This week in searches…

I love that my stats tell me the search strings that are being used to lead people to my blog. Some questions aren’t completely answered so I want to start a new feature where I go into more details on some of the topics searched. So…this weeks searches include:

cold process soap how long to umold in freezer

Sometimes we use molds for CP soap that can be tricky to unmold. These molds include silicone loaf molds (usually non-glossy) and individual cavity hard plastic molds such as Milky Way Molds and ELF molds from Bramble Berry.

If you find that you can not unmold from your silicone loaf mold, simply stick it into the freezer until it is frozen solid. Usually a couple of hours will work. Then pull the sides away from the soap. Turn it upside down and press on the bottom. If you find that your fingers go into the soap…it isn’t frozen enough. Put it back into the freezer.

If you use individual hard cavity molds for CP soap you might find that when you unmold your soap the details break off. Freezing can sometimes help with this. After your soap has been in the molds for 24 hours and has hardened up…place the molds in the freezer for about an hour. Remove from the freezer and set on the counter. This will cause the soap to sweat a bit. Turn the mold upside down and press on the bottom of the individual cavities to push the soap out. Hopefully the soap will come out with all of the details intact.

soap will not reach trace

Zoinks. Okay…I have to ask. Did you add your lye water? I only ask because I’ve been there…done that. I get distracted…start stick blending…nothing. I glance over to the sink and there is my lye water sitting in a cold water bath waiting patiently. Oops.

If you did add your lye water and you are still not reaching trace…take a look at your recipe. Is it high in olive? Olive oil is slow to trace…so keep mixing. If you’ve been mixing with a stick blender for more than 30 minutes then something is probably wrong.

How much water did you use for your lye solution? A recipe high in olive and a lye solution with too much water can prove almost impossible to trace or when you do trace it will un-trace. But I’m talking about 4 times the lye amount or more. You probably aren’t using that much water.

Did you find a new or maybe shady source of lye? If you are using new lye…where did it come from? Did you buy it off of Craig’s List? Maybe its not really lye. Always buy lye from a reputable supplier.

what cp oils and their percentages will create more of a white bar of soap?

Some oils that create a white bar of soap include lard, tallow, coconut oil, babassu, mango butter, refined avocado, sunflower, grade A olive (not pomice or virgin which can have green or yellow hues) and castor. Aim to have at least 70% in your recipe but it is really a matter of preference and will just take some experimentation to find your right mix.

Shea, cocoa butter, rice bran and sweet almond can lend to a yellow hue. Un-refined avocado and pomace olive can lend to a green hue.

If you are not opposed to using lard, I would recommend starting with a recipe that looks something like this: 35% lard or tallow, 20% coconut oil, 30% regular olive oil and 5% of a butter, 5% of a specialty oil such as sweet almond and 5% castor.

If you do not like using animal fats then I would recommend a recipe that looks something like this: 40% regular olive oil, 30% coconut oil, 10% sunflower, 10% refined avocado oil, 5% butter and 5% castor oil.

You can also whiten up a bar of soap by using titanium dioxide or white mica (which contains TD).

Ungelled soap is typically whiter than gelled soap. So make sure your soap does not go through gel phase to keep it white and bright. You can put your loaf into the fridge or freezer after you pour it to keep it from gelling.

oil characteristics chart soap making

Check out my chart here.

mixing lavender flowers in to soap

Awww…lavender soap.

I personally do not have issues with lavender buds in soap but I do want to mention that it can look like mouse poop. The lavender buds lose their beautiful purple/blue color and turn brown almost blackish. Just keepin’ it real. Don’t think you did something wrong…it happens to most herbs added to soap.

I like to top loaves with lavender buds as they have a better chance of keeping their color. It’s all just a matter of preference.

how to make artistic soap

Check out my tutorial selection. Also do a search for soap making on Youtube. There are some incredibly creative soapers on there that offer all types of creative videos.

cp soap troubleshooting, layer of liquid on the top

Check out my troubleshooting chart here.

Typically a layer of liquid on top of your soap in the mold can mean two things. Overheating or emulsion issues. If your soap has been in the mold for 24 hours and when you go check on it the next day it has a coating of liquid on top it could mean that the soap overheated. Let it sit and it will usually reabsorb this liquid.

If there is a large layer of oil floating on top and the bottom is mooshy like pudding then you probably have an emulsion issue. Your soap separated and fell out of emulsion. If this happens soon after molding I would dump it back into a bowl and stick blend. If you find it the next day I would dump it into a crock pot and try to HP it. As long as you measured all of your ingredients correctly…this can usually be fixed.

overheating soap

Check out my troubleshooting chart for info and pics on overheating soap.

make soap with mailing tubes

Why yes you can… and I sell the liners that you can line the mail tubes with. They make for easy to use, inexpensive molds!

how long does lard soap need to cure

I cure most of my soap for a minimum of 3 weeks…though 4+ weeks is better. Try a bar after 3 weeks, see how you like it…but keep curing and try it after 4. You might see a difference but might not…depending on how much water you used.

Soaps higher in olive oil (50% +) need a longer cure and I like to cure these for 5+ weeks.

can you pipe cp whipped soap onto m&p?

This is a great question…and I don’t really know the answer! I would assume that you could. Would it stick okay? Not sure. I would almost have to think it would because the whipped CP is moist and when you pipe it onto MP it wets the MP so that it sticks when it dries. But I haven’t tried it!

using juicer pulp in soap recipes

Check out my ginger soap that I made with ginger pulp from my juicer!

If you have any tips or thoughts on any of these topics please feel free to post in the comments!


This post was written by Amanda Gail

Amanda Gail is a soapmaker, author and blogger.

13 thoughts on “This week in searches…

  1. Hi, Amanda!
    I love your blog!!! And this one is a very useful article for beginners, but also for not so beginners.
    I’m from Spain so that I use always olive oil in my recipes. Sometimes I even use 100%. My curiosity is why we should wait for more time (you say 5 weeks, which is what I do) to cure olive oil soaps than for other oils soap.
    Thanks for your lovely blog and your lovely time.


    1. Olive oil just takes longer to cure/harden. As to the scientific reason…I’ll have to dig out my Scientific Soapmaking book and see if that’s something that Kevin talks about. I’ve always just excepted it without really researching it.

      Curing high olive soaps also help with the “slime” factor. At least to me. :) I know opinions differ on that matter.

  2. Aloha Amanda, I just love your blog! It’s been incredibly informative & helpful. Mahalo nui loa for sharing! Mele Kalikimaka & Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! Wishing you all the best! Aloha nui~Mapu

  3. Amanda, I cannot begin to tell you how awesome you are! You have helped me more than anyone else in my quest to become a really good soaper. You have that natural gift of explaining in a way that I had searched and searched for. If I didn’t live so far away, I would be in one of your classes.
    My question that I have not found a definitive answer to is this: when you see big loaves of soap at some markets and in Whole Foods and they slice off the soap from that big piece, how long was that soap cured, will it be soft as you get to the inside and do they gell those big soaps? In my experience ( testing) I found that the soap is soft as you get to the middle still after about 4 weeks. And, bars that are not wrapped tend to start to melt a bit at an outside market in the heat. Is it our humidity here? My superfat is usually 5% and my bars are nice and hard.
    Thank you so much!!

    1. That’s a great question, Linda. Back when I used to sell, I used to sell slice your own off of loaves at the market. And yes, the inside was still a little soft even after 4 or 5 weeks of cure. I would tell my customers to let the soap breath and sit for another week or two before use and it would dry out a bit and last longer in the shower.

      I don’t know if there is an easy answer. I guess you could let it cure 8 or 12 weeks…but who wants to let soap cure for that long? And then are you risking the fragrance? Not sure…

      The humidity can cause issues for unwrapped soap…mostly sweating.

  4. Dear Amanda,
    Thank you very much for this interesting topics! I am making soap for some time now, but sometimes the basic topics are the most trickiest. I am especially interested in your article about which oils create white soaps. Thank you, I always enjoy your blog.
    Nicole, Germany

    1. Nicole: I’ve used TD in my CP & HP soaps. I just added it to my lye water. But combined with some recipes I found it quickened trace. So less is more when you first try using it. The bars did come out very white and my swirl was “brighter” with the white base. I use olive oil and Shea butter in my recipes so my base is never a pure white. Good Luck!

      1. Thank you, Dee for your tipps. I will try TP in my soaps. I have not yet tried it. I also like olive oil and shea butter im my soaps! Greetings, Nicole

  5. Hi! Love your blog and the clear way you impart information. Now that the heavy crafting season is over I can’t wait to try out your bags. I have gotten criticized by other soapers that my bars are too big. Making round ones and weighing my bars should eliminate this issue. I’ve only been at this for a little over a year and I love it. Come by my FB page and say hi! Thanks so much your blog has encouraged me. Happy Holidays.

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