Zap and pH testing

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    I have some trouble with deciding if my soap is safe to use or not. I’m a newbie soapmaker – so far I’ve made three batches of soap. The first one (Marie’s lots and lots of clay soap recipe) turned out fine (I zaap tested it and felt nothing) and I’ve started to use it. It’s amazing. The third one (Marie’s lemongrass ginger coconut milk oolong soap) turned out fine as well (currently curing). But the second batch makes me a bit worried. I didn’t check my stash before starting so I ended up with less coconut oil than I needed and added olive oil instead (I know, I know, a definite don’t!). I ran the new numbers through soap calc and the resulting soap should be fine, although maybe not as superfatted as I intended (around 4% instead of 5%). The thing is, when I zap tested it I felt something. Not a zap, more like a fizz, but definitely something. I did the red cabbage test and tht was inconclusive. So I bought pH strips to test it. And according to those the soap should be fine.

    The question is, how do I know that the soap is fine? How do I know if it needs to be thrown away? I’ve read all I can find on lye-heavy soap and can’t find any of the signs in any of my soaps (there is some white discolouration, but that is likely soda ash).

    I found this: which states that pH testing is not very reliable anyway, so now I’m even more confused.


    You can always re-batch it if you think it’s lye heavy.

    From what I remember reading about lye heavy soap, you should see it?? White pockets in the soap, I believe.

    I remember a loaf I made once had some funny spots in it when I cut it, but I stuck my tongue on it and no zap. So, I let it cure and used it. It was fine.


    Good morning ladies!

    Throw that “zap” test out the window. It is not reliable. Best way to figure out your soaps ph is to use a ph meter (the strips and what not look great, but not accurate).

    Lye ash: generally will be a uniform layer that covers the entire side (various fragrance oils can actually make it worse!), activate charcoal will do it too.

    Lye heavy: will generally look like crystals and be isolated.

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