakes. From not taking in consideration the changes you made to the recipe, to how much water and NaOH to use, to adding soda without any consideration of the effect the sugar and carbonation would have.

Mistake #1: You do NOT calculated your Lye requirements first because you don't know they will be until you know what fats (oils/butters) you will be using and how much and the total weight. EVERY fat has what is called a Saponification Value aka SAP Value. This is the amount of NaOH that is needed to turn that fat into soap and the total amount of NaOH will be dependent of the total weight of fats. And regardless of whether your use Water as % of Oils, Lye Concentration or Water:Lye Ratio, the amount of NaOH will never change. The only thing that will change is the amount of liquid you will need to dissolve the Sodium Hydroxide.

Mistake #2: Not taking into consideration that changes that you made to your recipe which could have an effect on the amount of NaOH needed. The Quick Mix is approximately 34% Olive, 33% Coconut and 33% Palm. Because you didn't have enough of the Quick Mix, you add more Coconut Oil and Canola Oil to make up the difference. That change your recipe to 31.34% Olive, 34.59% Coconut, 31.16% Palm and 2.91% Canola Oils.

Mistake #3: You started with Water as % of Oils then then applied it to Water:Lye Ratio which resulted in you used too much NaOH. It doesn't matter which one you use (I recommend Lye Concentration), but when calculating how much additional liquid you need when using a 50/50 Lye Solution, you need to follow the KISS rule. So you run your recipe through a soap calculator is it says that you need 173.37 grams of water and 85.39 grams of NaOH. All you have to do is subtract the Lye from the Water: 173.37 - 85.39 = 87.98 grams; that is how much additional liquid you will need.

And why not necessarily a 'mistake' per se, it's generally a good idea to have somewhat of an idea of what an unknown additive can do to your soap.

#### Andy7891

Supporting Member
Rule #1: Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS run your recipe through a soap calculator in the first place and if you make any changes, run it through again!

You made a lot of mistakes. From not taking in consideration the changes you made to the recipe, to how much water and NaOH to use, to adding soda without any consideration of the effect the sugar and carbonation would have.

Mistake #1: You do NOT calculated your Lye requirements first because you don't know they will be until you know what fats (oils/butters) you will be using and how much and the total weight. EVERY fat has what is called a Saponification Value aka SAP Value. This is the amount of NaOH that is needed to turn that fat into soap and the total amount of NaOH will be dependent of the total weight of fats. And regardless of whether your use Water as % of Oils, Lye Concentration or Water:Lye Ratio, the amount of NaOH will never change. The only thing that will change is the amount of liquid you will need to dissolve the Sodium Hydroxide.

Mistake #2: Not taking into consideration that changes that you made to your recipe which could have an effect on the amount of NaOH needed. The Quick Mix is approximately 34% Olive, 33% Coconut and 33% Palm. Because you didn't have enough of the Quick Mix, you add more Coconut Oil and Canola Oil to make up the difference. That change your recipe to 31.34% Olive, 34.59% Coconut, 31.16% Palm and 2.91% Canola Oils.

Mistake #3: You started with Water as % of Oils then then applied it to Water:Lye Ratio which resulted in you used too much NaOH. It doesn't matter which one you use (I recommend Lye Concentration), but when calculating how much additional liquid you need when using a 50/50 Lye Solution, you need to follow the KISS rule. So you run your recipe through a soap calculator is it says that you need 173.37 grams of water and 85.39 grams of NaOH. All you have to do is subtract the Lye from the Water: 173.37 - 85.39 = 87.98 grams; that is how much additional liquid you will need.

And why not necessarily a 'mistake' per se, it's generally a good idea to have somewhat of an idea of what an unknown additive can do to your soap.
Thanks for the response- I can tell you put a lot of work into it. I have over 100 posts on this forum. And I have been a supporting member. I am not really a beginner but I thought this post belonged in the beginner forum. I was kind of rushing that day I made the soap- anyone who is a little bit of an eccentric (let's face it- there's probably a few of us here) have probably not been 100% cool, calm, and collected when making soap. I KNOW WE ALL SHOULD BE, DON'T PANIC!!!
I learned an interesting thing in that the water to oil ratio and lye to water ratio are not linked or whatever and should not be used to make a soap formula like I did.
I have somewhat an idea what an unknown substance will do to my soap!!!!!!!! It is sugar I know it increases bubbles and also makes a batter heat up! Where did you gather that I didn't know what it would do?
And can someone please explain what elastic has to do with this!!! Am I going to ruin my elastic if I make laundry soap out of this? Zany_in_CO, I know how much you contribute to this forum and I am so sorry for being rude earlier when I yelled at you to explain what you meant by it. I was having a bad morning and I am so sorry, again. Please forgive me and do not take it personally.

#### TheGecko

##### Well-Known Member
Where did you gather that I didn't know what it would do?
Where would you like me to start?

then about an hour later I was like, "Oh, I never actually calculated my recipe!!".

Then used up my bag of Quick Mix, then added some coconut and canola oil to make up the difference.

was that had extra soda that I didn't want to drink so I made soap out of it

One of the first things I learned as a new soap maker: ALWAYS RUN YOUR RECIPE THROUGH A SOAP CALCULATOR. I also learned, if you change anything in your recipe, ALWAYS RUN IT THROUGH A SOAP CALCULATOR.

Oh, and you can't calculate your NaOH or liquid if you don't know what what fats and how much of those fats you are using. Given all of that and just toss some soda that you didn't want to drink...can you blame me?

And can someone please explain what elastic has to do with this!!!
It will degrade the elastic over time You'll want to rebatch the soap adding more fat to suck up the extra NaOh and then you can make laundry soap if you want.

#### NcDon

##### Active Member
So, I heard that 38% water to oil ratio was good for soapmaking...

In this century where everyone is in a hurry, there is a rule: if it doesn't work, read the instructions.

#### Andy7891

Supporting Member
Where would you like me to start?

then about an hour later I was like, "Oh, I never actually calculated my recipe!!".

Then used up my bag of Quick Mix, then added some coconut and canola oil to make up the difference.

was that had extra soda that I didn't want to drink so I made soap out of it

One of the first things I learned as a new soap maker: ALWAYS RUN YOUR RECIPE THROUGH A SOAP CALCULATOR. I also learned, if you change anything in your recipe, ALWAYS RUN IT THROUGH A SOAP CALCULATOR.

Oh, and you can't calculate your NaOH or liquid if you don't know what what fats and how much of those fats you are using. Given all of that and just toss some soda that you didn't want to drink...can you blame me?

It will degrade the elastic over time You'll want to rebatch the soap adding more fat to suck up the extra NaOh and then you can make laundry soap if you want.
OK. I just want to say, I did follow two "rules" (not actually rules, come to find out) of the water to fat ratio of 38%, and the lye to water ratio of 2:1. I think this is a mistake a beginner can easily make. Hopefully, a google search will lead a new soaper to this forum and with a grain of salt, they can learn something, perhaps. I am a rather experienced soaper, not very, but I'm a passionate soaper with at least a dozen batches under my belt, and it was a mistake I made. However, yes, now I know and everyone else should know, definitely run your recipe through a calculator.
And I had an epiphany- I'll do the zap test, and if this soap is lye heavy, I'll just use it one my floors, not on my undergarments, lol. Thanks all here for the wonderful help.
In this century where everyone is in a hurry, there is a rule: if it doesn't work, read the instructions.

View attachment 72557
That Dunn book is definitely on my want-to-have list. Yes, reading instructions is always a prudent step. Although, those instructions in that book may have me occupied for awhile! I hear that's quite the sciency book!

##### New Member
In the old days, they just floated an egg.

#### melinda48

Supporting Member
The main problem is that you need to pick EITHER water-to-oil ratio (a setting created for HP, not that great for CP), OR water to lye ratio (aka lye concentration). Trying to combine these two ratios into one recipe is confusing and completely unnecessary.

Water to lye ratio (aka lye concentration) is going to give you more consistent results for CP soap, especially if you size your batches up and down. In your soap calculator of choice, select water to lye ratio and set it to 2:1, which is a good middle ground for starters. You can do the same thing by selecting a 33% lye concentration.

Once you have plugged that into the calculator along with your selected oils, the correct amount of water and lye will be figured for you.

Another problem is that it sounds like you decided on a lye amount before choosing the exact amount of each oil you used. That doesn't work. Each oil has a different saponification value (amount of lye needed to make soap). So you can't just say, "Oh, I ran out of Quick Mix, so I'll top off my total amount of oils with random bits of different oils" - but then still use the same amount lye as if you had used all Quick Mix.

As you learned, by doing this, you won't end up with the right amount of lye. It sounds like you realize that now, but I am reiterating this point so that a new soaper who may read this thread next month or next year will be made aware that this isn't the right way to go about things.
So, I heard that 38% water to oil ratio was good for soapmaking. And then, I heard that 2:1 water to lye ratio was a good lye concentration. So I had a lye and water mixture that was 2:1 (222 g water, 113g lye (not exactly 2:1 but pretty close). 222/.38 = 584g (38% of 584g oil = 222g water).
So, I had my water to fat ratio right, and my lye to water ratio right, so I just stick blended them together and poured and then about an hour later I was like, "Oh, I never actually calculated my recipe!!". I plugged my weights into a soap calculater and discovered that I added 23g of lye more than I should have, or a 25% increase in the lye amount.
Shoot. Anyone else ever had this problem? I guess I learned something. Calculate how much lye you need first, then I guess calculate your water last. Or something like that lol. I'll always double check in the future.
My oils were:
Edit: 547g "Lots of Lather Quick Mix" (and equal mix of Palm, Coconut, and Olive Oil)
20g Coconut oil
17g Canola oil

The whole story behind this soap was that had extra soda that I didn't want to drink so I made soap out of it! I made a 50/50 lye/water mix, then added my left over soda so that the "water" to lye ration was 2:1. Then used up my bag of Quick Mix, then added some coconut and canola oil to make up the difference. Thanks for reading.
I think that if you run your recipe through a soap calculator (Soapmaking Friend or SoapCalc for example), you will not have this problem in the future. I never make a recipe without running through SF as ingredients are not getting any cheaper and I have to make sure I get my recipes right the first time - every time.

Replies
24
Views
1K
Replies
1
Views
203
Replies
13
Views
552
Replies
91
Views
3K
Replies
3
Views
162