Temperature Question / False Trace?

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ckirkyb

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Hi everyone,

I am a new soaper and I think this batch was too cold and I reached false trace, as I have these tiny white flecks throughout.

If they are stearic spots, will the soap still be OK to use even though it is a bit fuglier than I had hoped? Or is it better to toss it?

Thanks for any help!
 

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shunt2011

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If you post your recipe and process we would be better able to help you. Not likely false trace but just stearic spots from soaping too cool.
 

Megan

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This is so helpful when you are confused about trace/false trace.

Soap with stearic spots is perfectly safe to use as long as that's all that's going on.

Edit: false trace becomes an issue because you can get lye pockets (they may be big or small depending on the severity).
Stearic spots=/= false trace
 

penelopejane

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I agree with shunt - looks like stearic spots. You can get rid of those in your next batch by soaping at 110*F.

Sometimes undissolved goats milk can cause white spots too, but often not so evenly distributed.
 

ckirkyb

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Thanks for your replies,

I have attached the recipe here.

Ocean Lime FO (from JustaSoap - smells incredible!)
Coloured with blue and green mica powders

I think I let everything cool a bit too much, it was about 34-35 degrees when I mixed it, I made it in advance and got distracted doing other things!

If that were to happen again, how do I reheat the lye solution?

Thanks again!
Claire
 

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DeeAnna

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Megan's suggestion is what I'd suggest too. It's safer to reheat the fats, as opposed to heating the lye solution.

There's this "rule" floating around that says the lye solution needs to be within 5 or 10 degrees of the fats. That's helpful for beginners to get some idea what the batter temp is going to be, but it's not strictly necessary as far as the soap is concerned. It's the initial temp of the soap batter that's important, not the temps of the ingredients before they're mixed together.

The shea in this recipe is probably the culprit. I'd get the fats warm enough so the shea fully melts and the fat mixture is fully transparent, without heating the fats until they're smokin' hot. You want them just warm enough to be fully melted. That tends to minimize those stearic spots. But you can still get a few. Just hopefully not as many. Bear in mind stearic spots are only an esthetic issue, not a safety or functional problem.
 

penelopejane

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If you masterbatch your lye and stir additives into your water when you mix the two your lye will reheat. Then wait for it to cool a bit. The lye will also reheat as it is mixed with the oils. I have very carefully reheated lye in the microwave for 30 seconds (but that’s in my weak microwave).

I don’t like stearic spots or swirls at all and so I ensure when my ingredients are all mixed together they are 110*F. Heating hard oils until they are clear means they are a little over 110* so mixing them with the other room temp oils evens the temp out. You don’t need to be that obsessive if you are prepared to put up with the look of stearic spots.

Some swirls come from lye that has cooled and sometimes has things floating on top. You can strain it through muslin as you pour it into your oils to avoid this.

I love the colour of your soap. :)It’s soaps like that which make me wish I wasn’t into making soap only with natural colours.
 
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DeeAnna

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I think I should clarify my advice --

It's not like the lye solution will explode or anything if you reheat it. It's just that the more (IMO) a person handles various chemicals, the more chance there could be a spill or other accident. So if the goal is to warm either the fat or the lye, I would rather deal with the fat, because the fat is far less hazardous if there is an accident compared to the lye solution.
 

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