Spongy soap?

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Rick99

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Hi Everyone,

I have made one or two batches of CP and HP Soap. Really enjoy how they feel and smell but the bars never seem to get that hard. If you squeeze the middle of the bar its a little spongy. I know that has to have something to do with my formula. I was using 8% Super Fat and thought it may be that so I went down to 5% but I am still getting basically the same results. Soap is about 38% Olive Oil Pomace, 25% Coconut Oil 76, 3% Castor Oil and 25% Shea Butter .... plus about 2oz of Fragrance Oil. Hope that information helps. Was hoping to get some ideas of how to hard this up a bit. Thanks,
 

DeeAnna

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And how long has it been since you made these "one or two batches"? How much water is in the recipe? Lye concentration or water:lye ratio, please.

It would be nice if you gave weights of all ingredients, too. I couldn't begin to say how 2 oz of FO fits in with the rest of your recipe since everything else is in percentages.
 

Rick99

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Sure ... HP soap sitting for 6 weeks 5% Super Fat. CP the same, 6 weeks 8% Super Fat
Lye - 4.28 oz
Water - 9.56 oz
TOTAL 13.84 oz

OO Pomace - 12oz
Castor Oil - 3 oz
Coconut Oil 76 - 8 oz
Shea Butter - 8 oz
TOTAL 31 oz

Batch Size: 44.84 oz

Does that help?
 

DeeAnna

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Your recipe checks out okay. About 31% lye concentration, which is a fine choice. You didn't use an excess of FO. Superfat is on the high side for my preference, but still within a reasonable range -- I don't think 5% or 8% should be the cause of your problem with softness.

One distant possibility to verify is if your "lye" happens to be KOH rather than NaOH. Don't laugh ;) people really do make this mistake from time to time.

(The word "lye" doesn't mean NaOH -- it can be used for any alkali that can be used to make soap. In the context of this thread, I think I'm pretty safe to assume you're using NaOH, but a person is always wise to spell out the exact chemical name if the context isn't crystal clear.)

The only thing I can think of is the softness is coming from the recipe itself. The palmitic and stearic acids in this recipe are on the somewhat low side -- a combined 21%. This soap is going to "melt" away quickly in the shower. I could also see that the soap might tend to be on the softer side without a generously long cure time (like several months). I normally shoot for a combined palmitic + stearic content of 30% to get a harder, longer lasting bar.

edit: And another possibility if both of these batches were made with a cold process method is if your soap didn't get warm enough to go into gel. A CP soap that does not gel tends to be softer overall. You're more likely to see this if the soap batter was on the cooler side and the soap itself stayed cooler in the mold during saponification. A hot process soap doesn't have this problem since it gels in the soap pot, so I'm tending toward thinking the softness is coming from a recipe problem, not a lack-of-gelling problem.
 
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Rick99

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Thanks DeeAnna. Can you give me some ideas on how to raise the palmitic + stearic amount? Im unsure how that is done. Is that simply just adding palm oil or straight stearic into the formula? Hopefully that made sense! Yep I do have the right Lye as well!!!
 

earlene

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Take a look at the soap calculator you use and see the Fatty Acid profiles for each of the oils. Or easier still, here is a link to the sorted list at soapcalc.com sorted by SAP. You can change the sorting by choosing a different stearic or palmitic or whatever:


When you look at those lists, you will see that there are a number of oils with high percentages of palmitic & stearic acids content.

Using a lye calculator you alter your recipe as DeeAnna mentioned above by choosing some of those other harder oils. Notice they include the butters, animal fats as well as palm and soy wax is another. But more easily accessible are the animal fats (lard is easy to find in grocery stores), tallow can be rendered using fat from a butcher or ordered from a supplier of soapmaking oils. Palm can be purchased in some grocery stores in the form of palm shortening, or ordered from a vendor who sell soaping supplies. Cocoa Butter & Shea Butter can be purchased in small amounts at some stores, but at pretty high prices; a more economical option is a soap supplier. Soy wax (hydrogenated soy oil) can be ordered online as well, but choosing the right type is important.
 

Rick99

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Take a look at the soap calculator you use and see the Fatty Acid profiles for each of the oils. Or easier still, here is a link to the sorted list at soapcalc.com sorted by SAP. You can change the sorting by choosing a different stearic or palmitic or whatever:


When you look at those lists, you will see that there are a number of oils with high percentages of palmitic & stearic acids content.

Using a lye calculator you alter your recipe as DeeAnna mentioned above by choosing some of those other harder oils. Notice they include the butters, animal fats as well as palm and soy wax is another. But more easily accessible are the animal fats (lard is easy to find in grocery stores), tallow can be rendered using fat from a butcher or ordered from a supplier of soapmaking oils. Palm can be purchased in some grocery stores in the form of palm shortening, or ordered from a vendor who sell soaping supplies. Cocoa Butter & Shea Butter can be purchased in small amounts at some stores, but at pretty high prices; a more economical option is a soap supplier. Soy wax (hydrogenated soy oil) can be ordered online as well, but choosing the right type is important.
Thank you!
 

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