Lye flakes vs. lye beads???

by Kim

I used a Lye calc. for my recipe and it said to use 6.08 oz of lye which would have been a 5% discount. However the flaked lye i am useing seemed like so much when i weighed it out.

I think my scale might be off by .1 of an ounce but that shouldn't make that much of a difference should it especially figuring in a lye discount.

I was trying to unmold my cold precess soap last night after 24 hours and I didn't use gloves. I couldnt get it out and decided to leave it in another 24 hours and leave it in the freezer for a day as well...however my hands are extremly irritated today.

I know I shouldn't have touched it without gloves but I only came in contact with a little and my hands are extremly irritated. Is there a chance there is way too much lye in my soap..or will I only know for sure with a ph test after 6 weeks or longer?

This was my first cp soap. Also my first hp soap came out just like everything I read and saw however it has been one week and although I thought you could use hp soap immediatly it still irritates my hands.

When I received the lye I didn't realized it could even come in that form because everything I had seen in pictures and videos were the beads.


I'm guessing that you are making a batch of soap that has an oil weight of approx. 40 ounces. That's about what you would need for 6.08 ounces of lye. That's kind of large for beginning batches. I would try to stick with smaller ones while you are learning. That way if you mess up, you're not throwing out lots of ingredients.

There is a chance that your soap has too much lye in it but I think it would be a weighing error and not if the scale is out by a very small amount. I don't think being out by .1 ounces out of 6.08 ounces with a 5% lye discount should cause the soap to be lye heavy. If anything it would only reduce the superfat to about 4% or so.

I would first make sure that the scale is only out a little. Try weighing something that has a known weight.

If the scale is out by a lot or if your batch isn't using anywhere near 40 ounces of oil in it, I would scrap the soap.

If it's not out by any large amount, I would give the soap some time to cure. Perhaps you are particularily sensitive to the raw soap. My hands will feel quite dry if I handle it too soon. If you are still irritated by the soap after the cure, then you may have made a weighing error.


PS...if the scale is out even a little bit, be cautious when it comes to small batches as that small amount can definitely cause the soap to be lye heavy when working with little numbers. In fact, if the scale is out at all, I would get a new one.

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by: Anonymous

Thanks Cathy..I have an update on the batch of soap. My hands got a little dry and peally the next day but now it's fine. I couldn't get the soap out of the PVC mold so I put it in the freezer..finally got it out and touched the soap again with bare hands. I know...silly to do it again right :). This time I had no issues with irritation on my hands and it was just 24 hours later. The soap came out really good. I agree it was too big of a batch for my first CP soap. I think it will turn out fine though. I am not sure what happened with my mold though. It was a smooth PVC mold but the sides look rough..I think when I pushed it out there might have been jagged edges that caused not so pretty marks on the soap. I need to sand the edge down I guess. It turned out to be a very hard off white bar. I used shortening made from beef tallow and lard in addition to some vegatable oils. I used tea tree and lavender as my EOs. I probably should not have done that because it was such a large batch. Now I will have a large amount of tea tree soap. It was definitly a trial by fire. I definitly know what NOT to do next time.


You will find it hard to remove the soap from PVC soap molds if you don't line them. It's always a tricky business, I have found.

Try lining with butchers paper or with a baking matt. Just leave enough at the top to grip so you can pull it out.

Glad things worked out for you.


Flakes vs Beads
by: Emily

After making soaps for 12 years, I inadvertently used flaked lye. I turned out to be potassium hydroxide, not sodium hydroxide. I knew it didn't look right from the beginning and don't know where my head was that day.

Be sure you are using the right kind of lye. They are not interchangeable.


I haven't been soaping very long nor very often but after a year, I decided to try the lye flakes. i like them and I'm about to order the flakes again. I feel more comfortable using the flakes and have had no problems.

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