Help, soaping thickening up too much

by Jane

I'm having a bad run of it. I haven't had my soap thicken up like this before. I used to get stearic acid resolidifying in my soap causing white blobs so decided to soap slightly hotter rather than at RT.

My 2 badly behaved recipes (the olive oil is not pomace):-

First soap - 15% lard, 30%, coconut, 55%, olive, 9% superfat, 31.3% lye concentration, lavender & patch EOs.

Second soap - 20% lard, 20% coconut, 60% olive, 9% superfat, 31 lye concentration, FO - Gracefruit's raspberry (their website says it doesn't accelerate trace).

(I wanted a slow tracing recipes to give me swirl time).

Soaping method for both recipes:- make lye water first and then measure other ingredients while lye cools down v slightly. Melt hard oils in microwave just enough so they are fully melted then SB it whilst adding liquid oils and then straight away add the fairly hot lye water. (I felt the side of the container and it was lukewarm). Traced nicely then I added FO/EO (the ones I added are supposed not to accelerate trace). Mixture got thick v v quickly so I couldn't do my planned swirls and instead had to get it in the mold asap. Once in the mold I immediately took my thick gloves off and felt the side of the silicone mold and it felt fairly warm.

Note - because it's summer here the temperature of my soaping room is 77f (normally when I soap its 69f).

Any ideas on what went wrong? Should I adjust my recipe and/or soap cooler (but I'm scared the stearic blobs might come back)?

Thanks so much.


To be honest I do not calculate my lye and water amounts by lye concentration. I calculate my amounts by using SoapCalc's 'water as percentage of oil weight".

With this in mind I decided to do a little experiment. I calculated your first recipe for 500 grams of oil weight and entered the recipe in twice. Once using water as percentage of oil weight and once using your 31.3% lye concentration.

The result was that the water amount in the recipe was drastically reduced using the lye concentration method (150 grams) compared to water as a percentage of oil weight (190 grams). This would definately account for a recipe tracing much faster than normal.

Trying running your recipes in SoapCalc and leave the water by weight of oils at the default 38%. This is a good amount of water if you are planning to use marbling effects.

The results should show a big difference comparted to the amount of water you used in your original recipe.

Good luck,

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