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Why am I getting weird air pockets on my soap?

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BrettHartel

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I recently starting making my own soap. The first mold I made used 12 oz of silicone and works well. After that, I made three more with thinner walls using 4 oz of silicone. Does a thin mold wall affect soap?



The smooth bar on the right is from my thick mold. The left and center, with weird air pockets, is from my thin molds. They only seem to be on the outside, where the soap and silicone would have touched.

Yes, it is the same batch of soap. If I had air bubbles in my mix, I would assume all the soap would look like it had air bubbles in it.

What could be some causes of these strange air pockets along the outside?

I tried a second time, and the same results happened.

I used the Cold Process method. I did not put this in the oven. After 24 hours, i did freeze the soap to take it out of the mold easily.

My recipe: 957g Sunflower Oil + 130.5g Lye + 362.5g water. I mix at 140F and pour at a medium trace.

I do burp my stick blender :D And I pour my lye water on my stick blender as I mix it into the oils.

*- Edit Update -*

It might be possible that my soap is "pitting"? That the gel phase is getting too hot and begins to boil. I will try another batch of soap, but this time I will not cover my soap with blankets. Hopefully, this will do the trick!

I just made a new batch and will update with results!
 
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BattleGnome

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Do you CPOP? Sometimes the oven processing causes bubbles along the sides of silicone molds.
 

BrettHartel

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No, I only used the Cold Process method. But, I did freeze the soap to take it out of the mold easily. 24 hours later.
 
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BattleGnome

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It might be a temperature thing then, but you'll have to wait till someone more experienced can confirm.
 

shunt2011

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If you post your recipe and technique we may be able to help troubleshoot. You may just be unmolding too soon. The only time I've had pitting like that is with CPOP and you aren't doing that.
 

earlene

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They do look like high CO soap, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, personally, I like thicker silicone molds for a couple of reasons. The most important to me, is less bowing. Thinner-walled silicone molds aren't strong enough to prevent bowing of the soap (the weight of the batter pushing the mold wall outward). This ends up requiring more exterior soap loss in planing. Not that it's wasted if you re-batch your scraps, but it's more work all the way around. Also the thicker-walled silicone molds are easier to work with, IMO because they feel sturdier. Of course, that can make unmolding a little more difficult, so it could also be considered a drawback. Also if the mold is not inside of a sturdy holder, tamping down to release air bubbles is much harder to do effectively, especially if using the thinner-walled silicone molds.

Another thought on the air bubbles. Could you have poured the batter into one mold faster than in the other mold or from a higher distance? That may play a part in the introduction of air bubbles. Just a guess.

I get air bubbles sometimes but figure it's just the nature of the beast. Wish I knew for sure how to NEVER get air bubbles.
 

HowieRoll

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I'm absolutely no help whatsoever, having never used silicone molds, but I just wanted to say I'm loving how you beveled your soaps!
 

BrettHartel

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Thank you, HowieRoll. It took some brainstorming! I paid a woodworker to carve a piece of wood into a soap design I had in mind. Then I used silicone to make a mold for soap.
 

BrettHartel

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My recipe: 957g Sunflower Oil + 130.5g Lye + 362.5g water. I mix at 140F and pour at a medium trace.

I do burp my stick blender :D And I pour my lye water on my stick blender as I mix it into the oils.
 

HowieRoll

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While there is no one set rule set in stone about soaping temperatures, it appears from my research that most people usually soap anywhere between room temperature-ish and about 120-ish degrees. An exception might be when using an ingredient with a high melt point (i.e. beeswax). 140 seems like it would be on the high end, so, and I'm certainly no expert, but maybe try soaping cooler and see if it happens?

In the meantime, you may find this post by Auntie Clara interesting. In it, she addressed silicone pock marks and their apparent cause, and I just wonder even if you are not oven processing your soap if it is still able to overheat due to high soaping temps and extra insulation.

http://auntieclaras.com/2015/06/overheating-soap/
 

BrettHartel

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Thank you, HowieRoll! I didn't know I could soap at room temperature! I don't even have to heat up my oils if they are liquid then! Also, thank you for the article. If this batch comes out bad, I will try mixing the batter until a thick trace and see if that does the trick.
 

penelopejane

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Thank you, HowieRoll! I didn't know I could soap at room temperature! I don't even have to heat up my oils if they are liquid then! Also, thank you for the article. If this batch comes out bad, I will try mixing the batter until a thick trace and see if that does the trick.
I think low water makes a greater difference than trace. Read Aunty Clara's article and try it yourself.
 

BrettHartel

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We have lift off! It appears my soap was boiling and leaving it uncovered did the trick :D Thank you everone!

 
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