Have you ever had a soap seize on you? Do you know what I’m talking about?
You mix your soap to the perfect light trace, add a fragrance oil and all hell breaks loose?!?
It looks like a mixture of lumpy mashed potatoes or turns completely solid (soap-on-a-stick)!
I regret not taking a picture of my last seize, but it came so expectantly that I just didn’t have time to grab my camera.
EEK! I feel your pain, sisters!
Why does a soap seize happen?
Something is causing the saponification process to accelerate. It is usually a fragrance oil or essential oil.
Watch out for florals and spices when it comes to fragrance oils and watch out for spices (clove, bay, cinnamon…etc.) when it comes to essential oils. Some fragrances are labeled with ‘may cause acceleration’. These are fragrances that are prone to seize, combined with a couple of factors.
Temperatures – Temperatures play a huge role in your soap moving towards and through saponification. Cooler temps cause your soap to move slower; higher temps cause your soap to move faster. Higher temps combined with a fragrance oil or essential oil that is know to move fast = soap seize! Soap cooler (75-85 degrees F) when working with fast moving fragrances and essential oils.
Watch out for other additives that can cause your soap to heat up, such as oatmeal, honey, beer…etc.
Water Amount – Discounted water combined with a tricky EO or FO can cause your soap to seize. If you are using a water discount while soaping, be sure you aren’t using a finicky EO or FO.
Mixing – Using a stick blender can cause tricky EO’s and FO’s to accelerate. Stir by hand or whisk.
Add your fragrance or essential to your melted oils BEFORE adding the lye solution. Sometimes the dilution of the FO or EO helps to slow it down.
What can you do?
You can prevent it by paying attention to the temperature and water amount. Soap cool and don’t discount your water. If you are using a new fragrance or essential oil and don’t know how it will effect your soap, make a one pound test batch first. If it is happening, don’t panic!
If it is a light seize, where just where you are stickblending on the bottom of the pot is seizing, stop stickblending and stir to trace by hand.
If it is a heavy seize and you can’t save it, you’ve got three options!
Hot Process it – Dump it into a crockpot and hot process it. If it goes beyond the point of being able to stir it smooth and pour into a mold, you can hot process it. Simply put it into a crockpot and cook it until the whole mass has gelled (turned translucent) and then glop it into a mold.
Rebatch it – If you managed to get it into a mold but it is UGLY, you can rebatch it. Here are rebatching instructions. If you do it the day after, you usually won’t have to add additional water to it. If you rebatch it weeks later, you can add a bit of water to the shreds before cooking.
Chunk it – You can let your soap sit until solid. Cut it up into little chunks. Make a new batch of soap and add the chunks into the new batch. I’ve come up with some really nice designs this way. Here is a soap that Benjamin and I had to chunk up to fix. I love the way it looks!
If you are a soapmaking, you’ve probably had a soap seize. If you are new to soapmaking, you’ll have it happen one day! Stay calm and know that there is a way to fix it! It might not come out how you envisioned it, but you’ll end up with a unique soap that has a unique story.
Have you ever had a soap seize? Did you panic? How’d you fix it? I’d love to know!
Leave a comment to be entered to win a free eBook. We’ll draw a name from the comments tomorrow at 1 pm (central time).
Happy Rebatch-less Soaping!
Thanks for being a part of the Lovin’ Soap community! We’re so glad you’re here!
Now through March 1st, we are having a presale on our newest eClass, Clear Transparent Soap from Scratch!
In this video eCourse, I will show you:
- How to formulate your own transparent soap recipe that is remelt-able and reusable…similar to MP soap base.
- We’ll go over base oils and solvents that are available to use and why you would select each type of ingredient.
- How to make quick hot process transparent soap from scratch. It only takes about 20 minutes once you get the process down!
- How to remelt and use your base for future projects.
About the soap:
- The ingredients we use include coconut oil, stearic acid, castor oil, sodium hydroxide, everclear (grain alcohol) and sugar.
- The soap is remeltable and you can work with it like melt and pour soap base.
- You can create bars of soap or embeds that you can add to regular cold process soap.
- You’ll get different varieties of clarity in your soap…we’ll talk about that.
The class will be delivered in a a series of videos and downloadable PDF’s. You’ll have forever access and be able to watch over and over again as you want.
Happy Soaping! -Amanda Aaron