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Tiny batch still too soft

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SoapDaddy70

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Had a tiny plastic mold because I needed to spend a couple of dollars more for free shipping. Wanted to test out the calculations to fit irregular shaped mold. The amount of batter was perfect but it’s been 5 days and it’s still too soft to get out of the mold. Tried to scoop it out of one of the molds and it was a mess. Actually grabbed some of the goop and washed my hands and it was pretty cool. Anyway just wondering how long I need to keep the other 2 parts of the mold in the mold before trying again. Here are some pics and here is the recipe

Water @ 62 grams
Lye @ 27g

Olive Oil @ 116g
Shea Butter @ 41g
Coconut Oil @ 40g
Castor Oil @ 10g

8g of Essential Oil
 

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Jersey Girl

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Had a tiny plastic mold because I needed to spend a couple of dollars more for free shipping. Wanted to test out the calculations to fit irregular shaped mold. The amount of batter was perfect but it’s been 5 days and it’s still too soft to get out of the mold. Tried to scoop it out of one of the molds and it was a mess. Actually grabbed some of the goop and washed my hands and it was pretty cool. Anyway just wondering how long I need to keep the other 2 parts of the mold in the mold before trying again. Here are some pics and here is the recipe

Water @ 62 grams
Lye @ 27g

Olive Oil @ 116g
Shea Butter @ 41g
Coconut Oil @ 40g
Castor Oil @ 10g

8g of Essential Oil
It probably just needs more time. You have a pretty high amount of olive oil in the recipe which would make it stay soft longer especially since it’s in an individual mold and didn’t go through gel phase. All those factors combined will make it take longer to harden.
 

Iseleigh

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You should definitely try adding some plain salt or sodium lactate to your water before adding the lye next time you make soap. It really does help the soap harden much faster and keeps you from having to deal with such a mess. Ask me how I know. Lol
I agree that the high olive oil content will make the soap softer longer.
 

SoapDaddy70

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Thanks everyone. Definitely will be ordering the Sodium Lactate. Think the main culprit is no gel phase because i made my first batch with 75% Olive Oil in a 2.5 lb mold and i was able to take it out of the mold with no problem on the 3rd day. Honestly i didn’t mind the fail because i washed my hands with what i scooped out and that was officially the first time i used soap made by yours truly!!
 

earlene

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1. The mold you are using holds the moisture in the bottom & side walls longer than some other molds. I think it's the nature of the material. Any recipe I use seems to take longer to harden up in that type of mold. Give it several more days to a week. Don't try to unmold until the exposed surface feels like hard cheddar cheese.

2. Individual molds inhibit the gel phase without the help of insulation or CPOP. The batter cools off very fast in individual molds. How warn/hot was your batter when poured? Did you insulate or CPOP?

3. If you didn't apply a mold *release agent to the mold, place them in the freezer for about 15=30 minutes prior to unmolding. Let sit on the counter a bit (no more than 5 minutes) & gently attempt to unmold. Sometimes running warmish water over the bottom surface (of the mold - don't get the soap wet) can help release it if it's tough to get out.


How can you avoid this in future with individual molds?

1. Re-evaluate your formula, including the essential oils used. 8% SF, with 60% soft oils, with 4% EO, 30% lye concentration - all may have contributed to the slow set-up time. (I'd at least change the lye concentration to 35% with this much olive oil.)

a. What essential oil did you use? Did you look up safe usage rate for that one? 4% for some EOs might be a little too much. Some can affect set-up time as well.​
b. In place of sodium lactate, you can just add salt to your recipe; just a little. SL is fine, but if you want to try this before the SL arrives, just dissolve table salt** in hot water (deducted from your lye solution water) & add it to the oils or to the lye solution. It does the same thing as SL.​

2. Re-evaluate your process. Heat & thickness of batter when poured affect how fast the soap cools in the mold, especially in individual molds. Insulation and CPOP help promote gel or at least heat retention to speed set-up.

* mold release agent (I use either lanolin or Vaseline, but you can use mineral oil)

** 1 tsp table salt ppo
 
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Guspuppy

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I made a small batch once that was nearly all soft oils. It sat in the mold for a week and I still had to freeze it overnight to get it to unmold. It took forEVER to harden up but after a good long cure it was such a nice soap!!
 

SoapDaddy70

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1. The mold you are using holds the moisture in the bottom & side walls longer than some other molds. I think it's the nature of the material. Any recipe I use seems to take longer to harden up in that type of mold. Give it several more days to a week. Don't try to unmold until the exposed surface feels like hard cheddar cheese.

2. Individual molds inhibit the gel phase without the help of insulation or CPOP. The batter cools off very fast in individual molds. How warn/hot was your batter when poured? Did you insulate or CPOP?

3. If you didn't apply a mold *release agent to the mold, place them in the freezer for about 15=30 minutes prior to unmolding. Let sit on the counter a bit (no more than 5 minutes) & gently attempt to unmold. Sometimes running warmish water over the bottom surface (of the mold - don't get the soap wet) can help release it if it's tough to get out.


How can you avoid this in future with individual molds?

1. Re-evaluate your formula, including the essential oils used. 8% SF, with 60% soft oils, with 4% EO, 30% lye concentration - all may have contributed to the slow set-up time. (I'd at least change the lye concentration to 35% with this much olive oil.)

a. What essential oil did you use? Did you look up safe usage rate for that one? 4% for some EOs might be a little too much. Some can affect set-up time as well.​
b. In place of sodium lactate, you can just add salt to your recipe; just a little. SL is fine, but if you want to try this before the SL arrives, just dissolve table salt** in hot water (deducted from your lye solution water) & add it to the oils or to the lye solution. It does the same thing as SL.​

2. Re-evaluate your process. Heat & thickness of batter when poured affect how fast the soap cools in the mold, especially in individual molds. Insulation and CPOP help promote gel or at least heat retention to speed set-up.

* mold release agent (I use either lanolin or Vaseline, but you can use mineral oil)

** 1 tsp table salt ppo
Thanks Earlene for all the information. To be honest not a ton of thought went into this little batch. It was more about testing how to figure out a recipe for an irregular sized mold. I did wrap in a few towels but it most likely never got into gel phase. No release agents or additives were added. This is great information for the next time I do something in these type of molds but I will most likely buy silicone molds if I do anything in individual shapes. I only bought this one to meet requirement for free shipping. My first batch which had 75% olive oil and nothing added came out great from the silicone Crafters Choice mold I have. Today I am doing my second batch using some hemp oil along with some clays for coloring. Wish me luck!! Thanks again.
 

DeeAnna

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Another issue for batches this small is measurement error. If your scale measures, for example, only to whole grams, the display might show 10 grams, when in fact the true weight is anywhere from 9.55 to 10.45 grams. This can result in a lye heavy or fat heavy batch despite how careful you are.

But I agree with your thinking that lack of warmth is the most likely problem. If I make an oversized batch and put most of the batter in a loaf mold and pour what's left into individual bar molds, the loaf will get warm enough to gel and be nice and hard the next day. The individual bars will almost never get warm enough during saponification, so they stay soft and need more time.
 

Catscankim

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Thanks Earlene for all the information. To be honest not a ton of thought went into this little batch. It was more about testing how to figure out a recipe for an irregular sized mold. I did wrap in a few towels but it most likely never got into gel phase. No release agents or additives were added. This is great information for the next time I do something in these type of molds but I will most likely buy silicone molds if I do anything in individual shapes. I only bought this one to meet requirement for free shipping. My first batch which had 75% olive oil and nothing added came out great from the silicone Crafters Choice mold I have. Today I am doing my second batch using some hemp oil along with some clays for coloring. Wish me luck!! Thanks again.
I usually make more than i need for my loaf mold, then pour my excess into smaller molds or into my teenie shell embellishment molds. The smallest batch i have made was about a lb of soap for a decorative top of another soap. Even working with that amt was a pain in the neck. Now i got my kitchen all dirty for this tiny batch lol.

Not sure if this was helpful. Good luck with your experiment!!
 
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