the Lye Lied!!!!!

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lillybella

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I mixed my lye and it appeared to dissolve as I stirred it - temp = 203 degrees.
The lye was 4 years old in an unopened container & plastic bagged stored in a cupboard in my garage.

When I went back to check the temp again about 3 to 4 tiny beads had formed. I mushed them with my spoon and stirred again; then I had flakes that would not dissolve. By this time the temp was 80 degrees.

I had already mixed my oils, butters, fragrance and additives.

Not sure how to proceed, I froze all the oils and ordered new lye!

What do I do with my frozen mixture when my new lye arrives or if my old lye heated to 203 degrees should I try using it again and add to my frozen mixture or do I un-thaw it first?

Can I strain my lye? What would I use to strain lye? a strainer?

BOY! Do I feel stupid!!!!
 

Misschief

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I've used lye that had to be over 20 years old with no issues whatsoever. By way of explanation, my mother used to make soap. When they moved, she gave me what was left of her lye (about 1.5 kg). I used some of it over 10 years ago but not all of it. When I started soaping again last August, I used up what she had given me and have since gone through a lot more. I couldn't tell the difference between the old lye and the new lye when it came to the final product.

It was stored in a heavy plastic, screw top container, usually in my laundry room. I did get rid of some hard lumps towards the end but, otherwise, it was fine.
 

TeresaT

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I've had to strain my lye for a few different reasons. I keep a very fine mesh stainless steel strainer for that purpose. I put Tussah in my lye and it doesn't always dissolve fully, so it does need to be strained. Sometimes my sodium citrate doesn't fully disolve or the sugar. (I use room temp master batched lye most of the time. The silk is already in it, but the other stuff gets added to that.)

Curious: why did you freeze your oils? Why didn't you just put them in a container with a lid and leave it on the counter or with your soaping supplies? Not judging, just curious.
 

lillybella

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I'm really not sure. I panicked because I had avocado in it and I didn't want it to turn black.
Thanks for your responses, Teresa and Misschief :)
 

lillybella

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The lye looks like chopped off chunks not flakes (from BB). I ordered the beads. Doesn't it mean that if the lye heats up to over 200 degrees it's reactive?
 

kchaystack

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It's probably just soda ash. When lye is exposed to CO2 in the air ash forms.

It won't hurt anything. You really don't need to strain it but you can if you want.
 

lillybella

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Thank you kchaystack :)

Any ideas on my frozen oils? Should I melt them to about 110 degrees?
 

CaraBou

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Hi lilly, as a general rule "floaties are fine, sinkers are stinkers." Like kc said, floaties are just the result of a reaction of lye with air. In contrast, sinkers are undissolved lye or impurities that should be stirred into solution or filtered if necessary.

Melting/reheating your frozen oils to 110 should be fine. You can use the same lye if you still have it. Soap on, and take notes along the way so you can troubleshoot later if you run into any other problems. It's all part of the learning experience :)
 

lillybella

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The worst thing that will happen is you will have a higher SF than you planned.

What a relief!
Thank you :)
 

lillybella

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"floaties are fine, sinkers are stinkers."

This is great to remember!

I will take notes!

Thank you :)
 

TeresaT

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Last night I mixed some sodium citrate and sodium lactate with my lye and I couldn't make my soap because I didn't have a hand mixer. This morning, I looked at the lye and almost all of the citrate undissolved (is that even a word) and is now on the bottom of the jar. I'm going to have to reheat it to dissolve it again. I'll still have to filter it with my strainer because not all of it will dissolve in the master batched lye anyway. I remembered that AFTER I dumped the 12 gm in and stirred for what seemed like a year!
 

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