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soap not setting properly

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cajungal328

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I'm new to making lye soap. The first batch I made was 5 days ago, and it's still the consistency of playdough... Several things may have gone wrong. I used a hand mixer not a stick blender (which I have since bought a stick immersion blender) it may have not been mixed thoroughly enough, I only got light trace it never got thick. I may have added too much water to the lye, and I think I may have allowed it to cool to much. Not sure what I did wrong. I tried a little of it and it lathers up fine, but it's not getting hard. I want to know if it will harden up if I leave it sit in the mold for days or weeks? If not I was planning to use some of it to make shampoo anyway, so would melting it in water and turning it into liquid soap be advisable at this point? If I heat it up and melt it in boiling water, would I still have to allow it time to cure , or would it be OK to use it sooner?
 

Susie

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We need to see your exact recipe, including amounts of lye and water, to even begin to guess.

Welcome to the forum!
 
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snappyllama

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Hi, could you post your exact recipe and what kind of lye you used? What you're describing could be from too much water, a lot of OO, not enough lye, the wrong kind of lye, etc.
 

cajungal328

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http://www.diynatural.com/how-to-make-soap-2/

The recipe from that site uses measurements instead of weight, it looked easy so I tried it. I used half coconut oil and half canola oil, 1cup of each, 3/4 cup purified water and 1/4 cup sodium hydroxide... Then later added honey almond fragrance oil and 10 drops geranium eo
 

cajungal328

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I got some on my hands and when I washed it off, it lathers really well, it smells really good... But it's been 5 days and it's still like play dough
 

Dahila

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Soap is made with weight measurements not the volume, and I agree with Shunt. No matter how good looks something on internet check it out in soap calc or similar one :)
Welcome to the forum:)
 

cajungal328

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OK so I have this soft puddy like soap. What should I do with it? I wanted to use it to make shampoo anyway. You think it will be OK to do that, just dissolve it in some boiling water? And if I do, will I still have to let it sit and cure for weeks?
 

cajungal328

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And thanks for the welcome... I have since tried a different recipe the required weight measurements and it all turned out fine.... The recipes are very similar, only the other recipe used less water
 

lenarenee

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There is so much inaccurate info on her page, I would avoid it at all costs.

I would suggest starting with a clean slate and using knowledgeable sources for your info.
This forum is one, Soapmaking 101 videos on YouTube another. Do some research, and feel free to come here with your questions.

As for the soap you've made; I don't dare advise you on it- even if I did run it through a lye calculator. I'll let someone else with more experience take that responsibility.

Please don't give up! Try again when you're prepared with good information.
 

cajungal328

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OK well it was just an experiment I'm a newbie.... I didn't know the info on the site was wrong. I'm just like "hey that looks pretty easy I think I might try that" well I guess I messed up

I'm not giving up... I will teach myself. Learn by my mistakes. I will use a lye calculator from now on...

Turning oil into soap is fascinating...
 

newbie

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Did this soap gel? If you stick your tongue on it, does it zing you? If no zap/zing, I would let it cure for at least 6 weeks since it's possible/probable you added too much water. I wouldn't turn it into shampoo. It's your first batch of soap so I would let it cure, take notes, and use it to compare with your future soaps in terms of quality, shrinkage, lather, ect... It's a bit of a mystery soap with the volumes vs weights but it's still worth keeping as long it's not lye-heavy, as a comparison.
 
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lenarenee

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OK well it was just an experiment I'm a newbie.... I didn't know the info on the site was wrong. I'm just like "hey that looks pretty easy I think I might try that" well I guess I messed up

I'm not giving up... I will teach myself. Learn by my mistakes. I will use a lye calculator from now on...

Turning oil into soap is fascinating...
Sounds like you're hooked on soaping already!

My post was not intended to be critical of you; as a brand new soaper you wouldn't have any idea what is wrong with her recipe. This is why researching (even if you only get confused and need to ask questions) is important.....it will show a newbie why soaping isn't to be taken lightly.

It's the author of the blog I find irresponsible, despite the fact she was trying to make soaping easy for people. Soap is the result of a chemical reaction created with a caustic chemical....there should not be any shortcuts.

The most shocking thing I found on her blog was: "When you mix the lye with water, it will heat up and fume for about 30 seconds to a minute. It may cause a choking sensation in your throat. Don’t worry, it’s not permanent and will go away after a few minutes." The truth is if someone gets a choking sensation because of lye fumes, their safety precautions are inadequate. Lye fumes can cause permanent damage....even to the eyes.

And this: "Even though lye is caustic and dangerous to work with, after it reacts with the oils in your soap (through a process called saponification), no lye will remain in your finished soap." Well, a properly formulated soap, after about 48 hrs should not have any lye, but there are things that can affect that. And the recipe in her blog is definitely not a well formulated.

Her recipe uses volume measurements for all ingredients and that's a major problem. Every oil, butter or fat has a different saponification value (SAP): which means it takes x amount of lye to completely saponify y amount of olive oil, but it takes z amount of lye to saponify y amount of coconut oil.

Her recipe lets you choose from a list of oils (2/3 cup of sunflower, almond, grapeseed, etc). Each of those has a different SAP value, therefore uses a different amount of lye to saponify. Unless a recipe has a healthy superfat level, this could cause a lye heavy soap.

Her recipe is about 33% coconut oil, and that is often a very drying or even irritating amount for a typical soap recipe, even if it is very superfatted.

A good scale that measures grams to at least 0.1 is really a necessity. So is learning to use a lye calculator (I use soapcalc.net)

Oh, and the usage of essential oils needs more respect than she gave too. Some essential oils must be used in lower amounts, and some are skin safe in higher amounts. Some should be not be used, period.

Learn the safety rules of lye. Learn the safety rules of lye. (btw, lye spilled on skin? Water. Never vinegar!)

There. That's enough info to get you started in your understanding of why a person should be educated before making soap. But it's only a start....

Enjoy the process, and don't hesitate to ask questions. If you find oil turning into soap fascinating, I think you're going to love this!
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Welcome!

As for using sodium hydroxide based soaps to make liquid soaps, it doesn't have a good success rate. Even with a Castile (100% olive oil soap) there is not a lot of people who get it to work.

When you're up for it, you could just make a shampoo bar of soap - there is a great thread about it on here (which I can't link to as I am on the app, sorry) with a lot of the background information that you will need.
 

KristaY

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You've gotten some great advice in the previous posts so I won't add anything to that. I just wanted to say hello and welcome to the forum!:wave:
 

DeeAnna

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"... I wanted to use it to make shampoo anyway. You think it will be OK to do that, just dissolve it in some boiling water?..."

The usual internet-blog-o-sphere's method of grating bar soap and adding water is a terrible method. The only thing going for it is it's quick and easy. Use this approach if you want, but just understand it's not really liquid soap.

You need to use potassium hydroxide as the lye to make real liquid soap (LS). Here are two LS tutorials here on SMF that I recommend: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=46114 and http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=49852

"...And if I do, will I still have to let it sit and cure for weeks? ..."

A KOH liquid soap does not need a cure time in the sense that an NaOH soap does. I can explain why if you want to know the background, but I'll just say at this point that it doesn't. Letting a KOH LS set for awhile (sequester) allows impurities to settle out of the soap and that can improve the clarity of the soap. But a KOH LS generally doesn't change its texture or thickness with time, as if it's going through some kind of curing process.

If you do the "grated bar soap as LS" method, yes, the texture and thickness generally does change with time, so you could argue that this type of "liquid soap" does go through a cure process. The resulting product is often pretty icky, though.

Here is a thread where a bunch of us evaluated using a bar soap recipe to make "liquid soap" http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=52597
 

jenny1271

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Play dough soap!! I bet kids would love it!! It could be your million dollar idea! :). I've had this happen one time, and I never figured it out. I just kept drying and drying and it never got hard enough. Even months later, as soon as I got it wet, it would become mushy again. I thought about just cutting it in tiny cubes as a one-time use soap. I think it's just too much oil, maybe in your superfat or maybe in your FO. I thinking mine was caused by my superfat FO/EO blend. If it had been too much water, it would have eventually evaporated. So, in your case, if it's too much oil, that's still really nice for your skin and probably really nice for a shampoo! Good luck!
 
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