Saturday, March 16, 2013

Lye Heavy Soap

If you are a soaper you know what the title means... very sad...
If you are not a soaper, well, it's a longer story...  Lye heavy soap means it contains more lye than the fatty acid (from the oil and butter) can ever handle, therefore, excess free lye in the soap resulting in totally unusable soap because pH is so high it would "burn" your skin.  This is the worst nightmare to a soaper, worse than an ugly soap because at least you can call that soap!

Yes, this is THE batch...
So how did I find out this is lye heavy?  I knew I used a well behaving fragrance, slow trace recipe because I want to do time consuming multi spot funnel pour.  Sign #1, it traced faster than I expected.  But as you can see from the wet soap photo, still looked perfectly fine.  Sign #2, less than 12 hours the exposed surface (top) is already hard to touch.  Now that's unusual.  I used slow traced recipe plus no water discount, should not even firm up for 24 hours.  I was able to take it out of the mold without any struggle, slipped right out.  Sign #3, the raw soap crumb burned my paper cut fingers to pink.  Soap saponification usually lasts 24 to 48 hours depending on your recipe, sometimes even 72 hours.  My recipes usually take about 24 hours.  Nevertheless, the crumbs should not burn my wound.  It would feel harsh but not burn.  At that point my instinct told me something is not adding up.  I rushed back to my computer screen and stared at the lye calculator for a good few minutes... I started screaming and pulling my hair out...
What happened is that I was using the lye calculator for a new wool wash liquid soap recipe I'm developing.  That means the lye selection was set at KOH (potassium hydroxide).  Then I used it to resize my cold process batch so I can test out some new fragrance oils to see if I want to use any for future projects.  I totally forgot the lye setting was still at KOH not NaOH (sodium hydroxide).  There it is, the KILLER!!!
Oh why do you have to look and smell so good lye heavy soap?!  How am I supposed to throw you into the trash can now?!  You are killing me!

18 comments:

  1. Same thing happened to me not long ago....I nailed the colours and my swirls were perfect....I so feel your pain :(

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  2. Oh, what a pity! It's so beautiful! And it looks like it was a good-sized batch, too.

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  3. The same thing just happened to me as well. I forgot to add an oil to the batch. Your soap is so pretty too. I know it hurts to waste precious ingredients. Can't you re-batch it?

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  4. I feel your frustration and pain! I've done the same...I interchanged 4.6 to 6.4...it was a sad day when I realized I couldn't use my beautiful soap!

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  5. Oh no! That's the worst! Do you ever rebatch for laundry soap? The colors and design look gorgeous!

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  6. It's so gorgeous tho! Is there no way to fix it?

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  7. I feel with you!
    Someday something similar happened to me. I took the KOH instead of the NaOH to make CP Soap. And I was wondering why the soap wouldn´t get hard.


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  8. Oh man! That sounds frustrating! I am sorry, You can rebatch into laundry soap! What happened anyway? Lack of oil or too much lye? And “bbee” I had a batch of tea tree cp soap stay soft for a long time! It was because I used too much water! It is safe to use and we did. However you can remill without adding any water and it should be fine! :) Hey Emily...Have you ever had a batch separate on you? If so what did you do? -Emily age 15 http://sudsbythesea.storenvy.com/

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    1. If you use KOH to calculate our CP formula then you would end up with too much lye. So yes, my failed batch is very lye heavy. bbee had a different issue, she actually used KOH instead of NaOH to soap cold process. That means her soap is way under lye and would never get hard. KOH is lye used to make liquid soap, so you can imagine soap will never get hard.

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  9. Oh no! That's the worst! you could use it as a soap scent drawers or wardrobe..

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  10. Oh, I hope you rebatched it. Thanks for your videos. Your mica swirl tops are gorgeous.

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  11. So. I have a question for you. I have been making soap a lot lately and am definitely experimenting here and there with scents and products. I have a 3lb mold and stick to the recipe every time. I tried the zing test with my organic coffee and dark chocolate soap and felt a little something on the bottom. I am not quite sure if it was the lye or the concentrated chocolate at the bottom. Would I know if the zing was from being lye heavy or not? I would assume that the feeling is similar to licking a battery or something. Thoughts? Advise?

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    1. have you tried licking your other cured soap? Cured soap (that's not lye heavy) should taste like soap, which is yucky to me by the way, but it should not zap (or zing). Compare that to your coffee chocolate soap and see the difference. I don't think coffee and chocolate would cause the zap (yes like licking a battery).

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  12. Help my hot process soap has been cooking for about 1 and a half hrs butstill stings my toung whut should i do

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  13. I just made a batch of my favorite beeswax soap and forgot to add the shea butter - it is now quite a bit lye heavy (there is a lot of shea butter in this recipe). I am wondering if I can rebatch it by heating gently with the shea that I forgot to add. Wouldn't this work? Why or why not?

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    1. If your soap is quit new, like in 2 days or so then rebatch it would work. Just hot process it and add shea butter you missed last time. Your rebatch soap color would probably darken because of the cook but at least it would be normal soap. Or you can make it into laundry powder.

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    2. Thanks for the advice. I made it yesterday - will rebatch this afternoon. Sure hope this works as I love this soap.

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