Zap Test

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Elizabeth Driver

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Hi, so I've read a few posts about zap tests. I realize that the longer soap cures it should become more mild, and that the "zap" is definitely an immediate sort of zap. So - my CP soap is 10 days old, and I was dying of curiosity, and tried my finger in some suds - no zap. so touched my tongue to the soap - no zaps......so because I was insistent on finding a zap - I tried several other bars......holding my tongue on the soap for longer periods of time each time - so eventually I did find that the soap would eventually give me some tingling or burning sensation - and I ended up with a mildly irritated tongue. So, I know this wasn't the right way to do this. I just wanted confirmation - because I immediately felt these batches must be all lye heavy - but there really was not zap - but would it be normal if you press your tongue on your soap to end up wth a tingling or burning tongue - I guess it could be a reaction to something else....I guess I'll just have to wait till the 6 week time frame and give another try.....but just touch the tongue to the soap - not press it into the soap?!!
 

Anstarx

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Soap is alkaline so I imagine if you keep licking-or just putting it there it could irritate your tongue, especially fresh soaps are more alkaline than cured ones. It's just like if you keep your tongue in vinegar or lemon juice.
So, I know this wasn't the right way to do this. I just wanted confirmation - because I immediately felt these batches must be all lye heavy - but there really was not zap
I'm rather curious on why you felt the batch must be lye heavy if there is no zap? Zap test is used to test excess lye-no zap, no excess lye, not lye heavy.
And no I don't think a proper zap test should be done by pressing your tongue to the soap, touching should suffice.
 

BattleGnome

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Did you see this link?

A zap test is like putting your tongue on a 9 volt battery. It zaps or it doesn’t. It is that immediate.

New soap can irritate skin even if it doesn’t zap. By looking for that zap you may have given your tongue the same/similar irritation to using a fresh soap straight out of the mold (usually just red, itchy skin). You’d solve the itchy skin by washing with cured soap then putting on lotion. You might want to try rinsing your mouth then rolling a spoon full of oil to help coat your tongue
 

shunt2011

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One, don't stick your tongue right on the soap. Two, just wet your finger and run it on the soap a bit then tough the tip of your tongue. You'll know it if you've been zapped. Otherwise your soap is good to go and cure. Welcome to the forum, since this is your first post please go over to the introduction forum and tell us a bit about yourself.
 

Elizabeth Driver

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Well thank you for your responses! I attribute some of this behaviour to my recent insane soap insanity - I cannot seem to stop thinking about soap - so it was foolish and I did rinse my tongue after I realized it was burning a bit. I think I was making an effort to be 300% sure there was no zap - and then when I did wait long enough to feel a sort of burning feeling - I felt convinced that must be proof they might be lye heavy.....a sign of an impending zap. But honestly, I did try ph strips - and im not sure of their accuracy - they all showed a 9/10 ph - which was different than the distilled water I used. I also tried some red cabbage juice - which turned a nice blue. I have made soaps for a couple of years but it was not till this year that I seem to be having some kind of Soap fever & I cannot stop making batches of soap - I have 11 dozen batches in my spare room now - and what am I going to do with them? Helppppp!!! and the more I learn - the more I realize different things that can go wrong - but I've never had a lye heavy batch......I had no reason to believe any of the soaps would be lye heavy - I used soapcalc.net, they are olive oil 35%, coconut 25%, shea 20%, Cocoa Butter 8%, Avocado 6%, Castor 6%, with a 33% lye concentration, CP soap, and there were no issues with any of the batches........I do feel reassured that the overall soap could be an irritating substance......and that a lye heavy batch has to be an actual zap - Thanks!

Soap is alkaline so I imagine if you keep licking-or just putting it there it could irritate your tongue, especially fresh soaps are more alkaline than cured ones. It's just like if you keep your tongue in vinegar or lemon juice.

I'm rather curious on why you felt the batch must be lye heavy if there is no zap? Zap test is used to test excess lye-no zap, no excess lye, not lye heavy.
And no I don't think a proper zap test should be done by pressing your tongue to the soap, touching should suffice.
Wellllll.........after reading the way it sounds - its ridiculous. I am an over worrier. and I've gone soap insane. and I wanted ABSOLUTE proof there was not zap.....so when I experienced a teeny tingle after a little while my natural urge was to doubt my soap - and even now I am resisting the urge to sneak and lick of all of the soaps again....omg. my husband has commented there is soap stuff accumulating in the kitchen - I told him I am contributing to science!
Thank you for taking the time to provide some reassurance
 
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shunt2011

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PH strips are worthless in testing for excess lye. Soap ph is going to be anywhere from 9-11.5 maybe somewhat higher. That is why we do the zap test. Most accurate way to know there may be an issue. If you know it's lye heavy, don't zap test it for quite some time depending on how heavy it is.
 

jcandleattic

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I couldn't tell if I was being zapped
If you couldn't tell, or it wasn't strong and immediate, you weren't getting zapped.
I tried several other bars......holding my tongue on the soap for longer periods of time each time - so eventually I did find that the soap would eventually give me some tingling or burning sensation
After that many 'licks' on the soap, I wouldn't be surprised that you got some tingling, however, I really doubt it was an actual zap.
There seriously is no "guessing" if it's a zap. you will absolutely know it.
 

JackofallShaves

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Can some of the experienced folks clarify this for beginners like me? Is the zap totally a binary thing - you either feel it or you don't? Is there something like a mild zap that is indicative of the fact that additional cooking is required? (I only do HP).
 

cmzaha

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Can some of the experienced folks clarify this for beginners like me? Is the zap totally a binary thing - you either feel it or you don't? Is there something like a mild zap that is indicative of the fact that additional cooking is required? (I only do HP).
For added reassurance, if you run your recipe through a soap calculator and you are sure you measured correctly had a superfat you will not have a lye heavy soap. Even if you stop cooking too soon and your soap zaps it will cure out and stop zapping. Soap is really quite forgiving with small misses. I have mentioned this in another thread, but soap poured at a thin trace, especially if not gelled can stay zappy for 72 hrs, so it really is better to test for zap after a few days.
 

DeeAnna

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I think of it as similar to a static shock on a dry winter day. The strength of the static shock can vary, but even a mild static shock is still immediate and startling. It doesn't take a few seconds to start, and it doesn't leave you wondering what it was.

Same thing with a zap.

If all you're wanting to confirm is whether your soap is skin safe or not, don't be in a great hurry to zap test. Let the soap bars sit a few days to a week at least before you test. And even if the soap is mildly zappy at that point, like Carolyn (cmzaha) said, it will very likely disappear by the end of the cure time.
 

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