Why did this seize?

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by PieBorg, Mar 21, 2020.

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  1. Mar 21, 2020 #1

    PieBorg

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    I thought I was being careful about using stable ingredients (other than castor oil, which I know can accelerate, but it's still worth using), but I had my first ever seize today. I threw it into a pot and HP'd it, FWIW, but it doesn't look like it'll be usable. Can anyone tell me which of my ingredients or methods may have been the culprit so I can avoid this in the future?

    40% Canola
    20% each Castor, Coconut, and Palm oils
    1 ounce Tea Tree oil (<5%)
    20 grams GM powder mixed into oils
    Himalayan pink salt dissolved in 33% lye / AVJ
    No fragrance or coloring because there was no time to add any before the seize.

    I didn't have a way to take temperatures, but the lye was probably around 70 F, and the oils were maybe around 90 F. I gave it 3 very brief buzzes with the SB before it seized big time.

    Where did this go wrong?
     
  2. Mar 21, 2020 #2

    Kcryss

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    Did you add the tea tree to your oils?
     
  3. Mar 21, 2020 #3

    PieBorg

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    Yep, all oils together before the lye.
     
  4. Mar 21, 2020 #4

    Kcryss

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    I don't do cold process, but my guess would be the addition of the tea tree oil to your oils. EO's are usually added after trace.
     
  5. Mar 21, 2020 #5

    PieBorg

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    I haven't done CP until today either, and so far, it hasn't been the pure soapy enjoyment I expected. I'll try not to let this disaster stop me from trying again, though. If there's nothing else that looks suspect, I can try this recipe again and add the tea tree after trace. Thanks for the suggestion!
     
  6. Mar 21, 2020 #6

    shunt2011

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    I always add my EO or FO to the oils unless I know they move super fast. I make a lot of tea tree soap and have never had it seize. Your recipe is likely going to be prone to DOS and may be sticky. Canola unless HO is not very stable and using that much Castor is going to be sticky and may have increased the seize. Palm does move faster in soap. You say you added tea tree in one sentence then in the other you say no fragrance or color. How much salt did you add?
     
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  7. Mar 21, 2020 #7

    cmzaha

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    I am guessing it was a combination of your palm and castor and a very cool lye solution that cooled off your batter and thickened your palm. You probably did not have a seize but false trace that would have thinned back out some if you have just stirred it a bit until the batter started to heat up. The only big culprit I see is the 20% Castor that will accelerate and palm to cool will false trace. I find castor between 2-5% can make a considerable difference in acceleration in my batter which contains up to 40% palm oil, so 20% is a biggie. By putting the soap batter in a crockpot and heating it up it should be fine.
     
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  8. Mar 21, 2020 #8

    PieBorg

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    @shunt2011 Even though it does have a strong scent, I think of tea tree's other properties before I think of it as a fragrance. Maybe I'm wrong to do that. I don't know.

    I added the salt at 15% of the weight of the AVJ.

    @cmzaha Thank you for that information! I'll rework the percentages and see if that helps. I really didn't want to use the palm at all, but it was the only solid oil I had other than coconut. Maybe it would be better to go with OO instead of the palm and canola?

    The soap heated up in a big hurry and even had steam coming off it. I added just a tiny bit of AVJ, broke the soap up into chunks, and let it sit for a few minutes. That did seem to help, but nothing I tried could get rid of all the lumps. Even with putting it in the pot and heating and stirring, it still had small chunks.

    I went ahead and molded it. It'll be okay for hand washing, I suppose.
     
  9. Mar 21, 2020 #9

    shunt2011

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    It’s a fragrance. It’s not likely any of the benefits survive the lye.
     
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  10. Mar 21, 2020 #10

    PieBorg

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    @shunt2011 Well dang! I guess that's what happens when you decide to switch to CP after making HP for decades. Tea tree can be added at the end of the cook to preserve its properties, or at least I *think* it works that way.

    Update: Changed the recipe -- 70% Olive, 20% Coconut, 10% Castor, same 33% AVJ with 15% Himalayan pink salt and 20g GM powder mixed into the oils. Seized again as soon as I began stirring the brine into the oils, just as it did before. I added a tiny splash more AVJ to loosen it up a little, then threw in the tea tree and some AC, and glopped it into a mold. It wasn't quite as chunky as before, but that's not saying much.

    Afterwards, I thought maybe there's some additive in the salt, so I looked at the label. Nope. Nothing but salt. Then I looked at the AVJ label. It has a very tiny percentage of CA. The label says the AVJ is "99.8% pure", so it can't be much CA, but could that be causing the seizing?

    I've never had seizures before, but I always did HP, so it's possible I actually did and just didn't notice. This is a lot of wasted ingredients, even though I'll probably still use the soap... if it turns out to be usable. I'll give it one more try tomorrow using water instead of AVJ, because my favorite neighbor is kinda counting on me. In the meantime, if anyone has any insights they could share, I'll be most grateful.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2020
  11. Mar 21, 2020 #11

    atiz

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    What kind of Olive oil are you using? The only almost-seizure I have gotten so far was when I used pomace grade. Salt can also accelerate a bit as far as I can tell. So maybe it's a combination of those? I have never had problem with AVJ.
    Have you tried hand whisking it instead of stick blending?
     
  12. Mar 22, 2020 #12

    PieBorg

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    @atiz I used EVOO. With the salt being only 15% of the liquid weight, the solution should have been nowhere near saturated, but maybe it's a bad actor anyway. I'll take your suggestion about hand whisking tomorrow when I try again, but I'm still going to use water instead of the AVJ with CA in it. Surely third time will be the charm.
     
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  13. Mar 22, 2020 #13

    atiz

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    I forgot about the CA. I don't have any experience with that, sorry... I hope it works out tomorrow!
     
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  14. Mar 22, 2020 #14

    PieBorg

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    I forgot that tea tree is an unsaponifiable. That's why it doesn't have a SAP value. So does anyone know to what extent its properties, other than its scent, survive the saponification process? If it isn't bringing anything to the table besides that weird smell, why do we use it?
     
  15. Mar 22, 2020 #15

    KiwiMoose

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    Weird - your newer recipe I wouldn't have thought would seize. Are you soaping too hot? Aim for around 90 - 100 fahrenheight. Castor oil can move swiftly but I have used it at 10% with not too much trouble. Try 85% OO, 10% Coconut and 5% castor. It will need a long cure though. Salt can move faster too. Also - try adding some citrus Eos. While the fragrance won't hold in CP, they will help to slow trace. Do you really want to the expense of EVOO in your soap? It's good for eating, but kinda wasted in soap. Just get regular OO ( but not pomace coz that seizes).
     
  16. Mar 22, 2020 #16

    PieBorg

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    Thanks, @KiwiMoose ! I really need to get a point 'n click thermometer. I'm totally guessing at my temps. The EVOO was an el cheapo brand, probably not that great for eating, actually, lol! I'll experiment with water tomorrow to see if the AVJ was the culprit. Cutting the castor sounds like a good idea too. I have citrus FOs but no EOs atm, so I'll have to put that experiment off for now, but it's good to know they can slow trace. Just gotta get my hands on some citrus EOs. I'm sure they would come in handy in the future, especially if I don't have to worry about the scent.
     
  17. Mar 22, 2020 #17

    KiwiMoose

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    I use aloe vera juice ( fresh from my garden) in almost every batch and have had no problem with it seizing. I pretty much put Sweet Orange EO in everything (even with my FOs) it's cheap and helps somewhat with seizing florals.
     
  18. Mar 22, 2020 #18

    PieBorg

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    I suspect it has something to do with the CA in the AVJ. I've never (knowingly) used CA in soap before, although, as I mentioned, I used this same stuff in HP and never noticed a problem. More than likely, I put it in toward the end of the cook, not in the lye mixture, and only if I needed a little extra fluid. (I didn't keep good notes back then.) I don't remember ever using AVJ as a 100% water substitute before.

    Looking for the biggest bottle of Sweet Orange EO I can find on the internet... :)
     
  19. Mar 22, 2020 #19

    KiwiMoose

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    I would have thought that citric acid would neutralise some of the lye and thus, if anything, cause the mixture to soften, not harden. I don't reckon it would be that.
     
  20. Mar 22, 2020 #20

    Obsidian

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    No one really knows but likely, if anything survives its very very little. Most people use it for the scent or label appeal.

    I would make a small batch with just oils and water, no salt, no aloe, nothing. If that fixes the problem, start adding back in additives one at a time until you find the culprit.
     
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