This in turn should free up my inbox to a more manageable level while helping others more easily find the information they need. Is it past its expiration date? Or you could have added too much water and not enough lye. If you make cold process soap, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten soda ash. Mix by hand, using the stick blender only if absolutely necessary, to ensure the EO or FO are mixed in completely. Some need to be used at higher amounts, while others need to be used more sparingly to avoid skin irritation. (I tried it and it worked for me & my 10+ year old Cuisinart! Hi, so much info. Sometimes the veins may have a translucent white look to them. Those are a few ideas to start with to help us troubleshoot better! Early in my soapmaking days I tried using a cheapo mechanical scale and the weights were wildly varying when I later tested against a digital scale. Reason: Coconut oil is very cleansing when turned into soap and can be drying for some skin types. It is purely cosmetic. 200g olive oil :), I have never seen my soap so oily the next day the oil is oozing out I have used the same ingredients a dozen times what can be wrong I hope I can still use it thanks for the advice, Hi Clara, I’m so sorry to hear your soap did that! Rebatching the soap is recommended. This is a super book, simple, East and the photos are very helpful and beautiful. I’ve had soap stuck in them for 1+ month more than once, so avoid them unless I absolutely love the design. (Make sure it’s labeled sodium hydroxide and not potassium hydroxide.) Reason: The lye didn’t completely dissolve and is now in crystalline form throughout the soap. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. COLD PROCESS SOAP TROUBLESHOOTING There are dozens of variables that can cause problems in cold process soap making. Castile bars can do this. A lot of people who make handmade soap take terrific care to make use of great all-natural components. When your cold process soap is cut, small, chalky white spots can detract from the beauty of your soap. Solution: Use a lighter hand when spritzing soap tops with alcohol, or cover with an alternative method such as plastic wrap.,,,,, Solution: Just wait and let the soap go through this natural stage. Soap making 101: Troubleshooting soap making. Kevin Dunn, a soapy scientist and author of Scientific Soapmaking: The Chemistry of the Cold Process, recommends using Rosemary Oleoresin Extract at 0.1% of the oil weight. Is it that the commercial one has something else added … my homemade soaps (oil, lye and water) are missing something??? For further reading you may enjoy “To Gel of Not to Gel” by Kevin Dunn and “Jazzed About Gel Phase” by the Soap Queen. that’s very informative. i made it yesterday and checked on it this morning. Cold process soap is made without any external heat applied to it, while hot process soap is most often cooked in a crockpot to speed up the soapmaking process. Reason: Hard fats such as palm, tallow, lard, butters, etc contain solid fatty acids (like stearic acid & palmitic acid) that need a higher temperature to melt, while other components of the fat melt more easily. Yes, you can try to rebatch the soap & that can often fix problems such as false trace, or not reaching trace. Fresh herbs or teas were not prepared properly or the oils in the soap are going bad. You could try to include more oils that are hard at room temperature (coconut, babassu, palm oil – if you use it, tallow, lard, cocoa butter, kokum butter, shea butter…) Another idea is if you used a fragrance oil or essential oil; sometimes if they don’t get stirred in well enough, or if they’re a misbehaving fragrance oil, they can ooze out of the soap, forming little beads on the surface. If I ever find a way to make it stay, then I’ll definitely update the post! :). Is it forming sort of a hill in the middle of the soap? at that time i did not know that it could no longer be used. That sounds like a great combination! I tested the PH is all around 7. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. Return it to regular position before turning on. It sounds silly, but it does happen sometimes! Aim for oils around 145°F (63°C) and lye around 125°F (52°C). ), CLICK TO RETURN TO THE BEGINNING OF THE LIST. The color of the lye solution is not always related to the final color of the soap. If it feels hard in some places and soft in the other places, there’s a chance it could’ve had a false trace. However even the professionals may have batches that go wrong and here are some troubleshooting tips and example of what can happen and how to solve it. If you have my print book, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, there are several pages of color charts showing real soaps made with a variety of natural colorants and the amounts used. If it still shows the trace after 30 seconds then it’s a true one. I’ve been soaping for 3 yrs. Dried herbs are better than fresh, because teas and herbs can bleed into the soap over time. Sorry to hear that happened! This will result in a very thick trace, but it might help save the batch. Posted on January 7, 2017 by Tes. Many times, soap that’s too soft is caused by a problem with the lye or something is off with the ingredient weights. (Currently, I have 70+ of those emails in the queue to answer! While melt and pour soap may seem most suited for beginners, there are practically limitless design possibilities. To use salt, add 1/2 teaspoon for every pound (16 oz) of oil in a soap recipe. Here's a video about soap making troubleshooting. If seizing happens the only thing to do is to get it into the mold as quick as possible. Was it an older or expired bottle? To speed things along, don’t use the full amount of water given on a standard lye calculator. I would rebatch it and then see how it does over the next few days. Sorry to hear that happened! Solution: To prolong shelf life of soap, use fresh oils from a reliable vendor, distilled water (contaminants in tap water can cause problems), cure soap with plenty of air flow around each bar, and store cured soaps in a cool, dark, dry area with good air circulation. :) Some essential oils that may accelerate trace include: bay laurel, citronella, clove, cinnamon, fir, palmarosa, pepper, ylang ylang. This can interact with the lye solution and form small floaty bits. but i don’t know how, how much lye should i add. Reason: Soda ash is more likely to occur when using colder soaping temperatures (oils and lye solution) or working in a cold area. Natural Soapmaking Ebook Collection and/or Soapmaking Success Video Course, series of 4 articles on natural colorants, try this trick by Good Earth Spa of drilling holes in the stick blender, tutorial on removing soda ash at Modern Soapmaking, printable chart of 24 common soapmaking essential oils, Simple Secrets: Anchoring Fragrances In CP Soap. the oils did not become soap and only the surface harden. If you can give me more details about your recipe and how they’re looking/smelling now, that might help us pinpoint the problem further! About “Soap has a dark ring or rind around the outside and the middle is lighter”. Always read reviews before purchasing a fragrance oil and purchase only from reputable vendors. Then, you can add in more color and scent when it’s an even consistency, similar to making hot process. Solution: Carefully read reviews before purchasing and using a fragrance oil. It’s a win-win for all! If using palm oil, it’s recommended to completely melt and stir the oil every time you use it or you might have an uneven balance of fatty acids, leading to more spots in some batches. If the wrong amount of lye was used, it should be discarded. Reason: Using your immersion (or stick) blender too much. Hi Jeannina! Find out the most common soap making mistakes, and let’s troubleshoot! Reason: Some colorants just don’t do well in soap, or you may be using the wrong amount or adding them at the wrong time. This usually occurs only when soap with extra sugars from juices, milks, or alcohol become overheated. :). You can save some of the warm soapmaking oils from the recipe, mix with the fragrance or essential oil, and blend it in at light trace. Lye Crystals (feel sharp, crystal-like, scratchy). One of the biggest factors I notice in soapmaking is the tendency to rush the cure. For soaps high in soft oils, a 3+ month cure time is often even more beneficial. However, it could also be a recipe that wasn’t properly formulated, an oil was left out, the soap seized, or even when the lye solution was not fully mixed. Check your formula for accuracy. Remove any insulation that you might have on your soap (blankets, etc. At least that’s my best guess so far! Could you have mis-measured or mis-calculated the amount of lye used? Do you see any cracks in the top? Don’t touch as it dries to avoid fingerprints. As a result the liquid laundry detergent is runny like water, instead of having a thicker, more viscous texture. Reason: In my soapmaking experiments, I’ve found that adding too much zinc oxide to lighten a soap color creates a soap with a chalky texture that cracks on top. Anything you don't have is available from soap-making suppliers online or some craft stores. For more in-depth information, 60+ palm free recipes, helpful charts, plus a private Facebook support group, check out … Once I mistakenly thought the container of plain water I had sitting nearby to rinse my stick blender in, was the cooled lye solution. If an essential oil causes ricing check the brand that you’re using since it’s likely cut with synthetics. Also, just double checking – did you use a scale to weigh out the lye, or did you use a measuring cup? For fragrance oils, be sure to read through product descriptions and reviews to see what other soapers have to say about them. Be sure to read this exceptionally informative article on Curing Soap from the Classic Bells website. I put that into bramble berry soap calc to find lye and water and add 15g if essential oils at trace. Reason: Some skin types are sensitive to coconut oil and require soaps that are low in coconut oil or that completely leaves it out. Soap batter has little hard rice-like pieces in it. Soap batter has expanded out of the mold (soap volcano). :). Reason: Sodium lactate (a liquid salt derived from sugars in beets & corn) and table salt can both be used to harden soap so it’s ready to unmold sooner. It is a plastic mold (16 bar) I love the size and quantity in one batch but they are always uneven! While technically you can use your soap right away, it will be longer-lasting, have better lather, and have a gentler pH … Solution: If you’ve recently poured the soap in the mold and it starts separating, you could pour it back into your mixing container and stir/blend until a true trace is reached, or scoop into a slow cooker to hot process. A caveat of this is that soaps high in soft oils are often extremely gentle and lovely for your skin, so don’t rule out making soaps that are high in soft oils! Solution: After removing soap from the fridge or freezer, allow it to come to room temperature and stay undisturbed for another 24 to 48 hours. If your floor happens to be very uneven in that spot, your soap will come out lopsided. The lye solution has a hard crust of lye on the bottom of the container. Make sure it’s completely blended in before pouring into the mold. Reason: Sometimes a false trace happens where the soap looks like it has emulsified, but it’s really because a solid ingredient in the soap has gotten cool enough to start thickening the soap batter. Hi Dale! Solution: Use individual silicone molds instead of a loaf mold for ease of unmolding. Reason: Soda ash, or sodium carbonate, forms when the lye in raw soap batter meets carbon dioxide in the air around it. Are steric spots bad ? Now there is again light at the end of this tunnel! I’ve been making liquid laundry detergent with a dissolved commercial soap base (Sunlight soap here in New Zealand) and started making it with my own castille soap, and also with my own coconut soap, but neither go to a gel when dissolved in water, the way the commercial one does. They set up quickly so if you cut them into bars too late, they’ll be very crumbly. Try placing the mold on a baking rack so cool air can circulate underneath. Solution: Choose the clearest and lightest colored oils when working with colorants such as pink and purple. Some people like to strain out the floaty bits (I don’t), but if you do this, be very very careful working with straight lye solution. Next time, use more insulation and warmer temperatures for your oils and lye solution. As a bonus, beeswax also reduces the chance of soda ash! Move it to a cooler room if you have one available. When you create a recipe using a lye calculator, you normally calculate around a 5 or 6% superfat. Cold Process Soap Making – Troubleshooting Tips. Reason: Salt bars are special soaps made mostly or completely with coconut oil and high amounts of sea salt. You should not have to blend for an hour. Hard, chalky soap that crumbles when you try to cut it. Cold Process Soap, Troubleshooting Preventing Soda Ash on Cold Process Soap. They smell and work fine. Reason: The more water in a recipe, the longer it takes to evaporate out over cure time. Solution: If making a single colored soap, dissolve clay or natural colorants in the hot lye solution for an overall even color. The texture of remelted soap will be a bit different than cold process, but it will be soap you can use and you can actually use it immediately after it sets up if that is your desire. Does it have any lumps or clumps in it? Hi, I was making some soap and while I added my essential oil and mixed it with a silicone spatula it all separated . Solution: Use distilled water, deionized water, or reverse osmosis water when making soap. The website, operating under Honey Bee Hill Creatives LLC, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Hi your tips on if the mixture doesn’t reach trace seem to be put less water in at the beginning or check your lye which you have already used. Cold process soap requires patience. Solution: Try increasing the superfat to 6, 7 or even 8%. Add sodium lactate or salt to the lye solution and use a reduced water amount to decrease time spent in the soap mold. Am i putting too much coconut oil in ? Reason: These are called DOS, or Dreaded Orange Spots, which indicate that oils in your soap are going rancid. Hi Jan, thanks for another great post. Reason: This means the soap has overheated at some point. If it is hard, it’s still fine to use. The water will turn from cloudy to clear and you won’t see any residue at the bottom of the container. If you must use a loaf mold, keep a close eye on the soap after pouring it into the mold. If you you just add extra oils randomly, then you’ll end up with a really soft and oily soap that doesn’t lather well. Soap is darker in the middle and the outside edges are lighter colored. Hi Bindu! Thanks for commenting! Scoop as much as you can into the mold. I’ve made my soaps recently, but one of my soap still a bit soft, it feels hard and soft in the mean time. The soap could’ve cracked because of the high amount of tallow and lower superfat. Even then, clear plastic molds aren’t always reliable. There’s a lot of advice out there on ways to remove soda ash, but very few helpful instructions on preventing soda ash on cold process soap. Conversely, recipes with high percentage of “hard oils/fats” will reach trace sooner. Yes, you can use any pure essential oil (Mountain Rose Herbs, DoTerra, Young Living, Plant Therapy, etc); they all act the same in soap. Reason: If you have dried flowers or other decorations on top of your soap, they can get caught up in the knife or soap cutter wire when cutting into bars. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. Wonderful post, thank you. Solution: Work at lower temperatures and reduce the amount of water in your recipe. Hello – Thank you for all the information. (4 to 6 weeks at absolute minimum, 3+ months is even better). Making your cleansing soap by hand or acquiring handmade soap is the means to go. This is most evident when you see hard clumpy lye. Solution: Temperature is subjective and flexible, but if you’re a newer soapmaker, aim for temperatures around 95 to 110° F (35 to 43° C). When using sodium lactate, add around 1 teaspoon for every pound (16 oz) of oils in a recipe, stirred into the cooled lye solution. (Don’t ever measure lye by cups or tablespoons as it’s highly inaccurate.). While forgetting a color just changes the design, forgetting an oil can result in lye heavy soap that may burn your skin. Use moderate amounts to prevent a chalky look. If they happen soon after making your soap, it could be something like spots of scorched milk or honey, or a fragrance oil, or bit of colorant/clay not mixed in. Solution: Increase the amount of hard oils in your recipe. (“Soap-on-a-stick”). Cold Process Soap Making – Troubleshooting Tips PROBLEM 1. If the soap won’t release after several days in the mold, place it in the freezer for a couple of hours until solid enough to pop out of the mold more easily. If the problem is not enough lye, it can be difficult to fix since it is unlikely you know how much lye you need to add to the soap to fix it. #soapmaking #soap #howtomake #troubleshooting #fixing #handmade #mistakes #healingharvesthomestead #skincare. You can turn this soap into a moisturizing hand soap: Shave 4 bars with a potato peeler and add them to a gallon of water, then heat lightly until melted. Have you tried grating it instead of cutting? Wrong Type or Amount of Essential or Fragrance Oil. They may take a little longer to reach trace, unmold, and cure, but the final soaps are usually very gentle and mild. The mixture may have not been stirred enough. The only sure way to avoid soap ash is to carefully place parchment paper directly on the top surface of your soap after pouring. Reduced water amounts, longer cure time, and certain additives can help them be harder and longer lasting. Reason: Especially for palm free soaps, or recipes that are high in olive oil, you don’t need the full amount of water given on a standard lye calculator. Separation is usually indicated when there is liquid at the bottom and greasy soap on top, or substantial pockets of liquid in the soap and a strong odor. :). Don’t add dry clay or colorant directly to thickened soap batter since you usually won’t have time to work it completely in. Solution: There are a few suggested workarounds to try. If you feel like you used the correct amount of sodium hydroxide, chec… Insufficient lye, excess amount of water, wrong temperatures, not stirred enough or too slow. Mash up any large chunks and put the bag back into the water. Higher amounts can feel draggy across your skin and reduce lather. 1. Soap Making Terms. When working with citrus essential oils, combine them with an anchor such as lemongrass or litsea to help them stick around longer. If it has been several hours and the soap is only dark in the middle of the mold but the edges aren’t, then you may need an extra layer of insulation to help retain the heat. Store it tightly sealed in the original plastic container. Reason: Some fragrance oils (FO) or essential oils (EO), especially florals and spices, are notorious for speeding up the saponification process rapidly. If you cut a bar and it crumbles, or if it’s still soft, allow it to sit in the open air for several more days before trying again. Don’t leave the soap unattended and keep an eye on it at all times. :) If you can’t blend the majority of them out, then I suggest rebatching the soap. If your liquid soap recipe is made from scratch, then you might want to consider adjusting the recipe to include more coconut or castor oil, or try lather boosting additives like aloe liquid (in the lye solution, not for dilution) or sugar. Want cut up. Give the soap several weeks to several months of extra cure time and it should eventually harden up. 26. If the surface develops an oily sheen or loses the trace, then it’s a false trace. what am i doing for prevent crack during use? This article has some excellent rebatching options:, wow – what a fantastic article and so much to learn here. the problem i think lies in the lye that i used. If using a speciality water in your recipe (rainwater, snow, ocean water), be sure to follow the other tips in this section to reduce soda ash. I just made a batch of cold process soap today (shampoo bars to be exact) using coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil, lye, water, sodium lactate, and peppermint essential oil. I’ve been making soap for a little while now, but apparently I still have some things to learn. Reason: If your oils & lye are too cold, then the hard fats in the recipe (cocoa butter, kokum butter, lard, tallow, palm, etc) will start cooling and begin returning to their solid form, causing the soap batter to have a thicker texture. Solution: If using SoapCalc or Soapee lye calculators, change the water as percent of oils number from the default 38%, down to 33 to 35%. Reason: Consider additives such as beeswax and sodium lactate to increase soap hardness. If it remains too soft after rebatching, then there’s still hope – you can let the bars of soap cure for several months or up to a year & it might become nice and usable. Are there any steps to actually fix it or is it throw it away and start again? In some cases, tallow and lard can add an unwanted aroma to your soap. :) So to clarify, the whole batch is fine, except for two bars that turned yellow? Cold work rooms will increase risk of soda ash. Stir it into the lye solution once it has cooled. Did you add the lye water? I think you have a good idea of what could be the reason! Can I halve the lavender in a recipe and make up the other half with lemongrass? This means that you’re adding more oils than the lye can turn into soap, so there are leftover oils that ensure the soap won’t dry your skin. Is it past its expiration date? If it’s still soft after rebatching, then you could still let it sit and cure for many months. This process goes quicker than the crock pot process. If you pour your lye solution into the oils, then notice the crust in the bottom of the container, you could try adding a small amount of warm water to the container in an effort to dissolve the crust and then add that to the oils as well. Hi Sandi! Recipes with thin liquid oils can cause soap to take longer to come to trace. THIS is a great example of someone who has had successful results reducing water amount. Soap has a dark ring or rind around the outside and the middle is lighter.