How To Save Seized Soap

smooth soap 150x150 How To Save Seized SoapNormally when I make soap, I use the cold process method. This means that once the oils and lye solution are combined, I do not heat up the soap batter. I simply pour it into the mold lined with freezer paper, cover with plastic wrap and some towels, and let it set up overnight. The first picture shows how it usually looks when I remove it from the mold. Nice, smooth, beautiful soap.

But what happens when you add a fragrance in your soap that creates instant solid soap, or as the soapmakers say, seizes the soap? Let me tell you a story.

I’ve had one customer who has been missing her apple soap. I made one called “Applicious” last summer, and it was a great combination of both red and green apple fragrances. In my notes I mentioned that I “hardly had time to stir in the green swirl color before I glopped it in the mold.” Ok, so I remember being able to add a swirl color and the soap did turn out pretty great, right? This time I figured, why not make a double batch of this? I’m sure it will sell.

From previous experience I knew it would start to set up quicker than normal, but with double the amount of soap, I had no chance of getting it in the mold at the rate it was going. I was even going to add a green swirl again. Ha! I glopped and mashed to no avail.

Here is where you need to pay attention, soapmakers. I had to dig it all out, put it back in the pot and stick it in a warm oven (220 degrees for about an hour or so for this double batch) to help it loosen back up. Now if I had been smart, I would have skipped the step where I attempted to get it in the mold and put it straight into the oven. This is now called hot process soap because I added heat to it.

apple soap1 150x150 How To Save Seized SoapIt didn’t look very nice before I cut it. The great news: the soap still smells awesome and it won’t take quite as long to cure. The not-so-great news is that the texture won’t be quite as smooth as the cold process soap.

apple soap2 150x150 How To Save Seized SoapHowever, it did turn out with a rather interesting mottled appearance, and I spiffed it up even more with the powdered mica stamp. Some soapmakers use this technique with all their soaps to speed up the curing time, or because you don’t need to add as much fragrance if you add it after heating up the soap. It’s definitely not my favorite way to do it, but it sure helps save the seized soap.

6 thoughts on “How To Save Seized Soap

  1. I love your stamps….where do you get them!?

    I just made a batch with a new FO and it siezed a little. I’m hoping it will still be ok once I unmold and slice it….we’ll see!

  2. Shhh! It’s a big secret! I just buy regular rubber stamps at the craft store. I’ve heard the lye will break down the rubber over time, but so far they are working great!

    I’m sure your soap will be fine, as long as you don’t have a bunch of air pockets. I have a few in the apple soap, but most of it looks pretty good.

  3. How very cool! So you just dip it in mica and then stamp it on?

    My soap turned out fine after a rebatch….it had little pocket of FO here and there

  4. I had a batch sieze and had to glop it in the mold as well. It turned out okay when I cut it but I am not thrilled with how the top is since I like to have a wavy top or whipped looking top. I read on another site that if you stir the heck out of it the soap “should” soften up again. I’m too scared to try that since I was as least able to glop it in and pound the mold down. I don’t seem to have any seizing issues with pure essentials, only the FO.

  5. @Debi – A good soap supplier should have notes on how their fragrance behaves in cold-process soap. If you have a lot of issues, it could also be the temperature of your soap batter. I like to keep my temps around 85-90 degrees.

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