swedish guy tries to make soap.

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Tobbelobbe

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Hey everyone!

Im surprised and so happy that there is an actual forum for soap making!

I just tried to make my first batch today.

I prob did tons of things wrong, but i need some help to figure out exactly what i did wrong. So i can learn for next time!

Here is the recipe.

400g Coconut Oil
350g Almond 80% Jojoba 20% mixture
150g Shea Butter

326g Distilled Water
126g Lye

I added in green tea powder to make it green.
ITS BLACK! idont even know how that happened. It was kinda green at first.


Its in the oven now, been there for 60min and it looks like its been leaking the almond jojoba mixture. Can this happen? I followed a guide that said i should let the lye mix melt the hard oils and then add in the liquid oils. I personally felt like it took along time to melt them. (I used the room temp method)




If anyone has time to post their opinions on what i did wrong i would really appreciate it!
 

scott312

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Hang in there. I just made my first batch a week ago. I have not gathered my report to post.. That's a interesting problem. I'm sure we will know the reason soon.
 

LBussy

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I am going to go out on a limb and say the tannins turned things (a very dark) brown. It is also possible that you got a false trace and now you are getting the separation.

Otherwise, aside from this being a very cleansing (potentially drying) soap, I don't see anything else wrong. I'd let it go and see what happens.
 

fuzz-juzz

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Green tea powder probably turned brown/black because of lye.
There are only few botanical additives that will keep true colour in soap.
It does look like it's separating. See how you go after they cool down.
But if the batter is still separating, you might need to re batch. If you are sure to know how to do it.
You have to save all the oils and liquids oozing from the soaps.
 

Seawolfe

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Why is it in the oven? Pls tell me you arent cooking it? If yes, turn it off now. Deep breath!
If its seperating you might want to dump it all into the crockpot and cook on low for a bit till it comes back together, then blop it back into the molds.
Did you stickblend the soap batter? Can you tell us more about your entire process?

And yes, the lye monster eats most organics - but usually to brown. How much green tea?
 

newbie

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Yep, separating. How did you mix your oils and lye? How hot were they? We need a lot more detail about how you made your soap so we can help you pinpoint the problem.

If it just keeps spewing oil, you can put it all (including all the seepage) into a crock pot or a stainless steel bowl that will fit over a bigger pan. YOu can heat it in the crock pot until it doesn't zap anymore, or put the bowl over simmering water in a larger pan and cook it that way. it will all come together and then you can mold it again. It will probably stay black, but black soap is pretty classy.

I would also add that I think jojoba oil in CP is not the best use of an expensive oil like that. I think it's better left for leave on products like lotions or butters. You can get a great soap without using something so pricey, but that is just one person opinion.
 

cmzaha

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I really hope you have a tray under the molds to catch what is dripping or do not have a self cleaning oven. Lye is very hard on self cleaning ovens. If you can get something to catch what is dripping either get it into a crock pot as mentioned above. You can also add it all to a stainless steel pan stick blend it back together and cook in the oven at 87-104º Celsius checking on it periodically and stick blend if it is still badly separated. I am absolutely not a fan of putting cp soap in the oven.
 

Tobbelobbe

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Wow so many replies!
What i did.
I put the hard oils in the bowl. Had rhe liquids in a glass. Mixed the lye and water and stirred. I poured the lye mixture on the hard oils to melt them. Stirred for 5 mins untill they mixed. I felt it took a long time. Read a guide that said i should melt rhe hards before adding the liquids. But now i feel like they were added to late.
I dont have a stick mixer. Im gonna buy one today. Seems like everyone is using them lol!! At first i stirred with a wooden spoon. After 1 hour and it still beeing fully liquid i gave in and sacrificed my electric blender? (The one you hold in your hand with a handle dont remeber the english name xD) and used that for more than one hour!! Lets just say i was starting to feel pretty failed at that point! At this point i was searching for pictures and video of "Kitten Love how does tracing look". I added in the green tea. Yeah prob too much like a 80% of a dl. But i read that green tea would accelerate the trace. And the cedarwood oil.

It was green. Turned black. Night was coming and i hadnt eaten yet. So i thought this might be a light trace and poured it into the molds. In the oven at 77c for 60min.

Im gonna check on them now.

How do i know if they seperated or not? Can they seperate just a bit like in the picture and the rest is fine?

I do not have a crack pot. That name sounds like something you do drugs with xD i have steelpans tho and a huge one that i can fill with water to cook a smaller steelcookingpan in.

How do i tell if its failed? Wait 24hours and slice one of them?

Gonna buy a termometer and stavemixer today xD
 

Soapmaker145

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I find that cedarwood EO slows down and even reverses trace. It compounded the problem you were having. The temperature was also fairly low which slows down the initial reaction.

Depending on how much oil seepage you had, the bars may be OK to use. However, you have a lot of coconut in your recipe. The soap will end up too drying. If you are not opposed to using tallow or lard or if you have some palm oil (not palm kernel), rebatch the bars and add to them about 400g of tallow/lard or palm and about 200g of olive or canola with the extra lye and water needed to saponify the additional oils. The bars will still be brown but you'll have nice bars after the full cure.

For a first time, you didn't do too badly and you learned a lot. You could have easily left the mix alone and had dinner and then came back to finish the job. Once you have an emulsion, you don't need to stir constantly.

I rarely use a stickblender but I soap at higher temperatures. I soap in a stainless steel pan directly on the stove using low heat. You don't need a crock pot (not a crack pot), but it is convenient for rebatching. I use the oven for rebatching.

Make sure you have protective gear particularly for your eyes before using the stickblender.
 

Tobbelobbe

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Okay, i have looked at them now, and used a plastic knife to feel them. There seems to be on the ones to the right atleast. A very very thing layer of oil ontop. But the soaps seems solid.

 

BattleGnome

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Electric hand mixer is the word you are looking for.

Someone will probablycome in with a better explination of trace (I'm still a pretty new soaper) but here's my explination:
I usually compare it to instant pudding or a boxed cake mix. When you first mix the milk with the mix that's emulsification, let it sit a minute and that's trace (when you first can trace something in the top of the batter and have it stay for a second.) a medium trace might be similar to a cake batter, especially a boxed one (I've noticed differences between consistancy of boxed mixes vs from scratch). An instant pudding mix that has been allowed to full set up would be thick trace.


I have not oven processed a soap yet but the best thing I can add to that is to always turn the oven off before putting the soap in. You might have had a reaction with overheating. Someone more experienced will have to give you advice for that.

Edit: Soapmaker was faster than me on the reply, but my trace explination might stillhelp
 
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Tobbelobbe

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I find that cedarwood EO slows down and even reverses trace. It compounded the problem you were having. The temperature was also fairly low which slows down the initial reaction.

Depending on how much oil seepage you had, the bars may be OK to use. However, you have a lot of coconut in your recipe. The soap will end up too drying. If you are not opposed to using tallow or lard or if you have some palm oil (not palm kernel), rebatch the bars and add to them about 400g of tallow/lard or palm and about 200g of olive or canola with the extra lye and water needed to saponify the additional oils. The bars will still be brown but you'll have nice bars after the full cure.

For a first time, you didn't do too badly and you learned a lot. You could have easily left the mix alone and had dinner and then came back to finish the job. Once you have an emulsion, you don't need to stir constantly.

I rarely use a stickblender but I soap at higher temperatures. I soap in a stainless steel pan directly on the stove using low heat. You don't need a crock pot (not a crack pot), but it is convenient for rebatching. I use the oven for rebatching.

Make sure you have protective gear particularly for your eyes before using the stickblender.

Tons of good tips in this thread. Thanks to everyone for taking time to answer!

I did not know that the coconutoil would make it dry! I use coconut oil for other stuff like body butter and i thought it would be the opposite! Lesson learned!
Is there anything else than lard / Palm oil? I can get a hold of canola oil without a problem but im trying to make it vegan also. Palm oil is hard to get a hold of in sweden. We are very political correct to the extreme. The only Palm Oil you can find here is severly overpriced super ecological organic. It costs like jojoba -.-;

I wont use cedarwood again then.

Main question for now tho.

How do i check if they are fine or not?

If they are not fine, can i just put the soaps on a steel pan on the oven and melt it down, and then add the other oils and the new lye mix? Is it that simple? If the trace never happens. Can heating it up more help?

It is confusing when people dont need a mixer sometimes and its done in 5-10min and i stood for 2 hours and it still didnt trace well enough (I think)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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If you're not vegan, I would look at lard. It makes a great soap.

I would use a stainless steel saucepan rather than something too shallow. You want to have some height in case it starts to try to grow too much (sometimes soap can try to get out of the pot!)
 

BattleGnome

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Use the zapp test to see if you need to alter the soap. I'm having trouble with my tablet, but there is a thread in the lye-based forum about it.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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With the Zap test, I follow this routine -

Wet a finger and rub it on the soap. Wait for a tingle on my finger.
When no tingle, touch the finger to my tongue.
If I feel no zap (like putting a 9-volt battery on your tongue) I then touch a soap itself to my tongue.
 

Tobbelobbe

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Man soapmaking is crazy. I looked like a scene from breaking bad yesterday when i tried to avoid getting lye on anything. Now im meant to LICK it? Have i overestimated how bad lye can be?

So there is no point in like cutting one of them? To see if they are solid all the way through?

To above, i am not vegan. But im trying to make it more accessible for friends who are vegan! Is there any way i can add almond oil or avocado oil instead of palm oil?

Picking up canola oil on my way from work today.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Each oil brings something to a soap and most cannot be exchanged without compromising something. Lard/tallow/palm brings a hardness to the bar and a creaminess to the lather.

I would make soap for you, not for your friends. Especially at the start - there is no way the first few batches should be considered for gifting unless they are okay after a lot of testing.
 

BattleGnome

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I cant give you too much advice on which oil to use but I will say I regret sharing my first batch with my sister.
It's a small piece of how you've grown as a soaper to hoard. I just used a bar from my first batch (only 7-8 months old) and there's a huge difference between what it was and where it is now. I dont really mind giving away soap from other batches but I kind of wish I could use a piece every 6months or so for the next ten years to see how the soap changes and how I've changed as a soaper.
 

Tobbelobbe

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Sorry for not beeing clear about this.
Im not giving away something that is not top notch. What i meant is. I dont mind at all taking 10 tries to make a good product if that what it takes. But my goal is to have it Vegan!

Is there a good database on what each oil / ingrediens does to a soap?

BTW about the zap. If it stings on the tounge. Is the soap BAD? and should be redone. The goal is for it to not sting right? Maybe an obvious question but i want to make sure not to do any more simple mistakes!
 

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