Wednesday, February 5, 2014

First Trouble in Soaping Paradise

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As you all know, I am now into soaping.  I like the fact that I don't have to rely on a machine to perform well to get a good result for my hobby.   Quilting was great and I am not stopping but the sewing machine sometimes don't like me.  With soaping,  I should be able to just learn from mistakes and try not to do them again.  For my first two handmade from scratch soap, I have found two troubles.

These are the soaps that are right now curing on my windowsill.  They are curing nicely but things are not looking as good as I had expected.  The swirling are looking fine and gives that handmade look.  You can  also tell the different techniques used.  But the texture of the soaps are not what I like to see.

The above picture is of my first batch of soap and the dried buds did not stay.  To get the soap drying uniformly I have been rotating them and they kept on falling off.  I must have sprinkled them at the wrong time.  If you look at them closely, there are shiny glittery speckles on top that were not meant to be there and the dried buds that had fallen off left dark brown spots.  Not pretty at all.

For the second batch, the swirls turned out just fine but if you look closely, a lot of white powdery substance is lining the top and specially in the grooves.  I hope this is only cosmetic.  I will have to go check for any remedy for this.  Still have 2 more weeks to wait and I can try the first batch out and check on how they will perform as soaps.

Anybody who knows about these problems are very welcome to give me your suggestions and recommendations so I don't repeat these mistakes.  Thank you very much.

Now I am off to read about trouble shooting.

Update February 6, 2014:

I panicked too early,  except for the brown stains from the fallen buds, the glittery stuff and powdery stuff are showing signs of clearing and they are just cosmetic according to soaping experts.  They are things I can just wipe off. These are not "real" failed soaps.   In fact, I learned that most soapers encounter these a lot.  Still have 2 to 3 more weeks to wait, then I get to try how they will perform.


  1. Your soaps look great, but I understand that you'd prefer the surface to be free of any blemishes. :-)
    To make "toppings" stick, you have to press it a little bit onto the wet soap.
    With regards to the white stuff, it's soda ash and is completely harmless. I've found that the best way to remove it is by steaming, and the only way to completely prevent it is by covering the surface so that it is not exposed to air. However, covering it will make the surface look unattractive, unless you use bubble wrap for a honeycomb effect. Not all recipes, though, will give you soda ash. :-)

  2. Thank you so much soapjam. I will keep that in mind for my next batch and see how it will be.

  3. I think these soaps look great too! To prevent ash, I spritz my tops with rubbing alcohol immediately after pouring and then every 1/2 hour for the first 90 mins. Then I also spritz a couple of times a day for the first few days after that. It does take a bit of babysitting, but it has really helped deter ash formation.

  4. Thank you very much for your tip Cee, I will do that for my next batch. I sprayed alcohol once only right before I covered it with plastic wrap but did not do it again. Do you cover the soap with a towel over the plastic wrap?

    1. If I have a fancy top that I don't want to squish, then I don't cover it and just spritz with RA as above. If I've made the soap in my divider mold, and there is no danger of messing up the top, then I do cover it with plastic wrap but still spritz with RA as above, just to be on the safe side.

    2. Now I can't wait to make another batch Cee. I am thinking of doing your leopard spotted swirl next.