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To gel or not to gel??


KJohnson
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To avoid gel: Soap cool. Put batches in the fridge. Don't use known heater-uppers such as milks and honey. Those are the tips I know of to try and prevent gel. Oh, some people blow a fan over the soap.

Personally, I prefer gelled soaps. Nice texture. But there are a lot of soapers I respect who don't like to gel. I encourage gel, but if I don't get it, I don't sweat it. Just means I can't cut as soon. :)

ETA: Not letting soaps gel will result in creamier and softer soap (at first). The colors will stay truer / lighter. When soap gels, the colors go darker, IME. The heat of gel speeds up the saponification process, so avoiding it slows things down a bit. But in the end, you've still got soap.

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I don't gel, ever. Occasionally a batch has a mind of it's own and does it anyway (like the peaks swap soap). I soap cold, oils and lye, usually the next day after mixing if not several days after.

I like my colors better if I don't gel. They seem to be richer. If my recipe gels, I get a semi translucent soap that is rubbery soft for up to two months. I hate that. If I don't gel, my recipe is harder out of the mold and it has a creamier texture. Cure time is the same as a gelled batch.

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I can't help gelling. After 2 days in the freezer and another 3 on the floor in a cold winter garage mine gelled once I brought them into the house to cut.

Besides, if I don't gel they can take forever to get out of the mold.

I gave up trying not to gel and now just try not to get partial gels...

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In my first post, I forgot to mention other known heater-uppers to avoid if you don't want to encourage gel. Spicy fo's, for example, often heat things up in the mold. So check your fo's to see if they are known accelerators. These fo's often heat up in the mold.

The other thing you can do to help prevent gel is to use small molds. A large mass of soap is more likely to generate enough heat to go to gel. Smaller soaps, such as individual bar molds, are less likely to gel.

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i always make sure my soap gels. to me, it makes it set up quicker and the color comes out a little darker. I find it too hard to try and prevent the gel, and when i do, some of it ends up gelling anyways, so i get dark spots and light spots in my color then it looks bad.

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I very rarely get a partial gel. I either insulate for soaps I want a gel on, or I soap as cool as possible and refigerate after the pour on soaps I want to prevent the gel (like my milk soaps). Works 99.9% of the time. There is occasion when it's a particularly hot day and I don't get the mold in the fridge in time and end up with the smallest of a partial gel. And even that, if let to sit and cure long enough will eventually even out.

Whether to gel or not really is a personal choice. :) If made right, soap will be soap whether it gels or not. :)

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To avoid gel: Soap cool. Put batches in the fridge. Don't use known heater-uppers such as milks and honey. Those are the tips I know of to try and prevent gel. Oh, some people blow a fan over the soap.

Personally, I prefer gelled soaps. Nice texture. But there are a lot of soapers I respect who don't like to gel. I encourage gel, but if I don't get it, I don't sweat it. Just means I can't cut as soon. :)

ETA: Not letting soaps gel will result in creamier and softer soap (at first). The colors will stay truer / lighter. When soap gels, the colors go darker, IME. The heat of gel speeds up the saponification process, so avoiding it slows things down a bit. But in the end, you've still got soap.

So, not letting soap gell helps colors stay more vibrant, right?

Does it help with the scent at all?

And, just to clarify, the only way to stop gelling is to put it in the frige?

I've always let the soap sit in the mold for 24 hours before cutting, would I have to let it sit in the fridge longer? I would like to try avoiding gel just to see the difference.

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yes, not gelling can help preserve colors and keep uncolored soaps whiter.

no, IMHO it doesn't have any impact on the soap. others may have different opinions tho

no, that's not the only way to prevent gel. really depends on your formula, your FO, and your environment. Some manage to avoid gel by simply putting the mold on a rack to allow air to circulate on all sides. Others do this and add a fan. Others stick it in the basement or other cool room, and of course there is the fridge.

I cannot avoid gel to save my life (see above). But I'm REALLY good at partial gels LOL!

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If you don't gel it, does it stay in the mold the same amount of time?

Sometimes I like the scent I am using until after I unmold the soap and the scent seems to change. I was hoping avoiding gel may help this. As I have posted before, I can't do vanillas at all. It doesn't matter what recipe I use. :undecided

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Thanks mountainmadness....

I never force my soaps to gel...but they always do. So Im wondering ...how to make them not gel.

Kris

I am sorry that I misunderstood you.

IMO- sometimes you cannot stop the gelling depending on your climate and most of all the FO that you use.

In Alaska, esp. in the winter, it is a good thing that I like non-gelled soaps.:D

Jen

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Personally, it's my limited experience that I can unmold my UNgelled soaps a hell of a lot quicker than my gelled soaps. The saponification process may take an extra 24-48 hours for ungelled vs. gelled, but I learned not to zap test them for about 3-4 days after putting them on the rack. Besides that, they can finish up their "thing" cut on my cure rack so I can reuse molds I despirately need for the next batch. I'm pretty sure it's recipe specific on how quickly you can safely unmold them without doing damage cosmetically.

Using a water discount, I can generally unmold within 8-12 hours. But that's me and everybody is different.

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