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Ash


Scented
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Just a question. I'm guessing it's ash, but on slab molds the top tends to discolor and has more of a powdery look to it. So is this ash? And why would it develop after the process and is it common when pouring slabs? Is there a way to get rid of it and keep the tops?

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Yes, it's ashy. Why it forms and how to prevent it are the million dollar questions!

Some people only get it occasionally, some never, some every batch.

Do a search and you should come up with all sorts of remedies (check other forums as well) - which work for some people and not for others. They're all worth a shot!

No matter what I do, I get it. After I cut the bars. Go figure.

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Hey Scented, I only get ash when I use my slab molds and I only get it around the center bar and barely on the insides of the outside bars when I use my kelsei 9 bar mold. When I use the wooden slab molds it ashes really well. Now that I swirl most soaps, it only seems to enhance the swirls. I have also found that the colder the basement the more it ashes.

HTH

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Dang it Carrie lol! I have a wooden slab mold and I've just hacked off the tops of some 50+ soaps to get a better color. Some of those tops I liked too :tongue2: I don't get it in the log molds, also made in wood. Wondering if it's not something going on in the curing process. I don't peek that much any more and it stays covered on the norm for 12 hours or more. Wondering if I should cover it more, because I'm thinking it's getting too much exposure to air some how.

You slabbed the strawberry musk, right? It didn't have any ash on it.

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Funny you asked about the time. I have soap in my Misty Creek slab mold and am going to leave it 24 hours instead of my usual 12-18. I cover my molds and then wrap in towels. Now I'm not going to even peek till 24 hours! But I also get ash after I cut the bars. Interestingly though, only on the "top" surface. go figure.

I read that just laying a piece of waxed paper loosely over the tops of the bars while they cure will cut down on ash, so I'll try that to.

All this leads me to think it's some sort of evaporation issue, but don't know.

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I personally don't think it has anything to do with whether you cover, don't cover, gell, don't gell, yada, yada, yada. In the same recipe I will sometimes get ash, and sometimes don't, soaping same day, just different FO's or EO's. I sometimes get ash immediately and sometimes within a couple weeks. I give all my bars a good borax bath after a couple weeks to get rid of the ash and polish them up, that's about the only thing I know of that helps, as I don't like cutting my bars all apart by trimming all the ash. I use slabs and log molds, no difference!! :D

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Interesting there Chris R. Think I'll try something similar or experiment with it and see what comes out of it. I was just getting tired of trimming tops, losing a good portion of the bar (except some had some great looks underneath lol) and using the waste in soap balls.

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LOL Scented. That strawberry musk swirl that was about 5 shades of pink...

That was one shade of pink and the ash on the swirl made all different colors as the ash affected each part of the swirl differently.

Unless of course you got a bar with no ash, I think I made a batch in the kelsei and that one just doesn't ash as well. You may have gotten one of those. I keep mine covered in two towels for 24 hours before I unmold. I don't peek.

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I just fill my sink with some cool water, throw in a handfull of borax (I don't measure, but probably about 1/3 cup) stir it around and swish a bar at a time and kind of buff it with a nylon scrubby or dish cloth, rinse it with cool water and put it up to dry. I try to make sure thetr aren't a lot of bubbles on the bar, if there is a kind of wipe them with a paper towel a bit. It gets rid of the ash, smooths out the edges and it actually seems to produce a harder bar, faster!! Not sure why, just my observations. Of course if you have a nice swirly top to your slab, it may smooth it out more than you want, so in that case you may have to live with the ash tops. Pain in the ass to do, but for me it's worth the extra effort for a great polished soap!! :D

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Chris, after they "drip dry" do you then wipe them with a dry cloth or paper towel?

I'm gonna have to try this. Unfortunately I just trashed all the bars I hated (I have very limited space, and am just making stuff for me anyway) so I don't have anything to experiment on! But I soaped today, so more bars are coming, and I'm sure ASH will come along for the ride!!

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Personally, I embrace the ash. Sorta like frosting with soy wax candles, KWIM? :D However, if you hate it, there are a couple things you can do to prevent it forming on the top surface of your bars.

1. After molding the batter, cover the top surface with a piece of plastic wrap. Cling Wrap -- and I mean lay it directly on the top surface of the soap batter.

2. As the freshly-poured soap batter is thickening, spritz with alcohol. Zaps the ash before it even has a chance to get well-formed.

As I said, though, I've quit messing with trying to eliminate it. My customers don't think it's any big deal ... I use it to sort of "decorate" my soap tops and they don't know any better and haven't complained. In fact, one customer at market today (musta been legally blind) told me she thought my soaps were all so pretty. Now that I think about it, thought I saw her coke-bottle glasses were in her HAND, not on her head ... oh yeah ... :laugh2:

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