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Tribe

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Whatever you can answer would be super helpful.

GENERAL SOAPING QUESTIONS:
1. Regarding lye. I’ve read that there are several different methods that can be used to create sodium hydroxide. Some of which leave traces of asbestos, mercury, or aluminum in the final product. Not a lot, but still there. One of the methods which is more expensive, but less used, can avoid this (and I’m assuming that this is what “food grade” lye is). My concern of course is whether the final bar will be leaching these toxins if I just buy the hardware store 99% lye.
2. Glass vs. wood vs. stainless steel. What bowl do you use to make your lye water in? What spoon do you use to mix it with? Why?

HOT PROCESS QUESTIONS:
If you can please only answer the below in terms of Hot Process rules; I know things are much different in Cold Process.
1. What, if any, are the ranges for mixing temps of the lye water and oil mixture? I’ve heard of ranges between 90-110 and 120-130? Does the temp range make a difference in the final consistency or otherwise? P.s. I also heard that the actual temp when mixing the two is not relevant in HP. Your thoughts?
2. Does the thickness of trace at cooktime affect the final bar? If yes, how?
3. Stainless steel vs. wood. What spoon do you use for mixing the hot process soap mixture in the crockpot. I’ve heard (?) that wood could react with the lye and could cause it to chip, leaving woodchips in the soap.
4. Do you or do you not mix your soap while it’s cooking in the crockpot? I’ve read that you should in order to create an even cook; and I’ve read that you shouldn’t touch it till it’s done. What do you do? Why?
5. When making up a recipe, how does one know the cooking time for it? I’ve seen recipes that call for 30 minutes in the crock and recipes that call for 1.5 hours. That’s a huge difference.
6. Is it ok to scrape off the hardened soap on the sides of the crockpot and use it in your batch? Will it affect the batch in any way?
7. Is it advisable to wait for the soap to cool before I cover it? (I know HP doesn’t need snuggling, but good to cover it to avoid dust, etc. for first day).
8. Fats vs. additives. I’m not clear on whether certain ingredients are considered a fat (that is, that it is melted in the beginning of the soaping process) or an additive. For example: fats, butters, oils, are all considered a “fat” and clays, herbs, etc. are considered additives. A fat by definition (I think) has a SAP value. But I’m confused because jojoba and beeswax also have a SAP value and they are not fats. So my question is if anything then can be saponified? Let’s say sea mud, can it be melted into the oils and be saponifed in the beginning?
9. Biggest question of all: To cure or not to cure HP, that is the question. So. I’ve been told every answer possible for this question so far (Yes the full 4-6 weeks, No it doesn’t need it at all, Yes but only half the time of CP, It depends on the oils used, etc). Here’s the real question though, What (if any) affect does curing HP soap do? Please only answer this if you have personally experienced the process of both curing and not curing HP and have seen/felt what it does yourself.
A second part to the above question. Once a bar of soap is used, it is no longer in cure stage, correct? Meaning, a 6 week old bar (even if only used once) has the same qualities of a day old bar?
LOTS of thanks in advance.
 

LisaAnne

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I use stainless steel for all things to do with lye.

When I scrape the dried soap from the sides of the crock pot it leaves white spots in my soap.

HP has to cure as long as CP does. When I first started I didn't think I had to cure as long , the soap is soft and not as gentle as one with a long cure. It also leaves soapy gunk in the shower if used too soon.

To mix soap in crock pot I use a stiff silicone spatula.

One thing I did that you don't mention is I used a heavy plastic wrap instead of the lid, I think that it held in the moisture better.

I never worry about temperatures of lye or oils in HP.

I have to agree with the others, there is a LOT of bad to dangerous information on the Internet. I have found this site to be the most trusted informative place.
 
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lionprincess00

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I really can't answer a lot of HP questions. But I can answer a couple of your questions. With glass, when it comes in contact with lye, it will become etched and could eventually shatter. The old timey Pyrex glass that used to be of quality material doesn't quite do this I've read, but they don't make the Pyrex like they used to. It is much safer to buy a stainless steel bowl, or of course use your enameled crock pot if you're cooking a soap HP. I use silicone coated wisks and spatulas for soap making. I get the bowl and spatulas etc at walmart. A good rule of thumb, with the beeswax or jojoba oil, things like pine tar, those are all in your soap calculators with the sap value, so you put those as a fat/oil. the additives like clay, Botanicals, colorants, and any liquids you replace your water with like milk, goat's milk, coconut milk, you do not and put those as a fat in a soap calculator. Milks will saponify because of the fat content, so instead what you can do is adjust your super fat down to accommodate the fact that some of it will turn into soap and you don't wind up with too high a super fat. So even though, with the milks, they can and will saponify into soap because they contain fat, you don't put those in there. It was confusing to me at first because soap calc has a place for milk fats in the fat list. You don't use that if you're replacing some of your water with milk however. Usually what I do is if I'm using a milk and I typically like say a 4% super fat, I might reduce my super fat down to 1% or maybe 2%, and the extra milk that will then up my super fat back up. finally, we have a great sticky hear about things like this. I really don't know where this sticky is, but the consensus around here is you must cure your HP soaps just as long if not longer than CP soaps. The internet is the worst for giving poor advice about this. Because of the fact you add usually extra water to your HP soaps to keep it fluid, all that water has to evaporate out. There are structural changes that occur over the course of weeks, not just evaporation. Curing is a must for all CP and HP soap processes. once you begin using a soap, it does not revert back to its original state of a one day old soap. As I said there are crystalline type of changes which, I hope one of our scientific gurus can explain better than me, these changes occur over time changing the entire structure of the soap bar. After the curing process, even though you're using your soap, it doesn't change those structures back to a day 1 soap. A soap cured at least 4 to 6 weeks, sometimes longer for the HP soaps, are going to have completely different feels textures and properties that you won't have with one day old soap. I hope I answered some of the questions, and I look forward to hearing some of our HP soap makers opinions on some of the other questions you asked.
 
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Kamahido

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1. Do NOT use lye from the hardware store unless it clearly states on the package 100% LYE. Anything less is dangerous. You don't know what that last 1% contains.

2. I suggest a stainless steel bowl. Glass, especially when under thermal stress, may shatter unexpectedly. NEVER use any wooden bowls or implements when making soap. Wood is an organic material. Sodium Hydroxide will damage wood. You don't want to find splinter in your soap. Also NEVER use Aluminum bowls or implements. Nasty reaction.

Hot Process questions...

3. I use only stainless steel or silicone spoons for above noted reasons.

4. I stir mine for an even cooking temperature and also when it starts to bubble up. It may expand outside the pot so stirring is a must to get it down.

5. Time is not as important as when the soap finishes going through it's phases. When it looks like Vaseline and passes a zap test it is done.

6. Yes.

8. They are not fats, but they do contain "saponifiables". Jojoba is an oil, just like olive is an oil. Run them through your soap calculator to make sure you are using the correct amount of sodium hydroxide.

9. YES it needs to cure. By using hot process you are quickly completing the saponification process and getting rid of a lot of water, but the soap will mellow as it finishes curing. Don't take my word for it though. Make the soap and try using it 2 weeks later. Then try using another bar of the same batch after 2 months. The difference is stunning.

I am sure others much more knowledgeable than I am will chime in as well. Don't trust every site on the internet as there is a lot of really bad information out there.

Just wanted to add that I started with hot process but fell in love with cold process when I gave it a try. You would do well to try cold process as well. But be sure to read up on it before you do, as one should do before trying any soapy endevour.
 
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Susie

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1. You can use any "hardware" lye that is marked "100% lye". I have on many occasions had to run to the store to get more lye, and this is all that is available in my area.

2. Stainless steel or plastic with a 2 or a 5 on the bottom are the only safe containers to mix lye or soap in. Not glass or Pyrex.

1. No temperature taking is required (even in CP).

2. No, it does not. You are going all the way through gel phase, so trace thickness is irrelevant. Trace thickness in CP is only relevant if you are doing fancy designs.

3. Stainless steel or plastic (the dollar store plastic spoons are what I use). No wood! Lye will eat into wood and create splinters in your soap.

4. You can, or not, your choice IF you have a large enough crock pot to catch overflowing soap. If you don't, then you must stir.

5. Cooking times will vary depending on your crock pot and recipe. Soap must reach a vaseline appearance all through to have gone through gel phase. THAT is what you are looking for to take it out and mold it.

6. You can, but you will get white dots in your soap. It is still perfectly good soap, but it gives a more rustic appearance.

7. Let it cool first. Any cover will have condensation that will drip onto the soap.

8. Fats are anything found on the lye calculator. Additives are not. This is not the "scientific" answer, but it is the lingo soapers use.

9a. HP requires the same cure as CP (if not more). A younger soap will melt away faster, not have as good a lather, and be less gentle as a cured bar.

9b. You can try a bar then allow it to continue cure. Use does not stop cure. Unless you use it all up, that is.

By the way, hello, and welcome to the forum! You would do yourself a whole lot of favors if you would go through the beginner section at least, and read through the stickies and about 5 or so pages of threads. There are loads of great info out there. You could have found the answers to all of these questions already in this forum. Not that we mind helping, we don't! It is just that someone is bound to have asked a question you have not even thought of yet.
 
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dixiedragon

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2. Glass vs. wood vs. stainless steel. What bowl do you use to make your lye water in? What spoon do you use to mix it with? Why?

I use a plastic pitcher with a 5 on the bottom. IIRC, 2 is also okay. For a spoon I like to use a wooden paint stirrer. It is long and they are free at Home Depot. I don't use glass b/c glass it can develop micro fractures and shatter.

HOT PROCESS QUESTIONS:
If you can please only answer the below in terms of Hot Process rules; I know things are much different in Cold Process.
1. What, if any, are the ranges for mixing temps of the lye water and oil mixture? I’ve heard of ranges between 90-110 and 120-130? Does the temp range make a difference in the final consistency or otherwise? P.s. I also heard that the actual temp when mixing the two is not relevant in HP. Your thoughts?

I'm not an HP expert, but I mix my lye water and oils right after I measure them. The lye water is very hot and the oils are cool. The heat of the lye water and the slow cooker will melt the oils. But I use lard, I can't speak to things with a high melt temp, like tallow and palm. I do melt my beeswax in the microwave.
2. Does the thickness of trace at cooktime affect the final bar? If yes, how?
In my limited experience, no. If you "overcook it" the liquid soap will have hard, waxy whitish chunks in it, which are visible in the final bar but don't affect texture or performance.
3. Stainless steel vs. wood. What spoon do you use for mixing the hot process soap mixture in the crockpot. I’ve heard (?) that wood could react with the lye and could cause it to chip, leaving woodchips in the soap.
I use my stick blender (stainless steel wand) and a silicone spatula. I really like silicone spatulas for soaping to really scrape all of the soap possible out of the pot.

4. Do you or do you not mix your soap while it’s cooking in the crockpot? I’ve read that you should in order to create an even cook; and I’ve read that you shouldn’t touch it till it’s done. What do you do? Why?
I mix mine. Because I get impatient. My recipe has a high lard content and takes a while to reach Vaseline stage in a crockpot. Mine is an old crockpot from a thrift store so possibly it's not very hot.
5. When making up a recipe, how does one know the cooking time for it? I’ve seen recipes that call for 30 minutes in the crock and recipes that call for 1.5 hours. That’s a huge difference.
It's less about the time and more about what the soap is doing. It seems like all veg recipes low in olive oil are pretty fast, but recipes with lard and/or a lot of olive take a while.
6. Is it ok to scrape off the hardened soap on the sides of the crockpot and use it in your batch? Will it affect the batch in any way?
I do. It does make visible whitish chunks in the soap, but I actually like that effect. I like that HP looks like marble.
7. Is it advisable to wait for the soap to cool before I cover it? (I know HP doesn’t need snuggling, but good to cover it to avoid dust, etc. for first day).
8. Fats vs. additives. I’m not clear on whether certain ingredients are considered a fat (that is, that it is melted in the beginning of the soaping process) or an additive. For example: fats, butters, oils, are all considered a “fat” and clays, herbs, etc. are considered additives. A fat by definition (I think) has a SAP value. But I’m confused because jojoba and beeswax also have a SAP value and they are not fats. So my question is if anything then can be saponified? Let’s say sea mud, can it be melted into the oils and be saponifed in the beginning?
Saponified means "turned into soap". So it depends on the additive and what you are doing with it. You can even add a small amount of fat at the end of the cook to hopefully preserve it's properties. Many people like to superfat with a special oil such as sweet almond, avocado, shea, etc. When you add the additives is a personal preference and it depends on what you want to achieve. Here's an experiment I did with 2 batches of honey soap:
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=57877
So my choice would be to add the honey after cook because I liked those results better. But that doesn't mean you can't add honey after the cook.
It also depends on the additive. For example, don't superfat with castor - it's SAPONIFIED castor that boosts bubbles. Free, unsaponified castor does not.
9. Biggest question of all: To cure or not to cure HP, that is the question. So. I’ve been told every answer possible for this question so far (Yes the full 4-6 weeks, No it doesn’t need it at all, Yes but only half the time of CP, It depends on the oils used, etc). Here’s the real question though, What (if any) affect does curing HP soap do? Please only answer this if you have personally experienced the process of both curing and not curing HP and have seen/felt what it does yourself.
Yes, it needs a cure. As to how long - IMO 4 week old HP is comparable to 6 week old CP. But both continue to get better.
A second part to the above question. Once a bar of soap is used, it is no longer in cure stage, correct? Meaning, a 6 week old bar (even if only used once) has the same qualities of a day old bar?
LOTS of thanks in advance.
Nope! Feel free to test your soap at 1, 2, 3, 4 etc weeks! Wash your hands and see how you like it, then set the bar aside (make sure it can dry) and try it again a week later!
 

Tribe

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Hey Lisa Anne...tx for the reply. What do you mean by heavy plastic wrap instead of lid? Instead of the crockpot lid?? Why?
Hi Lion Princess, thank you for replying--very comprehensive. Wanted to ask this: what did you mean by "Because of the fact you add usually extra water to your HP soaps to keep it fluid..." We add extra water? Where when? Didn't know about this.
Kamahido. Thank you.
1. There are some pretty authoritative sites that sell 97% lye? i.e. Brambleberry https://www.brambleberry.com/Sodium-Hydroxide-Lye-P3037.aspx And they even admit that it's "a little less pure" but then say it doesn't matter. P.s. I don't believe everything I hear, but I do question it.
8. Jojoba is a liquid wax.

I like hot process, if nothing else, than for the rustic look it gives to the bar. I'm not a cupcake swirly soaper...although they are cool people too. I'm sure I'd prefer cold process for the more simple process it is. And, especially now that I am learning that curing is necessary for both.
P.s. Love your signature. If only every child was taught that from day one of their life.
Susie your answers were so helpful! Sounds like you've been doing this for a much longer than me. Btw, I only just registered for this forum and have never actually used a forum before, but I will take that advice and read as much as I can; tx!
Just some replies to things you said please:
1. Do you think that lye is lye is lye? I mean so long as it says 100%? Would a chemist be able to answer this better? As I said, I did research this topic and discovered some questionable information. I WISH I could make my own lye but I do not have the resources for such things right now.
2. Everyone is saying stainless steel (for the lye water). Isn't aluminum also metal? Why isn't there a reaction with stainless steel and lye but there is a crazy one with aluminum. [I don't want to use plastic...I don't trust plastic].
1. So why do (many/most) make this temperature claim? Or that the two mixtures should at least be within 10 F of each other?
5. Re "vaseline appearance". I think I overcook my soap. Meaning that it gets these very very slight white traces in it--traces that are the same color of the soap that is stuck to the side of the pot. That said, does 'vaseline' mean only shiny (like vaseline) and no white traces?
6. Do you think the white dots are a more concentrated form of the soap and therefore a possible problem?
8. I SO SO appreciated the way you answered this question. So far I'm just hearing, "Just follow the lye calculator". But obviously the lye calculator figures it from a chemical point of view. What is IN something that allows it to saponify--or not, is the real question I guess.
 
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dixiedragon

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Susie your answers were so helpful! Sounds like you've been doing this for a much longer than me. Btw, I only just registered for this forum and have never actually used a forum before, but I will take that advice and read as much as I can; tx!
Just some replies to things you said please:
1. Do you think that lye is lye is lye? I mean so long as it says 100%? Would a chemist be able to answer this better? As I said, I did research this topic and discovered some questionable information. I WISH I could make my own lye but I do not have the resources for such things right now.
Lye can be Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) for bar soap or potassium hydroxide (KOH) for liquid soap. Here on SMF generally lye=sodium hydroxide - if we mean potassium hydroxide we specify that. That being said, my understand is that yes, lye is lye is lye. If I were making bagels I'd want food grade, but for soap I don't worry about it. If you buy from the hardware store, DO read the label to make sure it is actually lye. For example, Red Devil used to be lye and now it is not.
2. Everyone is saying stainless steel (for the lye water). Isn't aluminum also metal? Why isn't there a reaction with stainless steel and lye but there is a crazy one with aluminum. [I don't want to use plastic...I don't trust plastic].
Chemically, different things react with other different things. For example, remember in chemistry class how the pure potassium is stored in oil? That's b/c it reacts violently with water. I really recommend a pitcher with a handle for lye water.
1. So why do (many/most) make this temperature claim? Or that the two mixtures should at least be within 10 F of each other?
The temp is a CP thing and I think people just carried it over. The 10 degree thing is sort of an "urban legend," I think. When I first started soaping 10+ years ago, it was LAW. And b/c it's soap and you worry about your soap volcanoing or getting lye burns, then you followed the LAW. Temp IS relevant in that if you combine hot lye water and hot oils, that's too much heat and you can get a violent reaction. My preference for CP s for my lye to be room temp.
5. Re "vaseline appearance". I think I overcook my soap. Meaning that it gets these very very slight white traces in it--traces that are the same color of the soap that is stuck to the side of the pot. That said, does 'vaseline' mean only shiny (like vaseline) and no white traces?
Yes, I think that is overcooking. I do that too. If you google hot process soap making you can find pictures of the process, which is helpful.
6. Do you think the white dots are a more concentrated form of the soap and therefore a possible problem?
No, not more concentrated, just more cooked.
8. I SO SO appreciated the way you answered this question. So far I'm just hearing, "Just follow the lye calculator". But obviously the lye calculator figures it from a chemical point of view. What is IN something that allows it to saponify--or not, is the real question I guess.
The way I understanding is that lye is a base, and if combines with fatty acids to forum a salt. Things that are liquid waxes (jojoba, lanolin, and beeswax come to mind) have some parts that saponify but a larger proportion that does not. So that's why we don't use a lot of these waxes in soap. (That is my understanding, anyway.)

I haven't read it yet, but Kevin Dunn's "Scientific Soapmaking" goes into this sort of thing from a scientific, chemist standpoint.
 

Tribe

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Dixiedragon. Really liked how you explained saponification (depending on the results you want to achieve answers WHAT and WHEN about the oils/additives). Can't explain this 100% but my instinct was telling me that but I couldn't articulate it; so thanks for doing that.

Also:
The way I understanding is that lye is a base, and if combines with fatty acids to forum a salt. Things that are liquid waxes (jojoba, lanolin, and beeswax come to mind) have some parts that saponify but a larger proportion that does not. So that's why we don't use a lot of these waxes in soap. (That is my understanding, anyway.)
Is that the chart to the left of the soapcalc calculator that says everything from Lauric to Linolenic?

I haven't read it yet, but Kevin Dunn's "Scientific Soapmaking" goes into this sort of thing from a scientific, chemist standpoint.
Yes, this is my next book I'm reading.
 

Kamahido

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Kamahido. Thank you.
1. There are some pretty authoritative sites that sell 97% lye? i.e. Brambleberry https://www.brambleberry.com/Sodium-Hydroxide-Lye-P3037.aspx And they even admit that it's "a little less pure" but then say it doesn't matter. P.s. I don't believe everything I hear, but I do question it.
8. Jojoba is a liquid wax.

I like hot process, if nothing else, than for the rustic look it gives to the bar. I'm not a cupcake swirly soaper...although they are cool people too. I'm sure I'd prefer cold process for the more simple process it is. And, especially now that I am learning that curing is necessary for both.
P.s. Love your signature. If only every child was taught that from day one of their life.
The 97% you saw on brambleberry.com was the Sodium Hydroxide's purity. The reason we say you have to make sure the Sodium Hydroxide from the hardware store says 100% LYE is because it is marketed a drain cleaner. Some companies put other highly toxic chemicals in the bottle to aid in drain opening action.
 

LisaAnne

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Yes, I use heavy saran wrap instead of the crock pot lid to keep the soap more fluid. I tended to dry out my batter.
 

IrishLass

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2. Glass vs. wood vs. stainless steel. What bowl do you use to make your lye water in? What spoon do you use to mix it with? Why?
I mix my lye in plastic (PP#5) and I use a large stainless slotted spoon to mix it. There are many types of plastic, each with their own safety rating as far as what substances can be safely mixed in them and/or stored in them, and PP#5 is one of those that has been rated safe to use with lye. I use stainless steel, because it does not react with lye.


What, if any, are the ranges for mixing temps of the lye water and oil mixture? I’ve heard of ranges between 90-110 and 120-130? Does the temp range make a difference in the final consistency or otherwise? P.s. I also heard that the actual temp when mixing the two is not relevant in HP. Your thoughts?
When I do HP, I proceed in the same way that I do with my CP, but instead of pouring the batter into a mold at med-thick trace as I normally would do, I cover my pot and stick it in the oven to cook. I've noticed that the initial temps of the oils and lye solution are not as crucial as they are to my batches of CP. With my HP, it's plenty good enough that my fats are all in a melted/clear state before I add in my lye solution.


So why do (many/most) make this temperature claim? Or that the two mixtures should at least be within 10 F of each other?
Because (like so many other things on the net) someone, somewhere made the claim, and it just got passed around like a bad penny without anyone actually putting it to the test. Be careful what kinds of soap-making info you read on the net. There's whole a lot of misinformation out there. We deal with a good brunt of it here with those just starting out in the craft, and are constantly having to burst someone's soap bubble over misinformation read somewhere on the net.....especially FB). Also- because different formulas can behave much differently than others (depending on ingredients), it's possible that the temp differential worked wonderfully in the formula of originator of the claim, and he/she just assumed that to be an appropriate rule to use for all formulas...... but it's a wrong assumption.

Does the thickness of trace at cooktime affect the final bar? If yes, how?
I've personally never noticed a difference.


Stainless steel vs. wood. What spoon do you use for mixing the hot process soap mixture in the crockpot. I’ve heard (?) that wood could react with the lye and could cause it to chip, leaving woodchips in the soap.
I use either a stainless steel spoon or a silicone spatula. Both are safe to use with lye. Wood is safe , too, but the lye will dry it out and degrade it over time, causing slinters to break off.


Do you or do you not mix your soap while it’s cooking in the crockpot? I’ve read that you should in order to create an even cook; and I’ve read that you shouldn’t touch it till it’s done. What do you do? Why?
This is a personal preference kind of thing. I've made batches where I didn't stir, and other batches where I did stir. For what it's worth, both came out great in the end. Because of that, I don't stress myself out over stirring.......unless the batter is volcano-ing, that is, then I'd stress out and stir, stir, stir ! lol


When making up a recipe, how does one know the cooking time for it? I’ve seen recipes that call for 30 minutes in the crock and recipes that call for 1.5 hours. That’s a huge difference.
Since not all recipes are alike, knowing the cook time can only come with familiarity with your own recipe, and of course practice with said recipe.


Is it ok to scrape off the hardened soap on the sides of the crockpot and use it in your batch? Will it affect the batch in any way?
I always scrape the hardened bits back into my pot of melting soap, but that's just me. It may make things look more rustic, but that's okay with me. It's still soap, after all.


Is it advisable to wait for the soap to cool before I cover it? (I know HP doesn’t need snuggling, but good to cover it to avoid dust, etc. for first day).
I normally don't cover mine. If I'm worried about dust, I just lay a sheet of baking parchment over it.


So my question is if anything then can be saponified? Let’s say sea mud, can it be melted into the oils and be saponifed in the beginning?
If it has a SAP#, it can be saponified, if it doesn't, then no. I use SoapCalc as my guide as to what is saponifiable.


Biggest question of all: To cure or not to cure HP, that is the question. So. I’ve been told every answer possible for this question so far (Yes the full 4-6 weeks, No it doesn’t need it at all, Yes but only half the time of CP, It depends on the oils used, etc). Here’s the real question though, What (if any) affect does curing HP soap do? Please only answer this if you have personally experienced the process of both curing and not curing HP and have seen/felt what it does yourself.
I go for at least 6 to 8 weeks cure with my HP, which is longer than I cure most of my CP formulas (4 to 6 weeks). The reason why is because they last a lot longer than my younger HP, and they also lather better and feel nicer to my skin as well. I don't have a microscope to see what's going on in the soap at the molecular level, but I do know from the lettered folks here that things are not static and that there's plenty of cool things going on at the molecular level (hopefully some of them will chime in). The only experiential answer I have to offer, which comes from my 11 years of soap-making and using my soap at different intervals, is what I just mentioned above (much longer-lasting, better lathering and more gentle).


A second part to the above question. Once a bar of soap is used, it is no longer in cure stage, correct? Meaning, a 6 week old bar (even if only used once) has the same qualities of a day old bar?
LOTS of thanks in advance.
No, incorrect. As Susie said, use does not stop cure.....unless you use it up.


Everyone is saying stainless steel (for the lye water). Isn't aluminum also metal? Why isn't there a reaction with stainless steel and lye but there is a crazy one with aluminum.
It's all about chemistry. Stainless steel is much different chemically than aluminum, and will therefore react much differently ( in a very, very bad way ) than stainless when exposed to lye.


IrishLass :)
 

MapRef41N93W

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I would personally be absolutely sure any Lye I am using is not made with the mercury vat method before purchasing. Another member on here (Irishlass I believe) pointed me in the direction of Essential Depot who sell Lye that is officially stated as not being made using the mercury chlor-alkali method. New science is showing that mercury even in amounts well below "safe" in humans can cause serious health issues that get mis-diagnosed and mercury itself is readily absorbed by the skin. There are claims that the mercury vat process is being phased out, yet mercury is turning up in all sorts of places that it has no business being where lye is being used. It's been found in canned tomatoes, organic cage free eggs (who are required by the FDA to lye wash their eggs), and in all sorts of junk food and beverage using HFCS. So either these companies are intentionally poisoning us (especially doubtful with eggs from local farmers) or just using whatever lye is for sale for cheap and not caring about how its made regardless of it being "food grade".

You will pay more for it on essential depot than you will at the hardware store (especially because there is a somewhat hefty shipping fee due to how poisons have to be shipped) but I think it's well worth it for peace of mind.
 
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