Quantcast

Soft soap and separation. Could it be my pre-mixed lye water?

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

JayJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
422
Reaction score
219
Hi again,

I recently decided to pre mix a bunch of lye so that I can make soap faster.
Every batch that I have made with this solution has either separated in the mold, or turned out so mushy that it was still like soft ice cream 24 hours after pouring. In every case, I ended up doing HP to correct the batch. No zap.

There is nothing about the recipe that would produce soft soap (CO, PKO, OO, Shea butter) In fact, some of the batches were made from the exact recipe as a previous batch that hardened very nicely in the mold when I made the solution fresh.

With each batch, I have heated my oils to the melting point (as usual). The lye solution has been either room temp, or warmed partially in the microwave. By partially, I mean that I don't heat the lye solution, but I heat the water that I am adding to the pre mixed lye water solution in order to make the full liquid solution.

Please help me to think through this so that I don't follow my first instinct and dump my lye solution. I mixed a large amount and I would hate to waste it. I am wondering if there are any other variables that would cause these issues... Using room temp lye solution? Using room temp solution with warm oils? Neither being warm enough? Both being too hot?

Maybe I should just HP all of these batches to make sure that they turn out okay.
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,406
Location
New York City
I recently decided to pre mix a bunch of lye so that I can make soap faster. Every batch that I have made with this solution has either separated in the mold, or turned out so mushy that it was still like soft ice cream 24 hours after pouring.
Let's assume, since you don't seem worried about it, that there was no accidental mistake in the measurements for your master lye. Then the question might be, how old is it and how are you storing it? It could absorb water from the air or be susceptible to neutralization by carbon dioxide.

A few more questions:

When you say HP corrects the batch, do you get the expected soap from it?

What's the concentration you're aiming for when you mix your final lye?
 
Last edited:

JayJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
422
Reaction score
219
Let's assume, since you don't seem worried about it, that there was no accidental mistake in the measurements for your master lye. Then the question might be, how old is it and how are you storing it? It could absorb water from the air or be susceptible to neutralization by carbon dioxide.
Thanks for the quick reply!

It's about six weeks old.

Now that you mention it, I am storing it in a container that is probably much too big for the amount of liquid. I would say that at its most full, the liquid only took up about a tenth of the space.

I suppose I could have made a mistake in measuring the solution. But I didn't consider it because it's so straight forward. It's 1:1 right? I guess a mistake is possible with anything.... And I AM more likely to make a mistake on a simple task rather than a difficult one.
 

JayJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
422
Reaction score
219
Let's assume, since you don't seem worried about it, that there was no accidental mistake in the measurements for your master lye. Then the question might be, how old is it and how are you storing it? It could absorb water from the air or be susceptible to neutralization by carbon dioxide.

A few more questions:

When you say HP corrects the batch, do you get the expected soap from it?

What's the concentration you're aiming for when you mix your final lye?
Yet another wonderful question. "Correct" just means that it looks right. :)

I have not used any of them yet because they are still curing.

I use the default soap calc recommendations for water and lye. The premixed solution is 1:1 water and lye, measured to the amount of lye specified in the recipe. Then I add more water until it reaches the "water" weight that is called for in the recipe.
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,406
Location
New York City
I have some concerns about your six week old lye. I think in the future you might want to store it in smaller containers, and use plastic that is not too porous, like polypropylene.

I use the default soap calc recommendations for water and lye. The premixed solution is 1:1 water and lye, measured to the amount of lye specified in the recipe. Then I add more water until it reaches the "water" weight that is called for in the recipe.
Just so we don't misunderstand each other, let me tell you how I would mix the solution for a specific batch of soap and you tell me if it sounds like what you're doing.

Take the NaOH amount from Soapcalc and measure twice the amount of your 50% solution. That gets you to the right amount of NaOH.

Add the NaOH and water weight from Soapcalc together.

Add water to your solution to bring it up to that weight. This gives you the lye concentration entered in Soapcalc.

I want to make sure you didn't over-dilute the solution, which would cause your batter to separate and/or make some awfully waterlogged soap.
 
Last edited:

JayJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
422
Reaction score
219
Bingo!

You have just identified my problem! Was only measuring the solution at the listed lye amount. I wasn't doubling it. Duh! I repeated this mistake on every single batch for the past 6 weeks! Drat!

So what do I need to do to fix it? Should I re batch and add more lye?
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,406
Location
New York City
Bingo!

You have just identified my problem! Was only measuring the solution at the listed lye amount. I wasn't doubling it. Duh! I repeated this mistake on every single batch for the past 6 weeks! Drat!

So what do I need to do to fix it? Should I re batch and add more lye?
Cool.

Rebatching with more lye sounds like a good fix. It's an interesting project, right?

So you know exactly the extra lye you need for each recipe, minus any lost batter or oil along the way. It's a judgment call whether you want to adjust the amount downwards a little for that.

I can think of some alkali losses you probably have too, not to mention the original discount (superfat), so maybe you can just add the 50% deficit from the same lye batch you were using and be fine.
 

Seawolfe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2014
Messages
3,272
Reaction score
2,984
Location
So Cal
I can think of some alkali losses you probably have too, not to mention the original discount (superfat), so maybe you can just add the 50% deficit from the same lye batch you were using and be fine.
I may be misunderstanding how the OP did it, but wont this then have too much water? (.5 lye + .5 water + .5 water) originally plus (.5 lye + .5 water) - thats about 50% too much water isn't it? Though all it will take is an extra long cure I guess.
 

cmzaha

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
11,208
Reaction score
10,051
Location
Southern California
Ninety percent of the time I soap with a 50/50 lye solution that I make up at the rate of 3 gallons when I am making it, and have never had it go bad keeping it in 1 gallon jugs. This is the method I use and hope it is not to confusing since it works every time. In soap calc I enter in my water discount or Lye concentration I want to work with (usually I use a 33% lye concentration) and run the calculation. Now I take the lye number and double it for the 50/50 solution (since you are working with half lye half water). Now I go back and look what the total water requirement was and deduct soap calcs lye number, this will give you the additional liquid you need to use. (If you use the double 50/50 solution then add in the full amount of water showing in soap calc you will have to much liquid)
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,406
Location
New York City
I may be misunderstanding how the OP did it, but wont this then have too much water? (.5 lye + .5 water + .5 water) originally plus (.5 lye + .5 water) - thats about 50% too much water isn't it? Though all it will take is an extra long cure I guess.
Yep, but a saturated 50% solution is the best you can do to get the NaOH in there with the least amount of water. It's getting cooked though.
 

JayJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
422
Reaction score
219
Thank you everyone! I will try correcting the lye by going back to the recipes that I used and adding the missing solution.

Yes Thank you for pointing out that I will now have too much water. I will try to cook it down by leaving the lid off after mashed potato stage... Unless anyone has any other suggestions? I am hoping that the extra water with help to moisten the grated soap, as it has been curing for a while.

Thanks again. I will update this thread as soon as I get the chance to "fix" my soap.
I'm so glad that this is something fixable. now I have a 6 week lag time to wait before I can try out any new soaps. For a new soap maker, this is an eternity!

The bright side is that now I have a chance to re shape the scents of a batch or two. The first one smells like a cream-sickle (my attempt to make a fruity scent for my family). Not sure how I will change this one but I know I don't like it. The second one was a lavender, chamomile, lemongrass EO scent that ended up smelling like only lemongrass. :) I gues I will just add more lavender and make sure that the temp is low when I add the EO.
 

Latest posts

Top