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Piney Girl
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Discussion Starter #1
I make a Very basic soap basically equal parts coconut palm and olive, with the soapcalc recommended amount of distilled water and lye.

I almost always end up with some ash on the outside of the soap.

What am I doing wrong? Is it cooling too quickly? Is the the "recipe"?

Thanks
 

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It could be due to soap not being warm enough through process. I always insulate my molds, by covering them in blankets. I also put a transparency sheet over the top of the soap. then put the mold lid on.

Some fragrances and essential oils require a higher temp as well. Lavender and peppermint essential oils are two that I add to the soap, when it is about 115 degrees.

Hope this helps.
 

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You almost never heard of ash forming on soap when I started making it over 15 years ago. Back then, the procedure was to insulate your soap for 24 hours. The recommended soaping temps were usually 125*F - 140*F also.

I still insulate my (all milk) soaps with a couple wool blankets and rarely to I experience ash.

Another recommendation I've read if you want to soap cool is to heavily spritz your soap with alcohol after you put it in the mold.
 

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Piney Girl
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Discussion Starter #4
Hi MistyF and Mullerslane,

Thank you soo much for responding. It sounds like the common theme is to provide a warmer insulated cooling down time. That is probably what I haven't been paying attn. to. Depending on how much oils I have is how big the batch is and I use a bunch of things that I call "molds", lol. I will wrap in towels in a warm spot.

MistyF - what do you cover the top of your soap with? How long do you allow your soaps to harden?

Mullerslane - I will try the alcohol spray also, how did you keep your soaps warm? My problem is if they rest too long they are very hard to cut, splintery.

Thank you in advance for all of these questions.
Alison
 

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I use large slab molds that I stack on top of each other & wrap in 2 thick wool blankets.

To ensure gel you need to insulate the soap in the mold.
You could put your molds on top of the fridge, in the oven, in a cooler. Anything to help retain the heat.

If you are using small molds, use a heating pad.
 

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I use overhead transparency sheets cut to the size of the mold. I put directly on top of the soap. I also insulate mine. I remove the soap from the mold the next day and cut it. I let it cure for four weeks.
 

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I don't always gel my soaps (usually I put them in the fridge for 24 hours first. Covering the soap with plastic wrap really helps cut back on ash, and the alcohol does help a little bit. Insulating does help to cut back ash too.

You can use a handheld steamer to steam the soap to get rid of the ash.
 

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Piney Girl
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Discussion Starter #9
Great answers, I can't wait to try another batch, maybe this weekend.

What does gel mean?

I usually pour in my various molds and put in spare room with a blanket over but I will be more temperature aware and use plastic/bubble wrap more blankets and try on the fridge top.

Thank you very much again.
 

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Master Of My Domain
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I haven't soaped much recently, but I see a good amount of ash with most batches. I always try to move fast and insulate as best I can with blankets and such. the very last time I made soap, probably spring, I tried to use either coated freezer paper or plastic wrap (can't remember which)v on recommendation from something I read online...and I remembered why I stopped doing that in the past. whenever I do, I see lots of glycerin beading up on the soap and it is sort of messy.
 

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Piney Girl
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Meloc, I have freezer paper so will try that also. I wanted to get some done for Christmas gifts but haven't done any yet.
 

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I recently discovered by accident how "I" can prevent ash, not saying it will work for everyone though. I had been using nothing but distilled water in my recipes and always ended up with ash. Recently I forgot and used tap water and low and behold my soap didn't get any ash. I wanted to see if it was maybe the recipe I used or if maybe it was a one time deal so I made another recipe and only used tap water, well again no ash. I've made a 3rd recipe since then with tap water and different ingredients, colorants, etc and again no ash.

I have regular city water and a water softener so I don't know what the difference is but I have read from many other people that just have regular hard well water say that they just use water out of the tap and never get ash so it might be worth a shot.
 
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