Soap has not lost anymore weight. It has been less than 4 weeks.

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Hi All,

I made a bunch of 500gram batches about 3 1/2 weeks ago. I have been weighing the bars every few days by grams. One batch has not changed in weight in about 10 days. When I press on it in the center, there is an ever so slight softness to it... It's not stiff like some other bars that I made that are still losing weight.

Will that bar continue to harden in the next few weeks or would you say it's good to go once the evaporation has ceased?
 

DeeAnna

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It's my opinion that soap never stops losing weight even after months of curing. That said, the rate of weight loss typically slows dramatically between 4 and 6 weeks.

If you're using a high lye concentration (less water), the weight loss might slow down earlier. If you're using a lower lye concentration (more water), the slow down might take a little longer. (Which is why hot process soap often needs a little longer cure than cold process despite persistent myths to the contrary.)

The softness also depends on the recipe used for the soap, so it's hard to say based on the little you've told us, what might be the cause of the softness for that particular soap.
 
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Hi @DeeAnna thank you for your response. I don't have that recipe for those bars with me at the moment. I did however choose 33.33% lye concentration which is the same as the other bars. I'll wait another week or so and check it one more time to see if changed.

With that being said... generally speaking... would a bar that has somewhat of a slight "give" with a press of the thumb in the center of the bar at 4 weeks eventually harden more or in your experience will it remain as is?
 

Zany_in_CO

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would a bar that has somewhat of a slight "give" with a press of the thumb in the center of the bar at 4 weeks eventually harden more or in your experience will it remain as is?
Hi Steve,

That's hard to determine without seeing a printout of the recipe. Many factors weigh in to determine the softness of a soap and whether it will eventually harden over time.

A good example is traditionally made 100% olive oil soap. It's soft in the mold, soft after unmolded, it is soft after the cut and remains soft until fully cured -- takes 3 months (or longer) to cure. Once cured, it becomes hard soap.

NOTE: This does not apply to Zany's No Slime Castile. It is hard enough to start using it at the 2-week mark, although the longer the cure, the better the soap. What makes the difference is the 0% SF, the water to lye ratio of 1.7:1 and making the lye solution with Faux Sea Water.

Two 100% olive soaps that are very different due to the way they are formulated and processed.
 
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Hi @Zany_in_CO So would lowering the SF from 5 to 3 or 2 make that much of a noticeable difference in the hardness/longevity but yet be as conditioning?

This is the batch that I was asking about.

I've tweaked the other batches to increase or at least even out the palmitic and stearic but yet trying to keep the conditioning and lather around the numbers that I have or better by adding either mango butter, Walmart shortening or GW415 soy wax.

I'm out of shea butter but I just received some cocoa butter today. So I'm going to start playing with that and compare the fatty acid #'s.

Also, your ZNSC is on my list of soaps to make. I'm kinda curious to see what castile soap is all about :)

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Zany_in_CO

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Thank you for sharing your recipe, Steve. That helps us immensely.
would a bar that has somewhat of a slight "give" with a press of the thumb in the center of the bar at 4 weeks eventually harden more or in your experience

Your recipe above looks lovely to me. :thumbup: If it's soft, I'd be surprised if it stayed that way for long. Give it some time. It should harden up the longer it cures -- at INS 149 it will take a little longer than INS 160-165.
would lowering the SF from 5 to 3 or 2 make that much of a noticeable difference in the hardness/longevity but yet be as conditioning?
Actually, that's for you to decide. It's all about how it feels to you. Generally speaking, SF 5% works well for well-balanced bars like yours. I play around with the SF. Currently, I'm using 0%SF. It's good for some bars high in olive oil and similar FAs.

HTH
 
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In my experience, a bar made with the recipe set for a higher superfat, like 5%, does initially feel a little softer compared with one made using the same recipe, same everything, with the recipe set for a lower superfat (2%), but it’s less noticeable over time. The calculated qualities won’t change because they’re based on the oils going into the pot, not the amount of lye used.
 
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In my experience, a bar made with the recipe set for a higher superfat, like 5%, does initially feel a little softer compared with one made using the same recipe, same everything, with the recipe set for a lower superfat (2%), but it’s less noticeable over time. The calculated qualities won’t change because they’re based on the oils going into the pot, not the amount of lye used.
Thanks @Mobjack Bay !
 

TheGecko

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Hi All,

I made a bunch of 500gram batches about 3 1/2 weeks ago. I have been weighing the bars every few days by grams. One batch has not changed in weight in about 10 days. When I press on it in the center, there is an ever so slight softness to it... It's not stiff like some other bars that I made that are still losing weight.

Will that bar continue to harden in the next few weeks or would you say it's good to go once the evaporation has ceased?
Making soap is not exactly a black and white process because there are a lot factors that can determine the outcome of your soap...from the ingredients used, temperature of your oils and lye solution, ambient temperature and humidity, to Lord knows what else. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason, it just is what it is.

In general, with a balanced recipe, your bars will continue to harden as time progresses, but note that evaporation never actually ceases. Wrap up a bar of your soap and tuck it away and 10 years from now, the wrapper will be loose. With that said, water evaporation is going to be dependent on your Lye Concentration and where you live. I use a 33% Lye Concentration during the Spring/Summer and a 35% Lye Concentration during the Fall/Winter because I live in the Pacific Northwest and we get a lot of rain between October and April. The cooler temps and the high humidity really slow down the water evaporation process which leads to much longer cure times...as much as four weeks.
 
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Making soap is not exactly a black and white process because there are a lot factors that can determine the outcome of your soap...from the ingredients used, temperature of your oils and lye solution, ambient temperature and humidity, to Lord knows what else. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason, it just is what it is.
Hi @TheGecko I've been making candles for a few years so I hear ya on the different variables and the affect it can have. The first year or so of testing drove me just about nuts.

With the soaps, I've been keeping notes as well... temp and humidity with each batch as well as pour and heating temps etc.... what phase the moon is in, what color socks I had on, how many birds in the backyard, did I start the day leading with my left leg or right. I have it all written down 🤪

Ya know... just in case something is different I can always look back on my previous notes. Ha!

Also I assume, just like candles, once I introduce something different into the mix like scent... that could change the feel of the bar as well. Is that a fair assumption? Depending on the fragrance I use, the lather or conditioning could change from the original unscented?
 

Ladka

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Hi @TheGecko ... With the soaps, I've been keeping notes as well... temp and humidity with each batch as well as pour and heating temps etc.... what phase the moon is in, what color socks I had on, how many birds in the backyard, did I start the day leading with my left leg or right. I have it all written down 🤪

Ya know... just in case something is different I can always look back on my previous notes. Ha! ...
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Zany_in_CO

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Wrap up a bar of your soap and tuck it away and 10 years from now, the wrapper will be loose.
So true! I've saved bars in a cigar band that is loose years later! I still have a 100% Olive Oil Castile bar I made in 2005! I take it out annually and wash my hands with it. :nodding:
 

Zany_in_CO

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Is that a fair assumption? Depending on the fragrance I use, the lather or conditioning could change from the original unscented?
This is just me, but I haven't had that experience with fragrance. The lather and conditioning remain the same -- and since I make the same recipes year after year, I have the opportunity to try a new scent with every batch.

The only thing you have to watch out for with fragrance is acceleration and discoloration. Some, but not all, suppliers put that information in notes below the fragrance description.
 

TheGecko

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So true! I've saved bars in a cigar band that is loose years later! I still have a 100% Olive Oil Castile bar I made in 2005! I take it out annually and wash my hands with it. :nodding:
I have a bar of GMS that I bought well a good 15 years ago; I have a small set of drawers in the bathroom and was looking for something else in 2019 and found it. It had been tightly wrapped in tissue paper when I bought it and shrunk a good 1/4" on all sides. I took it on my trip and it took a bit to get it to lather up, but by the end of my trip it was fine. I keep it tightly sealed in a soap case and only take it on vacation. I just pulled it out yesterday and I'm heading out to a retreat next week.

And despite all the additives in commercial soaps, they also continue to evaporate. I have several bars in the back of the cabinet under the sink that I kept (good for trading in an apocylspe) and I noticed when I cleaned it out to put in drawers that the wrappers have shrunk.
 

TheGecko

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Hi @TheGecko I've been making candles for a few years so I hear ya on the different variables and the affect it can have. The first year or so of testing drove me just about nuts.

With the soaps, I've been keeping notes as well... temp and humidity with each batch as well as pour and heating temps etc.... what phase the moon is in, what color socks I had on, how many birds in the backyard, did I start the day leading with my left leg or right. I have it all written down 🤪

Ya know... just in case something is different I can always look back on my previous notes. Ha!

Also I assume, just like candles, once I introduce something different into the mix like scent... that could change the feel of the bar as well. Is that a fair assumption? Depending on the fragrance I use, the lather or conditioning could change from the original unscented?
I don't know if the color of your socks will affect your soap as I tend to soap barefoot, but I found that bunny slippers do help.

I have not notice any FO having an effect on quality of my soap, but then again I am using FOs that are made to be used in soap. However, additives can have an affect...lot of soap makers swear that adding this or that changes the quality of their soap. I don't know...the only two 'additives' I use are Kaolin Clay for scent retention (who knows if it really works) and Sodium Lactate for easier unmolding.
 

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