Styrofoam crumble confusion

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Underdog Acre

New Member
May 11, 2022
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Adkins, TX
This one is a head scratcher for me. I wanted a big bubble bar. I tried HP with Steric acid. Everything seemed to be going alright I was waiting to add the SA to the oils after emulsion so that it wouldn't get to thick on me to soon. I added my fragrance. "Love Spell" that made it thicken up quickly so i dumped my steric acid in and bam it sleazed up. I tried to add a bit more water and oil and it just turned into big puffs and clumps I put it in the molds cause I had no where else to put them and the batch had tripled in intended size and when I cut them a week later, they were still wet on the bottom but had a spongy feel and crumbled like Styrofoam.

1) what did I do wrong?
2) ow could i have corrected in the pot?
3) can i rebatch and if so how


Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2013
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1) what did I do wrong?
Some guesses -- the fragrance cooled the soap batter too much and/or it caused acceleration. Then when you added the melted stearic acid, the SA also accelerated saponification or cooled off too much. Or all of the above.

Next time, ensure the soap batter is warm enough to keep the SA melted before you add the SA. Add the melted SA to the emulsified batter before you add other additives (including fragrance). Stir to incorporate the fatty acid into the batter. The mixture will thicken, but if you're patient, it should soften again as the SA saponifies. How much it softens depends on the percentage of SA you're using. Then warm the additives so they don't cool the soap paste too much and stir them in.

I don't have experience with Love Spell, so I don't know if it normally accelerates saponfication. If it's typically well behaved, it may simply have been too cool when you added it to the soap. If you add what's normally an accelerating fragrance after saponification is done (aka after the HP cook), it won't cause problems.

2) ow could i have corrected in the pot?
I don't know that I could have fixed this on the fly. Better to have taken a different tack in the first place to better control the temperatures and rate of saponification.

3) can i rebatch and if so how
There are about as many methods as there are soap makers, but basically you shred the soap, add a small amount of liquid (milk, water, etc.) for freshly made soap (more for drier soap), heat using low to moderate heat to melt the soap into a reasonably smooth paste, add any extra ingredients, put the soap into molds, and let cool and cure.

Here's a method by Ponte Vedra Soap that I saved some years ago -- I'd rather give a link to their website but I can't find this article on their website even using the Wayback Machine.


Shredded Soap

Crock pot, small or medium size
Liquid of choice: ( Distilled Water, Whole milk or 2% Milk)
Powdered milk (secret ingredient)
Any additives, such as herb, flowers, grains, cornmeal, oatmeal, etc.
Colorant chips or liquid dye (optional)
Any fragrance oil or essential oil
Optional: additional oils such as sweet almond, jojoba, vitamin E
Mold/s (lightly greased with Vaseline)

You may half, quarter or double this recipe as needed.

Rebatching is a good way to get the feel for soap-making without having to handle any caustic ingredients. You can also use a double boiler, but we recommend the crock pot method. This recipe takes about 2 hours to make.

Start by measuring out 4-6 cups of shredded base soap or as much as will fit into your crock pot without going past the half-way mark. Measure out about 1 cup of liquid (you'll add this as needed, you may not use it all or you may need to add a bit more). Add ½ cup of liquid to the crock pot and the shredded soap, put the lid on the pot and set it on the lowest temperature setting. Check the mixture every 15 min. or so and gently stir with your wooden spoon, but try not to make bubbles. If it looks very dry, add a little more milk, and so on, until all the shredded soap is melted.

After an hour or so, it should have the consistency of soft mashed potatoes. It also may look lumpy. Add about ½ cup of powdered milk. The powdered milk will make the mixture very smooth and easy to pour. Go ahead and add any additional ingredients, such as, Vitamin E or grapefruit seed extract (which act as a preservative). You can also add additional oils (½ -1 tsp.) such as, castor (for shampoo like lather), almond oil or jojoba oil, etc. at this time.

When you're ready to add your colorant, herbs, and fragrance, remove the amount of soap needed for your size mold from the crock pot and place it into the measuring cup. Mix in your final ingredients, amounts of color, herbs, fragrance will vary depending on your liking, and pour into molds.

The soap should be easy to pour, but not too runny. Leave your soap in their molds overnight or until dry and remove the next dry. If you're having difficulty removing from the mold, place mold into the freezer for a few minutes for easier release.

Cure them for 1 week on a drying rack. Wrap individual soaps to preserve their scent.

Original URL for this method:
Current URL for the company: Private label bulk raw materials for cosmetics & soap making