Hot Process Soap Separated in the Making

Yesterday, I had a separation anxiety – of a different kind. My hot process soap separated. The oil-like liquid was floating on top of a curd-like chunky mess that sunk to the bottom. It looked almost as if the saponification had reversed itself (which is impossible) and my lye and oils parted their ways.

Although I never had anything drastic like this happen in my soap lab, I never discard a possibility of unpredictable events. The timing for this disaster was impeccable. The fact is, that for the first time in years, I ran out of soap… My soap basket was empty. And my family was on our last two bars of soap. That’s it. That’s why I became so anxious when the separation happened.

Empty soap basket.
My empty soap basket.

The basket is empty until it’s not.

Nicky won’t stand for empty baskets. But she’ll sit for a picture.

Having used homemade soap for years, I have become intolerant of the carcinogenic garbage sold at so called “Health and Beauty” departments. Last time I washed my hands with a commercial soap, my hands were burning all afternoon. And I am not the allergic type. I couldn’t wait to get home and wash off that horrible toxic waste. That is why, being low on my homemade soap supply puts me in a real predicament. This kind of procrastination is unacceptable!

Yesterday, I was making a double batch of hot process soap. My mistake was that I overheated it. And when I saw it separating, I was not prepared for it. The temperature was over 200° F. Normally, the temperature in hot process should be about 180° F and should never exceed the 200-degree mark. I could’ve scorched it! Fortunately that didn’t happen. I pulled the crock pot out of the heating unit and let the mixture cool at the ambient temperature. Later in the evening, I was trying to come up with a strategic location to dump this mess. I couldn’t think of any. The separated substance was cooling in my crock pot overnight only to surprise me with a new development the next morning. It solidified! And in spite of its crumbly texture, it still lathered and cleansed my hands without any oily residues. It’s still a soap!

The reconstituted soap has a texture of shortening.

Looks like I won’t be making bars out of this one because it’s so crumbly, but I can dilute it with water and make a liquid soap. I don’t want to make a laundry soap out of it because it has a good amount of extra virgin olive oil and my last chunk of deer tallow that makes soap rich in very valuable skin-soothing palmitate.

Two lessons learned:

  1. Don’t procrastinate with soap making.
  2. Don’t overheat your hot process soap.

Today, I made a normal batch of hot process soap to hold us over until the cold process soap cures.

2 Replies to “Hot Process Soap Separated in the Making”

  1. Your article just for real saved my batch!! I was googling and watching it volcano!! The minute I read you took it out of the crockpot to cool I jumped up and did the same!! And it wasn’t 10-15 it looked like reg ole hot process soap!! Thank you love!!

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