Soap is cracking when using Sodium Lactate.

by Amanda
(Tip of the Mitt-Michigan)

I've been making soap for a little over a year now, but still consider myself a novice because I don't soap continuously.


I have made both CP & HP soap along with re-batching scraps into a new soap and successfully made a "Mechanics's Soap" that has gotten my father's hands clean for the first time in years. :)

I started using Sodium Lactate in hopes for harder bars, easier to get out of the mold, etc...

The problem is, every time I use it, my soap cracks down the middle on the top of the loaf.

I've tried catching it in time to smooth it out with my hand (using a glove), tried heating it up a little too, but I'm doing something wrong.

I've tried it at both 1% and 3% of my total oil weight and it still cracks.

Any and all help is much appreciated :)

Answer:

In addition to making your soap harder and easier to unmold, sodium lactate can also speed up saponification.

When saponification happens rapidly, this usually means that the temperature is rising quickly and will result in your soap reaching the gel phase sooner than usual.

If you normally insulate your soap mold quite well, the addition of sodium lactate may be causing your soap to overheat. When soap overheats, the most common result is a long crack down the center of the soap loaf.

I suggest you use less insulation than normal on your soap mold and check it every hour after you pour.

As soon as your soap gels, take off the insulation and leave the soap open to cool off.

I would also go with the lower percentage per pound of oils to start and see how that goes before attempting a higher amount.

Good luck,

Cathy

Comments for Soap is cracking when using Sodium Lactate.

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cracked soap
by: Petals

Thank you for the answer to the Sodium Lactate cracking soap - had my first "cracked" (although just minimally cracked) soap today and will remember your advice

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Wondering....
by: Anonymous

I have been using sodium lactate solution at 1% for some time now and have never experienced any cracking of my soap tops even with CPOP which is how I normally make my soaps. I wonder if the soap recipe being used might be contributing to the problems, e,g, a recipe with a larger percentage of hard or brittle oils like cocoa butter?

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Wondering....
by: Anonymous

I have been using sodium lactate solution at 1% for some time now and have never experienced any cracking of my soap tops even with CPOP which is how I normally make my soaps. I wonder if the soap recipe being used might be contributing to the problems, e,g, a recipe with a larger percentage of hard or brittle oils like cocoa butter?

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Soap is cracking when using Sodium Lactate
by: Anonymous

We use sodium lactate for all HP bar soaps. I remember when we first started using it, the soap was noticeably easier to get from crock pot to mold, you could almost pour it.

Yesterday, under pressure from a large order, we forgot to put sodium lactate into the oils before the lye solution and instead put it in at the end of the cook... the soap cracked like cookies.

We've never had a problem using 1.5% of oils and putting it in before adding the lye solution.

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Sodium Lactate
by: Anonymous

Does SL speed up saponification? I've been doing a lot of research and get a bit confused.

I'm new to soaping and thought using SL slows down the process so if you want to create swirls you'll have some time to do so?

When I was making a batch of soap it started getting very hard in minutes not giving me the chance to swirl.

Could it have been my fragrance?

Answer:

Sodium Lactate is often used in recipes that are high in liquid oils because it will make the soap harder and easier to remove from the mould.

When a recipe has a lot of slow moving liquid oil, it makes the soap base very fluid which makes swirling designs easier to accomplish. It's the higher percentage of slow moving liquid oils that give you more time for swirling.

Many fragrance and essential oils can rapidly speed up the saponification process. The scent you used could very well be the culprit.

Check your recipe as well and make sure it has around 60% slow moving liquid oils. Most liquid oils are slow moving. Castor oil and Pomace oil can speed up saponification.

Also look at the amount of water in your recipe. If the water has been reduced quite a bit, this can also make your soap batter thicker.

Good luck,
Cathy

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