So what are YOUR soapy secrets?

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Navaria

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There are a couple things that I've learned about myself and soaping that other would probably think are crazy lol. First off, I cannot stand the feel of raw coconut oil or Shea Butter on my hands. I have to put my gloves back on to measure them out because it grosses me out if they accidentally touch my skin. Other oils or butters are no big deal. Those two-yeck! Second, I'm a compulsive scraper. I scrape every container. Even my lye water pitcher. It kills me to waste even one drop of lye, or batter, or fragrance, or colorant. I've had trace get too thick while I was scraping. I have several half bars of soap because I can't waste the bits left in the batter bowl after my mold is full. And third, I have a love/hate relationship with titanium dioxide. I love how it looks in soap, but I hate actually working with it. I struggle with clumps and it won't wash off anything well at all. I'm strongly considering making up a jar of it so I don't have to clean utensils every time I use it lol.
So there's my weirdness. Care to share yours? I can't be the only weirdo in the group! Lol
 

rainycityjen

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I sometimes use a glass Pyrex bowl to mix my lye solution if my usual one is missing/in the wash.

I have stripped a couple spots of finish off my wood dining room table with accidental lye seepage from bars of soap on wax paper. :(

I prefer to "wing it" on fragrance amounts and blends and have had to rein it in a LOT so I can start to standardize recipes. At the end of the day I sometimes weigh my own happiness making it over the user's happiness getting the same bar each time.

I also hate TO. I use white mica when I can get away with it. Or just clear oils.

I have grated up a pure beeswax candle I got as a gift to use the beeswax. Sorry friends.

I love the feel of raw shea and coconut and I try to pick up crumbs to put on my elbows when I get a chance. :)
 

Marshall

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I am still new to soaping and while I enjoy it immensely I still get nervous when I get started. As such to make sure all goes well I lay EVERYTHING out in EXACTLY the order it will be needed, in that process I completely take over the kitchen. I soap on Sunday mornings and can now recognize the audible **sigh** from my kids when they see me and realize they cannot enter the "Soaping Space" until I am done. I give them fair warning the night before, either get up early for breakfast or enjoy a late brunch. :)
 

Navaria

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I have grated up a pure beeswax candle I got as a gift to use the beeswax. Sorry friends.

I love the feel of raw shea and coconut and I try to pick up crumbs to put on my elbows when I get a chance. :)
Ok, that cracks me up about the candle! So clever! I would have left it in a drawer to be forgotten. I never would have though to grate it up and repurpose it. And I'm the queen of repurposing lol.
A friend was telling me last night how coconut oil was all she used on her face/body. My skin was crawling the whole time she was talking about it lol
 

Navaria

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I am still new to soaping and while I enjoy it immensely I still get nervous when I get started. As such to make sure all goes well I lay EVERYTHING out in EXACTLY the order it will be needed, in that process I completely take over the kitchen. I soap on Sunday mornings and can now recognize the audible **sigh** from my kids when they see me and realize they cannot enter the "Soaping Space" until I am done. I give them fair warning the night before, either get up early for breakfast or enjoy a late brunch. :)
I take over the whole kitchen too. Not because I'm that organized. Because I'm so UNorganized lol. It's my youngest son's job to clear the table and set it for supper. Some days he just grumbles at all my stuff on it lol
 

Seawolfe

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I kinda like the look of ash on some soaps.

I also rub any oil or butter on my hands into my arms, legs or hands. I end soaping sessions well moisturized :)

I have threatened to stab my SO when he reached across me for something when I was soaping. I also seem to remember blaming him when my layers didn't turn out right...

The idea of using animal milk in soaps really squicks me out

I have a trash bag full of soaping stuff with soap crusted on them from my soaping session a month ago...
 

penelopejane

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BTW
If you buy water soluble TD mix it a a tiny amount of water from your liquid amount as soon as you decide to make soap. By the time you need to use it it will be a lovely, speckle free paste.
 

lenarenee

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I really had to think on this. After all my normal is somebody's abnormal!

I usually scrape oils out of the bowls really well because that residue can add up to a few grams of your oil weight, and when you're making a small batch, that's can be a good percentage of your superfat.

So when I'm lazy and don't scrape well I'll pull out a bottle of liquid oil and toss in a couple grams.

Another: I can't get my plastic bowls clean after soaping and there's always an oily residue left behind. Since I haven't found a dedicated lye water container that works for me, I use these bowls and that means the lye water saponifies the residue which I then have to strain out.

I can't use Dawn (even with rubber gloves) because it seriously rips my skin off. And with the water restrictions in CA, simply don't have the heart to use the massive amount of hot water necessary to strip the oils completely off the plastic.

I'm using 2 week old IL recipe salt bars at the kitchen sink - and I have been all week! Me loves it! So from now on - when they tell you to cure salt bars for months - don't believe them!
 
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galaxyMLP

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I don't use separate containers to weigh out my oils... I'm too lazy to properly scrape them so I spend extra time weighing them all slowly into the same container. I've always been very good at hitting the mark with liquid oils. Solid ones seem to give me more trouble so I always weigh them first. Don't ask me what I do if I over pour a liquid oil *goes and grabs the lye calculator again*

I'm not as good as I should be about scraping out my batter bowls completely... I try my best but I don't clean them out with paper towels or rags. It just doesnt make sense to me since it all gets washed down the drain anyway. I just let them sit and then wash them after. I do always scrape them with a spatula.

I also probably use too much water when I clean my dishes. I can't stand oily residue. I always use palmolive dish detergent too (does that make me a bad soaper?).

I used wax paper for 3 years to line my molds and thought I never really had a problem with it. Then I tried freezer paper. Night and day. I had no idea I was making my life so much more difficult than it needed to be.

I cut wayyy to early sometimes and then I just commit to it. So all of my bars end up looking a little smooshed on the edges from some batches and I end up having to bevel them. I've really got to get better at that one!

My favorite soapy saying when I make a mistake is "oh well, it's just soap!" to remind myself that no matter how bad it LOOKS at least its still going to be usable!
 

KristaY

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This is going to sound like I'm still in 2nd grade but I always do a self assessment before I add the lye water to the oils. Am I thirsty? Do I need a quick snack? Am I too hot, too cold? MOST IMPORTANTLY Do I need to pee? Yep, 2nd grade. It's such a PITA to get part way through swirling and realize I'm doing "the dance". Then have to strip off all the PPE, wash hands, use the bathroom, wash up again, then don all the PPE. Now trace is too thick to finish delicate swirls so dump all batter in the mold while swearing LOUDLY which always makes the pets run & hide under various beds and DH silently slink off to his man cave. For the sanity & safety of all members of my household, I pee before I start whether I need to or not. :shh:
 

rainycityjen

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My favorite soapy saying when I make a mistake is "oh well, it's just soap!" to remind myself that no matter how bad it LOOKS at least its still going to be usable!
Hah. Whenever I complain to my husband that my soap turned out ugly, he says "Well, can I wash my butt with it?" :)

Just like when one of us makes a bad dinner and I use my favorite Armyism - "Oh well, it'll make a turd."
 

galaxyMLP

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Hah. Whenever I complain to my husband that my soap turned out ugly, he says "Well, can I wash my butt with it?" :)

Just like when one of us makes a bad dinner and I use my favorite Armyism - "Oh well, it'll make a turd."
GOLD. ABSOLUTE GOLD. Both of those are absolutely hilarious! I had to share both with my boyfriend just now! I'm taking the "It'll make a turd" one and stashing it away for later!!
 

JayJay

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I dress up in a coverall with a face shield. I look like I am getting ready to weld a bridge. I also put a hair bonnet on my head to prevent hair from getting into my soap. This touch makes me look like the lady on the honey bunches of oats commercial.

I realize that the coveralls are excessive, but I quite like the fanfare.

Am also a tortured scenter. I mix all of these fragrance combinations. First on paper, then on my skin. Then in soap. I have collection upon collection of these scent combinations. I return to them after months and sniff them over and over. My experiments have only turned out well one time. Once.
 

IrishLass

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I'm a meticulous scraper, too. I'm not happy unless I know I've done my level best to get every drop out, whether it be oils or soap batter.

I love the feel of shea butter and mango butter, and I look forward to getting bits of them on my hands when weighing them out. I don't know what it is, but I just love rubbing them between my fingers.

I use the same stainless pot in which I make HP soap for making homemade chicken soup.

I soap barefoot.

We have a fairly small, narrow kitchen, so I take over the whole thing when making soap. Everyone knows to keep out, especially my hubby who can't even be anywhere near the vicinity of the kitchen because the strength of the scents emanating from the raw batter bother his nose. Once the soap is made, cut, and on the curing racks, though, he's fine.....thankfully (whew!). So, I pretty much soap either late at night when he's at the opposite end of the house in bed, or when he's at work. My favorite of the 2 is late at night.

I choreograph each batch down to the tiniest detail before I make it, and have all the ingredients/tools for it super-organized before I begin, i.e., everything is weighed/measured out and placed on my counter in the exact order in which I'll need to add them, my tools are all laid out in a handy spot, and my molds are all lined and ready to go., etc... I've learned the hard way that I'm the kind of person that needs to be a stubborn stickler about such things or else something will get forgotten and I'll spend much of the night kicking myself. lol

I've also learned the hard way to keep detailed notes, so as soon as I'm done cleaning up, I sit down and write a blow by blow account of how things proceeded. It's quite the tedious thing to do, no doubt about it, but I can't tell you how many times down the line it's saved my proverbial butt from being kicked by myself for having been lazy about it. When I'm tired after cleaning up from soaping, it's very easy for me to think: "Oh, I don't need to write that down- I'll remember it"...but history has proven time and again that I never do, so I pretty much make myself write it down while it's still fresh in my mind, whether I want to or not. lol

Probably my deepest secret is that I wish I could be as consistently disciplined/organized when it comes to other things in my life, but then again, that would be unbalanced, right? :razz:


lenarenee said:
I'm using 2 week old IL recipe salt bars at the kitchen sink - and I have been all week! Me loves it! So from now on - when they tell you to cure salt bars for months - don't believe them!
Oh, I'm so glad you like it! :) I'm perfectly fine with mine at 4 weeks.


IrishLass :)
 

paillo

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I am still new to soaping and while I enjoy it immensely I still get nervous when I get started. As such to make sure all goes well I lay EVERYTHING out in EXACTLY the order it will be needed, in that process I completely take over the kitchen. ...
Hah, me too. Been soaping for years now but know myself well enough to know that a phone call or any other distraction can easily lead to my totally forgetting where I am in the process and really messing something up. For that reason I always put away every ingredient right after I've added it. Mistakes due to distraction, oh been there, done that way too many times.
 

navigator9

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It's not a secret, because I've mentioned it here several times, but I discovered it on my own. I may have been among many who discovered it, but I've never read it anywhere else. I used to often get streaks in my soaps. Just areas of uneven color. Not a problem, except that it wasn't the look I was going for. I thought about it a lot, and I came up with the idea that the stick blender does a good job of mixing, but it doesn't mix all areas of the batter evenly. I think there are a lot of variables, including the power of the particular stick blender, the size of the batch, the shape of the container, and how much you move the stick blender around. Anyway, I decided to try an experiment to see if I could eliminate the streaks. What I did was really simple. After I reach the point where I'm ready to pour, I just stir with my spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom and the sides of the pot really well, and stir it all in. This only takes a few seconds, and I already have the spatula handy to scrape the pot after I pour, so it's all pretty easy. Ever since trying this, I've never had another streaky batch, so I've incorporated it into my soapmaking routine for every batch.
 
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