Advertise With Us

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cold Cold Process Soap


I had a great new soap experience.

I've been told by experienced soapmakers that you could work with cold oils and cold lye solution. I thought to myself, "How could that be? I've left lye solution out and it partially crystalized and I soaped with it anyway to see what happens and it just plain failed and the soap failed and I bet you can guess where THAT soap went".

What I did start doing was premixing my oils in a large container ahead of time (which, by the way, saves about 20 minutes of time right there), making my lye solution 3 hours or so before I plan to make soap and wait until the solution is warm, weigh my premixed oils, add the lye and shazaam. Soap!

Before now, every soap I made had a different set of ingredients. It was very hard to streamline soapmaking. Not every soap now has the same ingredient list, but most of them share the premix.

So back to the process. So all summer, I was making cold process soap with cold oils, warm lye solution and my soaps were doing great. And I had no cracking issues. Pheww. Then... and here comes the "I am just not a stupid person, but sometimes it takes me longer to catch on and think past my face" conversation I have with myself occasionally. Perhaps the lye solution crystallizes because it evaporates! I must find a container with a sealed top. Off to the Dollar Store I go and return with containers that look similar to these:

I worried, but I was hopeful. I made a lye mixture, stirred it up and put it on the shelf until it was room temperature, then I screwed on the top and waited two days. Notice, I waited until it had stopped steaming before I closed it up. Safety first.

Two days later, the lye solution is at the same level as before, so there wasn't any evaporation. I opened up the container and peered in. No crystallization. Yes! OK, I was ready to soap. I got everything together, my oils, fragrance, blender.... zwhip zwhip zwhip. Perfection. No problems at all.

So in conclusion, your oils don't seem to need to be warmed. However, the winter is coming for some of us and the coconut and palm will get quite stiff, but here in Florida where it is warm almost always, my cold oil premix looks like soap at trace and it soaps beautifully for me.

If you try it, please make sure your oils aren't too thick. If they are take a portion of them and heat it up in the microwave and then incorporate into the premix. Then stir.

So what do we call it?

update: Room Temperature Soap Making

Do you have a process that you'd like to share?
Email me :) or comment about it

17 comments:

Krysstyllanthrox said...

I've heard of this being called Room Temp Cold Process. It was actually one of the first methods I tried as a brand new soaper who didn't want to mess with temps. Worked great.

TheSoapSister said...

I'm so glad you blogged on this, as I was pondering Amy W.'s comment about "room temperature" as I was driving yesterday & thinking hmmmmm...why do I always warm everything back up? Also, I'm right there with 'ya on the evap. thing. I put the lid on the ol' Pampered Chef batter bowl once and noticed the lye/water stays nice & doesn't crystalize! ~ Becky

Joanna said...

YES! Room temperature soapmaking. Of course that's what it's called.....

Krys: You are a superior mammal for trying that on your first try. ;)

Becky: Yes....

Amy Warden said...

I've learned something new today - yea!! I've often wondered how to prevent the lye solution from crystallizing. I'm going to try this!! Thank you, Jo!

Shannon said...

I have a quick question for you. How long does it take for you to reach trace in about a 2lb batch do you think?

LongLeafSoaps said...

I have been room temp soaping for about 5 months now...wow, it really is so much easier. I've been trying to talk myself into batch processing my soap formula oils for about 2 months now. I decided quite some time ago to just use 1 base formula for all of my soaps, it really makes inventory simpler, and I can buy in larger quantity's that way too. I was wondering how to address the solid at room temp oils issue without using a heat belt on my bucket, living in northern Ohio, it gets cold in my storage area in the winter...Florida in winter...you lucky girl!

Joanna said...

Amy: Your welcome! :O)

Shannon: Ummm, I did a 3.5 lb batch and it took about 45 seconds ?? I didn't really take time to figure it out. I'll keep you all posted.

Long Leaf: Lucky in the dead of winter. That is it. Every other season is like living in someone's armpit!
:P

Naturally Good Soaps said...

Thanks so much for this Joanna! I was wondering if this really did work. Now I can do this since I do work a 9-5 and need whatever prep time I can have to prepare for my weekend soaping! You rock!

Shannon said...

thats a relief to hear! i am still so new and only on my forth batch ever! and i decided to hand wisk this last one and it only took me about 30 seconds to reach a medium trace. all my batches so far have traced super fast and i wasnt sure if it was my recipe or my process and im still trying to figure it out. I use my own twist of room temp process.

blackdahliadesigns said...

Wow..I totally love you for posting this! I'm majorly impatient, and have been known to stick the lye water in the freezer (no worries..away from food, roof of freezer totally cleaned afterwards to get any frozen lye that steamed up), and have brought it down to like, 80 degrees. I then mixed that 80degree lye with room temp oils and it worked out fine. But if I could premix a big batch of lye water, that would save SO much time! Thank you for posting this!!

dana said...

i am really happy to hear about that , i haven't start making soap yet , and that way will make it easier to begin , thanks a lots

Patrice-The Soap Seduction said...

I LOVE room temperature soap making. I will never use a thermometer again (knock on wood). I have yet to have a batch turn out badly because of it. I've even used partially crystallized lye, and it mixed right in with no seizing, ricing, or plain ole fubarring...

Leah said...

What a wonderful idea! And I will also start pre-mixing my oil as well. I feel silly not thinking about this sooner. Thanks for the post :)

Cocobong Soaps said...

Great post and right up my alley in terms of swapping info! Thanks :) Seems I'm religious about cp soaping at 27C° (80F).Processing temps certainly affect the time it takes for soap to saponify, if you are working with veg oils (which is my only experience). I found that working temperatures of below 27C and above 35C (95F) can produce a mixture that overreacts to scent among other things. I have worked my soaping out to where I get this 'flow' going. Save time by working with pre-frozen milk/water/tea/etc for the lye base, so while that is cooling my solid fats are melting at a mellow temperature. I store my liquid oils in the fridge, and when solids are melted (which can be sped up with a stick blender), pot is off stove then I incorporate cold liquids and temp sinks real fast. While lye and oils are tumbling to the magic 27°, I mix my scent and get the molds lined. I have it down to where a batch can take 1hour 15min, with clean-up time. I think the clue to saving time is organizing, so if your day doesn't allow for at least 1 1/2 hours of magic flow then it's best to prepare ahead of time, like Jo is suggesting in her post. Keep these simple time savers in mind: Pre-freeze liquids for lye, keep liquid oils in fridge, melt solids at LOW temperatures

Britton said...

I do this with my lye as well, sometimes it'll sit out for a few days (keeping it covered and in a very safe place of course!). I find that the plastic tea/juice pitchers with the plastic tops work perfectly. I tend to use my oils slightly warm and my lye room temperature. Never had any problems. Sometimes I'll use very warm oils and warm lye when I need to encourage a soap to gel, but other than that, its cake!

Splurge Sisters said...

I just recently switched to room temp CP and for years I was always using a thermometer to measure the oils and lye/water and making sure both were exact. Well that was my sister's job. I kept hearing about room temp soaping and tried it and now I'm hooked. I haven't yet ventured to making a big batch so I can soap when I want and take out my measured amounts partly because I change soap sizes all the time.

Now I make my batch the night before and usually just mix my oils and melt them and leave them overnight. Then the next night after work I combine the lye/water and wait and hour or so and them add to the room temp oils and it works great.

sironasprings said...

I've been doing this for about a year now and love the flexibility! I use Ziploc Twist 'n Loc containers. They have a great lid that seals tight. I make my lye solutions ahead of time (one container per batch) and am ready to make soap at a moment's notice. I've stored them in a safe place for up to 2 weeks with no problem.