White fuzz on my soap?

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Zenna

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Hi all, I'm very new to soap making and wondering if anyone can tell me what is going on with my third batch of CP soap? It's a olive oil (95%) castor oil (5%) soap with orange essential oil and poppy seeds added at trace. It has been curing for 2 weeks so far and I've just noticed a few things...

(1) The scent has already faded quite a lot - I understand now that this is common with citrus oils especially and have been ready about "anchoring".

(2) Most bars have a line of white fuzz on the cut surface of the soap (see pics below). Is this some kind of mould? I do think air circulation has been inadequate for this batch as I had the bars spaced only about 3-5mm apart. I had a towel covering the box they were sitting in (silly me) - though I did this with the other batches and nothing like this occurred. I also have them curing in the garage where the temperature has been highly variable - something I expect I will have to rectify though, again, it hasn't occurred in other batches exposed to similar conditions. I actually made another batch on the same day using the same basic recipe (but different additives) which has been stored in the same box and does not have the fuzz).

(3) Note the brown spot in the second photo. It is around a poppy seed. What could be the cause of this?

Thanks so much in advance for any help!

P.S. My soaps aren't pretty! I haven't started experimenting with colour yet and am using milk cartons for moulds until I work out what I want to buy!

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Ruthie

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Could it be soda ash? And you are correct about citrus. Litsea makes a good anchor and smells divinely citrusy itself.
 

lsg

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It looks like soda ash to me. Just wipe it off with a damp paper towel.
 

lsg

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I have had soda ash form on bars after they were cut.
 

lsg

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Yes, it was on the top too. If you look at the picture of the soap, you will see what looks like ash on the bottom of the soap also. I would just wipe the soap off with a paper towel and alcohol. If it is ash, that should take care of the problem.
 

coffeetime

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I have had a weird fuzz appear on soaps that had sodium lactate in them. Like a brittle crystal formation. I'm not sure what chemical reaction caused this but it just wiped off. Is there SL in this batch?
 

judymoody

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the white is probably ash

The brown spot around the poppy seed - sometimes I see that when I use poppy seeds - it's like a little brownish bloom around the seed. I don't think it's a problem.

How much EO did you use? Normally I stick to 3% of oil weight for fragrance but for sweet orange, I bump it up to 5% and anchor with a bit of litsea and/or patchouli.
 

Zenna

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Thanks everyone! The white bits on the sides are "chalky" just like the pictures I have seen of soda ash but the white fuzz on the cut surface is hairy like a 2mm thick layer of fur. Does soda ash appear like this? I didn't realise it also shows up on cut surfaces - that's reassuring.

No sodium lactate in this coffeetime.

Judymoody, I only used EO at 1.5%. I'll try more next time and anchor it. How much of the anchoring EO do you include? Good to know the poppy seed spot is normal.
 

godschild

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I just saw this post. I have a batch that has a hairy growth on it as well. I don't know whether to toss it or wipe it off. I don't want to bathe with mold if that's what it is. Have you found out yet what it is?
 

DeeAnna

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I'm the DeeAnna in question, and yep we've talked about this in the thread that Coffeetime shared. The appearance of ash can vary a lot. It often looks like a white "bloom" on chocolate -- dull white patches, spots, or streaks -- but it can form a coating of fuzzy "hair" or even a thick loose "sugary" crust. Ash is often on the top of the soap, but that's probably because that ash formed during saponification in the mold. Ash can form later as the soap is drying and that ash will appear anywhere on the soap.
 

newbie

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I've had ash like the ash you picture. I've also had the hairy ash, which I posted a picture of. I have some soap that has a thick layer of this crystal, hairy, fuzzy type, and there were no organic things for it to be mold, not to mention this was within a few days of making the soap. It's strange how it can look so different.

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soap_rat

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I think the Crazy Castile recipe can also be called a home crystal-growing project! I wonder if possibly higher water content in other recipes encourages ash? Or slow saponification? The Crazy Castile recipe has high water, but also slow reaction of the lye.
 

AnnaMarie

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I'm wondering if it might be lye crystals??? Soda ash is powdery, but "hairy" is something different altogether. I've had lye crystals form on soap before (or at least I think they were. Maybe try a zap test...
Cheers!
Anna Marie
 

newbie

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No not lye crystals at all. They are ash crystals from one of my lye excess soaps. I do think the excess of water makes some difference but there were other things in terms of the surface that I think lent themselves to the formation of crystals versus the flat type of ash. They were tested. Ash for sure.

As DeeAnna said, ash comes in all sorts of forms, not just powdery or chalky!
 

AnnaMarie

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Glad it's not lye crystals! I wondered because the only time I've ever see these crystals is when I've made my crazy, super lye heavy, Andalusian castile soap. I'll readily admit that I've never seen a really seen a good, clear, informational piece on the difference between ash and lye crystals that satisfied my questions though....
Cheers!
Anna Marie
 
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