I recently had a past student ask for help in figuring out some issues they were having with their CP soap. The last couple of batches had come out more greasy and oily than usual and seemd to be overly superfated. She made sure her measurements were correct (using two scales). She hadn’t started using any new ingredients or batches of oil. I drilled her about this and that and finally asked how she stored her lye. She kept her lye in a bucket from the supplier. She was now down to the bottom of the bucket. I told her to soap using a fresh bucket of lye and her soap came out perfect!
What I suspect is since her lye was stored in a bucket (not in a plastic bag) each time she opened the container and put the lid back on she was letting in fresh air with moisture that the lye was absorbing. She did have a bit of clumping which was a big clue. So she was soaping with lye that had absorbed moisture therefore greatly increasing her superfat. The solution? Keep your lye stored in plastic bags with the air squeezed out. Here’s what I do.
I get the lye from a supplier and make a batch or two of soap.
Pour the lye into a baggy and roll up nice and tight squeezing the air out.
Rinse out the container and store the bagged lye in it.
If you’re a big time soapmaker…going through several containers of lye a week then you probably don’t have to worry about this. But if your lye sits around for a bit between use…make sure you aren’t storing away air when you store your lye.
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Thank you. This was very helpful. I have been wondering about storing the lye in a baggie with the air squeezed out, and then putting the baggie into an airtight plastic container. I have done just the opposite before by storing my lye in the plastic bottle that it came in, and then inserting the bottle into a large baggie and squeezing the air out. That worked fairly well. I will try the putting it in the baggie first next time. I was told that it is all about keeping the humidity (moisture) out.
I’m getting to the bottom of a jug of lye and have noticed my soap has changed consistancy. I think I’ll throw out the little that reminds and start my new jug. I wondered what I was doing different but maybe it was the lye and not me.
I received received the lye in am airtight plastic bag and noticed moisture in the bag after a few weeks. Although I stored it in a cool and dark place. I quess this was just bad luck.
Thank you for sharing! I am new to soaping too and didnt know this could happen. I’ve only used about half of my first 2 lb container of lye so far and my last batch I did notice a few little clumps in the lye but I just figured it must be normal. I’ll repackage it when I make my next batch on Monday.:)
This is a great tip, and I will definitely try it. But I do have a problem with my lye having too much static. When I’ve tried to pour out the lye from the container, the lye beads tend to fly out. Will dumping the lye into a plastic storage bag help get rid of the static? I’ve never had this problem before, so I don’t know how to go about it.
Thank you for sharing this tip. I am new to soaping and was wondering about lye storage.
What a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for this post. I am new to soaping and ordered my supplies, including my lye, and am eagerly waiting for it to arrive. I had no idea this could happen. Now I know what to do when my lye gets here.