Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Soap Volcano!!

I took some time this holiday weekend to catch up on some soap ideas I have had drawn out but haven't had time to make.  My first three batches turned out just as I had wanted them to - I'll write a post later when I have time to clean them up and get some good light for photos.  

The troublemaker was the next batch I attempted to make.  My fourth (and last) batch of the night was a remake of a hot process lavender soap with alkanet root.  I make it in my BB vertical mold, because I like that it keeps all of the edges nice and smooth, even though it is hot process.

{warning - this may or may not be a boring post - I didn't think to take any photos of this process, so it's going to be a "pictures with words" post :) }

I had run out of bowls and equipment to infuse my soaping oils with the alkanet root, so I had the brilliant idea to just infuse the alkanet root using my crockpot while I was working on my other soaps.  The infusion went great, although I needed a second pair of hands to help me strain out the alkanet root powder (thanks Kris!).  The oils were super hot, and I put them back in the crock pot to stay warm.  I mixed my essential oil blend and put it the table next to the oils so I didn't forget to put it in the oils.  Two seconds later, I knocked the cup over, and the whole soaping area still smells like lavender.  I suppose it could be worse - it could smell like neem oil!

The oils were HOT, though - around 180 degrees!  Since the soap batter over 200 degrees while it's cooking, I had the brilliant idea to just mix the 170 degree lye mixture with my 180 degree oils to save myself some time.  Luckily, I stayed by the crock pot to clean up after I had stick-blended the lye and oils, because less than 10 minutes later, this mixture of blue-purple beads started to volcano out of the crock pot and spill EVERYWHERE!  So, I yelled for my husband, stirred the soap back down into the crock pot, and took a couple deep breaths.  I also turned the crock pot down to low.

Luckily, the soap in the crock pot kept cooking and went through the normal phases.  It eventually didn't zap, and I got it in the mold without a problem.  I guess all's well that ends well, eh?

I've never seen a soap volcano, though, and I've definitely learned a thing or two from that harrowing experience!  If only I'd had the presence of mind to grab my camera so I could record it for posterity.  Hopefully I don't have another volcano to record...



  1. Lucky that you ha your husband that could help you. I had one volcano over a year ago. I used some fruit in the soap (don´t remember what) and forgot to put it in the fridge. I "forgot" the soap and when I got back to see if the soap would be warm, it was all mushy and parts of it on the table.

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  3. Wow, it sounds like quite an adventure from beginning to end, but a great save Chrissy!

  4. What an adventure,Chrissy! But why did you mix l/w and oils at so high temp.? I mean it's really high! I'm glad everything turned out fine for you and it really would have been great to see the pictures of volcano eruption :-)

  5. Oh my gosh - I definitely didn't think through my process for the hot process soap before I started. I think I had soap making fatigue :) I had completely forgotten about the heat generated in the saponification process and how it would impact the temp of the soaps (and push it way over the levels I wanted). Good news is I won't make this mistake again (and also that I was around to monitor the soap volcano so it didn't require a massive clean-up later).

  6. Glad you were able to save it, Chrissy!

  7. I'm glad that you were able to save the soap, Chrissy! I've never experienced a soap volcano, but it sounds pretty freaky. Good thing you were nearby and able to minimize the damage!

  8. Oh wow! I am glad everything worked out in the end. That must of been pretty scary. I never had a soap volcano happen to me, and I pray that I don't get one! That certainly would have freaked me out :)


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