What is the zap test?

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wbocrafter

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I have been reading some of the other posts & I see where the question comes up if the soap has passed the zap test. As a newbie I'm not familiar with that terminology. Thanks for any info you can provide.:confused:
 

Susie

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The zap test is where you rub a moistened finger across the soap then touch it to your tongue. If you get a zap like you touched your tongue to both prongs of a 9V battery, then the soap is lye heavy. If you don't, you touch your tongue directly to the soap to check. If no zap, then the soap is safe to use.
 

earlene

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See here for detailed instructions.

The simple version: Basically you are testing for excess lye by licking the soap*. If it zaps you, it's lye heavy. If it just tastes like soap, it's safe.

*Actually you only need to touch the suds to your tongue after making a nice lather on your gloved hands.

ETA: It looks like we all cross-posted. :)

Edited to remove family photo - e
 
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The Efficacious Gentleman

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Or, if you are patient, you can wait 6 weeks and never ever have to do this! :)


Not actually "never ever" - if someone makes a soapy error and/or has some odd looking things going on in a soap, waiting and hoping might not work at all.

Op, the method Susie suggested is totally safe and is not something to be avoided for safety reasons. Any other reasons for avoiding it when it is necessary to test (such as it being "icky") is just silliness. Soap gets on to all sorts of mucus membranes all the time, so a little bit in the mouth is not as bad as some people suggest it to be.
 

Susie

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Or, if you are patient, you can wait 6 weeks and never ever have to do this! :)
LOL, good try!

Soaps need to be zap tested for all kinds of different reasons. Basic routine zap testing can be avoided if NOTHING else goes wrong in the process. I do mean absolutely NOTHING.

If something, anything, goes wrong, zap testing is where I start.
 

SunWolf

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How will you know if you made a mistake without zap testing every batch? Bad measurements of your lye may show no other symptoms...you would never know if you didn't test. :(
 

penelopejane

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LOL, good try!

Soaps need to be zap tested for all kinds of different reasons. Basic routine zap testing can be avoided if NOTHING else goes wrong in the process. I do mean absolutely NOTHING.

If something, anything, goes wrong, zap testing is where I start.
So far, touch wood, I've been able to work out what went wrong without zapping myself. :)

Hopefully, if I continue to be vigilant with measurements I will avoid this horrible, scary test. It is, in fact, what has prevented me making liquid soap so far! I know, I am a fraidy cat! :problem:
 

penelopejane

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How will you know if you made a mistake without zap testing every batch? Bad measurements of your lye may show no other symptoms...you would never know if you didn't test. :(
I can see if there are spots in my soap or if it's soft. If it looks good and it feels good, I assume it is good. I am also obsessively vigilant about my lye measurements. :roll:
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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It is NOT a horrible test. Whether or not it is scary depends on whether or not you are prepared to actually look at it objectively.

If I was to say that some people choose to let themselves be stabbed by a stranger who then drains off vital life-blood, it sounds like a very stupid thing to do. But giving blood is actually not as horrible or scary as I made it sound.

Zap testing, when properly done, is totally safe.

I do not say that it isn't scary, because that is subjective. On the same side of the coin, you also can't say that it IS a scary test just because it's scary for YOU. You can say that you find it scary.

Please do not discourage people from using a perfectly safe and useful tool available to soapers just because you have the wrong view of it.
 

Susie

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We've had this discussion before.

I'm going to have to second Craig's stance on it, though. It is one thing for someone to privately not perform the most basic, simple, important test on their own soap, in the privacy of their own home, and affecting only that person's loved ones' skin. It is another thing entirely for that person to publicly encourage other people to avoid using the single most important test on their soap that is going to affect their loved ones' safety.

If there were some virus going around that you needed to get tested for to protect your family, you would have that test done, right? Even though it would cost you a minute of discomfort while they drew the blood, right?

Folks, do the zap test on your soap. I personally test every batch. My family's skin is important enough to me for me to risk one brief moment of mild discomfort. Is yours?
 

penelopejane

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It is NOT a horrible test. Whether or not it is scary depends on whether or not you are prepared to actually look at it objectively.

If I was to say that some people choose to let themselves be stabbed by a stranger who then drains off vital life-blood, it sounds like a very stupid thing to do. But giving blood is actually not as horrible or scary as I made it sound.

Zap testing, when properly done, is totally safe.

I do not say that it isn't scary, because that is subjective. On the same side of the coin, you also can't say that it IS a scary test just because it's scary for YOU. You can say that you find it scary.

Please do not discourage people from using a perfectly safe and useful tool available to soapers just because you have the wrong view of it.
Sorry, I was joking and it didn't come across well.
I definitely wasn't saying other people shouldn't do the zap test.
I just don't want to do it and as I don't sell that's ok. It is scary for me.
If I thought it was necessary for me to test a soap I would get my DH to do it. :mrgreen:
 

navigator9

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So far, touch wood, I've been able to work out what went wrong without zapping myself. :)

Hopefully, if I continue to be vigilant with measurements I will avoid this horrible, scary test. It is, in fact, what has prevented me making liquid soap so far! I know, I am a fraidy cat! :problem:
penelopejane, it's only scary the first time. Then you say to yourself..."That's it? I got myself all worked up about THAT?" Just like many of the things we fear in life. :)
 

IrishLass

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Right here, silly!
penelopejane, it's only scary the first time. Then you say to yourself..."That's it? I got myself all worked up about THAT?" Just like many of the things we fear in life. :)
Ditto that 100%. On a scale of 1 to 10 where jalapeno peppers rate at 10, zap that is felt when one has done the test correctly rates about 1 or 2 at the most, at least for someone like myself who loves hot/spicy food, especially jalapenos on pizza- yum! For me, zap would be like someone subbing out the jalapenos on my pizza with poblano peppers, which are about 5 to 8 times milder. My reaction would be, :What!?? That's it? Where's the heat?!" lol

IrishLass :)
 

Arimara

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Or, if you are patient, you can wait 6 weeks and never ever have to do this! :)
Nice try but even after 6 weeks, I zap test. As for liquid soap, I'm only squeemish about it for my laundry soap since I use 100% coconut oil with a 0% superfat. That stuff stings like a beast when it doesn't zap (my tongue is sensitive with this soap). Other batches of liquid soap have been far better experiences, quite pleasant as far as zap tests go.

My main question is this: Are you really going to let a simple little test of great importance keep you from potentially making the next best soap since the Aleppo soap but in liquid form? Haven't you been a little curious about the dual lye castiles? They're nice and you can use them much sooner than a standard year. Have you been a little curious about the appeal of a liquid castile soap? I have and though I have EVOO, I'm still going to try it.
 

penelopejane

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Nice try but even after 6 weeks, I zap test. As for liquid soap, I'm only squeemish about it for my laundry soap since I use 100% coconut oil with a 0% superfat. That stuff stings like a beast when it doesn't zap (my tongue is sensitive with this soap). Other batches of liquid soap have been far better experiences, quite pleasant as far as zap tests go.

My main question is this: Are you really going to let a simple little test of great importance keep you from potentially making the next best soap since the Aleppo soap but in liquid form? Haven't you been a little curious about the dual lye castiles? They're nice and you can use them much sooner than a standard year. Have you been a little curious about the appeal of a liquid castile soap? I have and though I have EVOO, I'm still going to try it.
Yes I am but the only place that sells KOH close to me is a 2 and 1/2 hour drive one way and is only open monday - friday so I have been putting it off until I can do two or more things at one time. :)
 

Arimara

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Yes I am but the only place that sells KOH close to me is a 2 and 1/2 hour drive one way and is only open monday - friday so I have been putting it off until I can do two or more things at one time. :)
Procrastinator! Lol, but a 2.5 hour drive isn't much fun when it means 5 hours driving. You'd practically have to plan that and maybe make a mini trip of it so you have some rest.
 

earlene

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Yes I am but the only place that sells KOH close to me is a 2 and 1/2 hour drive one way and is only open monday - friday so I have been putting it off until I can do two or more things at one time. :smile:
Procrastinator! Lol, but a 2.5 hour drive isn't much fun when it means 5 hours driving. You'd practically have to plan that and maybe make a mini trip of it so you have some rest.
Well not everyone loves a roadtrip as much as I do, but I say make it a day to enjoy and have some fun along the way. A meal out. A little sightseeing. Maybe a play or a movie after you do your shopping and before you drive back home again. Then again, I might even do an over-nighter for the fun of it. Anyway, I am sure you will get around to it eventually. The KOH is worth the effort when it comes to the dual lye Castile soap!
 

penelopejane

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Well not everyone loves a roadtrip as much as I do. Anyway, I am sure you will get around to it eventually. The KOH is worth the effort when it comes to the dual lye Castile soap!
We do 45,000 km a year each in our cars! I go up there a lot but mostly on the weekends when the shop isn't open.

What do you find the dual lye brings to Castile? What percentages do you use?
 
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