What’s the madder with my madder?

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by Mobjack Bay, Jun 8, 2019.

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  1. Jun 9, 2019 #21

    Mobjack Bay

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    Thanks Julie. I guess I can’t figure out why really red looking water from powder that simmers for two hours can’t produce as much color as tea made with boiling water. I used 2 TBS in 12 oz of water. I’m not sure how that compares with your starting point, but it would make strong tea if I was using real tea.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  2. Jun 9, 2019 #22

    JuliaNegusuk

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    For extra info - jelly bags are used in jam making. You'll probably find them at a homewares store that sells jam thermometers and jars and the like.
     
  3. Jun 9, 2019 #23

    Mobjack Bay

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    I found this one online and it looks like it is a very fine mesh when you blow the image up really big.

    C037D5DD-A16A-4C90-ABFB-F1F8FC7B8741.jpeg
     
  4. Jun 9, 2019 #24

    Mobjack Bay

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    Another thing is that the madder dye I made isn’t staining my fingers. That’s kind of weird given how red it is and, plus, I can’t really think of any red liquid that doesn’t stain. I will try doing it the way you do it to see if I get the same result. Thanks for all of your help!!!
     
  5. Jun 10, 2019 #25

    JuliaNegusuk

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    I checked the package for my madder root and the latin name is rubia tinctorum. I don't know if that helps you identify the type of madder (or is it all called rubia tinctorum).

    Also, I have to confess that at using 6g a time for about a dozen times I am still working through my first ever batch of madder root. So it is pefectly possible that I just happen to have a really good strong batch. I hope not as I'll need a new batch at some point!

    Good luck with your efforts, I do hope you find this method effective like I have done.
     
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  6. Jun 10, 2019 #26

    Mobjack Bay

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    In the interest of science :) I just added 100 g of boiling water to 4 g of madder root powder and let it sit for about 10 minutes. That ratio is close to what you used and not too far from what I used in my simmered dye “tea.” The color intensity of the two batches is about the same, but the color is a little different. The original batch I made by simmering the powder in a water bath looks more burgundy while the color of the batch made using boiling water is a warmer red. That color difference is consistent with what the dyeing sites say about the heat sensitivity of the alizarin pigment. I guess my next step will be to make some small batches subbing both for the water and seeing what happens when the lye monster gets a hold of it. If that doesn’t work, I will dye fabric!
     
  7. Jun 10, 2019 #27

    Mobjack Bay

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    The madder tea made with boiling water is on the left and the simmered madder (dye), which was held below 160 F and seems more burgundy in color, is on the right for comparison. In this pic it looks like color intensity is lower in the dye water (less concentrated?). Maybe that’s contributing to my issues.

    8C8FA3EF-929F-47C5-96D8-A087C3AFC0C4.jpeg
     
  8. Jun 11, 2019 #28

    Mobjack Bay

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    Here’s what happened to the two madder recipes when I add lye! Woo hoo! What color red do you want? The dyeing resources stated that high pH would shift the madder dye color towards blue. Both of the batches, Julie’s “tea” recipe on the right, and my madder “dye” recipe on the left changed color. The “tea” shifted to what I would call a purer red, while the “dye” shifted to burgundy. The colors before adding the lye don’t look all that different tonight (top row). Making Julie’s madder tea is a lot easier than making the dye :thumbs:. I can’t wait to compare the colors in soap.

    CC49AC1F-AF8A-4BB9-B2F3-0C5DE98ADF14.jpeg
     
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  9. Jun 11, 2019 #29

    Mobjack Bay

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    There is an interesting post here about using madder in soap and pH sensitivity. She noted that her madder colored soap faded after 9 months. She also uses rhubarb and Rumex (Dock) to achieve pink. For the rhubarb soap she used it in both the lye water and as an oil infusion. It sounds like the water infusion started out yellow and then changed to pink when the lye was added. For the Rumex soap she found that fresh infused oils (3 weeks) worked better than older infusions. The most interesting part to me is that she didn’t see much color in the oil infusion, which she describes as light yellow. My madder infusion in OO does not seem very colored from the madder. But, maybe I just need to wait a few weeks.
     
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  10. Jun 11, 2019 #30

    szaza

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    This is such an interesting thread! Great experimentation @Mobjack Bay! I haven't been able to get my hands on madder root yet, so can't really help with thought or insights.. I'm just following from the sidelines and impatiently waiting to see pictures of how the soaps turn out!
     
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  11. Jun 11, 2019 #31

    earlene

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    Rubia is the genus, but within the madder genus there are 80, 82 or 160 species, including:

    Rubia tinctorum (common madder),
    Rubia peregrina
    (wild madder), and
    Rubia cordifolia
    (Indian madder) aka manjistha
    Rubia argyi

    I use manjistha (Rubia cordifolia) aka Indian madder, which gives me mahogany colored soap. I also at one time bought a jar of madder root, but that jar also says Rubia cordifolia, so I guess I have never used the Rubia tinctorum. I will have to give it a try when I have some.

    Wikipedia says 80, Missouri Botanical Garden wedsite says 160, but that only 82 have approved species names (link).
     
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  12. Jun 11, 2019 #32

    Mobjack Bay

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    A little more research today revealed that the pigment alizarin is used as a pH indicator. It shifts to bluer at high pH and more yellow at lower pH. That may be why some of the soap made with madder, a good source of alizarin, looks peach when it’s done. It will be interesting to see if that color change is observable in the soap as it saponifies and the pH drops. What is the final pH of a typical bar of soap?
     
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  13. Jun 12, 2019 #33

    earlene

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    Around 9-11
     
  14. Jun 12, 2019 #34

    Mobjack Bay

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    I think the lower end of that range is right around where it starts to move towards towards warmer red.
     
  15. Jun 12, 2019 #35

    earlene

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    Apparently the manjistha I use, although also know as Indian madder, does not derive its color from alizarin, but from munjistan. (reference) So I am wondering what other differences there are among the different madders that other soapers may actually be using, since there are really so many species within the genus that are called madder.

    Also of interest in that link (which I may have got from you or found on my own; I don't even recall at this point) is that hard water gives better red. Since so many of us have learned to use distilled water in our soap, even if our tap water is hard water, that's not what we're generally using to mix colorants. Adding a single tablet of Tums or some other form of calcium & magnesium salts will apparently bring out the red.
     
  16. Jun 12, 2019 #36

    Mobjack Bay

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    Check out the links in this post about the pigments in the madder and their heat sensitivity, which led me to try “coaxing out the red” from the tinctorum type of madder by simmering in a water bath held below 160 F. There is lots of other potentially interesting info at the links I posted closer to the beginning. Learning about plant pigments is enough for a full time research career! The hard water aspect of this got me thinking about the use of sea salts and saltwater, which are both rich in magnesium and calcium. But... I’ve also read that magnesium and calcium in “hard water” contribute to soap scum and DOS. Do you know if bars made with sea salt or saltwater end up with DOS more quickly than the average bar, or if the soaps exacerbate soap scum?
     
  17. Jun 13, 2019 at 12:14 AM #37

    earlene

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    Oh, right, so it was you I got that link from. I couldn't remember. I do recall checking out all your links because it is all very interesting. My SIL is a weaver and has died her own fibers for weaving. One fun project she and her weaving group were working on was to test out all and sundry natural plant for dye for their fibers. When I was there last fall/winter, my SIL showed me her Redwood tree cones in solution and the various shades she obtained by dyeing yarn at different strengths over time. I believe she was hoping to get the color of Redwood bark, but never achieved quite that shade. But the range of purples, mauves and reddish browns was really striking. They live in the Santa Cruz mountains with an abundance of redwood trees on their property, so she can pretty much harvest the cones to her hearts content.

    Regarding sea salt or saltwater soap contributing to DOS or soap scum, I can't really say. For one I haven't researched it, and for another I've never used sea salt or sea water in my soap, unless the salt in the grocery store comes from the sea. I don't really know the source of the salt I use in my soap other than it's the cheapest stuff I can buy at the grocery store. And I know I don't get soap scum from my soaps because when my husband worked on the pipes in the bathroom a month or two ago (he dropped something down the drain & had to take it apart) he said it was so clean it looked like someone had cleaned it out recently. Well no one had because I know I didn't and he is the only other person here. I use EDTA and ROE to combat soap scum and we have been using my soap exclusively for about 4 years now. Also, though we do have hard water, we use a water softener and make sure it gets charged up with water softener salt when necessary.

    But I have added a TUMs tablet to soap before. So have others here, as there are a few of us who have made and used tooth soap. See this thread: https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/soap-for-teeth.60591/
     
  18. Jun 13, 2019 at 1:51 AM #38

    Mobjack Bay

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    @earlene

    As far as I am aware, all(?) regular table salt is mined from ancient sea salt deposits that are now on land. The processing removes everything except the sodium chloride. It typically has iodine and an anti-caking agent added during the processing. Sea salt contains many different minerals. This company has a graphic presentation (infogram) to show the high mineral concentrations in their sea salt.

    Tooth Soap - yet another thing to learn about on SMF!
     
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