Rebatching a Failed Milk Soap

Yesterday, I showed you the way I made a milk soap and I promised we would look at the soap that failed. Today will be the day that I show you how I re-batch a failed soap.

Collect needed items:

Ingredients
Failed Milk Soap from yesterday
Water
Raspberry Fragrance Oil
Concentrated Liquid Purple Raspberry
Equipment
Scale
Soap Spoon
Gloves
Glass or Steel Baking Pan
Dough Knife or Cheese Grater
Mold
Potato Masher
Immersion Blender with a whisk attachment (optional)
Time spent:
Cutting soap into small chunks: 5 minutes
Heating 6 oz of water: 60 seconds
Stirring soap and hot water: 45 seconds
Heating soap in oven at 200° Fahrenheit: 30 minutes
Mashing heated soap: 2 minutes
Heating soap in oven at 200° Fahrenheit: 30 minutes
Mashing heated soap: 2 minutes
Adding additional fragrance and color: 30 seconds
Stirring until completely smooth: 3 minutes

When I pulled the plastic bag holding this soap out of the mold, there was a brown gelatinous mass under the soap and then I knew that my soap had failed. After making faces and scowling at the soap, I grabbed a stainless steel steam table pan that I use for other projects. I unwrapped the soap and dumped the soap and gelatinous goop into the pan. Tossing the bag into the trash can, I walked over to the oven and turned the temperature to 200° Fahrenheit. I grabbed my soaping gloves and a dough knife that I use for cutting soap.

Now that I was armed to deal with my soap, I started slicing the soap with the dough knife. As I made my third slice about 3/4 inch into the soap, the soap started leaking. Ack! This white-ish fluid mixture flowed out a hole right in the center of the soap. While I think this was very cool, I’m glad I was cutting the soap in the pan. According to our Technical Support Team, this fluid is a mixture of sugars, glycerin and water.

I chopped my failed soap until all of the soap was in small chunks, but you can also use a cheese grater. I poured boiling water over the soap and placed it in the oven. Now, this is where you do not mimic my actions since I made a mistake. I used 1 – 1/2 cups of water when I really only needed maybe 1/2 cup at most! This was too much water and made my soaps shrink quite a bit as they dried.

The soap was placed in the oven for 30 minutes to cook. After the 30 minutes, I stirred the soap and tried to break down the larger soap clumps. After stirring for about 60 seconds, I grabbed the whisk attachment for my immersion blender and mixed for another 60 seconds. This time the soap looked much smoother but it still had lots of soap clumps that I didn’t want. The soap went back into the oven for another 30 minutes.

This time, the soap had a puffy appearance and after stirring it was determined to not have anymore soap clumps. I poured the soap into a 1 gallon bucket so I had an easy place that I could add fragrance and color. I added more fragrance because after the process of rebatching, the soap did not smell like raspberries anymore. I added more of the Concentrated Purple Raspberry color because I wanted to have a pinkish color.

I used the whisk to mix the additions into the soap completely. Unfortunately, I forgot that to use a whisk means that I added air to my soap. Whoops! Once everything was completely mixed, I poured my soap into the mold and let it rest for 24 hours.

The next morning I cut the soap into bars. The soap was still very soft and I was worried that I had messed up the re-batch. I grabbed my soap and took it to our Technical Support Team and when I showed them my soap, they promptly burst out into giggles. After the giggles had abated I learned that while my soap was fine, I had made a floating soap by whipping my soap and adding too much water. So I headed back to the kitchen and stacked the soap to allow good air circulation. I allowed the soap to cure for several days before slicing up the soap for samples.

Now you have a great example of how to re-batch your soap and things you really shouldn’t do when re-batching.

I hope my educational experience has been helpful to you, because I learned a lot!

Finished soap as it air dries.

The brown gelatinous mass at the bottom of my soap.
Cutting the soap in the pan.
A close up of the fluid flowing from my soap.
Using the dough knife to cut the soap.

This soap is almost ready to go into the oven.

Hot water.

Soap in the oven.
Stirring the soap after 30 minutes in the oven.
The soap is still very lumpy and needs 30 more minutes.
The soap in a mixing bucket.

Adding color to the soap.
Chopped soap and hot water.

Soap after 30 minutes in the oven.
Stirring the soap with the electric whisk.
Stirring the soap after 60 minutes in the oven.
Adding fragrance to the soap.

Soap cooling in the mold.
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Rebatching a Failed Milk Soap, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

6 thoughts on “Rebatching a Failed Milk Soap”

  1. Thanks for braving the experience of rebatching for us! It gives me so much more confidence that I can save failed batches! :-)

    (PS- Most of your pictures look like you’re mixing some sort of delicious raspberry/strawberry custard-like dessert… now I’m hungry!)

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    1. CanfieldFive,
      HAHA! I think this is one soap I don’t want to eat or taste. Doing the “repair” to this batch was so interesting. I am so sure we learn more from our failures than we do from our successes, especially after this batch.

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  2. Hi, Do you know what it was that made your soap fail? I have had this same type of experience on a couple of batches of goat milk soap. Just wondering if it was the milk…and why it seperates like that.

    Thanks,
    Lisa

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    1. Lisa,
      It is a combination of being a milk soap and the temperature accelerating. Saponification is exothermic meaning it creates heat during the reaction. Milk is temperature sensitive. This means we should pour more shallowly so the soap can’t build up heat inside while saponification happens.

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  3. Hi again, So let me get this straight. Using a mold that is flat and wide instead of a loaf could eliminate this problem is that correct?
    thanks,

    Lisa

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    1. This is correct. A shallow or flat and wide mold is much better to use instead of a loaf mold. This will help eliminate the problem.

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