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Ivanstein

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Newbie question here.

I have made several batches of hot process soap, and always just unmolded when cool.

First cold process soap today, how do I know when to unmold? Does it stay loose in the center or does it all solidify about the same rate?
 

houseofwool

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I generally wait until the soap is cool to the touch. This is usually 12 hours or more. I don't cut the soap until 24-48 hours or more, this depends on your recipe.
 

shunt2011

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It will totally depend on your recipe and any additives. Mine, I can generally unmold at 8-10 hours and cut after they come out of the mold. Also depends on if you gel or not. Ungelled can take 1-3 days. Again depends on your recipe.
 

Ivanstein

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50% lard, 25% each cocoanut and olive oil. Sodium Lactate at 1tsp PPO.

Added cinnamon and clove to the oil after full melt. Then Pine Needle EO after trace.

I think it gelled as it got darker brown in the mold after a few minutes.

So, just wait for it to cool? If it feels solid is it good to unmold and cut?
 

Kamahido

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I would give it a minimum of 24 hours as better a bit too late than too early.
 

snappyllama

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I'd give it a couple of days. If it comes out easily, then you can start cutting back on waiting. There's nothing more annoying than squashing the corners by trying to unmold too soon (ask me how I know).
 

ngian

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From my experience I have noticed that the time that I will unmold and cut the soap loaf (most of the times these steps are happening one right the other one), will greatly depend on two factors as long as the recipe is a balanced one with the 3 major oils (palm, coconut, olive).

1) The water amount of the recipe and

2) the environmental temperature.

The 1) is easy to understand as a more concentrated lye solution will saponify a little faster the oils and will give less moisture in the soap so you must cut sooner as it will be less elastic in a sorter period of time.

The 2) will also influence how soon the saponification will happen after the trace and upon molding, as heat encourages saponification, where gel phase (if it happens) will also speed things up even more.

My own way of determining the time to unmold and cut will be by using my finger to press on the soap loaf. If there is a very slightly dent on my finger's spot then it will be the time to cut.

If a recipe is not balanced (eg. 100% Coconut Oil - saturated fatty acids) then the time of cutting is usually sooner. The 100% Olive oil recipe (monounsaturated fatty acids) might be cut a little later than normal if there are similar temperature conditions.

The saturated fatty acids are responsible for the sooner cutting as they saponify usually sooner and they are a straight line in a molecular level that give hardness in a soap bar a little easier / sooner too.

But for the fact that in the recipe with 100% CO we usually use a little more water than normal (30% lye concentration), and in the 100% fresh OO we can use use less water than normal (36 - 40% lye concentration) the time for cutting might be similar.
 
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The Efficacious Gentleman

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We can only really give a guideline figure at best. You will have to keep checking it now and then to see how solid it is.

People know how long their soap needs because they have done it before. They haven't made your soap in your house (sounds odd, but your location has a lot to do with it) so an exact figure won't be easy to give.
 

Susie

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If you press gently on the corner of the soap (corner pieces are usually my keeper/tester pieces, so if they get mushed, it is ok), and it gives under your finger, you need to wait a little longer.
 
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