Friday, March 13, 2009

Soap Diaries, Chapter 3 - The Mess....and smell....

On first glance this morning all seemed well with my soap. This is what I woke up to. Nice, solid, not pretty, but not too smelly chunks of soap. Maybe with some more curing the smell will lessen. (If you aren't familiar with previous problems you might want to start at chapter 1).

Despite my daughter's description of it as "throw-up", I forge ahead, determined to cut and cure it. But, when I pick it up to turn it out of the mold, I find a gloppy mess that has accumulated in the bottom of the mold. (I was so disappointed I didn't take a picture). Basically, the middle of the underside looks a little mushy and there is a small pool of oil. Bright Orange oil, by the way. Oh, and a hideoderous smell!
Disappointed, I go to the Miller website to search their troubleshooting pages. I find that the same problem that caused my wrinkly, yet harmless, top also contributed to the oily mess on the bottom of my mold. Basically I over insulated during the "saponification" (go to gel) stage. I should have removed the insulation when I saw the soap had gelled. *sigh*. Now, the only thing to do is "re-batch".

Well, what that entails is melting down the soap (which will never be considered cold process again) and re-molding it. Almost like a hot process soap, I think. ( I haven't fully explored that technique yet but, maybe in a future diary post.) This is not what I want to do, but I really have no choice.

I, NEVER one to give up, am determined to forge ahead. I am not a quitter and I won't throw out what maysomeday be, although continually doubtful, useful soap.

Now, remember the smell that I encountered when I was making the soap? I didn't give any effort to describing it because, honestly, it defies description. I can't quite put words to it. Its a heavy smell, almost putrid like, kindof kicks you in the back of the throat. Luckily the smell does not permeate my kitchen and is only noticeable within an arms reach of the soap. But, hope springs eternal and maybe it will be better with the re-batch.

After reading re-batching instructions on the Miller site I preheat my oven to 200 degrees and get out my soap pot. I take one of the molds and turn it out. Immediately I am engulfed in the awful smell. Honestly, it makes the eyes water and the throat close up. Now, the rebatch instructions explain that melting the soap in the oven will take a couple of hours. I see this as an opportunity to hunt down some scent.

I know, I was trying not to use scent and keep the soap pure, but I KNOW my daughter will not allow this soap within 10 feet of her if it smells like this. So, off I go to Hobby Lobby. The scents that are available at Hobby Lobby are not the best, but, in a pinch, they are what are available to me.

I pick up two scents. Vanilla and Grapefruit.

I don't know why, but I failed to photograph this step. When I come home and check the pot the soap is almost all melted. It stirs up beautifully (as opposed to the mushy mess I expected, probably because it was not cured at all), but still has that bad smell. I pour the entire bottle of vanilla scent (only .5 oz), stir, and then place it in another mold. I dump the second batch into the pot (uggugghssheesh that smell!), and place it in the oven. In a couple of hours I repeat with the grapefruit scent. Well, I can't tell but I think the smells are worse. One with the heavier scent of vanilla under "the smell" and one with the sharp grapefruit over "the smell". I soldier on, not being one to quit, and cover the re-batched batches of soap.

Now, instead if it looking like "throw-up" it now looks like a dark caramel, but not as smooth. Yes, caramel and I'm sticking to it no matter how many times my kids say it looks like poop! It looks mushier, not as smooth as it did when it was cold process.

On a bright side, when I was cleaning up, the soap made wonderful bubbles and didn't make my hands stink! Once again, hope springs eternal.

Tomorrow I'll tackle unmolding and cutting. Stay tuned...who knows what will happen. (those of you worried about me, don't be worried. I am now on a mission to see this through. I SERIOUSLY doubt anything useful will come of this soap, but now, it's like a trainwreck and I can't wait to see what happens next!)

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