Very first pure olive oil Castile soap questions.

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Kittie

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Hi, I am new here on SMF, but not to making soap. I've made basic CP and CPOP soaps with various oils off and on for about 2 years now. Last night I made my very first batch of Pure EVOO Castile soap. I made a 6 lb batch at 6% SF, enough for two 3lb molds and a few small bar molds. I used two lye calculators, I went with soapcalc's since I've had good results there....

This is how it went...
1. used lye/water and oils at room temp--84 degrees.
2. Poured at a nice medium trace which took only maybe 30 minutes, like well thickened pudding showing a good trace dribble, thick but pourable, into two 3 lb silicone molds.
3. Have wood frame to support my 3 molds so no bowing,
and since I live in AZ so I'm not wanting to heat up house with oven, I placed a heating pad under molds on low setting a couple hours prior to pouring, measured temp heating pad puts out at 120 degrees. I covered molds with saran wrap, and thick towels.
4. At Med trace , pudding was opaque light yellow, no evidence of any gelling during the rest of the evening. I kept peeking :shock:
5. Before bed, about 5 hours after pouring at 9:30 pm, my soap was still opaque light yellow, temp stable at 120 degrees. Stuck temp probe into both of the loafs, yep, 120 degrees. So I turned off the 'to be unattended' heating pad (scared of fires).
5. This morning at 4am, the temp remained at 120 degrees within the loafs throughout the night, BUT instead of being opaque light yellow, the entire loafs are now translucent dark golden except for less than a 1/4 inch at ends of loaf, now 5 hours later only about 1.8" inch of which remained opaque color.
6. At 9 am. The loaves remain entirely translucent as in #5 and also remains at 120 degrees. The heating pad has been OFF since 9:30pm last night.

This is the first time I have seen an entire loaf from edge to edge go translucent for me...Also my first pure Castile batch. I'm wondering if this is a good thing, or not?

SO, firstly, I do apologize for the silly questions I am having....
What did I do? An inadvertent CPOP by using the heating pad?
What the heck do I do now?
When should I remove the Saran Wrap?
Should I turn back on the heating pad, since it only goes to 120 degrees on low setting, and I was considering doing this to keep the gel phase going as long as it needs to go until it completes the gel phase?
How long should the gel phase take?
What will it look like when the gel phase ends? (I'm assuming it will go back to opaque beginning at the edges of mold??)

Honestly, I've never really analyzed a batch of soap this deeply before. Just made it and let it do it's thing. But first Castile batch, I was real snoopy on the chemical process that is going on...also wanting to keep my good notes on this batch as I've done on my others made in the past.

All I can do is wait for answers now, or just wait period. Thank you in advance for any input...I appreciate this site, a lot!
 

Dorymae

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I'd say you got a full gel. I'd remove it from the heat and just leave it alone (yeah I know that is the hard part!) for 48 more hours and see if it is then firm enough for cutting. (it may not be so don't be surprised if it needs more time) If it is not ready and is still too soft check it every 24 hours. With 100 percent olive oil there is no worry about waiting too long to cut, it will stay soft enough to cut for a good long time, (weeks at least).

The hardest part about making olive oil soap is the waiting - for cutting and then for curing but the end result will be worth it once it has a long cure on it. Don't judge it like you would a bar with palm, lard, or solid oils. Six weeks is hardly a cure for a pure olive oil soap.
 

Kittie

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Thank you Dorymae! I think it is truly the first time I've had a edge to edge fully gelled loaf! :razz: But, the wait is going to be awful! I do adore Castile soap, I'm just tired of paying 8 bucks for a bar! So I made about 30!

So since I posted, I am now wondering about curing after the full gel. Since I do live in Arizona, I also have a cupboard outside on my patio. Would it be advisable to put my Castile bars in there to finish curing, and removing the excess moisture? Things here in AZ dry really fast. I have put other bars that was fully opaque but not dry, into the cabinet, and the results were good. AZ is a natural dehydrator....but I also had some further thoughts on curing Castile...

:oops:I just don't want to ruin my Castile soap...at what point could I use our natural low humidity and heat to dry out my bars? Has anyone else ever done this before? Not that I'm trying to rush the process, but it is my understanding that after the gelling and no zap, it is just a matter of drying out the excess water...or is it necessary to do a slow cure?
 

Obsidian

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Yeah, no reason to keep heat on it since its in full gel. I'd let it start cooling down now and yes, you can remove the saran wrap if you want. It will get opaque again once it cools. Since you used EVOO, it will probably be a light yellowy green color. Generally you use pomace OO for castile, it will produce a white bar of soap.
A cure is about more then just removing excess water. Soap goes through a chemical change as it cures, becomes milder and with castile, you want at least 6 months cure.
 
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HorseCreek

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Yep, you got a good gel! It should be fine, no problems.
I've got some castile soap from over a year ago that is just wonderful. Basically I just made it, cut it, then walked away from it for months.
It sat in a dark corner until I remember oh ya.. hey I have some castile soap. The bars last FOREVER!
 

Dorymae

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Things here in AZ dry really fast. I have put other bars that was fully opaque but not dry, into the cabinet, and the results were good. AZ is a natural dehydrator....but I also had some further thoughts on curing Castile...

:oops:I just don't want to ruin my Castile soap...at what point could I use our natural low humidity and heat to dry out my bars? Has anyone else ever done this before? Not that I'm trying to rush the process, but it is my understanding that after the gelling and no zap, it is just a matter of drying out the excess water...or is it necessary to do a slow cure?
I'm moving to Arizona in September, northwest of Phoenix so although I have no experience with your climate I have been thinking about it a lot! The problem with barely cured soap is usually a softer bar, it wont be dangerous to use, just very soft so it wont last very long. (Definitely take the bar out of the shower stall after using to dry out.)

With olive oil soap there is one other concern. Olive oil soaps that are not fully cured tend to be slimy feeling. A fully cured soap will not have that feeling. I would probably set aside a few bars for testing. Try one after a six week cure, then let it dry out completely. Use a second bar after 8 weeks then let it dry out completely. Then try again a few weeks later(with the first bar) and so on until it is cured the way you like it. (You can always take a third bar to use daily if you want to - just keep your test bars separate).
 
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Kittie

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:mrgreen: Wow, thank you all for your inspiring comments! I feel almost proud of that great gel which shocked me this morning as I'd never seen a total gel like that in my loaf molds! I just looked, temp is down to 105 degrees under the loaves, and they are now starting to turn somewhat white looking in areas and the ends of loaves are same color and feels quite hard. The small molded soaps also went through a gel phase, but not as pronounced as the loaves did. I have left the towel covering them. I have 2 nosey cats, until I can put Castile soap into closet.

So, after the cutting, I will just stick them on my closet shelves, and cover, and wait til next spring....I will now have to play some more and make a faster curing batch of SOAP! I've still a number of other quarts of oils to play with. :think:

Dorymae,
I was told a while back by a well experienced soaper, that since I lived in Arizona and the humidity and heat etc, that my bars were going to cure so nicely. She also said she was a bit jealous of our low humidity! But in a nice way.

How did the plans to move here come about, if you don't mind me asking? Although cost of living here is lower than everywhere else, I will say, I detest our hot summers, as they are so brutal, and after nearly 8 years here, I've not acclimated to the heat to leave off A/C like some people do. At first 78 was bad, now, 83 feels cool, I keep my house at 86, otherwise $300 a month for A/C bills to keep it at 80 :eh:. But winter bills run 65-75 a month. January maybe $125 for heating, it's coldest month.
 

HorseCreek

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I live in the SE corner of Colorado. We have very little humidity. Days below 10% are NOT uncommon.
My bars were easily hard enough to use before hand, but I found that around the 6month cure mark for these castile bars they really. Not in hardness but in awesomeness, lol.
 

Susie

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:So, after the cutting, I will just stick them on my closet shelves, and cover, and wait til next spring....I will now have to play some more and make a faster curing batch of SOAP! I've still a number of other quarts of oils to play with. :think:
Do not cover the soap. And putting into a closed closet is iffy also. Soap needs air flow to dry out during cure. If you must keep "something" out of the soap, just put something like a screen over it. I am thinking metal screening or the plastic craft mesh that can be made into a box to drop over the top.
 

Kittie

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Rachel,
The other soaper who said that lives in Florida and has high 90% humidity most of the year, as does my other friend in Tennessee.
I've never gotten to visit Colorado, only looked at online photos, beautiful state, but hope to before my days end. We have that low humidity too, during summer we average 7-9%, I've had days of 4% during summer, got to drink an awful lot of water whether you want to or not during our summers. I'm sure you know that too. I think most states have a very dry area too. I live in Mesa, AZ. I cannot wait until mid to late September. That's when it begins to cool down, and I will then have an extra $200 a month, to spend on my addictions...one being soap!

Out of curiosity, I looked, my humidity meter inside said 56%, but we are in Monsoon Season here, June through mid August usually. Then I put the meter outside. I'll recheck it again around 4pm, the hottest driest part of the day.

So, around mid February will be 6 months for Castile. I will do what Dorymae said on testing a couple bars, but I will wait 3 months first.
I am now planning my next FO Jasmine Vanilla soap recipe, based on hardness, creamy, lather, etc. :crazy:
 

Dorymae

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Dorymae,
How did the plans to move here come about, if you don't mind me asking? Although cost of living here is lower than everywhere else, I will say, I detest our hot summers, as they are so brutal, and after nearly 8 years here, I've not acclimated to the heat to leave off A/C like some people do. At first 78 was bad, now, 83 feels cool, I keep my house at 86, otherwise $300 a month for A/C bills to keep it at 80 :eh:. But winter bills run 65-75 a month. January maybe $125 for heating, it's coldest month.
My boyfriend and I have been wanting to get out of Connecticut for a few years now. The taxes here are outrageous and without going into too much detail (its very controversial) the politics here are crazy and not in keeping with the way I think. (Don't even get me started on the gun laws here!)

So besides all that we have winters here that last at least half the year by your standards (probably longer). The furnace is started up by the end of September and by Halloween the winter coats, hats, mittens,and scarves are out. We can put away our winter things sometime in late April, during the day you might be able to get away with a sweater and a jacket but it is still cold at night. The snow can begin in November and go through March. Heating costs are really really high. We use oil here and my tank is 275 gallons. One fill is around $1000 and I've never had a winter that didn't need at least 3 fills, most times 4. The electric in the winter is also higher since the furnace needs it also to work so that will run about 300 a month in the winter and about 100 in the summer. (Summer being June, july and august) Granted I have a five bedroom house but it is still expensive. (April and May and September and October are wild cards.) The only good thing here is there is no water bill, I have a well and before now I never considered that there are people who have to pay for water. However even with that expense I still believe it will be cheaper in Arizona.

Last August we went out for a week to Arizona to see if we could 'take the heat'. It was 114 when we got there and got down to 110 and up as high as 116. What shocked us was it was hot yes, but not the kind of hot we get in Connecticut. We were not sweating, we were not sticky. I also discovered that if I went in the pool the heat "disappeared". It was really a strange experience for me. So after the week (learning to park under trees, and to use those sun blocking windshield things) we decided we really liked it. My one caveat was that our house must have a private pool, which he agreed to.
 

Kittie

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Do not cover the soap. And putting into a closed closet is iffy also. Soap needs air flow to dry out during cure. If you must keep "something" out of the soap, just put something like a screen over it. I am thinking metal screening or the plastic craft mesh that can be made into a box to drop over the top.
Okay, now, I guess I am going to put shelves in my bedroom...I keep my fan on in there nearly year round. Good idea, I think I have some window screening in my shed....thank you Susie! :)
 

LBussy

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Way off-topic, but can you get good cooling from a swamp cooler there? That would like halve your cooling bills I'd think.

Is there a risk from drying too quickly?
 

Kittie

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My boyfriend and I have been wanting to get out of Connecticut for a few years now. The taxes here are outrageous and without going into too much detail (its very controversial) the politics here are crazy and not in keeping with the way I think. (Don't even get me started on the gun laws here!)
However even with that expense I still believe it will be cheaper in Arizona.

Last August we went out for a week to Arizona to see if we could 'take the heat'. It was 114 when we got there and got down to 110 and up as high as 116. What shocked us was it was hot yes, but not the kind of hot we get in Connecticut. My one caveat was that our house must have a private pool, which he agreed to.
The only time we ever feel wet with sweat is during Monsoon season, which usually ends about mid August. No, you won't sweat, our humidity sucks it right off of you molecule by precious molecule. You MUST drink a lot of water here, some days I have to drink 5 liters! Water here, we own a mobile home (forced into by my disability) in a very nice park with 2 pools, so your decision being firm for having a pool is very SMART! I would NOT be without a pool for those days. I get a bit dodgy when it becomes 126 degrees though. DH works daily in the heat, averaging 37,000 steps a day, and climbs 27 floors of stairs and does a lot of lifting off and on all day. On those days, he says nothing as he walks directly in, going to shower and stripping on the way there. :lolno: Truly funny to watch! :p The water bill, with a pool will be higher, as our pool guy says he has to add about 8 inches of water a week to pools. so maybe $75-100 a month. However, the heating electricity during Fall and Spring is zip zero nada, except very late Dec, Jan and maybe part of Feb. Feb-May my bill is 65-75 a month and same in Fall. Our water bills, and DH takes very long showers 2x a day sometimes, run only $28 or so a month. However, we have little in the way of outside plants, desert landscaping, since we are in a drought area, it's required here, even against the law to wash car at home. I only water 2 trees deeply every 2 weeks. Depending on your area you move to, the landscaping Laws and city requirements may be different.

My Castile soap is down to 90 and turning a bit yellowish white here and there....I removed the Saran, and because of the kitties I covered with lightweight linen cloth napkins and a sheet of foil laid over top. Cat's hate foil. I'll have to work on a shelf for my bedroom for my 'precious beauties'....oh the things we do for SOAP! :p
 

Kittie

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Way off-topic, but can you get good cooling from a swamp cooler there? That would like halve your cooling bills I'd think.

Is there a risk from drying too quickly?
During Monsoon, a swamp cooler does no cooling, only AC coold. I want one, but for saving money and adding moisture during other hot days at 7% humidity. Off topic, me too!

Regarding soap curing rapidly, apparently there is still chemical processes going on, so, it's best to cure slowly, darnnit :x

Dorymae,
You're going to save a LOT of money here. More money to make SOAP!!! LOL! I hope so!
 

Dorymae

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I hope so! I'll be flying out between Sept 13-20th. Boyfriend is driving it with my daughter and my rottie, he'll arrive Aug 25th but I have to wait for the closing on my house. We'll be renting until January, by then we hope to have found a house to buy. We've already been looking and I have to say you have quite a few bargains available in Arizona. We don't think there will be any problem finding our new home. (knock on wood)
 

DeeAnna

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Be careful about mice and other rodents (pack rats?) that like to snack on soap. A dark, safe outdoor cabinet that is not seriously mouse proof with a large smorgasbord of castile soap might be a great hangout for the little critters.
 

LBussy

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Do mice go for soap because of the oil content? You'd think that would just be NASTY.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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When you think of some of the things that rodents eat, soap must be much better than a majority of their diet!

As for drying too quickly, I know that some people have had soap warp by using a dehydrator. So it not only doesn’t save a decent cure time but can also cause damage.

It’s unfortunate as I think we would all welcome a curing shortcut with open arms. But when it comes to curing there just isn’t a substitute for time. Yet………………..
 
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