Testing Strip says 9, but it still zaps my tongue

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soap_mpls

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I recently tested some cured soap I made for lye levels. The testing papers I used showed a ph of 8 or 9 (green on my testing strips). However, when I do a tongue test, after a couple seconds the soap still zaps my tongue.

Should I rebatch it?
 

TeresaT

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I wouldn't rebatch it yet. Lye heavy soap can stabilize after a longer cure. When did you make it? What's your recipe? Did you double check to make sure had the correct amount of lye for the amount of oils?
 

Seawolfe

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Does it taste bad? Or did you FEEL a zap? All soap tastes bad, and whenever I've been zapped by soap, it's immediate.

On the plus side, even soap with a negative superfat will gentle with time, as evidenced by the crazy -40% SF castile some of the gang made a while ago.
 

IrishLass

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How long ago did you make the soap, and what was your recipe and super-fat level? Knowing these things will help us to be better able to help you troubleshoot.

Also- what kind of pH strips are you using? I ask because most pH strips are useless when it comes to testing the pH of lye-based soap. The surfactant nature of lye-based soap plays havoc with the indicator chemicals on the strips, which often results in faulty readings that can be off as much as 2 points either way. The best strips to use are the plastic lab-quality strips such as made by Macherey-Nagel, but a quality pH meter is best for testing soap, if for whatever reason you need to know the specific pH.


IrishLass :)
 

coffeetime

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If it took a few seconds to feel a zap, it probably wasn't a zap. More likely a tingle from an FO or EO.
 

DeeAnna

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Like the others are saying, if it takes a couple of seconds to feel a reaction to the test, it's not a zap. A zap, however mild, is an instant and unmistakable sensation like a static shock.

What you might be perceiving as a zap is the taste of the soap itself -- it can have a metallic, salty, or bitter taste that does take a bit of time to develop. Essential oils or fragrance oils can also leave an objectionable taste.

Test strips are notoriously inaccurate when used with soap and generally indicate the pH is lower than it really is. You can use the strips to indicate a rough trend -- "all my soaps have a "green" reading on my pH strips, but this soap has an orange reading -- something's different." But that's about it.
 

topofmurrayhill

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Like the others are saying, if it takes a couple of seconds to feel a reaction to the test, it's not a zap. A zap, however mild, is an instant and unmistakable sensation like a static shock.
I can attest to something in between zap and no zap in the case of liquid soap. I don't know if it can happen with bar soap, but I would hesitate to rule it out. The description is reminiscent of it.

What I experienced was a tingling sensation when the soap was lye heavy that took a few seconds to build up. Yet after multiple tests I ended up with enough of a lye burn that there was a slightly numb spot on my tongue the next day.

Maybe the OP should do the lye-burned tongue test to be sure. :)
 

cmzaha

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All soap will burn my tongue if I touch it directly to the soap. It is not zap, most likely a reaction to the fo or something. Zap cannot be mistaken and is instant
 

topofmurrayhill

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All soap will burn my tongue if I touch it directly to the soap. It is not zap, most likely a reaction to the fo or something. Zap cannot be mistaken and is instant
I guess not with liquid. Must be the dilution. There was no FO and it stopped once the soap was neutralized.
 

soap_mpls

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Thank you for all the replies!

I did use the soap in the shower the other day. It didn't burn my skin at that time, but I am worried about errant pockets of lye. Perhaps I don't need to worry.

I wouldn't rebatch it yet. Lye heavy soap can stabilize after a longer cure. When did you make it? What's your recipe? Did you double check to make sure had the correct amount of lye for the amount of oils?
I made the soap one month ago, and I tested it just the other day. While curing, I kept the soap in a box, wrapped in a towel, sitting on a radiator for heat. My recipe was 100% coconut oil with a bit a lavendar and tea tree oil. I have only ever made soap once before, and I could have mis-measured the oils.

Code:
               Grams
Water         456.00
Lye - NaOH    208.90
Oils        1,200.00
Fragrance      37.20
If it took a few seconds to feel a zap, it probably wasn't a zap. More likely a tingle from an FO or EO.
I do have tea tree oil and a small amount of lavendar in it. I combined these two essential oils so they totaled the Fragrance amount above.

Does it taste bad? Or did you FEEL a zap? All soap tastes bad, and whenever I've been zapped by soap, it's immediate.

On the plus side, even soap with a negative superfat will gentle with time, as evidenced by the crazy -40% SF castile some of the gang made a while ago.
It just tastes like soap, but it do feel a burning sensation on my tongue. Perhaps this is just normal. I havn't had soap in my mouth for many years :)
I will let it sit for another month and see what happens.

what kind of pH strips are you using?
I used Hydrion brand paper strips from Micro Essential Laboratory Inc.
 

shunt2011

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The problem is likely that you did 100% Coconut and only a 5% SF. Coconut oil is extremely stripping of the oils skin in soap so usually the SF is upped to 15-20% for 100% CO.

I don't see that's it's lye heavy so shouldn't be any zap. The burning may just be from the Essential Oils in the soap.
 

IrishLass

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I agree with Shari in regard to the problem being only a 5% superfat/lye discount with your 100% CO soap. Speaking only for myself, such a soap would make my skin threaten to pack up and leave me, and maybe even sue me for abuse and emotional distress on top of that. lol

Having said that, though, 100% CO soap are wonderful soaps- I make them for me and my family often, but I superfat them 20%.


IrishLass :)
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I guess not with liquid. Must be the dilution. There was no FO and it stopped once the soap was neutralized.
That is interesting. When we make our soap, we often use around 30 to 40% solutions, with most being closer to 30 than 40, and that solution would do some damage! The lye makes up around 15% (it can be more or less on the recipe of course) of the total batch weight, and we all know how the zap can kick. Now with LS, the KOH seems to zap more strongly to my tongue, but when these amounts are diluted even more by water - if you use a 1:1 dilution ratio, you're looking at a solution of less than 10% as being a possibility, which is heading toward the concentrations used for pretzels!

So I can see that it could take some more time when the solution has been weakened somewhat. If you consider the difference between zap testing a soap at around 15% concentration against sticking your tongue in to the 30% solution............ :think: then the difference between a bar and a diluted liquid soap should also be quite distinct.
 

topofmurrayhill

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So I can see that it could take some more time when the solution has been weakened somewhat. If you consider the difference between zap testing a soap at around 15% concentration against sticking your tongue in to the 30% solution............ :think: then the difference between a bar and a diluted liquid soap should also be quite distinct.
You are normally not getting zapped by the full strength solution. Presumably the better part of it has been used up in saponification by the time your tongue ventures into the process. The water does seem to attenuate the usual zap though. It just seems the same thing would also happen with the right amount of excess caustic in bar soap. It doesn't make sense that there would be some magic amount where it goes from instant ZAP! to nada. Maybe it's just a small window.
 

soap_mpls

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I agree with Shari in regard to the problem being only a 5% superfat/lye discount with your 100% CO soap. Speaking only for myself, such a soap would make my skin threaten to pack up and leave me, and maybe even sue me for abuse and emotional distress on top of that. lol

Having said that, though, 100% CO soap are wonderful soaps- I make them for me and my family often, but I superfat them 20%.
Dang. I used the soap a number of times now, and while it doesn't burn my skin, it certainly leaves it feeling fairly dry.

Do you know if it would be possible to somehow stick the soap in a blender or something with additional coconut oil then let it sit again for a month?
 

IrishLass

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Dang. I used the soap a number of times now, and while it doesn't burn my skin, it certainly leaves it feeling fairly dry.

Do you know if it would be possible to somehow stick the soap in a blender or something with additional coconut oil then let it sit again for a month?
Yes- that is called 'rebatching'. There are a few different ways to rebatch. One of the ways is to grate up the soap (I use a box grater when I rebatch mine, although I'm sure it can be done using a food processor with a grater attachment), then place the gratings in either a crock pot or a stainless steel pot along with your extra oil and heat it on low (covered), stirring occasionally, and periodically spritzing it with water if it looks too dry, until the batter is soft /mushy and mashed potato-like, and the oil has absorbed in. Then you smoosh it into your mold and let it completely cool down and set up before unmolding and cutting.

Other people like to put their gratings into one of those heat-proof, oven roasting bags and toss it into a pot of boiling water to heat the gratings.

I myself rebatch in my oven (set to 170F - 180F) in a covered stainless pot.

When you rebatch CP soap, don't expect the soap to completely melt to a perfectly smooth liquid state- because it won't. The best you can hope for is a thick, very gloopy, melty-ish, soft mashed potato-like consistency- much like HP batter. Also, when done, your rebatched soap bars will not look as smooth and streamlined as CP soap bars, but more rustic-looking, like HP bars. But the good news is that your soap will be perfectly wonderful to use, and none of your ingredients will have been wasted.

IrishLass :)
 

soap_mpls

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your rebatched soap bars will not look as smooth and streamlined as CP soap bars, but more rustic-looking, like HP bars. But the good news is that your soap will be perfectly wonderful to use, and none of your ingredients will have been wasted.
I'll give it a try. Thank you for the info!
 
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