Monday, February 20, 2012

Soap Ash: A Soap Maker's Nemisis

One of the most annoying parts of being a soap maker is the inevitable nuisance of soap ash...

Soap ash? What's soap ash? Can it hurt me?

Soap ash is the thin layer of white powder (or ash) that sometimes appears on handmade cold process soap. Among soap makers, there are a variety of reasons why soap ash appears, from impurities in the water to lye quality to overheating. It seems that most ash occurs when there are a large percentage of hard oils (like palm oil and coconut oil) in the soap, or when the soap does not completely gel (the soap takes on a gel-like consistency while hardening in the mold). Some soap makers have found that they can limit the amount of soap ash on their soap by covering the soap with plastic wrap while it is hardening in the mold, but even then, soap ash can still occur.
The most important thing to know about soap ash is that it is not going to hurt you! It is a natural byproduct of cold process soap, and it usually washes away the first time a bar is used.

Soap ash can be a nuisance, but it is completely harmless and can be easily removed!

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