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Sweating lye - OK or trash?

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LazyUmbrella

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Hi all!

I haven't been soaping since December for a number of reasons, and finally got back into it a few weeks ago. Boy had I become rusty (or should I say "Boy, did I ever develop a ton of DOS!!" (waits for laughter, hears nothing but crickets and the occasional cough).

:eh:

Anyway, I decided to experiment with the following formula:
  • 5% Cocoa butter
  • 30% Olive oil
  • 65% Avocado oil

For a batch size of 1000 g, I used 127 g of Sodium Hydroxide, which I calculated to give me 5% SF.

I had an extremely long trace - almost 60 minutes with a stick blender. Which was surprising, but that's life!

My question is that when I removed it from the mould yesterday, the sides and bottom were very slick and wet, which I believe to be lye. I left the soap exposed and today the liquid seems to have evaporated. I haven't zap tested yet.

My question is did the presence of the lye at the bottom and sides of the brick indicate that the "unsaponified emulsion" started to break into the oil and lye components and if so, does it mean that the soap will be unusable?

When I make other batches that have higher proportions of saturated fats, I don't get this slickness.

Thank you!! (I'll be here all week, don't forget to tip your server!)
 

commoncenz

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Not an expert here, but I'll take a shot at this and let others clean up the mess I'm bound to make. :) My guess would be that the slickness/wetness you noticed was unsaponified oils. Did it smell strongly of the FO you used? Also, how long did you leave your soap in the mold? your recipe is high on "soft" oils and it might take awhile for your soap to actually be hard enough to unmold and cut.

In any event, I would bet that if the soap had been left in the mold for awhile longer, the oil would have been reabsorbed into the soap. I would definitely zap test. If no zap and it is hard enough, it should be good to cut. Give it a good long cure and it should be OK.

Now, here's where my inexperience comes in. If it does zap, I'd imagine you'd have to chalk it up as a loss because w/out knowing what was lost with the liquid, you'd have no idea how much oil/water/lye needed to be replaced when rebatching.

That's all I've got and I know it's not much. But, I figure one of the others will be along shortly to correct my thought process and we can both learn something.
 

commoncenz

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Ok, back again with another thought process. I did a search of "Castile soap wet bottom sides" on sitecomber for this forum. I used the term "Castile" because that is the type of soap your recipe reminded me of the most. Although I guess with the cocoa butter and avocado oil it would be a "bastile"? Anyway, it's a soft soap recipe and from what I can tell, never having made one myself, it is not uncommon to have a wetness associated with such types if you unmold too soon.

Here's a thread that might help. http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=28460
 

not_ally

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I'm afraid I don't have much to add, I'm not a maven either, but will woolgather for a bit. I would expect your recipe/batter to act pretty much like a castille/bastille equivalent, since the SAP values for olive and avocado are so close (is that what you were aiming for by avoiding the hard oils, b/t/w?) So I would have expected it to take a long time to trace, but 60 ms w/an SB seems a bit much, I am surprised it (and your poor arm muscles) did not burn out.

Given the amt of time you mixed it, though, I would think that it would have reached a well-mixed trace, so you wouldn't have free floating lye. Also, w/a 5% SF, not much reason for oil seepage/oozing, and nothing you have mentioned makes me think this soap would overheat.

Is it zapping? Even if so, I would let it sit and see what happens rather than discarding/rebatching. It just doesn't sound like it would end up being lye heavy. Curious to see what others think.

ETA: Looks like cenz and I cross posted and more or less came to the same conclusion.
 
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kchaystack

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I would guess the same thing as the other 2. The oils you used would take a long time to trace, esp. at full water.

It will also have taken a long time to set up, and will be very soft for a long time. The wetness was probably from unmoldimg too soon. Zap test it and let us know what you find.

It will need a long cure - 6 months or so. After that it will be very hard.
 

not_ally

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Actually, it might be the perfect bastille if cured long enough. I am one of those people who is not so much a fan of castilles b/c of the slime factor, I bet the avocado will mitigate that.
 

Obsidian

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I don't know if the avocado will help much with the slime. I made 100% avocado soap before and it was slimy, not as bad as castile but still unpleasant. It took forever to trace too, well over a hour.
 

not_ally

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That's a drag, Obsidian. Espec. b/c avocado is more expensive. Lots of people like castille, though, hopefully the OP is one of them.
 

LazyUmbrella

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Too bad it wouldn't be a good Bastille! It would have been fitting, since I made it on Bastille Day.

I do remember reading somewhere that the slime found on Castille soap comes from the Oleic acid, of which Avocado and Olive oils both have high proportions of.

I didn't really have anything in mind when creating this recipe. I'm purely experimenting right now. I'd like to see for my own eyes (and feel for my own skin) the differences between the different kinds of soap recipes. I'm stubborn that way, I guess!

I have to admit I have no self control when it comes to unmoulding soap. I'll be ready to go to bed, but my feet will take me back to where the soaps are tracing. Then I'll poke at them and tug at the mould, tap on the sides. And before you know it, I'm all in at 2 in the morning unmoulding and cutting and cursing my lack of discipline!

I can quit smoking, but I can't give up prematurely unmoulding.

Thanks for all the tips!
 

Susie

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Don't toss the soap! It should be fine after a good long cure. And please learn to zap test any suspicious liquids. That is the only way you are going to know what is leaking out.
 

julieanne

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If you are up to trying the recipe again, I'd throw in coconut oil to a level that shows it makes sense via SoapCalc. Amazing what a difference it can provide.
 

galaxyMLP

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If you are up to trying the recipe again, I'd throw in coconut oil to a level that shows it makes sense via SoapCalc. Amazing what a difference it can provide.
What do you mean by "makes sense"? People make soap w/o coconut oil all the time. Do you mean to increase the cleaning number?

Some people, like me, like soap with a cleansing number between 0-3. Numbers don't mean all that much on soapcalc. I find its very much about personal skin type/preference.

I think this recipe was fine the way it was (a castile type recipe) but thats my own opinion. Although, many people do love CO in their soap soo... maybe I'm the weird one.
 

LazyUmbrella

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"...prematurely unmoulding...."

Hey, isn't there a little blue pill for that??? ;-)
I tried it once - my mixture seized up so fast and then got stuck in the mould for hours. I even stuck it under a bucketful of ice to no avail. I couldn't get my soap to unmould.

Finally, I had to make my way to the emergency room for some help. To make matters worse the master soaper came into the room with a bunch of attractive, young interns who I could hear giggling about how pathetic my soap looked and muttering about how people my age should stick to melt-and-pour.
 

MorpheusPA

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Some people, like me, like soap with a cleansing number between 0-3. Numbers don't mean all that much on soapcalc. I find its very much about personal skin type/preference.

I think this recipe was fine the way it was (a castile type recipe) but thats my own opinion. Although, many people do love CO in their soap soo... maybe I'm the weird one.
That's not strange. My winter soaps all have very low cleansing numbers. If I'm using 10% coconut in them, that's a lot. Many use zero.

For summer, I like something a little more frothy and do go to 15% coconut, but I never go above it.

High CO soaps do set up fast, but a little patience with very high OO soap and it's really very nice. My favorite bastile is 70% OO, 25% palm, tallow, or lard. 5% castor.
 

julieanne

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To respond to, "What do you mean by "makes sense"? People make soap w/o coconut oil all the time. Do you mean to increase the cleaning number?

Some people, like me, like soap with a cleansing number between 0-3. Numbers don't mean all that much on soapcalc. I find its very much about personal skin type/preference.

I think this recipe was fine the way it was (a castile type recipe) but thats my own opinion. Although, many people do love CO in their soap soo... maybe I'm the weird one."

This is what I mean, the "frothy" part: "For summer, I like something a little more frothy and do go to 15% coconut, but I never go above it."

Love frothy soap, rich and creamy like whipping cream. I, too, typically add no more than 15%, more like 10-12%. Lard and palm and tallow are also good choices to play with, experiment with and see how the foam, life of the bar, hardness are affected.

Morpheus, I'm going to have to try your recipe! Sounds like we are like minded. Thanks for the recipe.
 
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