Weird/Foul subtle smell in my LS


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May 22, 2020
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Hey All,

I have started my journey a few weeks ago working on formulating LS, however though I'm using lye calculators for my KOH I have been having issues with getting my mix to trace and had to try different types of KOH and hence I started adding excess lye in order to reach trace. During my last batch (60%/40% olive/coconut mix) I added quite a bit of KOH as per below recipe (cold process):

60g Olive Oil (Sourced from my farm in the the middle east)
40g Coconut (US sourced organic)
25.5g KOH*(85%)
38g Distilled water
*used soapee for the calculation

Since I couldn't reach trace in the given time I added an additional 5g of KOH dissolved in 11g of distilled water (I know very high but I just wanted to check if KOH was the factor), my mix reached trace pretty fast however the pH was very high so I ended up adding Citric Acid to neutralize.

Below are my current main two concerns:

1) I'm living in the middle east and though we mine and manufacture potash in my country I have been having issues sourcing a reliable source of KOH with accurate concentration as per label claim, if you had KOH with an unknown concentration how could work out the amount used in your soap making (I know this is very challenging and I'm pretty sure once I dig deeper I will be able to find more reliable KOH but I think this is a good challenge for us to work around :D)

2) For the aforementioned batch I got a weird smell (subtly foul after smell) even though I can smell nice LS it has a weird smell I can't over, what could it be given that it was a fresh batch with fresh ingredients (excpet for the KOH which was a "lab" grade sourced from India supposedly 85% but never got trace until I added in excess) could it be the KOH or the citric acid. Have you ever experienced any weird smells with LS?

3) My KOH is in flake form but some of the flakes are lumped together and white instead of "opaque", I am assuming if I have lumps in my KOH then its not pure anymore (less than the label claim) but is that something you also face? Just to confirm before I proceed with sourcing something internationally (probably lab grade). Do you recommend any specific brands or types of KOH

4) One last thing and please bare with me I 'm wondering whats your experience with LS foaming ability overtime (does it increase or decrease overtime)?

Thank you all your feedback :)