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gigisiguenza

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When my soap batches first set up and were cut, they had no ash. Now, a week or two later, they seem to have a very light ashy coating. I've been unable to find the 90% or higher alcohol, so am unsure how to remove it. Also, how do I prevent it in future?

TIA for any help :)
 

commoncenz

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You can give your soaps a bath (i.e. wash the ash off) and let them dry or you can steam them and let them dry. Some folks don't even worry about it as they feel it gives the soap a more "handmade" or "rustic" look.

If you find a fool proof way to keep ash from forming, let me know. lol. That said, you can cover the top of your mold with saran wrap or a sheet of plastic like a garbage bag. Or try to find the 91% alcohol at Walmart. It's right there with the other rubbing alcohols. However, none of these are guaranteed to prevent ash all the time. At least from what I've read and experienced.
 

Obsidian

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I've had soaps take a week or mare to really develop ash. I don't bother trying to prevent it anymore, it part of handmade soap in my eyes.
 

not_ally

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Sea is right, a dunk and dry usually works. I almost never get it soaping w/discounted water and gelling/CPOP'ing in logs, although it does happen v. occasionally anyway.

The only time it regularly happened for me - ALL the time, and a thick Pompeii like layer - was the batches I did for the last soap challenge here, using a slab mold. I definitely think it has something to do w/surface area to air contact, so spraying w/alcohol, and covering, as people have suggested, would help if that is true.

Or just spraying/dunking/planing. I have a lot of soap curls from the last challenge, that ash was pretty thick :)
 

Obsidian

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My worse ash is on salt bars. It gets thick and somewhat sticky. After a couple weeks, I can rub it off with my fingers, it pills up and falls away.
You are right, the larger the area exposed to air, the worse the ash can be. Ash is formed when lye interacts with air, thats why gelling or CPOP can reduce the formation of ash.
 

gigisiguenza

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I didn't realize the alcohol trick would be needed because I thought ash was an uncommon result, not a common one. I'm going to fire a pot of boiling water to get steam and see if I can gently wipe it off. It's not very thick, it's very thin actually, so it shouldn't be difficult to remove. Ty all :)
 

Seawolfe

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I've had better luck steaming with something like a kettle spout, but I then burned my hands, which is why I like washing...
 

not_ally

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Obsidian, I definitely have *something* on the soap bars. I don't think it is ash, it looks different. More spiderwebby and persistent, as you noted it stays even when wet, which ash does not. In fact, it really appears after I have used it with water for the first time. Also, it is more evident w/darker colorants, I see it much less in the lighter soap, one of the reasons that I am going to try a really white bar next.

It does not bother me at all though, I guess I just thought it was a part of the whole salt bar thing. The soap still feels really great.
 
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MissBee

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I think ash looks super pretty with dark colored soap and textured tops. I never wound up using the alcohol I bought for soaping, but it was at my local grocery store. I wonder if you could save yourself the search and get some off Amazon.
 

gigisiguenza

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MissBee I've not seen it on dark soaps, so I've nothing to compare it to yet. I'll be looking locally tomorrow for the alcohol, but if I can't locate it, Amazon will likely be my next stop lol
 

Susie

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Gigi- learn to love the ash. I have tried every way in the world to prevent it, and I can assure you that it is MUCH easier to remove it than prevent it. The alcohol did not work for me, gelling did not work for me. But a simple wash after cure works every time, and it's cheap and easy.
 

shunt2011

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I agree with embracing the ash. I don't get it often but when I do I just let it be. I generally give my soaps a good spray with alcohol then cover tightly with the lids for my molds, then wrap with a towel and leave them alone except for peeking once in awhile to make sure they aren't overheating. Now, my salt bars in individual molds. If I don't pour then spay with alcohol and then cover them and leave it for at least 24 hours I get some crazy thick ash. I have started putting them in a warm oven for about 15-20 minutes and then move them into a box and cover it. So far the ash has been staying away for the most part.
 

Jstar

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I too embrace the ash...I dont get it often, but when I do I just leave it..that's what the soap wanted to do so I just roll with it :)

Gigi you can get the alcohol at Wally-World in the pharmacy section.

NA, you may be seeing glycerin rivers...got a pic?
 

KristaMarie

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I get ash pretty much all the time. It looks so awesome on top of my charcoal bars!
The only two batches I haven't gotten it on recently are the ones made with wine and beer. I froze the molds before pouring and they went right back in the freezer after, so it's not because they gelled. Soap mystery right there. Could it be from the high sugar content for some reason? Both liquids were boiled down to about half, so pretty concentrated
 

Jstar

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I just uploaded my newest cuts..got ash still forming actually..*shrug* I like it personally :)
 

not_ally

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J, they were definitely not glycerine rivers - ie; the interiors of the bars are actually quite beautiful, not flecky or grainy at all. Also, being the hyper type I can't take pics b/c I planed them all right away/as soon as they were hard b/c I find it harder to plane/bevel when they get past a certain cure point.

I was just shocked to see the ash so consistently and in such great amounts in the slab soaps - I made about 7 or 8 batches in a row for last month's challenge - b/c I so rarely get it otherwise, except w/salt/brine soaps, but I don't really care about it there, it actually looks fine in those to me. But in the slabs it really just kind of made the top ugly, not (eg) rustic.

Some I sprayed w/alcohol, some I didn't, most I CPOP'd, some I didn't, it didn't seem to make a difference. The only common factor was the slab. And my formula, but I use that all the time in logs, w/o ash. But at least it is a pretty easy fix.
 
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handavaka

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I soap a lot with salt in most of my batches, but don't experience a lot of ash at all, however. ..occasionally I will get some on the corners of my soap after a while. But I leave everything alone until they are fully cured, then a day or so before packaging, I rinse them lightly with water, then give them a very fine spray of vodka, then let them sit to dry completely. They get a nice sheen on them that I like. There is absolutely no alcohol smell, and they dry very fast.
 

gigisiguenza

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I soap a lot with salt in most of my batches, but don't experience a lot of ash at all, however. ..occasionally I will get some on the corners of my soap after a while. But I leave everything alone until they are fully cured, then a day or so before packaging, I rinse them lightly with water, then give them a very fine spray of vodka, then let them sit to dry completely. They get a nice sheen on them that I like. There is absolutely no alcohol smell, and they dry very fast.
Vodka? You naughty soaper, getting your poor little soaps drunk LOL.

Seriously though, why vodka and not alcohol?
 

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