Why wrap in a towel after pouring?

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Andy7891

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I’m sure this is a basic inquiry, but I’m wondering why it is advisable to wrap cold process soap in a towel after you’ve poured it into your mold? When with some recipes, it’s advisable you put it into the fridge right after pouring. For example when I made cows milk soap, I put it right in the fridge I guess to prevent curdling the milk. Couldn’t you just leave out the wrapping business if it’s not necessary for sopanification? Hope that made total sense and TIA.

PS I know to achieve gel you want it hot, but gel is optional so why does it always say wrap in a towel?
 

moodymama

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It's to try to ensure gel, if you don't want gel no need just allow it to sit. I think many people prefer to ensure gel as it helps saponify the soap faster.
 

TheGecko

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When with some recipes, it’s advisable you put it into the fridge right after pouring. For example when I made cows milk soap, I put it right in the fridge I guess to prevent curdling the milk.
Milk contains a lot of sugar which can cause your soap to overheat, causing the oils to separate and the milk proteins to burn resulting in a brown, oily soap.
 

Arimara

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Milk contains a lot of sugar which can cause your soap to overheat, causing the oils to separate and the milk proteins to burn resulting in a brown, oily soap.
That's correct. It's a pain to deal with in some cases.
 

shunt2011

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You don't have to wrap it in a towel. I gel all my soaps (mostly milk soap). So to obtain a good gel I put a lid on my mold and drape a folded towel over the top and sides to obtain gel. I do check them after an hour or two to see how they are doing. I soap with 29-33% lye concentration.
 

earlene

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Andy, it really depends on your recipe and your desired end result.

For example, if the soap formula is such that the soap tends to overheat quickly, and you don't want cracks and volcanoes of soap spilling over the sides (can happen in some cases), then that's when you would NOT wrap or insulate the soap, but take measures to prevent overheating. (Refrigeration is not the only method, depending on the ingredients and how much overheating may occur.)

Another example: A recipe that is so slow moving that it takes days to set up and may never gel without help. If you don't care how long it takes and don't want gel, you can just leave it be and wait. If you want gel and don't want only partial gel (where the center gels and the outer edges don't), then you would do something to encourage gel, like covering it up and/or wrapping in a towel or a box to insulate it, even do an oven-process method to give it a little added heat to encourage gel.
 

lsg

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I put my milk soap in the freezer and leave it there for up to two days. This is to prevent gel and overheating.
 

Andy7891

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Milk contains a lot of sugar which can cause your soap to overheat, causing the oils to separate and the milk proteins to burn resulting in a brown, oily soap.
What does oils separating mean? I don’t quite understand, if the oils have mixed with the lye and sopanified, the only oil left would be the super fat... right? 🤔
 

Obsidian

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Saponification takes a few hours to a day or so. During that time, if soap gets too hot it can separate.
The oil will come to the surface of the soap making a oil slick. Sometimes it will even make a hollow channel inside filled with oil.

I'm one who never wraps my soap. I don't care if I get gel or not.
 

Adri71

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I’m sure this is a basic inquiry, but I’m wondering why it is advisable to wrap cold process soap in a towel after you’ve poured it into your mold? When with some recipes, it’s advisable you put it into the fridge right after pouring. For example when I made cows milk soap, I put it right in the fridge I guess to prevent curdling the milk. Couldn’t you just leave out the wrapping business if it’s not necessary for sopanification? Hope that made total sense and TIA.

PS I know to achieve gel you want it hot, but gel is optional so why does it always say wrap in a towel?
I'm really glad you asked this question, I was curious about the same thing!
 

shunt2011

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What does oils separating mean? I don’t quite understand, if the oils have mixed with the lye and sopanified, the only oil left would be the super fat... right? 🤔
Overheating can break the break/separate and cause a multitude of problems. The soap is not saponified until either it goes through gel phase or if placed in the fridge or freezer may take 24-48 hour to complete.
 

Andy7891

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Thanks, so I’m hearing that a soap mixture can emulsify, but not necessarily sopanify, in the beginning? Kind of? I don’t understand the microscopic interactions that happen when you make soap. One day soon, I will.
 

cmzaha

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I am one that wants to gel all my soaps and most of my recipes are hard to get to gel so I have to force gel. Since I always soap multiple batches I cannot gel in the oven and I pour my soaps to the tops to the top of my mold so there is no putting a lid on them I have to improvise. My molds go in a low crate big enough to hold 2 molds which I put a lid on, set them on a heating pad cover with a lap heat blanket with a blanket on top. As I make my soaps I do have to rotate my crates so it takes a little work, but gets the job done. I do check periodically to make sure my soap does not appear to be overheating. If I see cracking starting to appear or droplets of oil or sweat on the top I will take the crate off the heat pad or out from under the blanket, it continues to overheat it gets moved to another table with a fan. This usually only happens if I use a new FO that I do not realize overheats.

I find gelling my soaps I get a lot less ash. When I first started soaping I did not gel my soaps but I did get a lot more ash than I do now.
 

Andy7891

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Cmzaha thank you for that description of your process I’m sure that will be helpful to me and others. I have not roamed into the land of gelling/not gelling yet. I’m still on making small (1 lb or less) batches, just getting experience. I started making bigger batches with multiple colors and fragrances but I’m back to just having fun now, keeping it exciting, which means small batches that I plan on scaling up one day.
 

Susie

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I force gel on my soaps, also. I like lots of bubbles, so I always add sugar or honey. This always leads to partial gel unless I force it to gel. If I think the house is too cool, I use a heating pad on the bottom, and towels over the tops of the molds.
 

Arimara

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One thing worth mentioning, all milks are not created equal. Sugar amounts vary depending on the different types of milk you use and some milks, like oat, have more sugars than others. Milks in generally have a bit of a learning curve if you decide to use more than one type and/or use other milks aside from cow milk. I prefer the 50/50 method as it is easier to deal with.
 

bookreader451

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I don't usually let my soaps with TD gel simply because I am not a fan of glycerin rivers. Sometimes it happens anyway.

Interestingly my triple butter buttermilk made with aloe juice sometimes gets hot enough to crack slightly (if I don't catch it in time) but, when I made it with distilled water this weekend it didn't gel at all; covered, boxed and a towel over it. I didn't think there would be that much of a difference.
 

cmzaha

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I will mention I quit using TD several yrs ago so I simply have no crackle problems. My oils are light so it works for me.
 

CatahoulaBubble

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I make mik soap but I don't refrigerate it, I put mine in the oven that's been heated on the lowest setting then I turn off the oven before I put the soap in and let it sit in the warm oven. The only soap I put in the fridge is my milk and honey soap because I put actual honey in it with the goat milk and the honey heats it up too much and will cause it to volcano. But the rest of my milk soaps do just fine in the oven. My soap goes above the top of the mold so I don't wrap it in towels.
 

rbmm818

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I make mik soap but I don't refrigerate it, I put mine in the oven that's been heated on the lowest setting then I turn off the oven before I put the soap in and let it sit in the warm oven. The only soap I put in the fridge is my milk and honey soap because I put actual honey in it with the goat milk and the honey heats it up too much and will cause it to volcano. But the rest of my milk soaps do just fine in the oven. My soap goes above the top of the mold so I don't wrap it in towels.
How long do you leave your milk & honey soap in the oven?
 

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