Vinegar for lye solution

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
4,528
Reaction score
11,249
Location
Hamilton, New Zealand
Hi All,
I'm wanting to try the vinegar as water thing - but surely it must make the soap stink to high heaven????
And is it 100% of the water that is replaced with vinegar, or just a portion?
What experiences have you all had with it?
Many thanks :)

ETA: I read @DeeAnna 's link here: Acetic acid (Vinegar) | Soapy Stuff but would still like to know how all of you generally use vinegar (as in quantity) and most importantly: Does it stink?
 
Last edited:

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,988
Reaction score
21,095
Location
USA
No it won't smell. The acetic acid in vinegar, which has an odor, turns entirely into sodium acetate which doesn't have an odor. When you use vinegar to make soap, there's a lot more NaOH than vinegar and there's no possible chance there's any acetic acid left over to make a stink.

Prove it to yourself -- put some vinegar (say 50 mL) in a cup and then add baking soda to it in small amounts until the mixture stops fizzing. If it threatens to volcano out of the cup, stir well until the foaming subsides.

As long as there's some fizz, add a bit more baking soda. When there's no fizz left, smell the mixture and decide if it has an odor. Baking soda and vinegar also make sodium acetate, just like vinegar and sodium hydroxide.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
2,573
Reaction score
6,867
Location
Germany
What @DeeAnna said. Neutralised acetate is odourless. I've used it as 100% water replacement several times. Watch out, dissolving NaOH in vinegar produces more heat than in water, and it might discolour in weird ways (yellow, orange, pink, turbid… neither colour did persist after saponification).
The worst thing that happened to me with acetate from vinegar was a chalky texture in conjunction with excessive use of castor oil. Other than that, it does have hardening properties on bar soap. It can't hurt to test one's personal preferences.
And of course increase NaOH. Some calculators like SMFriend do list vinegar under “Custom Additives”, or use the figures that @DeeAnna gives in her article.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
6,958
Reaction score
12,742
Location
US
Try it, @KiwiMoose! The soap unmolds so easily with nice clean corners. Like Owl said, it will heat up more than plain water does. You can try refrigerating it ahead of time, but whether the vinegar is room temp or cold, add your NaOH to it slowly.

I've shared here before that my one of two scary "volcano" experiences wasn't with soap batter at all - it was when I absent-mindedly dumped ALL the NaOH right into the vinegar. It was for a big batch, too. o_O😱😰 Let's just say, there was lots of foamy expanding hot NaOH-vinegar solution going all over the table and floor! (and umm, maybe one or two less-than-polite phrases going out into the atmosphere, as well).
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
4,528
Reaction score
11,249
Location
Hamilton, New Zealand
Try it, @KiwiMoose! The soap unmolds so easily with nice clean corners. Like Owl said, it will heat up more than plain water does. You can try refrigerating it ahead of time, but whether the vinegar is room temp or cold, add your NaOH to it slowly.

I've shared here before that my one of two scary "volcano" experiences wasn't with soap batter at all - it was when I absent-mindedly dumped ALL the NaOH right into the vinegar. It was for a big batch, too. o_O😱😰 Let's just say, there was lots of foamy expanding hot NaOH-vinegar solution going all over the table and floor! (and umm, maybe one or two less-than-polite phrases going out into the atmosphere, as well).
Ok - good to know! I have a pretty big jug to mix my lye in - the capacity is about six-8 times greater than i need to allow for such things. If I do half and half vinegar with frozen aloe and mix it in the sink I should hopefully be ok. I am known quite well for my less-than-polite phrases so i will do my best to spare everyone.:p
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
2,573
Reaction score
6,867
Location
Germany
Dear Impatient f. H.: It's your own fault if stubborn you is staying with CP. Fellow HPers get chunky, rugged and rustic clumps of soap, mere seconds after cooking is finished. Reliably, every time, without any funky additives. 😑

Joke aside, I indeed have used vinegar only in HP so far (when used with conventional oil blends). I cannot tell if it can speed up the waiting time for CP unmoulding. Neither I can for lactate, to which many have strong affections, but others do not notice any difference. It likely depends in an intricate way on recipe/oil blend and protocol (water content, state of trace, gelling/CPOP, batch size).

My trick is to have so many projects running in parallel, that I rather forget about them, than getting impatient. ;)
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
6,958
Reaction score
12,742
Location
US
soooo - they were poured six hours ago and they are not hard enough to unmold yet. I had imagined they would unmold quickly with the vinegar?
Signed: Impatient from Hamilton.
Six hours?? Next you'll be asking for a CP batter that stays swirly for 2 hours but can be unmolded in another two.
 
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
1,680
Reaction score
1,124
soooo - they were poured six hours ago and they are not hard enough to unmold yet. I had imagined they would unmold quickly with the vinegar?
Signed: Impatient from Hamilton.
Never used vinegar, but I think your lye concentration will be a bigger factor on unmolding (if I recall correctly). I use 40% lye concentration and have to unmold and cut fairly fast (within 8-12 hrs max). It hardens much faster than 33% lye concentration.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
6,958
Reaction score
12,742
Location
US
@lionprincess00 that is so true! I also use 40% lye concentration most of the time. Depending on the recipe, I can unmold anywhere from 10-18 hours. The exception is my goat-milk-ZNSC; I pour those into cavity molds, and they are usually too soft to unmold for two to three days.

I should probably clarify for @KiwiMoose that vinegar makes for cleaner unmolding - not necessarily faster unmolding. But again, I'm using a 40% lye concentration, so it is hard to know whether the vinegar contributes anything to the already-fast unmolding that I experience with the low water.
 
Joined
Dec 24, 2017
Messages
511
Reaction score
836
Location
Florida
I use vinegar quite often. Normally for my extra liquid as I MB a 50/50 lye solution. TBH, I don’t recall why I use it, but I’m sure there was a reason originally 😬 I use a 38% lye concentration and can normally unmold in about 6 hours, but not always. I haven’t been able to pinpoint what the differences are.
 

LisaBoBisa

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2022
Messages
75
Reaction score
175
Location
US
I'm curious--is this a much better way to harden bars than using lactate? NaOH isn't that cheap
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
12,377
Reaction score
12,721
Location
Southern California
I'm curious--is this a much better way to harden bars than using lactate? NaOH isn't that cheap
I have never used SL in soap or maybe not more than once or twice. I prefer to use vinegar and have for several yrs. Since I prefer to masterbatch my lye 50/50 I normally use vinegar as the other 50% of my liquid. If I want to add in milk I use powdered milk either mixed directly to my oils or stick blended directly into my oils. My sorbitol and EDTA/Sodium Gluconate I dissolve in my vinegar the same then dissolve the extra lye I need in the vinegar. Sometimes I will choose to use 100% vinegar as water replacement, by reserving enough of the vinegar to dissolve any additives and adding the NaOH/KOH to the remaining vinegar slowly, just not all at once. One word of advice do not let your vinegar/lye solution sit for hrs, it will react and thicken like a gel. I have used the thick lye mixture but do not really advise it. Using a 33% Lye concentration and my high tallow/lard or high Palm formulas I usually unmold in 8-10 hrs. Unmolding will still depend on your recipe and fatty acid profile, along with your fragrance.

It is cheaper than SL and does not deter from my lather since I soap fairly low CO.
 

Latest posts

Top