Today I am blogging from Senegal, West Africa. Benjamin and I arrived last night and were warmly welcomed by our host. Today we start sourcing and hunting for ingredients. To learn more about Lovin’ Soap Project, please visit our website.
I love checking out my Google analytics and seeing what people search for to land on my blog. Some of the search results help me create topics relevant to what soapmakers need help with.
One such search string that I get quite often is “why is my soap cracking” or “why does my soap have a crack down middle?”
If you have a crack in your soap loaf, it probably overheated.
The crack is the result of your soap heating up. A soap will crack to release the heat, allowing it to escape the soap. In cases of extreme overheating, your soap can actually mushroom out of your mold. For an example of mushrooming, check out our Troubleshooting page.
Overheating can happen easily when you are soaping with additives that heat up, such as beer, milk, sugar/honey…etc. Some essential oils and fragrance oils can cause a soap to overheat. Spice and floral fragrance oils can cause overheating. Spice essential oils can cause overheating.
To prevent cracking you can do a few things:
- Soap cooler. Start with your oils and lye solution closer to 90 degrees F. This will help keep the overall temperatures down and might help prevent cracking.
- Don’t insulate your mold. Many soapmakers insulate their molds; especially if they learned to soap from books by modern pioneers of soapmaking. Many books from the 80’s and 90’s will tell you that it is necessary. It is not necessary.
- Put your soap in the fridge or freezer. I know many soapmakers who will pour their goat milk soap (or other soap that heats up) and immediately put it into the fridge or freezer to cool it down.
If your soap is cracking, cool it down. If you are insulating it, remove all insulation and put it in front of a fan or in the fridge. If your soap did crack, no worries. As it cools you can push the soap together and use a gloved finger to smooth it down. It is simply aesthetic.
Do you have a picture of your soap overheating? I would love to include more examples on this page for soapmakers to see. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org with permission to post and include a link to your website.