Even us soap makers that have been soaping for awhile make a mistake every now and then. I personally get in a hurry or try to move too quickly through the process on occasion.
Have you ever gone to pour your lye solution into your oils and noticed that there was a solid ring of lye in the bottom of your lye solution container? I’ve done this more than once. Check out my latest.
That white, ice-looking thing in the bowl is undissolved lye.
You probably can guess what causes this.
I was lazy about mixing my water while stirring in my lye. I dumped the lye in too quickly with not enough stirring.
How to Correctly Stir Your Sodium Hydroxide Into Water
Start mixing your water before you even sprinkle in your sodium hydroxide. The pre-swirling of the water helps when mixing in the sodium hydroxide.
Start adding your sodium hydroxide while continually stirring. Add about half. Mix really well.
Add the rest. Mix really well.
You should never just dump in your sodium hydroxide and THEN mix. Keep the water swirling.
Fixing the Issue
I personally have had good luck with breaking up the ring of lye and adding warm water to dissolve. It doesn’t break up easily…you have to chop at it with a spoon or something similar (stainless steel). It will eventually dissolve though.
You just have to cross your fingers that your soap doesn’t start thickening up before you add the rest of the lye solution.
UPDATED TO ADD: Wear goggles and gloves when you make your lye solution and when you’re chopping up the lye ring! It will splash. 🙂 Thanks, Carol!
Have you had this happen? What have you done? Post in the comments below!