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I have bought lime and washing soda, but have run into a technique problem. When I mix the washing soda with water, it absorbs the water quickly and turns into a block of concrete in the bottom of my jar.
I used to run across this problem when using it to wash laundry in the washer in place of washing powder; turns out the washing soda I had was only 30% sodium carbonate with no mention of the main chemical(s), "trade secret" I guess. It consisted of almost translucent crystals and refused to dissolve. Is that what you have?
I ditched that one and purchased another that says something to the effect of "100% washing soda". This one is a white powder, dissolves without issues and does give off some heat as described by Barefootboy. So far so good.

Getting my hands on hydrated lime was a lot more difficult. Salespeople looked at me like I was crazy; it was too cheap to bother ordering one of these. In desperation, I tried to make the lye using lime putty instead of hydrated lime... that gave me a solution of about 5% of lye (enough to remove paint off of a wooden door, but not enough to make soap with). I am ready to revisit that option, however, since now that I was able to finally get my hands on genuine, hydrated lime from a mined source (turns out they can manufacture this stuff using drain-cleaner quality lye, the very thing I am trying to avoid), my "soap" making produced something akin to soap flakes in immersed in sunflower oil (see picture).

Sunflower oil may not be the most suitable oil for a soap experiment, but that's all I had... Any ideas?

soap_flakes.jpg
 

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It worked!!! It finally worked! A stick blender saved the day. It WORKED!

The soap is... yummy... I've never seen anything like it. Everyone who tried it loves it! It has such an incredible quality to it... Simply amazing. Thanks to all of you...!
 

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Thanks so much for this. How would you use this lye since it is a liquid in a soap recipe. Would you dilute it just like you would the lye powder? And would you weigh it the same? Also, how do you store it? Thanks, Kat
Hi Kat. The lye is the liquid at the end of the process above. The solid is calcium carbonate (chalk) and so can be discarded for the soap making project. Good luck!
 

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Hi Kat. The lye is the liquid at the end of the process above. The solid is calcium carbonate (chalk) and so can be discarded for the soap making project. Good luck!
She hasn't been here in over 4 years. By now she either has it figured out or has given up.
 
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