White swirls in soap

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Well-Known Member
Feb 18, 2008
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Could someone please help me figure out what these white swirls are in my soap. I am thinking it may be a reaction to the fragrance oils I used.
The recipe I used is:

24 oz. Coconut oil
38 oz. Crisco
24 oz. Olive oil
12 oz. lye
32 oz. water
fragrance oils

I haven't done anything any different except this time I used the unlined log molds and didn't heat them first. I covered and wrapped and the soap got warm and is beautiful except for the white swirls. I don't mind that eithe, too much, I just wondered why it did that. Thanks for any help you may have.

I really don't have any insight, but wanted to tell you that they look really pretty with the swirls...so if you figure out how it happened...it might be worth replicating from time to time for a different effect.
ash? does it scrap off or is it all the way through the soap.

temperature was off..some soap went through the gell stage some didnt

My soaps did exactly the same thing. So I sent off a question to Kathy Miller about it. This was before I knew about this forum. She figured that my soap wasn't completely gelling.
I do live in a very cold climate and then I realized I was putting my soap to insulate on an outside wall.
Now I put my soap in the oven with just the light on and I can almost watch it gelling right before my eyes and I get complete gel. None of that white stuff anymore. I have to watch though because it gels in 2 - 3 hrs. Once I left it too long and it had a quarter inch of oil on top.
I didn't like the white stuff because I kept thinking lye ash even though I knew it wasn't.
Maybe this will help and maybe it won't.
Good Luck!!!
No, the white does not come off. At first, I thought it was ash. Perhaps it didn't completely gel, but does that matter? Will the soap still be okay to use? I think next time I make soap I will do what Laurie mentioned. If I had tried to make swirls like that I would never be able to do it.
Jean, as you know my experience is limited. The times when Ive seen something simular is when there is some sort of ingredient separation during the gel process. Your soap ,based on its transparency, looks like it gelled very well at a good hot temp. Myself I really like it, it looks great.
Jean...I used my soap with no problems at all and it looked exactly like yours.
Somehow when it is someone else's soap it looks so pretty.

Let it sit a few more days for the ungelled areas to saponify. Do the zap or tongue test. If there's no zap - it's safe to use. If you get a zap let it sit a few days more. If the zap never goes away - it's lye heavy and you'll need to rebatch.
What CP process did you use? HP/RT/OP? Did your oils melt all the way? I know crisco is always the last in my pot to finish melting. It looks kind of like the crisco was still melting during the gel phase to me. Not that I'm an expert, it just looks that way to me. I hope it is still good for use. It really is a pretty soap!
I didn't use the RT method. I combined my lye/water to my oils when they were both between 95 to 98 degrees. I tried to cover the soap as best I could, with what I had, I think I used a cookie sheet, then wrapped it all in several layers of blankets. It did gel.
I think it is kind of pretty myself, I just want to make sure it is safe to use and after reading some posts here, I believe it is.
Thanks to all of you who answered.
the zap test shall tell the truth...just make sure to have some vinegar on hand very close just in case! It will neutralize the lye!

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