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Soda ash! And a few other things!

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goat soap rulz!

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Actually the 91% worked well for me but since COVID, its been scarce. I went out to measure the boards, but then had to run to town to get blades for the saw and I ended up forgetting to make a top! So I will do it tomorrow!
 

penelopejane

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Regarding soda ash, quoting from The Soap Maker's Planner by Jackie Ziegler, a longstanding and respected New Zea;and soaper: "... Soda ash occurs when the lye molecules react with the carbon dioxide in the air to form soda bicarbonate. It is completely harmless, but can ruin a design, eg a mica swirl on top. Do NOT spray alcohol on the surface of the soap. This will NOT get rid of or prevent soda ash. Instead, by spraying alcohol, you are actually cleaning the surface, allowing more air to reach the surface of the soap, and thus you are worsening the problem. To prevent soda ash, you can either limit air contact or reduce the amount of free lye molecules in the soap. To limit air contact, you can cover the soap with baking paper or wax paper. To reduce the amount of lye molecules in the soap, you need to complete as much of the saponification process as possible. You can either do a hot process (hot process never has soda ash), heat at higher temperatures, or ensure you stick blend long enough to reach a thicker trace. Cooler and more fluid soaps tend to have more soda ash."
With soaping there is never one size fits all.

Depending on the % of actual alcohol in the alcohol and how much you spray it (distance from soap, state of saponification, how much you spray) it is effective in stopping ash and will not harm the soap.

@goat soap rulz!
I use locally produced, plastic free, recyclable paper. Often glossy or metallic papers aren’t recyclable. I cure my soaps for 12 weeks so don’t have seepage problems. I use the label to seal them with non plastic glue and don’t use sticky tape.

If I want a clear wrap I use real cellophane made from wood pulp that is biodegradable and plastic free. You can’t shrink wrap it but you can heat seal it. You can buy it as bags but I just use it in a sheet and wrap the same as paper. It’s a bit more expensive than plastic cellophane but you can buy it in bulk ar a reasonable price - it depends on your priorities.
 
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PieBorg

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I'm not ready to sell any soap yet, but I did some research on packaging and came up with a cheap and easy plan for that. I'm using recycled, brown kraft paper to make a sort of matchbox-type thing, with a little open-faced box inside and a wrapper going around the outside. I punch a hole in the top front and top back of the wrapper, thread a piece of raffia through the holes and around the inner box, and tie it in a bow on top. This way, the outer wrapper slides back and forth on the raffia like the outer cover of a matchbox, so the customer can see and smell the soap, but the raffia keeps the outer wrapper from coming off and getting lost. There's plenty of room on the front and back of the outer wrapper for labels, ingredients, etc.

Sorry, no pix atm. I'll try to take one and post it so you can see what I'm talking about. I got the idea from a YouTube video, but I'm afraid I didn't save the link and would have to do some digging to find it again.

As for avoiding soda ash, I read somewhere on Auntie Clara's blog (can't find it now for the life of me) where she did experiments that determined that soda ash can be avoided by using a steep water discount, like 1:1.4 lye:water. I've been doing that ever since and have eliminated my soda ash problems. I also cover my soap with plastic wrap and then with a towel before leaving it to gel overnight. It seems that letting air get to the soap before it's done its thing also contributes to soda ash, and sometimes I can't stop myself from looking during the gel phase, so the plastic wrap helps keep the cooler air off the soap while I'm peeking.
 

Arimara

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Why do so many people say to spray with alcohol to prevent soda ash? I must have read this hundreds of times if not more???
I see that others answered this. My answer was location and how other soap play a factor in soda ash forming. Water Discount can help but you'd have to feel comfortable doing that and your recipe should be pretty familiar to you before attempting that change.
 

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