Soap making is an amazing process. To me, it’s so fascinating how something as dangerous as lye can be tamed by a little saponification into a moisturizing, fragrant bar of soap.
I’ve made several batches of cold process soap now without really experiencing any big problems. I was overdue for one, and it finally happened. I experienced my first soap mishap Tuesday night. Everything was going fine with the soap, Cucumber Cantaloupe scented, until a couple of hours after it was poured into the mold – a long, deep crack developed right down the center of the loaf. Luckily, there’s piles of information about soap catastrophes on the internet and even a method for fixing cracks.
Cracks are caused by the soap getting a little too hot, and while they don’t hurt the soap they do make it a little less attractive. There are several things that can contribute to an unusually high temperature in soap, such as: the mold that’s being used, certain fragrances, too much insulation, the ingredients in the soap, or maybe the lye and oils started out at too high of a temperature. There were a few differences about this particular batch of soap than ones I’ve made before. The fragrance was new, as was the soap mold. Plus, I added a little Vitamin E to the mixture. I was also trying out a couple of new things like, a green oxide colorant and a little zirconium cluster on top of the soap to give it a little sparkle. I’m not sure exactly which one was the culprit, but I think it was most likely the mold or fragrance. The good thing is that it was easily fixed.
before picture showing just how deep it was.
What you need:
A plastic storage bag
Spray bottle containing alcohol
1) Spritz the cracked area with the alcohol.
2) Using the storage bag, either pat or rub back and forth along the crack.
Depending on the severity of the crack, you may have to repeat steps 1 and 2 a couple of times. After three repetitions of the steps, the top of the soap was almost completely smooth.
And by the time it was cut it into bars the next night, I couldn’t even tell where the crack had been.