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What causes my handmade cold process soap to be sticky with sand like grains?

Posted by Chris Greten on

What causes my handmade cold process soap to be sticky with sand like grains?

This has been driving me crazy. I have had a few batches of soap that were sticky on top with what looks like grains of sand.  I have used various recipes with this happening so I don't think it is my particular recipe.  Here is a picture.

What causes my handmade cold process soap to be sticky with sand like grains?

 

You can see the sand in the edge which is closest to you which was the top of the soap.  This soap was made and put in an insulated mold and allowed to cool on the counter.  I am having some trouble with cracks in the soap ( another blog post to come) and as an experiment I made a larger batch of soap and poured into 2 molds. One I left on the counter to gel and one I put in the oven at 170 degrees,  I had read that would force the soap to gel evenly and it would not crack. The one left on the counter cracked as expected. However when it cooled the crack closed up and was barely noticeable. Here are some pictures of that one.

What causes my handmade cold process soap to be sticky with sand like grains?

See the beautiful crack as it starts to heat up and gel!

What causes my handmade cold process soap to be sticky with sand like grains?

 

Here is a photo after it has gelled and it is starting to cool down.

The crack has pretty much closed up and is not too noticeable. So I learned do not touch it and try to fix it! Okay so back to the grains of sand. Remember I said that the batch above I made 2 molds, one on the counter and one on the oven? Well the one in the oven came out great!  It did not crack and there were no grains of sand or stickiness on the top. I thought fantastic, I have solved the problem. So I made this batch.

 

What causes my handmade cold process soap to be sticky with sand like grains?

Yuck can you see the grains?

Here is a close up. 

It is very sticky to the touch and will stay sticky until almost through the curing phase of 6 weeks.  This batch was put in the oven to gel just as the other was.  I have changed ingredients and portions, I have tried in the oven and out. I am stumped as to what is causing this to happen. It is random and unpredictable.  Has anyone had this happen and do you have any tips to share as to why it happens and how to prevent it? Please leave a comment I would love to figure this one out! Thanks so much.


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