Soda ash layer on soap.

by Darleen
(New Hampshire)

I have been making soap for a few years now. I have made some perfect batches.

The batches I make more often than not have a layer of white soda ash on top and on the edges. Some batches it is thicker than others. I have to scrape the soap so it looks right.

Sometimes the soap will come out marbled. It does not effect the use of the soap but it creates waste and does not look right.

I sell my soap. I am looking to get it in a few shops and I cannot figure this out. I hope you can help me.

Thank you,


Soda ash is a problem that plagues many soap makers and I'm not completely sure what causes it.

What is strange is that the same exact recipe will sometimes have soda ash while other times it will not.

One thing I have found that seems to help is to let the soap compeletely reach the gel stage and then open it up and direct a fan onto it.

When the soap gets to the gel stage, it heats up considerably and with that heat is moisture. I think that the moisture settles back onto the soap and dries as this powdery white bloom.

By placing the fan on the soap, it blows the moisture away and stops it from settling back down on the soap.

This of course is just a theory and I haven't got anything to back it up.....but it seems to work for me....most of the time!!

Hope that helps,

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Saran wrap reduces ash
by: Anonymous

I have found that if I place a layer of saran wrap (plastic wrap) on top of my soap right after I pour it into the molds there is a lot less ash on top. You have to make sure there are no air pockets. Hope this helps.

I agree
by: Heather

I also cover my soap with plastic wrap. It almost never fails. My soaps always come out ash free. And the ones I don't cover more often get them. So for a affordable and super quick fix I suggest plastic wrap for your soap!

Agreed - Saran Wrap!
by: Kim

I was getting batch after batch with ash and it was so frustrating to cut off my nice textured tops but then I read a tip somewhere about using Saran Wrap. I have put Saran Wrap on my last six batches and not one of them has developed ash. Yay!

by: Anonymous

If my soap gels it doesn't have ash. I always get it on my individual soap mold. Saran does nothing for me.

'Mysterious' ash
by: Kate

NOTHING has worked consistently for me. I have been making and selling soap for 15 years and I am plagued by the uncertainty of whether or not there will be ash to deal with. I have tried the plastic wrap and had the top surface ash free, only to discover as lurking down the corners and ends of the loaf. I have also observed that certain types of soap seem to be more vulnerable: lavender, as well as mint soaps. BTW, I only use eo's - has anyone else noticed this? Another issue I query is the atmosphere, in terms of the level of humidity. Any thoughts on that?
The idea of the fan is interesting to me and I am going to try it.

Ash on soap and curing
by: Anonymous

Thanks for this page. I would like soapmakers to help me understand the term "gel" - "when the soap gels" What is exactly is geling? My soap comes to a clear liquid while turning (We are a cottage industry using a cold soap mixer)and that is when I pour. My last 3 batches had mega ash on the outside and it was a big shock. Others having it is comforting!

Please I also like to ask about the curing of the soap. I was under the impression that soap needs to be exposed to air when curing. So I made sure that each bar was separate from others. Wow its now snowtime? Am I arong? Can soap cure when it is packed? Please help. Susan

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