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Garden Gives Me Joy

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I tested a PalmOlive formulation with freshly pureed aloe gel for all of the water. I did not include any other additives. After having left this sample in a cup inside of a loosely closing cardboard box for roughly 4.5 months, this is what I saw What are the little white things on the surface? (One thing to note is that I am in a highly humid tropical environment. Most people who will use the soap will not have air conditioning. Some might not even have decent ventilation. So I am trying to replicate their worst type of behavior.

ETA: images 2 and 3 with darker color.
WhatsApp Image 2022-08-03 at 11.42.14 PM.jpeg
 

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Is it soft like mold? Or crunchy like crystalized SL or CA?

And what about the darker bits, are those from the aloe vera peels, or something else?
 

Marinko

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Almost all my soap batches have fresh aloe vera juice.
BUT!!!! I mix it with san pellegrino(or bottled water), put through a strainer and I add it as a second part of liquid. Never use aloe vera juice to add to lye.
 

dibbles

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I just add aloe vera juice to a light trace.
I was just wondering if you had a bad experience using aloe juice instead of water to mix the lye solution because you posted a caution to never do that. I've never had a problem using aloe juice as a water replacement in my lye solution so was curious if your experience was different.
 
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I was just wondering if you had a bad experience using aloe juice instead of water to mix the lye solution because you posted a caution to never do that. I've never had a problem using aloe juice as a water replacement in my lye solution so was curious if your experience was different.
Same here - no problem adding the dry NaOH to my aloe vera juice, or gel, for that matter.
 

earlene

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I think the image is too blurry to tell for sure, particularly to draw a conclusion of mold, although it is quite possible.

The recommendation in Amy Warden's 2019 Food & Drink Additives Soap Challenge Club challenge was no more than 1 part food product per 8 parts of oil in a soap formula, which equates to about 11% of oil weight. Other sources (soap queen and others) suggest 1 ounce of puréed fresh produce per pound of oils, which equates to about 6% of oil weight.

Either way, you may have too much aloe purée in your recipe. If you used a 2:1 water to lye ratio (33% Lye Concentration), then you would have about 27% purée in your soap, which may lead to problems in the long term for soap.

What was your SF? And what was your full recipe? Does it smell off?


Some references re: using fresh food/food purées in soap per the 3 sources I mentioned above:

I cannot link to the SCC tutorial due to subcription requirements, but these two links below indicate the 1:8 ratio mentioned above.)
Black Cherries Soap
Video posted by another participant in the challenge who also mentions the 1:8 ratio:
 

Garden Gives Me Joy

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Apologies, reviewing my notes to see that 100% water made of equal parts pureed aloe AND spinach, not only aloe. Together the 2 account for 20% TOW. I was really trying to create a very sensorially delightful lather, which I did by the way, except for this ugly development. I remembered the 12.5% food additives rule but was testing the limits as I thought that spinach and aloe can not possibly have more than negligible amounts of sugar which, to my understanding are a major contributing factor to these types of problem. So I really was not expecting this. Outside of fragrance oil, kaolin clay and of course citric acid, there are no other additives.

The tiny beige bits are too tiny to handle. They just roll away. However, they seem very hard.

I suspect that the black spots are mold. Just edited original post (above) to add 2 new images.

NaOH discount was 7%. Conditioning score was 46 which I thought was sufficiently low to accommodate the higher discount.
 
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TheGecko

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I tested a PalmOlive formulation with freshly pureed aloe gel for all of the water. I did not include any other additives. After having left this sample in a cup inside of a loosely closing cardboard box for roughly 4.5 months, this is what I saw What are the little white things on the surface? (One thing to note is that I am in a highly humid tropical environment. Most people who will use the soap will not have air conditioning. Some might not even have decent ventilation. So I am trying to replicate their worst type of behavior.
After 4-5 months if you had mold, you would have a lot more than just a couple of spots. And your cardboard is going to ‘soak’ up a lot of your humidity. You would be better to test in a plastic box where the humidity could condense a bit. I’m wondering if it isn’t the iron in the spinach? Just a thought.

I think that if I was developing a bar for really humid conditions, I would probably take my regular recipe, increase the Lye Concentration to about 40% and then cure my soap for a minimum of 12 weeks.
 

DeeAnna

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When making aloe juice/gel from aloe filets, I found I really needed to thoroughly blend the filets with my high-speed blender to get them to break up into a fairly smooth puree. The first time I pureed filets, I found the puree contained small bits of filet -- perhaps 1/8" across or so. So the puree went back in the blender for more blending. I would expect larger bits like this could easily turn moldy if exposed on the top of the soap.

***

I notice some people have shifted to using TOW = total oil weight, rather than PPO = per pound of oils. I guess it's better than PPO, but not by much.

Oils are fats that are typically liquid or turning into liquid at room temperature. But many fats are reliably solid at room temperature, therefore not all fats are oils by definition.

I gather the "common wisdom" about TOW is that it's supposed to mean the total weight of ALL fats, but, taken literally, TOW means only liquid fats, excluding the solid ones. My soap contains no more than about 30% liquid oils with the balance being solid fats. If I took TOW literally, I'd be basing my proportion of food on the weight of the oils alone, not the total amount of fat.

So the handcrafted soaping community is coining a new term that will become one more cause for confusion. While I agree it's high time we got rid of PPO, I wish people would choose accurate terms as replacements.

The term should be something more like TFW = total fat weight.
 
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Thanks @DeeAnna for explaining that; I wasn't aware of the technical difference between oils and fats. Since most mold-makers refer to the weight of "oils" their molds will hold, that has no doubt contributed to the confusion, and the tendency to refer to all recipe fats as "oils."

I will admit to being one who has favored using % of TOW instead of the usual Tbsp (or other volume measurement) PPO.

My primary beef is that PPO almost always involves volumes (such as Tbsp, tsp, etc.) mixed with percentages for the rest of the recipe. It's easier for me to scale my recipes if everything is in percentages. For those of us who use metric measurements (grams), PPO also forces us to mix metric with imperial measurements.

I am very good at math concepts, but make lots of transposition errors in the execution of it all. Mixing volume with weight, and metric with imperial, is a sure-fire way for me to mess up my soap.
 
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earlene

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Apologies, reviewing my notes to see that 100% water made of equal parts pureed aloe AND spinach, not only aloe. Together the 2 account for 20% TOW. I was really trying to create a very sensorially delightful lather, which I did by the way, except for this ugly development. I remembered the 12.5% food additives rule but was testing the limits as I thought that spinach and aloe can not possibly have more than negligible amounts of sugar which, to my understanding are a major contributing factor to these types of problem. So I really was not expecting this. Outside of fragrance oil, kaolin clay and of course citric acid, there are no other additives.

The tiny beige bits are too tiny to handle. They just roll away. However, they seem very hard.

I suspect that the black spots are mold. Just edited original post (above) to add 2 new images.

NaOH discount was 7%. Conditioning score was 46 which I thought was sufficiently low to accommodate the higher discount.
Sugar is not the only concern when it comes to adding food to soap or causing mold growth.

Mold growth happens easily enough in the right conditions, because mold spores tend to travel easily via air currents and fall onto just about anything nearby. Moisture fosters mold growth, as does the temperature range in our usual environments. Mold requires food to grow - living, dead or dying organic matter. (In other words, the food added to soap, the superfat that remains in the soap, the skin cells we may leave on the soap when we use it, the wooden soap dish it sits upon, the cardboard we may store it in, our hair that remains on the soap if not rinsed off, etc.) Some mold strains grow faster and some grow slower. Some molds may prefer damp, dark, cool conditions, however, some molds grow in higher heat conditions. Lower humidity can inhibit the growth of mold, but not necessarily prevent mold growth.

So, yes, mold can grow on soap, given the right conditions. Mold can grow slowly and spotty and it can grow fast and prolifically. Incidentally, molds are fungi, and there are molds that can grow on aloe plants. Perhaps it is possible given ideal conditions, to introduce such molds into the soap. Not saying you did, just food for thought.

Another food for thought, Aspergillus niger is used in the production of Citric Acid. Not saying you have Aspergillus growing on your soap. Aspergillus is also often found in home AC systems, and it's pretty much everywhere and could easily fall onto a bar of soap and take hold given favorable conditions. Again, I am not saying that is what is on your soap; I am not able to make that kind of determination at all. However, I would be concerned if I saw it on my soap.
 

DeeAnna

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...I will admit to being one who has favored using % of TOW instead of the usual Tbsp (or other volume measurement) PPO. ...my primary beef is that PPO almost always involves volumes (such as Tbsp, tsp, etc.) mixed with percentages for the rest of the recipe. For those of us who use metric measurements (grams), PPO also forces us to mix metric with imperial measurements....
I agree 110% with your reasons why you don't like PPO. I also understand that the word "oils" is commonly used to mean all fats, not just liquid fats. I don't expect either of these terms to die any time soon. Even so, sometimes I can't resist pointing things out like this with the hope maybe bringing these ideas to others' attention will make a bit of difference as time goes on. I avoid PPO and probably will never use TOW. Instead I try to say, for example, "24% based on total weight of fats." and leave the acronyms to others.

***

I agree with Earlene's explanation about molds being everywhere and that you can't realistically prevent mold spores from contacting your soap. Instead, keep food particles as small as possible and also keep the % of food additives relatively modest in proportion to the actual soap. That way the high alkalinity of the soap can act as a microbial preservative for the food particles.
 

Relle

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I only use metric also @KiwiMoose, so much easier, there are only 3 countries in the world ( the U.S., Liberia and Myanmar ) still using imperial measurements.
 

DeeAnna

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I only use metric but always just understand PPO to be 500g oil....
That's my shorthand too. It's close enough.

Since I was trained and worked as an engineer in the USA, I can live fairly easily in both worlds, so translating back and forth doesn't kill me. That said, it would be nice to have just one system to deal with. I'd choose the metric system in a heartbeat.

I realize metric is used in most countries and is the standard for science and engineering in the US, but I know people in Canada and the UK still use non-metric measurements for some things -- for example miles and Imperial gallons (different than US gallons). Also I've gotten the impression that measuring cups in the US are differently sized than in the UK which aren't necessarily metric measures. And horse races are still measured in furlongs. Go figure. ;)
 
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When making aloe juice/gel from aloe filets, I found I really needed to thoroughly blend the filets with my high-speed blender to get them to break up into a fairly smooth puree. The first time I pureed filets, I found the puree contained small bits of filet -- perhaps 1/8" across or so. So the puree went back in the blender for more blending. I would expect larger bits like this could easily turn moldy if exposed on the top of the soap.

***

I notice some people have shifted to using TOW = total oil weight, rather than PPO = per pound of oils. I guess it's better than PPO, but not by much.

Oils are fats that are typically liquid or turning into liquid at room temperature. But many fats are reliably solid at room temperature, therefore not all fats are oils by definition.

I gather the "common wisdom" about TOW is that it's supposed to mean the total weight of ALL fats, but, taken literally, TOW means only liquid fats, excluding the solid ones. My soap contains no more than about 30% liquid oils with the balance being solid fats. If I took TOW literally, I'd be basing my proportion of food on the weight of the oils alone, not the total amount of fat.

So the handcrafted soaping community is coining a new term that will become one more cause for confusion. While I agree it's high time we got rid of PPO, I wish people would choose accurate terms as replacements.

The term should be something more like TFW = total fat weight.
My soaps contain only 16% Liquid Oils on average so TOW would not work for me, I would have to use TFW.

When using fresh aloe filets which I did quite regularly, I was very careful to filet off and not add any of the outside peel, since it was too rough in the soap. I would then blend it well on high speed in a blender and let it sit until the foam dissipates. I would then blend it again and smush it through my strainer. My fresh Aloe was never used as a full water replacement as I did not totally trust mixing my lye in the Aloe gel, instead, I mixed my lye in the thin Aloe Juice from Walmart. This is the only soap I did not make with vinegar. Aloe Gel is just too viscous to trust mixing in lye in my opinion no matter how well it is blended. I also took a day to do this because I would process grocery bag fulls of aloe leaves at a time and freeze my aloe.
 
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