how to avoid a lye film on the soap

by Abby
(Italy)

I pretty upset I having more difficulty making soap in winter then in summer. The lye gets cool too fast and I have lye film on the top of the bars of soap. What can I do to avoid these situations. Thanks, Abby


Answer:

When you say lye film, do you mean the white powder residue that can sometimes coat the top of the soap batch? This film is not harmful and tends to wash away with the first use.

I have found that unwrapping the soap once it reaches a full gel and placing a fan to blow over top of the hot soap can sometimes help.

Unfortunately, I haven't found a fool proof method to completely avoid the powdery residue. Over the years I've learned to accept that sometimes it will occur and I just run with it.

Some people place a layer of plastic wrap over the freshly poured soap and this will work if your bars don't have textured tops. You just peel off the plastic wrap once the soap has completed the insulating stage.

You will notice that some of my soaps have textured tops and that some have the powdery residue...I don't mind the look and often people comment that they like it.

Hope that helps,
Cathy

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How to avoid lye film on soap
by: Anonymous

Even after insulating with plastic wrap and multiple blankets I still have lye film sometimes. The best ways to avoid this is: Leave the cold process soap in the mold for at least 2 days under blankets. I warm the oven and let it cool until it reaches around 100 degrees or so. You can purchase a cheap oven thermometer to place inside you oven. Take the plastic wrap off the soap and molds and place in the oven. Be sure the oven has cooled so the molds and soap won't melt! I leave the soap in the oven while it cools for the entire day (remember to take it out before you turn the oven on to start dinner). Let the soap cool before unmolding.

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re
by: Valerie

I have had this problem on my last two batches, they did not gel and it is winter so the kitchen was only 66 when i made the soap. The top of the bars zap but the bottoms do not. They have a film on the top, it's not the ash top that can happen sometimes. Any ideas? I think next time I will put them in a warm oven and see if that helps.

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how to avoid a lye film on the soap
by: Anonymous

Some people sprinkle the top with mica or cosmetic grade glitter once pouring the soap. I have tried this myself and it disguises the ash and looks quite pretty

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Make sure you hand stir the bubbles out
by: Anonymous

I've tried the oven thing, and it does work. To remember that you have soap in the oven, you can tape a sign on the knob so nobody turns it on. I saw someone on Youtube that said the soda ash is from bubbles that haven't come to the surface yet. Pour the soap into the molds at a thick trace, and make sure you hand stir it to get all the bubbles out from the stick blender. Cover with plastic wrap, insulate with blankets, and leave it there for at least 3 days before unmolding. I seem to get more soda ash from essential oils, so I'm extra careful with them.

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pouring lye
by: Barb

My question is not about the lye film on top but instead simply pouring the lye into a container to measure. I am relatively new to soap making but have had one flop and 10 successes, so am on the road in the right direction.

However just today a recipe I wanted to use called for more lye than would fit into my normal ceramic "cup". So I thought...hmmm what throw away item could I use? How bout a plastic cup??? WRONG! I have not seen anything on the internet about this as of yet. Those pesky little beads went flying everywhere!! The static between the normal lye jar static, and my rubber gloves and the plastic cup created a horror scene!!

If there is a place that discusses this...great. But if not, please tell others NOT to make this same mistake I did. I only hope all the beads have been sucked up my vacuum and paper toweled out of my house!!!
Thanks, Barb

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