FAQ - Soap Making
- Why are my soaps drying with a white crust on the top?
- When mixing the soap mixture, it went through trace almost instantly and is now so thick I can't pour it into a mould.
- My soap feels grainy / is crumbly / won't set.
- My soap looks terrible. Can I still use it?
- I have used Titanium Dioxide and there are white spots in my soap.
- What should the pH of my soap be?
If you have a question, or require help with your soap making, please call (07) 3808 2576 or email Valerie with as much information about your question or problem as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org If you send an email, please include your phone number so that Valerie can call you back to diagnose your problem.
Why are my soaps drying with a white crust on the top?
This is called soda ash and it is purely cosmetic. It can be caused by tiny amounts of unsaponified lye coming into contact with carbon dioxide or too much movement of air whilst the soap is in it’s initial hardening stage. If it is just a thin layer, you can simply wipe it off with a wet cloth. To help prevent this you can spray your soap with ethanol every 20 minutes for the first hour while it is hardening.
When mixing the soap mixture, it went through trace almost instantly and is now so thick I can't pour it into a mould.
This is called seizing and is generally caused by fragrance oils. Sometimes it just happens! The soap will still be usable but you just won’t be able to do the intricate swirl patterns you may have planned on. Scrape it out into moulds as best as you can. You may be surprised how it sets! If not, rebatch it. Grate the soap and then add it to a new soap batter.
My soap feels grainy / is crumbly / won't set.
There can be a few reasons for texture problems. Usually it is related to either inaccurate measuring of ingredients or temperature matching. For our recipes in The Beginners Soap Making Kits, the temperature range is 34° to 38°C. Oils and lye must be equalised within 5 degrees of each other.
My soap looks terrible. Can I still use it?
Even if soap looks terrible, it might still be great to use. Don’t throw it out! You just might like to rebatch it. Grate the soap and then add it to a new soap batter. It will look great!
I have used Titanium Dioxide and there are white spots in my soap.
Titanium Dioxide for soap making should be oil soluble but can behave a little like cornflour and leave lumps. Before adding to your soap, take out some of your oil mixture and make a paste, ensuring that there are no lumps of Titanium Dioxide.
What should the pH of my soap be?
A pH higher than 7 is considered basic or alkaline, and pH level of below 7 is acidic. Cold process soap is naturally alkaline with a pH of between 7 and 10. This range is considered safe to use. A pH above 10 would indicate that your soap is harsh, and may have free lye. lye that didn't react with your oils, and can burn your skin. This could happen if you made an error when measuring your ingredients.
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