The Classic Oatmeal, Goat’s Milk and Honey Cold Process Soap – Milk in Oil Method

gelled and ungelled soap

Oatmeal, Milk and Honey is a classic soap to make. It’s one of the first soaps that I made when I first started to make soap. This method of milk soapmaking is a bit different than the other method where we used frozen milk in the lye solution. This method uses equal amounts of lye and water for the solution and then another equal amount of milk is added to the oils. Some people find this method easier when soaping with milk. You can use this method for any type of milk including goat, cow, hemp, coconut, soy, oat…etc.

Oatmeal milk and honey soap

In standard milk soapmaking you typically freeze your milk into ice cubes and use them for your lye solution. This helps keep the temps of the lye solution down and the milk from burning. It can still cause issues such as burning and burnt fat (from the milk) leaving specs in your soap. Not always…but it can happen.

oatmeal milk and honey

In the “Milk in Oil” method…you make a lye solution with equal parts lye and water. Then you add another equal part milk to the oils before you add the lye solution. This prevents milk fat from burning in the lye solution. You also don’t have to go through the hassle of freezing your milk. For some people it is just easier to do.

I like to run my oatmeal through a mini food chopper or a coffee grinder to grind it down some.  The larger the pieces…the scratchier the soap.  I prefer instant as it is softer in the soap but you can use any kind.  I get fresh goat’s milk from another local soaper, Donna.  Learn about her goat’s here.

Let’s make soap!

The recipe:
Coconut oil – 20 oz
Olive oil – 20 oz
Rice bran oil – 5 oz
Avocado oil – 5 oz
Castor oil – 4 oz
Shea butter – 5 oz
Sweet almond oil – 5 oz
Fresh goat’s milk – 9 oz
Oatmeal – 4 tablespoons
Honey – 4 tablespoons

Sodium hydroxide – 9 oz
Water – 9.5 oz

Gear up in your goggles and gloves!  If you are new to soapmaking…visit our beginner tutorial first.

The first step is to make our lye solution.  I mention above to make the lye solution with equal parts of lye and water.  I always add a splash more because sometimes the mixture can fall out of solution if there is not enough water.  Usually equal parts is the most concentrated you should go.

Measure out the water and the lye.  Add the lye to the water and mix in a well ventilated area.

lye solutionPut that to the side.  Weigh out the shea and coconut oil and melt.

shea and coconut oilOnce melted, add all of the liquid oils to the melted oils.

melted oilsAdd 9 oz of milk to the oil mixture.

IMG_2271Next add the oatmeal.  I like to use 1 tablespoon per pound of oils.  We have 4 pounds so I added 4 tablespoons.  You can add more or less depending on your preference.

oatmealI use the same amount for honey; 1 tablespoon per pound of oils.  I added 4 tablespoons.

IMG_2277You can go ahead and your fragrance oil to the oil mixture as well.  My favorite oatmeal, milk and honey fragrance is from Bramble Berry.  I used 3 ounces.

IMG_2278

So now we have the oils, milk, honey, oats and fragrance.  Give this a good stickblend to make sure everything is well mixed.

IMG_2279Take a look at the lye solution.  You might see some floating white filmy stuff.  Give it a mix.  This is just because it is such a concentrated solution and the lye is reacting to the carbon in the air and forming sodium carbonate.  Lye (undissolved crust) stuck to the bottom of your container is bad…white floaties are not.

lye solution Add the lye solution.  Make sure you have your goggles on!

lye solution added to oilsNow it is time to stickblend!  Your mixture might turn bright orange from the lye and milk reacting.

IMG_2284IMG_2286IMG_2287Mix until trace and then pour into your mold.

IMG_2288IMG_2294IMG_2296Okay…so this soap likes to heat up.  Honey and (the sugar in) milk like to heat up when in the mold.  I prefer my soap gelled so I really have to keep an eye on it.  I cover, but I check on it every ten minutes or so.  If you don’t want your soap to gel or are afraid of overheating…you can put your soap somewhere cool like in the fridge or freezer…or even outside if its cold outside.

There is definitely a difference in color between gelled (darker) and ungelled (lighter) soap.

gelled and ungelled soapSo…some things to remember:

You can soap milk two different ways – full milk in lye solution or milk in oils as above.

Additives used:
Oatmeal – rate of 1 tablespoon PPO
Honey – rate of 1 tablespoon PPO

Happy (Goat’s) Milk Soaping!

-Amanda

59 Responses

Add yours
  1. Hi Amanda, I used to use the milk in oil method. When I used store bought pasteurized milk I never had any problems. When I was offered fresh goat’s milk I jumped at the chance to use it. I made a LOT of goat’s milk soap – many batches. After about three weeks instead of getting harder they got softer and when I broke one open It smelled AWFUL. I threw out nearly $2000 retail value in soap. Since then I’ve only used the lye in milk method as I suspect the unpasteurized milk needed longer exposure to the lye solution to sanitise it. I googled madly after the experience but found very little on the topic. I recently noticed a u tube video for a successful goat’s milk soap maker and noticed them pouring clear lye into the vat, so I guess they must also use the method you’ve suggested AND they have their own goats. Any thoughts would be welcome.

    · Reply
    • LuAnn

      Thought I would throw my two cents in! I’ve been making soap with %100 fresh goat’s milk for about 3 years now. I read so many books, that my head was spinning, and I wasn’t sure what method to use. I really wanted to use all milk, no water. My first batch did not turn out, sounds similar to Melissa. Then I read the book “Making Milk Soap” I don’t remember who it’s by, but it’s an old one. According to that book, fresh milk needs to be pasturized and frozen before you use it to make soap. It had something to do with the protein molocules. So all you do is heat the fresh milk to 170 degrees, put a lid on it, and let it sit at that temp for 2 minutes, then just let it cool. Then I freeze it in ice cube trays. I just always do it this way, and I haven’t ever had another failed batch. It’s extra work, but it’s worth it to me!! :)

      · Reply
      • Thanks LuAnn – I have that book too. I had so many different batches spoil using the fresh milk in oil that I could only conclude that it was because it wasn’t pasteurized. I’d like to try the milk in oil using fresh milk that has been pasteurized, but because I was so far behind in production due to the botched batches I just took the safe track and did the milk in lye method. Pity we don’t get more time to experiment. :)

        · Reply
        • Author

          Good to know! I guess I just always get my milk frozen so haven’t had issues. Thanks for posting!

          · Reply
          • Heather

            Hi, I used fresh, raw goat’s milk for years before my friends got rid of their goats(now I use store bought), and I never had any problems with the milk. I would freeze some it since they would give me 5-8 fresh gallons at a time, and I didn’t want it to spoil, but I had the same great results wether it was frozen or fresh from the goat. All I ever did was make sure there were no goat hairs in the milk before soaping. I do think the raw goat’s milk has more of a odor than the pasteurized kind from the store, but it didn’t carry over into the soap.

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  2. Author

    Oh that’s horrible. I’ve been doing this method for awhile and haven’t had issues using fresh goat’s milk. I know that a lot of people that do bigger batches use this method as well because they are still able to master batch their lye solution while adding the milk to the oils. The high pH of the soap should take care of unpasteurized milk issues. I’m not really sure what went wrong with yours. That is interesting and I wonder if anybody has experienced that. Thanks for posting about it! I’ll ask my milk soaping friends as I talk to them.

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  3. I also make goat’s milk soap and always pasteurize the goat’s milk and freeze it before using it for soap making. When I started making milk soap I had MANY MANY batches spoil using fresh milk …

    · Reply
  4. Donna Watkins

    This is exactly the method explanation I’ve been looking for, Amanda. I have watched videos from Celine B at I Am Handmade (Ireland) and she always pours her milk and additives into the oil mix and her soaps are truly beautiful. I just could not understand how it worked. I can hardly wait to give this a try. I started soaping about a year and a half ago and also live in Texas! I hope to meet you one of these days. Would love to come for one of your workshops. Thanks again! You read my mind!
    Donna Watkins

    · Reply
  5. Debbie

    Donna, where in Texas do you live? I live in Houston. I’ve been making goats milk soap for 13 years with fresh goats milk and never a problem . Do not pasteurize. Waste of time.

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  6. Jenny J.

    I’ve raised goats for 15 years and learned to soap with only fresh (unpasteurized) goat milk. I haven’t had any problems using it… OTOH, I do use only 100% frozen milk in ice cube trays, mostly because I want to use all milk to get rid of it. :)

    My goats are still pregnant now, but I’ll try water/lye and fresh milk in oils next month when the first one has her babies and see if I have problems too!

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  7. Donna Watkins

    I hesitate to ask, considering you all are using fresh goats milk (and that would be my preference), but without access to the fresh milk, what could I expect using canned milk? In the meantime, I will see if I can find a source for fresh milk. Thank you!

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  8. I have been using frozen goats, coconut and buttermilk. I love milk soaps. It is a pain to use this method and the soaps does have specks in it. I will try your method Amanda sounds great. Thanks for positing.

    · Reply
    • Valora Morris

      When milk turns orange when soaping it’s because of a chemical reaction between the lye and milk – it has nothing to do with any part of the milk ‘burning’! Try cooking milk on the stove by itself … you can bring it to a rolling boil and it still won’t turn orange. That’s much hotter than it gets in soap.

      · Reply
  9. Lidiia

    Hi. If your mixture turn bright orange it’s mean you burn your milk proteins, and it’s not good. Do not heat your oils and do not warm up after frozen milk-lye combination. Mix and freeze it. I found this method-recipe at one of Oregon suppliers website and it’s totally winner. Pasteurization will kill half of your milk vitamins and it has nothing to do with smells, colors or milk proteins. Raw milk is treasure, pasteurized milk more like powdered milk in water.
    If your soap only smell bad you can recook it. Weight your soap, shred it and add a half weight of glycerin. Slowly melt it together in a pot or crock pot on a very low heat. Mix it together time to time. When it’s melts and blends you will have a base soap, it will be like melt and pure soap base, but natural and home made. Pretty often smell will be gone by that time, if not you can add more stronger fragrance or essential oil. Almond, jasmine, rosemary, peppermint, juniper, orange blossom work great as coverage for me. Good luck.

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  10. Where can I get more info on this process? I am a little confused in regards to the lye amounts. When I input recipe into lye calc, it gives me the amounts of water and lye.

    Thanks for your help.

    · Reply
    • Author

      Hi Natasha, what exactly are your questions. You might get a different lye amount depending on what superfat percentage that you are using. The same goes for water/liquid amounts. If you would like to email more specific questions, I’d be glad to answer them. -Amanda

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  11. Linda

    I love this method!! My soap comes out so beautiful this way. I am not a chemist but judging by the look of my soap, I feel that this method is much kinder to the milk and possibly retains more of the good properties. You are the BEST teacher EVER!!!

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  12. cliff

    I used this method yesterday and made a 1 lb batch using whole milk. It turned orange like in your picture and it took a while after that to get to trace. I put it in the freezer right after I poured it then moved it to the fridge after 1.5 hours and left it there for the rest of the night.

    I took it out this morning, then unmolded it tonight and cut it. It’s still about the same color as it was when I put it in the freezer – orange-ish. I would have thought it would begin turning tan-ish by now. Do you think there is something wrong?

    · Reply
    • Myava

      Sounds like maybe you didn’t let your lye solution cool before adding it to your oils. I ice bath my lye solution until it is cooool

      · Reply
  13. Kelsie

    Hey! I saw this post and was really in the mood to make another batch of soap, however I didn’t have goats milk on hand so I decided to just do a honey and oatmeal bar. I used my normal 3lb soap recipe (which always turns out a creamy white) with the addition of 5% natural beeswax, honey and oatmeal. 1tablespoon ppo. and a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon for the intire recipe. I scented it with Sweet orange essential oil, ravensara essential oil and a sandalwood/frankisence oil. 1 oz total. (Lye to water 1:2)
    I was expecting my soap to come out a creamy tan due to the small addition of cinnamon, however it was a bright pumpkiny orange, much like how you described yours.
    This was a cold process insulated, reached full gel.
    I unmolded and cut at 24 hours, quite a firm bar, lovely smell.
    It is a dark tan on the top but still quite orangey inside?
    Any ideas why this occurred?
    I thought the orange colour was a reaction of the milk and lye.

    · Reply
  14. melodie

    I just started doing this method, I found if you kept your temp really low like 80 degrees for both the oil and lye mixture your soap will not turn color but stay white. If I let it gel it may turn tan, it will stay white if I refrig and don’t gel. Thanks for the info and all you do amanda.

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  15. OK, I did it! I found a friend who furnished me with fresh (frozen) goat milk, and followed your directions. I poured some into a log mold that I hope will gel, some into a slab with “goat milk” imprinted on it, and about 8 round bars in a silicone mold, which I refrigerated to keep from gelling. I combined oils and lye at 84 degrees and added the lye slowly and incrementally . It did turn orange but never smelled burned or bad in any way. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out. Thank you so much. This may be my new favorite method!

    · Reply
  16. Deborah Jennings

    I can’t wait to try this method. I love goat’s milk soap. OK, any kind of milk soap. I want to make some coconut milk soap pretty soon. I will have to use what I can get at the grocery store.

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  17. Rachel

    Used your milk in oil method today with your no palm recipe #1. It looked great going in the mold and it ended up gelling, even though I moved it to a cool spot in the house. Ah well, such is soap! I’m glad I read this milk in oil method because it makes things so much easier. Unfortunately, I’ve got 16oz of goat milk cubes in the freezer to still use. :/

    Thanks for all the useful tips!!

    · Reply
    • Gaellyn

      I did melt my frozen one and did the recipe. Only difference? My soap never changed color and was totally amazing. Love love that recipe.

      · Reply
  18. Monica Gail

    This process is a life saver. I’ve learned to use the Room Tem Process and with the milk in oil process used here, I use both ALL the time. One of the things I appreciate about soaping are the cardinal rules regarding lye, and then just about everything else, is creativity. Thank you so much for your creative blog.

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  19. Marilyn

    Hi Amanda,
    Thank you so much for this technique…so much easier, but although I prefer a full gel, i don’t prefer the tan look to the soap.
    I tried the ” milk in oil method” two different ways by accident. The first batch i added the milk to the oils before the lye/water solution was added, and the second batch I added the milk after the lye/water solution was added to the oils. Both batches smelled great, the only difference was the color. Both batches went through a full gel phase. The first batch was tan and the second batch was a beautiful creamy white color. I think I may be on to something.

    · Reply
    • Myava

      You can add the milk right after you blend your oils and lye together well, very very light trace. Make sure your oils and lye mixture are at or below room temp

      · Reply
  20. The discount on lye/liquid calculations sounds like a good idea. What impact will this have on soaps if using milk?
    Valli

    · Reply
  21. I was recommended this blog via my cousin. I am now not positive whether or not
    this post is written through him as nobody else recognize such precise about my problem.
    You are amazing! Thanks!

    · Reply
  22. Susanna

    Hi Amanda,
    I am new to soap making and discovered your site. I’ve tried some beginner recipes and had some good results. Now I’m ready for more! I have been nervous to try milk soap recipes because of the lye / milk reaction. So this milk in oil recipe looks amazing!!! My question is, I would like to make a pretty small batch (about 2 1/2 lbs of soap). When I try to plug in the ounces in a lye calculator how do I account for the milk since it is not part of the lye solution? Would it be considered and additive? Also, I read in a previous post that Marylin added milk to a batch after the lye/water mixture was added and it produced a lighter color. Would that method cause any sort of rancidity in the soap? Or would it be resolved through the saponification process?

    Thanks for this blog and your awesome PALM FREE recipes!!!!

    · Reply
    • Almost a year later … ah well, hope you’ll still find it useful. If you’re making such a small batch, I wouldn’t split the milk and instead freeze all the milk that goes into the recipe into ice cubes, pour the lye over it and stir. The frozen cubes will thaw but since they’re frozen, the lye won’t burn your milk. That’s actually how I treat all my non-water recipes – replace water with whatever liquid I’m going to use, freeze, add lye and mix lye/liquid solution into my oils at room temperature.

      · Reply
  23. Myava

    Amanda, I have made goat milk soap with fresh goats milk. Groc store goats milk in carton. Each time with frozen milk. I’ve used all milk, half milk and half water, milk in oil before lye water, milk in oil after the lye water!! Lol I mean to get the perfect goat milk soap! Lol I haven’t had any to go rancid yet. But my question is do you have a favorite?

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  24. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful information particularly the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

    · Reply
  25. Raspberry

    I am new to soap making and want to milk soap. I keep dairy goats, so have an ample supply of milk.
    I have been reading a lot about it, and will soon, (This week?) dive into my first batch. I do have some questions.
    I am unclear about the non-gel method to help avoid burning and turning the bar brown. What does this method entail? Does it just mean putting the liquid at trace in the freezer before it begins to gel? It will gel there, right?

    Raspberry
    Corvallis, Oregon

    · Reply
    • If you have kept your temps low and then put your soap in the freezer it will not go into the gel phase. Gelling is optional and many soapers prefer not to gel their soaps. You get a really different look from gel vs non-gel soap, but it is still good soap either way. I think the main tip to take from this method if you want whiter soap is to keep your temperatures very low throughout the entire process, add lye very gradually, as in add a little, walk away, stir, wait, add a little more…watch your temp, ice bath your container to keep the lye from overheating the milk and oil mixture. It may take 1-2 hours to complete this step depending on the size of your batch. Don’t rush it. This will keep your soap creamy and very light in color. Bring it to trace and pour in your mold as usual, then place in frig or freezer. It may take a day or two longer to unmold by not gelling, but will cure out nicely. I hope that helps answer your question. And by the way, good luck with your batch!

      · Reply
  26. Casey Rose

    Can I use powdered goats milk? I have to drive almost 2 hours away to get any fresh goats milk. Or can I use the liquid in a can? Love your process. I can’t wait to use it.

    · Reply
  27. Abbie

    Hello! Thanks for your great tutorial. I’m a soaping novice with a question or two. I don’t necessarily care if my soaps gel or not, but man how I wish I could get them to do one or the other! I have tried keeping them very warm and I still get an outside edge that didn’t gel. I’ve tried putting them in the fridge or freezer, but I still get a small oval of internal gel and it’s driving me completely bonkers. Do you have any suggestions O Wise Soap-maker?? :)

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  28. Tammy Arnold

    I was wondering if you can you grape seed oil in place of some of the other oils. Thanks, I think you soap looks great and I love the milk and honey idea.

    · Reply
  29. Leigh Enterleim

    Hi thanks for the fantastic recipe- so excited to try this! Was wondering if I could substitute breast milk for the goats milk? Any thoughts on that? I have a lot of it on hand right now as I’m a nursing mother and it seemed liked a nice way to make some soap for my kids.

    · Reply
  30. Jen

    You have no idea how happy I am to have found you! Your style of blogging, soaping, and instruction seems to be completely in synch with my own preferences. I feel…at home here. Thank you for taking the time to create such a lovely soaping hub from which we all can enjoy, learn, and admire. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! : )

    · Reply
  31. Megan

    Hi Amanda,

    I have just tried this recipe. I think I’m having a little problem. It did turn orange but my issue is that I had poured the batter into my mould and it started to thicken nicely but I went back to it 20 mins later and it seems to have liquefied again. Do you know what went wrong??

    · Reply
  32. Rashmi

    Hi, just wanted to know, avocado oil and Shea butter are expensive and not so easily available here in India, can I use any of the other oils in a larger amount to make up for it?or any other substitutes? I would really like to try this soap. Sounds very interesting. I am a beginner.

    · Reply
  33. Cathie

    Hi Amanda,
    I was wondering if canned goat’s milk could be used instead of fresh since I don’t have access to the fresh milk. If so,
    when you use canned goat’s milk it needs to be diluted at a ratio of 1:1. So if you use canned goat’s milk, and you use 9 oz of water in the lye, do you still need to dilute the goat’s milk or can you use it concentrated since you would already have an equal amount of water in the lye?

    · Reply
  34. Melanie

    Can you please tell me how many ounces this recipe makes?

    · Reply
  35. Leigh

    I was wondering if this is a soap that needs to cure after cooking? I’m new to soaping and would love some tips. This seems like a beautiful recipe, so I’d love to try but I don’t want to ruin the batch by trying to use the bars too soon.
    Thank you!

    · Reply
  36. Kellyn Nunez

    Dear soap makers-
    I really want to thank all of you for writing in this blog. I love how all of you share your experience with all of us. From my own personal experience what I would like to add is the fact that either pasteurized, canned, fresh or make out of powdered; goat’s milk needs to be frozen and thaw again; even if is poured directly into the fats. Why? My observation is that by freezing it the solids and the liquids separate; giving more freedom to the water molecules to react with the NaOH. By just cooling it down; the milk contained in the milk formula still chemically bonded therefore; it may ruin the soap. I even will add a little bit of cold water to the milk to enhance and ease the NaOH reaction. About a stinky goat’s milk soap; yes I’ve seen seen it and smelled it. It took longer to cure; but eventually after a few months the smell finally went away. I still was able to use the soap and it was great!

    · Reply
    • Kellyn

      The color change will not affect saponification. It will still have all the goodies that we all like to have in our milk soaps; probably the fragrance will not remain as strong as you want to, but based on my experience I can tell that it will be a good soap to use and sell.

      · Reply
  37. Karon

    I made coconut milk and honey cold process soap by adding the lye to half of the water then adding the honey to the coconut milk. I added the lye solution to the oils and then added the milk and honey at light trace. It immediately turned a bright orange and has stayed bright orange. It is unscented and does not smell bad. Is it OK to use?

    · Reply
  38. I’ve been looking for alternatives to adding frozen goats milk to the lye. I’ve used this method for a while but I’d had problems with the sugars and fats getting scorched even though I freeze the milk and mix it in a bowl sitting in another bowl full of ice. Still happens. The soap isn’t necessarily ruined but its always darker than I would like. I may try this method.

    · Reply
    • Kellyn Nunez

      Dear Susan, I made goat’s milk soap recently and it went well. I used frozen milk. For my iced bath I added salt so the ice kept the water cooler for longer. I added the lye slowly, stir slowly and didn’t warm up my oils at all. I mixed the lye at 60°F and the oils at 70°F. Once my soap traced, I put it into the refrigerator right away and didn’t let it gel. I should mention that individual molds work much better than the loaf molds. Happy soaping!

      · Reply
  39. Cassandra Douglas

    Dear Amanda,
    I made your classic oatmeal, goat’s milk and honey recipe. I followed it almost exactly, except I pulled out one pound to leave unfragranced in another container. The remaining three pounds I fragranced and added to a silicone mold. At the 24 hour mark I removed the 1lb soap n noticed it was a bit soft so I placed it back in the mold and did not remove the larger mold. At the 36 hour mark I removed the small container and noticed a few oily drops in the center after cutting but it didn’t think much of it. The BIG problem came from the 3 lbs loaf after cutting. Eight out of ten slices were oozing with what appears to be oil. It’s to the point, that some of the slices have wholes in it the size of a nickel and saturated spots much larger than that. Can you tell me if this is because I did not adjust the fragrance oil down for a 3 lbs batch? Is this ruined?

    · Reply
  40. Marilyn

    Hi Amanda , I haven’t had any milk soaps go rancid yet,no matter which method I use. Although if someone is looking for a creamy white color bar vs. the darker tan color and like their soaps to go through a gel phase ,then adding the split milk amount to the soap batter, after the cooled lye/ water has been mixed into the oils, is the way to go…in other words add the milk at a light trace. Beautiful everytime.

    · Reply

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