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DickieB

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Just a note to introduce myself!
I started soaping in 2008. I was gung ho and gave it up after about a week because all my soap was soft and oatmealy (if that makes sense).
Well, a friend of mine in Asheville NC gave me some homemade soap and of course, it re-awakened my senses so I thought I'd try it again.
I pulled my stuff out of the basement and, well, nothing has changed . . .
Still get a mold full of well let's just call it crap since it is well, crap.
I've tried cold process, hot process, even CPOP. My wife thinks I'm crazy when I could by Zumbar for almost nothing compared to what I've spent making, well yes, molds of crap. :)

I long for the day when I can make swirly soap that bubbles up and teases my olfactory! I'm a scientist. Surely this can't be THAT difficult!
 

lsg

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May I suggest Soaping 101 video and the SoapQueen YouTube videos? They are great for the beginning soaper. I see Zum bars at my local Hyvee, but I am not going to pay for something I love to make.:)
 

Steve85569

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Welcome to the forum!
Being a scientist may not help as much as being a good cook.:mrgreen:
Do watch some of the challenge tutorials on this forum. They are very helpful for learning the right amount of stick use.

I have a tendency to make some rather ugly soaps. But hey it's still better than what I can find at the store and I'm slowly getting better.

Hang around! There is a huge amount of information, skill and patience here.
 

DickieB

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Wow! This forum is really responsive - and helpful too!
I used the Soap Calc. I'll try to post it, but in lieu of it not posting, is used:

Coconut Oil = 30%, 4.8 oz.
Lard (Pig) = 25%, 4.0 oz.
Olive Oil = 20%, 3.2 oz.
Palm Oil = 20%, 3.2 oz.
Castor Oil = 5%, 0.8 oz.
Fragrance - 0.5 oz.

Water = 6.08 oz.
Lye (NaOH) = 2.31 oz.

Last night I did this:
I melted the oils to a temp of 120 deg.
I cooled the lye water to 120 deg. (give or take a couple of deg on these :)
I slowly poured the lye into the oils and stirred slowly with my silicone spatula.
When it was all milky looking, I used my stick blender to buzz, buzz, buzz until it light traced.
I poured in my fragrance, and buzz, buzz, buzz again.
Poured it into the silicone soap molds and it turned to oatmeal and looked like vasaline in the center.
Stuck it in the oven at 170 deg for about 1 hour. Nothing was happening.
Took it out of the oven and it looks like well, crap.
I still covered it anyway and when I get home to night I'll check it out.
Am I WAYYY off base here?
Thanks for all yall's help!

Brewer, 12-23-15.jpg
 

DickieB

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Oh and yes. I have watched so may YouTube videos of making soap that I can't believe I still can't do it!
That's what's so frustrating (in a sudsy kinda way :)

Dixie, yes. separation. It looks like lumps of soap in an oily mess.
 
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traderbren

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I think your fragrance oil is most of your issue. You need to be sure that you get a FO that is stable in CP soap. Try a batch without scent, or get fragrance oils from a soaper supply site, like Brambleberry, Nature's Garden, WSP, etc.
 

Steve85569

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I think your fragrance oil is most of your issue. You need to be sure that you get a FO that is stable in CP soap. Try a batch without scent, or get fragrance oils from a soaper supply site, like Brambleberry, Nature's Garden, WSP, etc.
If you don't mind tan soap you an also use vanilla from the kitchen. The vanilla will darken the soap but it blends in.

FO's and EO's can do some interesting things :sick:. There is probably a list somewhere of friendly fragrances and EO's but I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

I find myself cruising the candy aisle for emulsions from time to time because they work and stick.
 

kchaystack

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Its can either be the fragrance oil, or your lye might be old and impure. Where and when did you get the lye?

Also, you should not leave it in the oven with it on. That can cause overheating and separation as well. If you are going to oven process, you warm the oven and then turn it off when you put the soap in and let the residual heat do the work.

If you don't mind tan soap you an also use vanilla from the kitchen. The vanilla will darken the soap but it blends in.

FO's and EO's can do some interesting things :sick:. There is probably a list somewhere of friendly fragrances and EO's but I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

I find myself cruising the candy aisle for emulsions from time to time because they work and stick.
The problem with vanilla extract is that it is usually in some kind of alcohol. this will cause your soap to seize up really fast.

I would try a couple batches without scent til you know it is working, and then add in a well known FO that behaves.
 

TBandCW

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Before you buy any fragrance oil, check out the reviews on it and make sure it is soap safe. I could've saved myself some trouble with soap if I had done my research on it! :-?
 

KristaY

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Hi and welcome! :wave: I agree with the others that your FO may be part of the problem but I also think the bigger problem might be your lye. If you bought it in 2008 when you first started soaping, it's probably absorbed too much humidity, making it significantly weaker. If it were me, I'd buy new lye and leave out the scent. Your recipe and process look good so I don't think that's the issue. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!
 

Misschief

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Hi and welcome! :wave: I agree with the others that your FO may be part of the problem but I also think the bigger problem might be your lye. If you bought it in 2008 when you first started soaping, it's probably absorbed too much humidity, making it significantly weaker. If it were me, I'd buy new lye and leave out the scent. Your recipe and process look good so I don't think that's the issue. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!
I don't know about that, to be honest. My mother gave me what was left of her lye about 10 years ago. She lived in a very humid area. She'd had that lye for quite some time before that. When I got back into soap making earlier this year, I used up what was left of her lye before buying more. I've had no issues with it whatsoever. I've made some of those soaps a second time, with new lye, and they came out exactly like the first batches, made with the old lye.

Unless the lye was stored in a container that would allow the humidity to seep in, I'd be leaning more towards the FO. I'm another one that would recommend trying the recipe without any scent. If it still does the same thing, only then would I suspect the lye.
 

IrishLass

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Welcome DickieB! :)

My bet is on the fragrance being the culprit. No doubt about it in my mind. Oils from Yankee Candle aren't formulated for soap-making.

As for the lye- as long as it has been kept dry, it should be good. I've worked with lye that was 7 years old and it soaped perfectly fine for me without any issues, but it was kept dry. If you are in any doubt as to your lye's quality, buy some new lye and compare how your soap formula behaves with it before tossing out the old lye.


IrishLass :)
 

dixiedragon

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I agree it's the fragrance. Also, don't use vanilla extract! Even if alcohol weren't a no-no, there's not enough scent in that to survive the lye monster. Hence the fact that many of us are on long and very expensive quest for the "perfect" vanilla fragrance.

If you'd posted a day earlier, we would've sent you to Wholesale Supplies Plus big sale! Dang!

If you really want to scent your soap and don't want to wait for an Internet order, you can probably pick up some essential oils from the health food store. Lavender, mint, and lemongrass are reasonably priced (far cheaper online, though) and very well behaved in soap!
 
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