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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sixteen Pounds Of Heart Breaking Soap Do-Overs Or Throw-Aways?

I had a really busy time last week with retail orders, wholesale orders, and preparing for a my son's school craft fair fundraiser. I needed to crank out loaves of soap for a wholesale customer as well as for the shop so I prepared the lye mixtures (two sets for two 8 lb. batches) and set them aside to cool. The day I mix them went fluttering by like a turbo butterfly, as usual, and the day came to an end. I looked at the two lye mixtures and thought they'd be fine to use the next day. I've done that. It works.

Well, that very next day scurried by even faster like Runaway Ralph (a famous mouse on a motorcycle) and I had no time, not even at all, to get to making soap that day. As I was walking out of the door, I glanced at my lye solution and crossed my fingers and left for the day (the second day).

Day three: Started making soap and got to the lye solution and peered in. Hmmmmph. The solution had little shards/plates of solid lye and liquid. I figured that would all change when the lye and the oils would come together and heat up. I know, I know.... At this point, my inner lightbulb should have turned on and sparked my brain to say, "hey dummy, go make some new solution and make some great soap instead of taking a chance on 16 lbs of beautiful soap that you have made with expensive materials you've added such as babassu oil, loads of cocoa butter and kokum butter!" My reasoning? I didn't want to pour it too hot and I was scared that if I sat and waited for the lye to cool, the soap wouldn't be made again that day because of my formulating schedule.

I forced that soap to be made. I took that chance, which I happen to do with life in general, and my soap came out so beautifully. But when I went to cut it it was brittle. I did the tongue test. And I was zapped. HARD. The soap was acting as if I had added too much lye. But I didn't. I think it just didn't dissolve into the oils and there are particles floating about.

Bad soap! BAD!

C'mon. Let me blame the soap. My friend, Kim came by to chat yesterday and thankfully she chopped up two of the four loaves of soap into tiny bits while I made Coconut Milk Bath Soak. I will be cooking up that VERY BAD SOAP, adding water, stirring, adding more water today.

Are they complete piles of garbage at this point or do you all have suggestions to save these spendy loaves of soap? I think I put in 9 ounces of cocoa butter and 4 ounces of kokum butter... so I am having trouble just throwing them out.

I need your help.

Ay!

16 comments:

Bradford Schmidt said...

Spank it. The soap I mean. Or did I?

Bradford Schmidt said...

Nice lack of tense agreement there, Bradford. Ohwa Tadoo Shiam.

Dreaming Tree Soapworks said...

To the crock pot it goes with some water or milk of some sort cause it contains fat--- the milk will also make the re-batch come out smoother and more presentable, and maybe a bit extra oil 2-3 ounces at start (for the 8 pounds). Mix and cook, periodically zap testing or ph testing. After 2 hours or so cooking it *should* be ok. It's hard to tell cause you can't figure out exactly how lye heavy it is. There wasn't any visible lye crystals *in* the soap was there?

Joanna said...

Dreaming Tree: No, no visible lye crystals at all. I even got my reading glasses out and studied them up close....

Thank you for your words of wisdom!

Amber said...

Bummer!!! I hope the crock works for you. I had a batch do this once and I still have no idea why. It seized right after trace so I popped it in the oven to HP it. When I cut the next day, it was crumbly and very, very zappy. So I grated it and rebatched it and it seemed to be fine (no zapping) but still looked weird.

After it cured for about a week though, it developed a strange layer of a fine crystalline dust all over each bar which I was too scared to tongue test, so I chucked it. Also? At the time I threw it away, it looked like it was getting flaky and crumbly again. Spooky.

Michelle said...

Your experience has to be my worst nightmare. Call me a tight wad but the thought of losing any oils always makes me cringe. I lost several batches in a row years ago and I freaked. I feel your pain Joanna, seriously, I do! :( Like Amber, I tossed my mess. Looking back I wished I had tried to salvage it like you are doing.

Heather Walls said...

I had something similar happen, but I could see the lye crystals. I shredded it into a crockpot and added a little milk. I cooked it on low until it was smooth and there was no zap. It took an extra day to harden enough to cut and longer to harden enough to use, but it all worked out alright. It was so smooth you couldn't even tell it was a rebatch (except for the top of it). Good Luck!

Joanna said...

oh, thank you. It is cooking now. I am holding my breath!

: *

supervillainess said...

No help for your current dilemma, but I've had great success using "old" lye solutions. They're aweseome because they include such a huge water discount (2 days worth of evaporation) but are stone-cold (decelerated trace). I just add a splash of water and hit the soln with the stickblender before adding it to the oils. Takes care of the crystallization w/out the new cool-down period. :D

FuturePrimitive said...

*shakes head and cringes for you*
oh lord...what to do, what to do? i know what i'd do, but i'm erratic. i would chuck it and start again and kick my own ass and tell me not to be such an idiot next time. trial and error. it may, of course come out alright after the cookin'...but will the thoughts of the crappy batch of soap keep creeping into your head..?
i'll be interested to see how it turns out.
all fingers and toes crossed for you my lovely!
x

Joanna said...

I cooked it for hours, added oil, then water, then coconut milk, still zapped, my arm is tired from stirring and I am just DONE folks. Do you hear me?

I will never stop and think and then ignore myself again when it comes to soaping.

lesson learned. I will now go sulk in the corner....

:(

TeresaR said...

Oh, poop...that sucked. I'm bummed for you, and wish I had good advice. How about a hug instead?

Kim said...

I've had this happen to me so I rebatched to soap and again it came out brittle. It was a huge batch and I really hatted to throw it out so I put it on the shelf and forgot about it. A few months later I decided I need to get over it and just throw it out. When I took it down I couldn't help just one more look....turned out to be ROCK hard and some of the best soap I've made. No zap and it lasted forever in the shower!! So you might want to just put it up and forget it for a while instead of completely tossing it. Goodluck.

Amy W said...

I would have tossed it. By my calculations, cocoa butter is about 36 cents an ounce, and kokum is about 88 cents an ounce. You're talking about less than $7. Your time is worth way more than that!

Dreaming Tree Soapworks said...

I wouldn't give up on it just yet, the added liquid could have just reactivated the lye a bit... put it in a mold and forget about it for a day or two then see... it's always worth a shot.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but if it ain't done right then you got to chuck it and learn from the experience.

Putting out bad soap is just not acceptable - not when peoples health may be at risk!