Soapmaking
Questions and Answers

Archives: Dec 3 1998 - Feb 28 1999

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Dec 3 1998 - Feb 28 1999

Bars cracked | Liquid olive oil soap | Distilled water | How to make it gooey? | When to add cocoa | Processing roots and seeds | Won't Remelt | Olive Oil Soap | Spanish Olive Oil | Cream soap | Use commercial soap for remilling? | Clear glycerine soap | Lye and Goatsmilk | Use Food Coloring? | What is Re-milling? | Olive Oil Supplier? | Potpourri Soap? | Benzoin Supplier? | Soap Experiments? | Cocoa Butter Problem | Liquid Soap From Animal Fat? | Chunks and Swirls | Irritating Soap | Rebatching- Expensive? Difficult | Quick Trace | Soap Without Lye? | Recipes? | Alka Seltzer? | Lemon Peel Problem | Without Tallow | Not hardening |



Bars cracked ~ Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 09:22:52 -0500 (EST)

I made some soap using lard, coconut oil, and shortening. I put pepermint essential oil in it. It was fine for about a week into the aging process, then all 5 bars cracked all over the place. What caused this and can I rebatch it ok?

Thables@aol.com ---

REPLY:

It could be that the room the soap cured in was too hot, causing the water to evaporate too fast, or there was too much lye. Do you use a scale to measure? It is the only way to measure accurately. Yes, you can rebatch the bars.

z

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Liquid olive oil soap ~ Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 15:44:02 -0500 (EST)

I need a recipe for a liquid olive oil soap using KOH. Please let me know. Is it alright to use a saponifaction table for this? I've seen many tables but have not tried to create my own real recipe.

Thanks

Perr (PMeyers104@aol.com) ---

REPLY:

Email the Majestic Mountain Sage Co. from their web site and they can supply you with ingredients and instructions.

z

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Distilled water ~ Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999

Is distilled water vital in the soap making process?

Mark ---

REPLY:

Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999

Hi, distilled water is essential. The additional chemicals in tap water will compromise your soap batch. Distilled water is void of those chemicals.

z

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How to make it gooey? ~ Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 HI,

I have a question that I have been trying to find an answer to for a long time.I have a list of ingredients they are as follows: water, vegetable based/coconut powdered soap, glycerin, and color.I warm the water on the stove, add 1 tablespoon of soap melt it and then add color.

NOW, the question! how can I make this formula tacky or gooy when it sets without adding any other ingredients? Am I using too much water? not enough soap? Too much glycerine? I am clueless.If anyone has any suggestions as to the amounts of each ingredient I should use, the method to combine the ingredients, even the temperatures I should be using to heat the formula and how long I should cook it for, I would appreciate your response greatly!

NOTE: The mixture sets but I want it to be tacky, gooy. I have tried different amounts of ingredients. For instance: 7 tablespoons of water, 1 table spoon soap, 1 teaspoon glycerin. I'm really looking for suggestions. What do you think? Thank-you for your response.

SINCERELY,

MARK ---

REPLY:

Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999

Hi, it is very difficult to make glycerine soap goey. You can make goey soap from regular soap, but glycerine is thick and processes hard by nature.

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When to add cocoa ~ Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999

Hello!

I was wondering when to add cocoa powder to a batch of soap in order to make "chocolate soap".

Do I add it at trace?

Thanks again!

Valerie (vhenson@hotmail.com) ---

REPLY:

Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999

Hi, yes, take a small amount of the soap mixture and stir in the cocoa until completely blended or if you're adding additional oil at trace time blend in the additional oil before adding back to soap. This takes care of the lump problem.

z



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Processing roots and seeds ~ Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999

Does anyone know how to process alkanet root and annatto seed for use in CP? Would you grind them? Infuse them in olive oil?

Thanks in advance for the help!!

vwam@aol.com ---

REPLY:

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999

I would infuse the roots or seeds in your olive oil first. You can either gently heat the oil, then add the roots, seeds, or herbs or you can add the roots, seeds, or herbs to the oil and let infuse for 10-15 days.

z



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Won't Remelt ~ Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999

I used the book The Complete Soapmaker by Norma Coney and made the plain white soap. Turned out great or so I thought my problem is that it will not remelt. I followed the directions on grating and measuring and heating.I've read and reread and tried to remelt with no success. All I get is a very thick mass like a paste

It just won't cooperate.

Rock Ray Smith (LSFROCK@MSN.COM) ---

REPLY:

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999

I have also tried the recipes from Norma Coney's book with not much success. Rebatching is a tricky process. I've experimented a little using the microwave instead of melting on the stove. Try a small amount of soap and water, microwave for 5-10 seconds.

FYI - the soap will never become thin like when you poured the original. It will look like thick, thick pudding. z



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Olive Oil Soap ~ Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999

Hi,

Does anyone out there have an all Olive Oil Soap Recipe? Preferably some of those great Greek Olive Oil Soap recipes!

I sure would appreciate any information anyone can offer me on this.

Thanks,

Janis (Janiswilde@wordnet.att.net)

P.S. I have been producing soap for quite some time and have soaps that are over 50% olive oil but not 100% olive oil and since I have become a huge advocate of olive oil.

---

REPLY:

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999

Janis -

I have a recipe for Castille soap which is 100% Olive Oil. It should be in the soap recipes on this web site (but it isn't- ed. note). If it is not, email me at zenda.weaver@bpsolutions.net and I'll get it for you.

Just know it produces a very soft soap.

z

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Spanish Olive Oil ~ Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999

Hi,

We are at Nablus Chamber of Commerce and Industry send our regards to you, and we would like to have a list of names and addresses (full informations) manufacturers, Industrials and exporters companeies or factories from Spain about the following point :

1) kernel olive oil
2) olive pomace

Thanks your kinds

Maaz M Nabulsi
President
Nablus Chamber of Commerce & Industry
nablus@palnet.com ---

REPLY:

Hi, Maaz-

Thanks for stopping in at GreenSense.

You'll find a list at: http://www.asoliva.com/exporter.htm

Also, try http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=spain%2Bolive%2Boil for more possibilities.

Best regards,

-Alan



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Cream soap ~

Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999

I have tried making a cream soap (glycerin soap based) by using cocoa butter and milk, but not a lot of either ingredient. I have tried several times, but the soap will not harden. Is there another way to make cream soap?

d ---

REPLY:

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999

d-

I'm not sure what you mean by glycerin based cream soap. Adding additional oils(cocoa butter, ect.) to melted glycerin will produce a soft, soft, soft soap. Remilled soap is good if you're adding essential oils, herbs, ect., but not additional fats even in small amounts.

z

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Use commercial soap for remilling? ~ Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999

Is it possible to use commercial basic soap(any brand), mill it using additives of choice?? I have a soapmaking instruction book. It has receipes for basic soaps and for milled soaps. I'm not really up for making basic soaps but I'd like to make some of the milled soaps using commercial soaps if possible. The book doesn't mention this as a possibility.

Shirley ---

REPLY:

Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999

Shirley - I have only tried it with Ivory and Castille** soap. In fact, I grated it and incorporated the additives, then microwaved it for 5-10 seconds depending on the amount of grated soap. The mixture is very hot, so I used gloves to protect my hands and I made soap balls for quick gifts.

**The other name brand soaps have too many chemicals as additives to work with the remilling process. The Castille soap is basically Ivory, but a little cheaper. Look on the bottom shelf in the bath soap section of your grocers. If they don't sell Castille, then Ivory works just as well.

z

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Clear glycerine soap ~ Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999

Hi, I'm looking for a clear glycerine soap. Any ideas?? Thanks

Julie (ray1sav@fuse.net) ---

REPLY:

Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999

Julie - Ben Franklin used to sell bars of glycerine soap by the pound. If you don't have access to a Ben Franklin, then I would search on the internet for suppliers. You can buy kits, but they are very expensive and you don't get that much soap.

z



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Lye and Goatsmilk ~ Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999

In the addition of lye to goatsmilk, most recipes state that the lye mixture should be added to the oil before the color changes to orange. As I have tried this several times, it appears impossible to achieve this as the lye turns orange almost immediately, even if the goats milk is first warmed. Am I missing something here? I have made one batch of soap letting the mixture stay orange, but do not yet know how it will ultimately turn out.

Gary Nmetz (gnemetz@uswest.net) ---

REPLY:

Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999

Hi,

Every batch I have made with goatsmilk soap has turned orange, but ended up a pretty medium beige in the end. I have always used the goatsmilk at room temp or straight from the refrigerator.

Your curing batch should start losing the orange soon.

z



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Use Food Coloring? ~ Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999

can I use paste food coloring (like the kind cake decorators use) to color my soaps?

Alida (FridgeArt1@aol.com) ---

REPLY:

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999

Hi, Alida

You can use the food colors, but 99.9% of the time, the lye will destroy any colorants. If it doesn't, you still have the problem of the colors dying your skin just like it dyes food. Your best bet is to use natural colorants. I have had luck with tumeric and cocoa. There is a website for the Pigment Lady and she sells actual pigment.

Again, the lye may turn the colors to anything. I tried a grape infusion in my water and the lye first turned the purple a hideous grey, then the color disappeared altogether.

z

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What is Re-milling ~ Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 19:25:12 -0500 (EST)

I guess I don't really understand re-milling your soap. Is that the same as "hand-milled"? what does it do for the soap?

Alida (FridgeArt1@aol.com) ---

REPLY:

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999

Alida-

Remilling is the same as handmilling. It really does nothing for the soap itself, but it does allow you to add ingredients that the lye would normally destroy. The lye in the remilled soap is completely saponified and is no longer caustic. I have seen recipes adding dried flowers, herbs, and fruits and vegetables. You have to be careful when adding fruits and vegetables. They will decompose and ruin your soap. I suggest adding benzoin powder to the remilled soap as a preservative.

To handmill, you let your soap cure for 3 days, then grate, add to water, and heat until melted. The soap will not completly melt though. You will have the consistency of thick pudding. It is best to use tallow or lard based soap as it cures harder.

Hope this answers your questions

z

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Olive Oil Supplier? ~ Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999

I need a dependable source of olive pomace oil or grade A/B refined olive oil. I live in Oregon. HELP!!!

Jenny Connor (damejen@teleport.com) 541-574-0968 ---

REPLY:

Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 Hi Jenny,

Have you searched on the net for suppliers? Search on soap supplies and the oil suppliers. Search for Sunfeather Soaps and email them for a supplier listing. If they don't have a supplier, they probably can direct you to someone who does.

z

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Potpourri Soap? ~ Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 23:52:18 -0800

Hi Zenda, Thank you very for your help. I have one more question to you ask you. Can you use potpourri fragrance oil to make soap?

Take care!

Mei Ling, ---

REPLY:

Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999

Hi,

I wouldn't use them because most of them are synthetic and the lye will destroy the fragrance before the soap can cure fully, plus you can't be sure of the additives in the potpourri oils. The additives may inhibit your soap. In the same vein, if you find essential oils that seem very inexpensive, they are synthetic and you will get the same results.

Hope this helps z



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Benzoin Supplier? ~ Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999

Where can I buy benzoin powder?

Mei Ling

---

REPLY:

Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999

Hi-

Any health food store would have it. If you don't have a health food store nearby, then a quick search on the web will give you many companies that sell the powder.

z



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Soap Experiments? ~ Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 16:42:49 -0500 (EST)

What kind of an experiment can i do that has to do with soap? Also that can be tested on things?

Lindsay Greenwood (vikkig123)

P.S.

I think that it is a great thing to have because there are a lot of questions that need to be asked by a lot of different people! i wish that they had this for other web sights

---

REPLY:

Thanks, Lindsey, we're glad you like the Q & A.

About soap experiments- You could get some pH paper (from the drugstore or chem lab at school) and test a bunch of different soaps (different brands of handsoap, laundry soap, etc.) to see how acidic or alkaline they are. (Very alkaline soap is hard on your skin). Are soaps that are advertised as mild really as mild (low pH) as they say? And if they're mild, how well do they clean?

You could test the cleaning power of some different soaps by dissolving a fixed amount of soap in water (use the same water source for all tests, because chemicals in the water can affect its cleaning power.), then adding drops of cooking oil, shaking after each drop, until the oil refuses to emulsify. You could use the pH test in the first experiment to see whether pH has anything to do with as soap's ability to cut grease.

You could also test to see if water temperature had any effect on a soap's cleaning power.

Finally, since chemicals in water can affect its cleaning power, you could test a particular amount of a particular soap in different types of water- tap water, spring water, distilled water, rainwater, etc..

How's that for a start?

-Alan

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Cocoa Butter Problem ~ Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999

Hi, I am new to the soapmaking process. However, I have discovered it is one I enjoy very much. I have run into a problem though. I was making a basic recipe for plain white soap. It called for cocoa butter in the recipe. Well, silly me, I used a bottle of lotion that was just labeled "cocoa butter". I assumed it was the same thing, However, after melting my fats, and the "lotion" kept floating on top, I realized my mistake. My dear husband told me to go ahead with the process and to just wait and see how it turns out. What do you suggest? Did I err in using the cocoa butter "lotion"? and if so, where can I find just plain cocoa butter? Thank you for any help you can be.

Lee ---

REPLY:

Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999

Hi, I agree with your husband, let it cure and see what you get. When the soap has fully cured, test a small area on your arm to ensure it is not caustic. I get my cocoa butter from the health food stores here in San Antonio. If you don't have a health food store, there are many websites that sell soap supplies.

z

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Liquid Soap From Animal Fat? ~ Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999

Can one make liquid soap from animal fat? A group near my home in S.Dakota (Hutterites) makes soap in bulk for their own use. They use their own lard from butchering, mix it with caustic soda, water, borax, and bleach to make hundreds of pounds at a time. They have asked me to see if they can make liquid soap using essentially the same ingredients. I suggested that they probably would have to use oils instead of fat if they want liquid soap. They want to know if they can use their lard and make the liquid soap by adding some other chemicals?. Would KOH make a difference? Could they mix fats and oils? Any comments or recipes?

THANKS.

Dave ---

REPLY:

Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 15:42:51 -0600

Hi Dave,

My system crashed and I lost all my instructions on making liquid soap. Your are right that instead of using caustic soda, you use KOH. Your best bet is to go to the Majestic Mountain Sage website. Email Tina (tina@the-sage.com) and ask her for the recipe and instructions. She gave a class over the internet last year.

z





Chunks and Swirls ~ Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999

I have recently starting researching different varieties and designs in soapmaking. Although I have purchased many books, I have not come across any instructions pertaining to glycerine soap making which describes how to use multiple colors (i.e. decorative colored chunks within the bar or even swirl type designs when the loaf is cut into bars). Can someone descibe how this done?

Thank You!

Kimberly Klatt KKlatt9615@aol.com ---

REPLY:

Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999

Hi Kimberly -

Most of the glycerin or transparent soaps on the market are made from melting the bars of glycerin soap.

For swirls - I pour one color in a mold(I wouldn't use pvc pipe for this) until almost full. I let it set until it gets a little thick, then pour the second color swirling with a wooden skewer

For the colored blocks of soap in a clear glycerin bar - I pour a thin layer of glycerin soap, let it thicken a little, add the chunks of colored soap, then finish filling the mold

Hope this helps z

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Irritating Soap ~ Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999

Z,

I have a friend who makes scented soap and she has given me about a dozen bars. The problem is after using the bar the first time, there is very little fragrance left and I can really smell the lye. Also, if I use her soap on my face (doesn't matter what fragrance it is), I get red blotches on my face that peel. What can I tell her to do to correct these problems? Thanks, JoJo

JoJo ---

REPLY:

Date: Fri, 08 Jan 1999

Hi JoJo -

On the surface it sounds like the lye ratio is off from the fats. All the lye doesn't saponify, so you are literally washing with lye remnants. It would help me if you could get what recipe she is using, then I could pinpoint the problem better. Also, is she using a measuring cup or a digital scale to measure the lye?

z



Rebatching- Expensive? Difficult? ~ As for rebatching. Is this process expensive, and, is it worth the effort?

Rodrigo

---

REPLY:

Date: Sat, 02 Jan 1999

Hi Rodrigo,

Rebatching is not expensive at all. Make your soap (tallow based works best), then after 3 days of curing, grate and mix with water over heat or in the microwave. When the consistancy of oatmeal or a little thinner, add fragrance, colorants, etc. then pour into mold. Let cure in mold 24 hours, unmold and finish curing for 3-4 weeks.

In the bath shops, French Milled Soap is rebatched soap. Rebatching is a preference. I like plain soap, so I don't normally rebatch. Once the soap has cured for 3 days, the last remnants of lye have saponified, so you can add colorants and fragrances without fear of the lye destroying them as in the original soap batch.

Rebatching is a personal preference.

z

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Quick Trace ~ Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998

Hi! I'm a new soap maker, and I love it! I have a question about one of the batch of soaps I made. The recipe was 8 oz beef tallow, 4 oz coconut oil, 4 oz shortening, 2.5 oz lye, and 3/4 C water. I substitued a mixture of extra pure beef tallow and mink oil for the beef tallow.

The recipe said it would trace in 40 minutes, but instead it traced in about 5 minutes! It seems to be ok and useable, but was wondering if you knew why it traced so quickly.

Charlene Smith (charlsmit@aol.com) ---

REPLY:

Date: Sat, 02 Jan 1999

Hi,

Because of the added tallow and the mink oil. Also, the tracing times are the longest times it may take. You do need to watch changing recipes drastically. There is a delicate balance between the fats and lye. Different fats require different amounts of lye to saponify. Changing recipes a little won't harm anything though.

z

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Soap Without Lye? ~ Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 08:06:37 -0500 (EST)

I read your responses regarding the inability to make soap without lye. I am somewhat perplexed as a result of the fact that some time ago I encountered a web site that stated they had a soap making kit that produces glycerine soap without the need for lye. Unfortunately, I had a problem with my computer, and was unable to copy the website address prior to my computer crashing. Was she just pulling my leg, or is there some truth to this?

Please help me out.

RODRIGO F. FORBEZ ---

REPLY:

Date: Sat, 02 Jan 1999

Hi Rodrigo -

They are pulling your leg - sort of - the kits mentioned have glycerin soap bars in them. All you do is melt and add extras, then pour into molds for the final product. In essence you are not really making soap from scratch. You are what soapmakers call rebatching the existing soap by melting and remolding. You can not make any kind of soap without lye. The glycerin soap bars started out as fats and lye.

Hope this helps, z

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Recipes? ~ DATE: Sun, 27 Dec 1998

Hi,

I'm interested in learning how to make bath bombs,salt, and herbal soaps. Is there any way you can E-mail me with some recipes on how to do this. I would really appreciate it!! Thank you so much. Paulette

Paulette ---

REPLY:

DATE: Mon, 28 Dec 1998

Hi, Paulette- You'll find recipes for bath bombs,salt, and herbal soaps on our soap recipes page (http://www.greensense.com/T_SOAP.HTM). If you don't have access to the web, let me know and I'll convert the page to text and email it to you. Good luck with your soapmaking!

-Alan

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Alka Seltzer? ~ Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998

Are bath bombs like Alka Seltzer for your bath?

Susan ---

REPLY:

Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1998

That's a good way to put it - when the bath bomb hits warm or hot water, it has an Alka Seltzer effect.

z

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Lemon Peel Problem ~ Thu, 17 Dec 1998

I made your Vegetable Soap. I added lavender (dried herb and essential oil) to one batch and lemon (fresh peel and essential oil) to the other. The lavender batch set up fine, but the lemon batch still looks like thick pudding 36 hours later. Is there a fix? I'm planning to give the soap as Christmas gifts.

Lynne ---

REPLY:

Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998

The lemon peel is what did it. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, except to maybe rebatch the soap. It will probably take anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks for the soap to cure enough to cut. Put a blanket over the soap and check every 8-10 hours for hardness.

There is something about the concentrated oil in the lemon peel. I have had the same results when using the peel, but my soap came out ok if only using the oil.

z

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Without using tallow ~ Date: Sun, 13 Dec 1998

Can I make transparent soap without using tallow?

Kathyb Kouwe kathk@zlink.net ---

REPLY:

Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998

Yes, you can make transparent soap without tallow. You just get the best results with tallow/lard based soaps. I think there is a non-tallow recipe in the Soap section. Or you can email me and I can get it for you.

zann@idworld.net

z

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Not hardening ~ Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998

Hi,

This is in reply to my original question dated 31 Oct about my batch using castor oil not hardening. The castor oil was not superfatted, my ingredients were all mixed from the beginning. Here it is, 5 weeks later and it's still soft, the consistency of play dough, I was able to form balls. I think at this rate, maybe in 6 months it'll be hard enough!

What should I do different next time? You suggest superfatting, any other tip? Using castor oil takes a longer curing time, but roughly how much longer? Thank you so much for your help

nellie ---

REPLY:

Hi -

You really only should use castor oil when superfatting and I wouldn't go more than 1-2 ounces. It will eventually harden(3-4 months is not out of the question), especially because of the time of year.

I do have many recipes that use palm oil and olive oil instead of coconut oil. You can't exchange one for the other. I agree the lye charts are hard to understand. Why don't you email me privately and I will get them for you.

zann@idworld.net

z

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