Oily residue on my hands after washing

by Kerry
(Auckland, New Zealand)

This was my first attempt at soap making and I used the room temp process with your basic recipe.

It seemed to work well but after 4 weeks of curing I used a small piece and it didn't lather and left oil on my hands after washing.

Im not sure if I had a false trace as it only took a matter of minutes to come to what I thought was trace.

How do you tell false from actual trace. Also, can I do anything with this soap or does it need to be binned.

Hope you can help!

Cheers, Kerry


A false trace can occur when the soap batter is mixed with only a stick blender. It is important when using a stick blender to mix in short bursts. Then, either using the hand blender as a 'spoon' or using a whisk, gently stir the batter for a minute or two to see if it is still thick.

Once you have done this and there are still 'soap trails' left on the soap batter, it should be at a true trace. Check out David Fishers video concerning Trace in Soap Making.

The basic soap recipe on my site has a definite lather and does not leave oil on the skin afterwards.

A couple of things could have happened. As you said, you may have had a false trace though this usually results in a seperated mess that has an oil pool left on the soap. You may also have mismeasured the oils or the lye when you were making the soap.

If you had a false trace, you may be able to rebatch the soap. If you made a mistake in the measuring, there isn't much you can do. It is next to impossible to know how much lye will be needed to correct the batch. Guessing could easily result in lye heavy soap...not something we want at all.


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