The lingering stench

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Sihir

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For whatever reason, I only recently got into non-water soaps. I made a coffee soap and a beer soap, and I'm having the same problem with each.

They smell baaaaddd! Like scorched chemicals. The first (coffee soap) I did not chill the coffee whatsoever (and used 100% coffee as the liquid). In the beer soap, I chilled it in the freezer until it was partially frozen, and then added the lye in 4 batches, chilling between each addition. (The temp when I was ready to add it to my oil was 80 degrees so I actually had to warm it a little to 100 degrees!)

Originally I wanted to throw the coffee soap away because it smelled that bad (even my mother picked it up and smelled it and nearly gagged) but my husband sneakily stored it away in a cabinet, and now 4 weeks later the horrible chemical smell is about 50% of what it was. I can still detect though, when I take a deep whiff.

The pumpkin beer soap, however, still smells pretty chemical-y. I've heard that these smells fade, but it's been 2 weeks for this soap and it's still quite strong.

What am I doing wrong that my non-water soaps are smelling so bad? I've been using BB's lye calc and superfatting at 6%. I made up the rest of the beer volume with water and a bit of canned pumpkin.

What can I do in the future to reduce or eliminate this chemical-factory smell?

Thanks for your help!
 

Obsidian

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I don't think you are doing anything wrong. I can't stand the scent of coffee or beer soap, I have to scent my soap if I use either.
 

boyago

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Some of that comes from the liquids actually cooking in the lye so freezing your non waters will help a lot. Some of the smell comes from the lye having a chemical reaction with the materials themselves and there's not much you can really do about that. I usually go with keep the lye cool either by freezing the liquid or mixing with 50/50 water NaOH and letting it cool and adding whatever additive later. My all coffee liquid smelled while the lie was mixing but went away pretty quick.
 

shunt2011

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Just give them time to cure and the odor/stench disappears after time. However I do use EO/FO's in my soaps when using beer or coffee.
 

Sihir

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I don't think you are doing anything wrong. I can't stand the scent of coffee or beer soap, I have to scent my soap if I use either.
I hear ya - I want so much to love making non-water soaps, but every time that smell comes through, I get the urge to just chuck them in the bin. I'm going to let them go for several months and see if it calms down at all.

Some of that comes from the liquids actually cooking in the lye so freezing your non waters will help a lot. Some of the smell comes from the lye having a chemical reaction with the materials themselves and there's not much you can really do about that. I usually go with keep the lye cool either by freezing the liquid or mixing with 50/50 water NaOH and letting it cool and adding whatever additive later. My all coffee liquid smelled while the lie was mixing but went away pretty quick.
Yes, I felt almost immediately with the coffee that not cooling it was a mistake - but the beer was partially frozen, and I put it back in the freezer between additions of lye. Perhaps I would have been better off to stir in the beer later and will certainly try that next time - perhaps at trace, or just before? I would have been fine if the smell went away in a few days, but it is really persistent!

Just give them time to cure and the odor/stench disappears after time. However I do use EO/FO's in my soaps when using beer or coffee.
Have you noticed how long it takes for the odor to go away? I have one at 4 weeks and one at 2. The 4 week one was very very lightly scented with a chai FO, and the two week one was normally scented with clove, cedarwood, and a dash of cranberry, and still stinks horribly.
 

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