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Surgical Spirit to combat soda ash

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lindenblossom

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Hi

I want to try using alcohol to prevent soda ash on my soaps but I'm finding it hard to get in the UK. The usual online suppliers I use either don't list it or will only supply if you have a license. Have asked for isopropyl alcohol in a few chemists but they tend to just look at me blankly.

I can buy surgical spirits which contains 90% ethanol and 5% methanol plus methyl salicylate, diethyl phthalate and castor oil. I believe this is same as rubbing alcohol in the U.S. and I have seen recipes that refer to spraying with rubbing alcohol.

Can any U.S. soapers confirm if this surgical spirit is the same as the rubbing alcohol they use?

Do any UK soapers use surgical spirits to reduce soda ash?

It is sold for the purpose of using on the skin, so given that most of it will evaporate anyway I don't think it will do any harm to use it on my soap, but would be interested in others experiences.
 

Jstar

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Rubbing alcohol is usually 70% Isopropyl Alcohol but can come in 91% strength also. {Its usually a clear liquid}


Its sold in most drug stores..however if you can't find it there, you can always run your still molded soap loaf under hot water to remove the ash..then let it dry a bit and remove from the mold.

ETA: You mentioned ethanol and methanol so Im thinking what you have referred to is actually denatured alcohol..which is in many cleaners. Is yours blue or purple by any chance?
 
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tbeck3579

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Hi

I want to try using alcohol to prevent soda ash on my soaps but I'm finding it hard to get in the UK. The usual online suppliers I use either don't list it or will only supply if you have a license. Have asked for isopropyl alcohol in a few chemists but they tend to just look at me blankly.

I can buy surgical spirits which contains 90% ethanol and 5% methanol plus methyl salicylate, diethyl phthalate and castor oil. I believe this is same as rubbing alcohol in the U.S. and I have seen recipes that refer to spraying with rubbing alcohol.

Can any U.S. soapers confirm if this surgical spirit is the same as the rubbing alcohol they use?

Do any UK soapers use surgical spirits to reduce soda ash?

It is sold for the purpose of using on the skin, so given that most of it will evaporate anyway I don't think it will do any harm to use it on my soap, but would be interested in others experiences.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubbing_alcohol

The link above says surgical spirit is the same. I assume it is the same in the UK as the US, you can buy either a 70% or 90% solution. I understand how hard it is with the language differences. Though subtle it can be challenging. I lived in the UK for 2 years and in Germany for 2 years. While in Germany I needed Tongue Oil for wood. Of course that got lost in the translation and the hardware store told me to go to the butcher -- very funny now but quite frustrating at the time.
 
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IrishLass

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Welcome Lindenblossom!

Let's see.....I have 2 bottles of isopropyl alcohol here in front of me. One of them is 70% Isopropyl Alcohol and the other is 91% Isopropyl Alcohol. These are what are typically referred to as 'rubbing alcohol' here in the US. (I live in the US, by the way)

The ingredients listed on my bottle of 70% are as follows: 70% Isopropyl Alcohol and water. And then it specifically mentions that it "does not contain nor is intended as a substitute for grain or ethyl alcohol".

On my bottle of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol the ingredients are Isopropyl Alcohol 91% concentration and purified water. And it also states that it 'does not contain nor is intended as a substitute for grain or ethyl alcohol'.

Based on the above, I don't believe they are the same thing as your 'surgical spirits'.

Hopefully those that live on your side of the pond will chime in soon.


IrishLass :)
 

lindenblossom

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Thanks ...

Thanks for clarifying what exactly rubbing alcohol is. Definitely does not sound like it is the same as surgical spirits. In the UK surgical spirits is a clear liquid used for cleaning or disinfecting skin or applied repeatedly to harden skin on hands or feet. It can also be used for cleaning, as can methylated spirits (which are usually purple) although that is more commonly used in a spirit burner such as in a fondue set.

Suspect it would probably be okay, but think I'll keep looking for a source of isopropyl or stick with a quick dunk in water or get the steamer on it!
 

TwystedPryncess

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Also until then, I cover mine immediately with a clear film wrap, although I suppose covering it with anything to keep it away from air will also help somewhat reduce the formation of the soda ash, so that there will at least be not quite as much. When I have to wash it off pattern-topped bars (because often I just forget to cover the stuff!) I will use water and a soft toothbrush and some pantyhose. Not sure if anyone else does this, but it works for me. I work sloooow to keep soap bubbles away, and very little water, but it helps get ash out of details. Time consuming and I only do it if I've forgotten and really want the tops to be pretty, but every little bit helps when needed I guess! Luckily I haven't forgotten on any of my piped tops yet!
 

Dahila

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I use 90% to prevent soda ash , 70 is not strong enough. Sometimes it works sometimes do not;)) It is the same in Europe as here the 99 or% IA :))
 

navigator9

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I used the 91% alcohol for a long time to prevent ash with mixed results. Most of the time there was no ash, but sometimes there was. Would the results have been the same without the alcohol.....who knows. One thing I didn't like about using it was that often the tops of the soap, where the alcohol had been sprayed, were sticky. With a long cure, it improved, but never really went away. So I've stopped using alcohol, and because I make 99% of my soaps in silicone molds, I now rinse the tops off with water before unmolding, thanks to Ariane Arsenault's video, where she demonstrated this. I let it dry well, then take it out of the mold. No stickiness, no ash. HTH
 

TeresaT

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Hi

I want to try using alcohol to prevent soda ash on my soaps but I'm finding it hard to get in the UK. The usual online suppliers I use either don't list it or will only supply if you have a license. Have asked for isopropyl alcohol in a few chemists but they tend to just look at me blankly.

I can buy surgical spirits which contains 90% ethanol and 5% methanol plus methyl salicylate, diethyl phthalate and castor oil. I believe this is same as rubbing alcohol in the U.S. and I have seen recipes that refer to spraying with rubbing alcohol.

Can any U.S. soapers confirm if this surgical spirit is the same as the rubbing alcohol they use?

Do any UK soapers use surgical spirits to reduce soda ash?

It is sold for the purpose of using on the skin, so given that most of it will evaporate anyway I don't think it will do any harm to use it on my soap, but would be interested in others experiences.
Wow! Seriously? You can't get rubbing alcohol in the UK? Someone else posted that y'all can't get Borax, either. That is just mind boggling to me. Especially since you can get venison in your butcher shop. Yes, I know, they have nothing to do with each other. It's just weird how different governments regulate different things. (I saw a travel show where they scanned local villages and the venison sign in the butcher's window was something I noticed. The US strictly prohibits the sale of game meat. At least in the states I've lived in.)
 

TVivian

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I used the 91% alcohol for a long time to prevent ash with mixed results. Most of the time there was no ash, but sometimes there was. Would the results have been the same without the alcohol.....who knows. One thing I didn't like about using it was that often the tops of the soap, where the alcohol had been sprayed, were sticky. With a long cure, it improved, but never really went away. So I've stopped using alcohol, and because I make 99% of my soaps in silicone molds, I now rinse the tops off with water before unmolding, thanks to Ariane Arsenault's video, where she demonstrated this. I let it dry well, then take it out of the mold. No stickiness, no ash. HTH

I'm the same. I find that alcohol gives my top a really weird texture or color. Covering works so much better for me and if it gets a little ash still, a rinse works like a charm!
 

lindenblossom

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Vive la différence!

Wow! Seriously? You can't get rubbing alcohol in the UK? Someone else posted that y'all can't get Borax, either. That is just mind boggling to me. Especially since you can get venison in your butcher shop. Yes, I know, they have nothing to do with each other. It's just weird how different governments regulate different things. (I saw a travel show where they scanned local villages and the venison sign in the butcher's window was something I noticed. The US strictly prohibits the sale of game meat. At least in the states I've lived in.)
How strange that venison isn't on sale in the U.S. It's on sale in just about every supermarket here. What about grouse, pheasant and rabbit? Perhaps not a supermarket staple but good, traditional butchers certainly sell it here in Scotland.

Anyway, I digress ... ;)

Thanks for all the replies. I will definitely check out the video on rinsing the top while still in the mould. I've ordered some rubbing alcohol from Amazon so will experiment a little with that.

It's one of these things that doesn't happen all the time so agree with Navigator9 as to whether the ash didn't form because of the preventative measures or if it was just coincidence.

Hey ho, not to worry, having fun finding out!

Regards

Carol
 

kchaystack

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I have seen pheasant and rabbit, but I am betting those are farm raised. I don't know of any place that has 'farm raised' deer.
 

TeresaT

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No grouse either. We have quail. But again, that's farm raised. I haven't seen pheasant or rabbit, though. kchaystack lives in a different part of the country than I do.

I've been saying this for 20 years: I live on the wrong side of the pond!!
 

not_ally

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I don't have any real butcher shops within easy driving that I know, and I live in LA! Of course there are meat departments in regular supermarkets and would-be butcher sections in higher end stores like Whole Foods, but even they do not usually have game. I think Americans might be nervous about using meats which are not "normal" for them, so the lack of demand just makes it hard for us to find it.

I am always nervous about ordering meat by mail, I just have a - probably unbased - fear that either it will not keep well, or if it does, it is b/c of preservatives. Although I have a friend who used to order from Omaha Steaks, and those things tasted awesome. Even the filet mignon, they are usually too soft and tasteless for me, but they are great from that place.
 

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