Oily, greasy soap

by Hilde
(Norway)

I have made a couple of cold process soap batches the last few days, and both of them went wrong. They turned out very soft, oily and greasy after 24 hours cure time.


I am confident I have measured correctly and have put the oils and lye water together at app. 40 celsius degrees... The recipe is from Tatyana Hill's book "Homemade soap", and I have tried the same recipe many times. I have never had problems with it before. It contains coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil and cinnamon EO...

Could it be that the lye was old? There was a few lumps in the bottle, otherwise it seemed okay.

There is no expiry date on the bottle, so it's hard to tell how long it has been in the shop.

Answer:

If this recipe has worked for you in the past, then it may be an issue with the ingredients or with the stirring.

Oily, greasy, soft soap can sometimes be the result of a false trace. This can occur if you stick blend the soap right up to the point of pouring. Always hand stir the soap for a couple of minutes if you can before putting in the essential oils and pouring into your soap mold.

Cinnamon essential oil will also really thicken up the soap so it should definitely be added last.

My lye sometimes will have lumps in it but I have not found this to ruin my batches. I have heard of instances where lye seems to have been the culprit of failed batches so it wouldn't hurt to get a new sample to try out.

Lye does not have an expiry date to the best of my knowledge. I think what happens is that opening and closing the bottle repeatedly can introduce too much moisture into the lye. Lye attracts moisture like crazy and the bottle should never be left open for longer than necessary.

Lastly, make sure you are using the same water source as in the past. High mineral content in water can have some undesired effects on the soap process.

Good luck,

Cathy

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Good article
by: Anonymous

I appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge. The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time.

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How to resolve this?
by: Anonymous

Great article! I've been searching for this for a while and I finally found it. However, my question for this issue is what do I do with it? Is it still good for use or must I rebatch it? If the latter, must I add additional lye to saponify existing oils? Thank you in advance.

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Fixing Oily Soft Soap
by: Cathy

If your soap is soft and oily and you suspect that your soap did not trace properly, try re-batching.

Hopefully the cooking process will bring the ingredients together properly. Do not add any more oil to the soap when you re-batch it.

I don't recommend adding extra lye to the re-batch process since there is no way to tell if you are actually short any lye or how much if you are. You could very easily end up with lye heavy soap.

If re-batching does not fix the soap and it is still oily it likely means the soap is short on lye.

In that case you could try grating up the soap and incorporating it into a new batch of soap using the hot process method. Kind of a combination of re-batch and hot process rolled into one.

If you decide to try that, make sure the new batch of soap you are going to incorporate the oily batch into does not have a high super fat.

Another option is to just start over and dispose of the oily soap. When attempting to fix a failed batch there is always the risk that you will end up ruining more ingredients.

Good luck,
Cathy

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How soon can I rebatch soap that is soft and oily?
by: Anonymous

I made a batch of soap that seems to be soft but cracking as well. The color is good and so is the smell. I think I want to try re-batching it but I wonder if I can do that immediately? Should I wait a few days for it to saponify further?

Answer:

Re-batching can be done immediately. There is no need to wait as the saponification process will continue and actually complete with the cooking process.

Before you re-batch, you might want to try to figure out why your soap is soft and oily just to be sure you are taking the right course of action.

Check out my page on Troubleshooting for possible causes.

Cathy

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