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.
The basket is empty until it’s not.
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!
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:
- Don’t procrastinate with soap making.
- 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.