Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A failed batch... and how I (hopefully) saved it.

Oh, well, a failed batch happens every now and then, it's part of the game and when it does, I always try to think positively about all the things I can learn from it instead of complaining or getting sad.

This time, I tried to make an Aloe Vera refreshing soap, scented with mint and eucalyptus. I wanted to make it HP, so that the strong, fresh scent of mint could stay almost intact in the final soap. WRONG! The problem is, with Aloe Vera you have to count it as part of your water, so you kind of have to discount water from the lye solution, in order to make up for the water in the Aloe juice, which is what I did. I also used a high percentage of unsaturated fats to make the soap softer and justify the absence of part of the water (20% to be precise). Well, it didn't work. I made my soap and brought it to trace as usual, then stuck it in the oven at 50°C for 20 mins, as usual. I took it out to stir a little, and it looked awesome, so I switched off the oven and put the soap back in for another 20 mins... but when I took it out again it was very solid, extremely difficult to mix with the remaining ingredients and way too hard to pour it into a mould!!! DISASTER!!!

In a panic attack, I decided to try to incorporate the EOs and aloe juice anyway, hoping that, mixing like crazy, I could have made it into a fairly homogeneous mix... and I thought I kind of did it, but when I tried to unmould the thing, I was horrified to be presented with this ugliness:

failed batch of HP soap
I didn't know exactly what to do with it, it smelled so good I didn't want to just throw it away, so I decided, after careful consideration, to keep a couple of pieces as samples, and to rebatch the whole thing immediately, to see if the soap would mix a little better. So I cut it into small chunks and put it on a very low heat in my soap pot:

rebatching failed HP soap
I added 1/2 cup of aloe juice and heated it up until melted (it only took a few minutes. Then I added again a few drops of EOs, just in case some evaporated in the heating process. I poured it into a mould and let it cool down, then as usual I froze it for about un hour, took it out, unmoulded and cut, and what I got now is this:

rebatched and saved aloe soap!
It's now very soft because of the extra Aloe jiuce, and as you can see, it's not completely smooth, but I'm hoping it's at least usable. I have to say it smells great, so I'm really hoping it turns out something nice for the hot summer days. I'll keep you posted on this one.


  1. I didn't think your first soap looked ugly - in fact, some of my supposed ugliest soaps are quite beautiful once wet!


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