Why my CP soap didn't trace????

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Well-Known Member
Nov 23, 2007
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Raleigh, NC
Hi there,

After my 1st HP soap went well, I decide to try CP today. I used the same recipe, I hand stirred over an hour, there was no trace at all. Then I put it to the slow cooker, and keep stirring for another hour, there was still no trace.

I don't know what does it go wrong?

Here is the recipe:
1 lb 3 oz Olive Oil
3 oz Palm Keneral Oil
10 oz coconut oil
12 oz water
4.5 oz lye
2 tbsp Castor Oil

One more thing, the lye water and oil mixture were not at the same temperature when I mixed it, is it the reason?

Please help!! I am going to try it tomorrow again.

Thanks in advance!
It could be the amount of lye you used as it appears to be quite low. Putting your recipe in the soap calc and guessing at an oz of for the castor oil, you had about a 9-10% superfat. If I were to do that recipe, I would have used 4.8 oz of lye. And I would weigh out all my ingredients. Did you run this thru the soap calc?
And remember too that the smaller the batch is, the more accurate you must be. I use a good digital scale that measures in grams and even tenths of a gram. I test with my TOG 1 pound mold which makes 5 full size bars. I weigh out my master-batch in grams. If I were not master-batching, I would measure each ingredient used in my recipe down to the gram and tenth of a gram. It is important to use a good digital scale and a good calculator. If I give you a recipe, run it through yourself, if anyone gives you a recipe, run it through a calculator. It will teach you how important each ingredient is to the recipe and the "synergy" of the oils/butters/fats all combined. That is why I love either the free online calculator www.soapcalc.com or woodi's Soapmaker Program. You will soon learn how to develop the quality bar you want. it took me at least a year to get my favorite 2 recipes right! Always adding oils, taking some away and adding others, then tweaking the percentages until I got it right. It is a learning experience, but a very rewarding one!

Paul :wink:
Hi CPSoaper and Soapmaker Man,

I am very new to soap-making, so I just followed the recipe from the book called "The everything soapmaking book". I did a HP with the same recipe without any problem.

I didn't run this recipe thu soap calc, I will do it tomorrow. It seems very complicated to use, is it very difficult?

My scale is very high quality digital scale. So I think my measurement is accurate.

Few more question, if I use stick blender, will it make any difference? And also about the temperature, how important that both oil mixture and lye water are the same temperature?

Thank you both of you. I learn so much from you and the forum.
hi there,

I just ran my recipe thu the soapcal, I used 5% superfat/ discount and 38 Water % as of oil. Is it ok?

Anyway, they said I should use 4.81oz lye and 15.58oz water.

Then I found another calculator on thesage.com

It recommends for 5% discount, 4.8oz lye and 8 to 12 oz water.

So which one should I follow?

thanks for all your help
You can use either one - you have decide which soap calc you like best. The soap calc is not hard to figure out but just takes practice. The more you use it and soap, the more you will understand.

Never trust the ingredient amounts of a recipe regardless of where you get that recipe. Always run your recipe thru a calculator.
The water difference between soapcalc and the sage is simply a difference the water default settings are on each calculator. Since you are newer to soap making, it is better to use the higher water amount. AS your experience grows, you can start taking water discounts according to how each FO behaves. I generly soap at 31 to 33% lye solution. You should start out with a 27 to 28% lye solution.

Paul.... :wink:
Thank you Soapmaker man.

I have another question for you, do you have a digital Ph Meter? how often do you need to calibrate?
I don't have a pH meter, always thought about getting one, and may do so before long. I have used the pH test strips made for soap testing when I first started out, but these are not nearly as good as the pH meters are. I just use the ole tongue test now. My recipe is refined enough now and been making it consistently enough for about a year now, that I know my soaps are mild. Coupled with goat milk that lowers the pH in my soap too, they are very mild.

Paul... :wink:
Few more question, if I use stick blender, will it make any difference? And also about the temperature, how important that both oil mixture and lye water are the same temperature?

At 10% superfat it won't make a huge difference but generally speaking a stick blender will accelerate trace.

One thing you rarely see mentioned amongst soapmaker discussion is the use of Di Propylene Glycol. DPG can greatly accelerate trace. James Hershberger gives some detail here: http://waltonfeed.com/old/soap/soapchem.html

Fat and lye both should be warm (100 degrees F or so) but having them at precisely the same temperature isn't as big of a deal as many would have you think. Some even make the soap 'by feel' and it comes out ok.
Some even make it at room temperature! :lol: ME! :D But, I confess, all my recipe is master-batched and my 50% lye solution is premixed, and both are about 72 degrees. The main thing is that both oils, butters, fats, lye solution needs to be no more than 10 to 15 degrees apart in temperatures.

Paul.... :wink:
I'm a maker of soap by the feel. I pour my candles that way too. I''ve been doing this long enough now that I can pretty gauge the temps based on the feel of the container against my hand. I can guage temps of my wax based on looks.

I'm like Paul too in that I don't have an electronic Ph meter and use to use the strips but not any more. I'm another GM soaper although not exclusively, and have all my recipes pretty much perfected. If you stick with soaping, you will get to this point as well. And it really won't take that long.
thank you all of you, I learn so much from you guys.

I have another question, the soap I made yesterday, I poured it into the mold, coz I don't know what to do with it. Today, I go to check it out, and i found the soap is kind of solid. What should I do with the soap? Do you think I can do something with it??

If the soap is solid enough and not too soft, unmold and cut it. Then put it somewhere that is can have time to sit, get air and cure.

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