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SOAPMAKING - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  Melt and Pour Soap Base – General Questions  
  Can I melt my MP Soap Base on a stove top?

The best way to melt your melt and pour soap is with a double boiler.

Melting soap on direct heat will likely cause the soap to burn.

If you do not have a double boiler, you can use a microwave and a microwave safe glass container. If you chose this method, stir every 30 seconds. Do not allow your soap to boil.

Can I put my MP Soap Base in the freezer?

Yes, you can put it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes. If you completely freeze your soap, you will risk it sweating when it returns to room air. Try to avoid the freezer fan (this causes sweating also). Some soaps with high water content (NOT Crafter’s Choice MP Soaps) will stay cloudy after being in the freezer.

Can I use a crock pot to melt my MP Soap Base?

A crock pot will not work...you will likely burn the soap. A roasting pan will work as long as it has a temperature dial that will go as low as 110º-120º F.

I do not like the way my mp soap turned out...help!

That is okay...you can remelt it!

Is there a natural smell to MP Soap Base?

MP Soap Base should have a slightly sweet smell and frankly, smell like soap. It should not smell rancid or foul.

Is there an easy way to cut up a block of MP Soap Base?

Try a bread dough scraper. You can cut slices and chunks from the block. It is not sharp so you should not cut yourself. Note: Do not use a knife or sharp instrument. Your hands will get slippery from the soap. One slip and you could cut yourself.

My block of Clear MP Soap Base looks cloudy. Is this normal or did I get a bad batch?

This is normal due to the size and thickness of the block. Once you slice off some soap, you will see the true color and clarity.

My bar of MP Soap has white crystals on it...Help! Is this mold?

Unless you added an additive that can mold, it is unlikely these crystals are mold.

The crystals form when your soap dehydrates and dries out. It is most commonly seen during the humid months when the soap sweats and then dehydrates quickly. It will happen if you accidentally boil the soap in the microwave while heating. The best way to prevent this is to wrap the soap as soon as you un-mold it.

My MP Soap has bubbles on the bottom...help!

After you pour the soap, immediately spritz the surface with fine mist of rubbing alcohol. This immediately pops the bubbles. Your soap will not smell like alcohol...the smell quickly disappears.

My MP Soap turned brown after 2 weeks. Why?

You most likely used a fragrance that contains vanilla. I recommend using the Crafter’s Choice Vanilla Color Stabilizer, which will stop the process of vanilla browning in soap.

Some floral and spice type ingredients will turn yellow, orange or brown. There is no product to stop this process. Instead try to work the color change into your design.

What does MP Soap Base mean?

MP Soap Base stands for Melt and Pour Soap Base. This is a special type of soap that has been designed to be melted, crafted and formulated to accept water based additives. When it re-hardens it is ready to use.

Some MP Soap Base formulas are all natural and meets the FDA and public definition of soap.

Some MP Soap Base formulas have additives that enhance the clarity and performance of the soap. The general public considers this product to be soap but the FDA defines this soap as a cosmetic. Both are safe and are popular for different reasons.

What is Glycerin MP Soap Base?

Glycerin Melt and Pour Soap Base a type of Melt and Pour Soap Base. Glycerin is in the soap base either because it is a natural byproduct of the soap making process or it has been incorporated as an additive.

What is the best method for melting soap?

In an uncovered double boiler.

Why is my soap sweating?

The official word for this sweating is "Glycerin Dew". Most MP Soap Bases contain glycerin. Glycerin is a humectant which means that it will naturally attract moisture in the air to itself. Humid climates experience the issue the most. Overheating soap in the microwave is the number one cause of glycerin dew because it disrupts the water balance in the soap. Adding too much fragrance or additional oils can be another reason.

 
     
  Additives  
  Can I add palm oil or shea butter to my MP Soap Base?

It is not recommended because the oils will likely go rancid or mold in the soap base. They will also greatly decrease your lather.

You will see soap making recipes that call for oils and butters, such as those you mention, but those recipes are most likely cold or hot process soap recipes.

Does my MP Soap with duck embed need a warning label? Does it need to go through special lead testing?

Yes, you will want to put a warning label on the soap, especially for children under 3 years old. The soap does not need lead testing. This is a requirement of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Your soap likely falls within the FDA’s jurisdiction.

How much of an additive can I add to my MP Soap Base?

You need to contact your supplier because additives often come in different concentrations. You vendor has the best information on what you have purchased. Do not assume that two products with the same name, have the same concentration. Confirm your information first hand.

My additives are floating in my MP Soap Base...help!

Depending on the additive, floating is a common problem. You can use one of two soap making techniques to over come this dilemma.

  • Melt the soap, add color, fragrance and additives. Leave soap in mixing container and cover with plastic wrap. Once the soap reaches 115ºF. Stir once and pour into the mold. The soap will re-harden quickly, not allowing additives to float.
  • Use an MP Soap Base that is designed to suspend additives. Crafter’s Choice Clear Suspension Soap Base is an excellent and popular choice.

Why do some people add stearic acid to MP Soap Base?

Some people add this to make the bar harder. In general they add 3%. Depending on your formula, it may cloud the soap and/or decrease lather. In some all natural bases, it can actually soften the base because it increases the percentage of fatty acids.

Will additives grow mold in MP Soap Base?

Some will and some will not. When in doubt….preserve it!

 
     
  Colorants  
  Can I use fabric dye to color soap?

It is highly recommended that you only use FDA approved cosmetic color additives in soap and cosmetics. Soap has an exemption from the FDA color additive rule but that does not mean you can use anything to color your soap. Soap meeting this definition and exemption, falls under the Consumer Product Safety Commission rules. In the event of a problem, the CPSC will likely say that the FDA has established safety guidelines for color additives in skincare products.

Help...my layered soap colors are blending.

The migration or "bleeding" of color is because you used a dye. Dyes are great because they produce bright, stained glass clear color. Dyes are water based. In MP Soap Base dyes will migrate together in layered soap. If you do not want your colors to migrate or "bleed" you will need to use a cosmetic grade pigment, lake color or non migrating mica.

How are Iron Oxides, Pigments, Dyes, Lakes, and Mica Colors different?

Iron Oxides (sometimes called pigments) are generally considered to be all natural and will not migrate in soap. They tend to be very dull and earth like in color. The red tends to be more of a brick red and the yellow more of a mustard yellow.

Dyes are water based colors. They are bright and vibrant. They look much like stained glass on a church window. They will always migrate in mp soap. They are the only color that allows a clear bar of soap to stay clear.

Lakes are dyes that have been processed with aluminum, barium or calcium. They are bright colors that, when used in moderation, will not migrate in mp soap base.

Mica can sparkle brilliantly. They can also have a soft frosted appearance. Some micas migrate while others do not.

We have a great video that discusses cosmetic colors, Click Here to view.

How do I know if I used too much color?

If your soap bubbles are the color of your soap, you have used too much color. Your soap bubbles should always be white.

How do I make a red bar of soap?

A true red bar of soap can only be made with a clear soap base. If you try to make it with white soap, it will turn pink. It is sort of like mixing white paint and red paint....you will always get pink paint. If you would like to make a red bar of mp soap that you cannot see through, color your clear soap red and then add a very small piece of white soap. This will cloud the clear base and your soap will stay red.

 
     
  Fragrance and Essential Oils  
  Are all fragrance oils water clear?

No, fragrances can vary greatly in color. They can be dark brown, amber, yellow, orange, green, clear. The color is related to the combined ingredients.

Are EO's safer than FO's?

Not necessarily. Since EO's are all natural and not chemically manipulated, they may not be as stable in some applications. You will also find that if someone has an allergy to a certain plant, the reaction may be exaggerated with the essential oil since it is a concentrated form of the plant material.

Can all fragrances be used in soap making?

In most cases, fragrance oils can be used in soapmaking. If a fragrance contains a high percentage of alcohol, it will cause cold process soap to seize. Some fragrance oil ingredients may cause melt and pour soap to cloud. Above all, the fragrance oil ingredients need to be RIFM approved for skin contact.

Can any fragrance oil be used in any application?

You really want to use a fragrance that has been approved and formulated for your specific application. For example, oil based fragrances will float in a linen spray. Candle fragrances may contain ingredients that are not approved for skincare products. Following a particular fragrance oil’s guidelines will help protect you from liability claims.

Can I blend my own fragrance oils?

Yes! This is a great idea and allows you to have a scent that is 100% all your own. To blend your own scent, gather several plastic droppers and paper towels. Drop different fragrances next to each other on the paper towel. Allow the towel to sit for 1 hour. Take the towel to another room and this is how your blend will smell. Using this technique will save you money because it allows you to tweak your blend without using large amounts of fragrance oil.

Explain Fragrance Oil vs. Essential Oil.

An essential oil is derived from a fruit, leaf, root, stem and/or flower. It can be steam distilled or cold pressed. Some companies use solvents to extract their oils. An essential oil’s description will tell you the country of origin and the extraction process.

Fragrance & Trademarks

A trademark can protect words, names, symbols, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others. Trademarks are granted and managed by the federal government. When an applicant applies for a trademark, they must specify a classification category or categories. For example, a fragrance name can be trademarked for a finished candle, lotion, soap, etc. When buying a "type" or "compared to" fragrance oil you are taking the responsibility to know if your final product will infringe on a trademark. You can search active trademarks by going to www.uspto.gov.

How much fragrance do I use in soap?

The amount of fragrance oil will vary from scent to scent. Each of our fragrance oils have a maximum use level assigned. This is based on the ingredients in the fragrance. It is important that you follow this as it will decrease your liability in the event of an allergic reaction.

I want to know the specific ingredients of my FO.

Fragrance oil formulas are proprietary. This means that the specific formula and ingredients are the property of the fragrance manufacturer and do not legally need to be disclosed to the public. Most companies will not disclose them because they do not want another manufacturer duplicating them.

What are "Extreme" fragrance oils?

There are many terms that have popped up over the last few years. They include, among others "Extreme Concentrates", "Manufacturers Grade", and "Perfumers Grade". These are terms not generally recognized by the flavor and fragrance industry. They are terms that have been utilized by on-line distributors in attempt to explain different fragrance dilution percentages and price structures.

What does EO mean?

EO is a common abbreviation for Essential Oil.

What does flash point mean?

Every flammable liquid has a vapor pressure, which is a function of that liquid's temperature. As the vapor pressure increases, the concentration of evaporated flammable liquid in the air increases. The flash point is the minimum temperature at which there is enough evaporated fuel in the air to start combustion. The fire point of a liquid is the temperature at which it will continue to burn after ignition for at least 5 seconds.

What does FO mean?

FO is a common soap making abbreviation for Fragrance Oil.

What is Fragrance Oil?

Fragrance Oils can be a mixture or combination of mixtures of natural and synthetic materials. Synthetic ingredients are manufactured through chemical process. They are "man made".

Who is RIFM?

RIFM stands for the Research Institute of Fragrance Materials. This agency performs independent testing to see if the ingredients that go into fragrance oil produce allergic reactions. They make recommendations on what levels these ingredients should be used in products. They list and "delist" ingredients each December based on their research. Manufacturers follow their studies closely.

Who is IFRA?

IFRA stands for the International Fragrance Association. They are the official representative body of the fragrance industry worldwide. Its main purpose is to ensure the safety of fragrance materials through a dedicated science program. This focus is on fragrance safety helps both the consumer and the environment. Reputable manufacturers follow their recommendations closely. They work hand in hand with RIFM.

Why are some fragrance oils so expensive?

A well formulated fragrance contains balanced top, middle and base notes. This balance provides a complexity and character to the scent. The depth and complexity of a fragrance affects the price of the oil. Sometimes a fragrance formula requires deep base notes that are actually essential oils. These are often more expensive. Substituting them for less expensive synthetic ingredients can produce a fake backdrop to the aroma. Oils can be formulated to different price points. Some oils on the market are “cost reduced” which often this means “diluting” the original formula. Wholesale Supplies Plus does not have expensive formulas diluted. Instead, we encourage customers to use a lesser amount of a good, more expensive oil.

Why are some fragrances stronger than others?

A good fragrance has a blended aroma of top, middle and bottom notes. Fragrances can smell strong out of the bottle but not perform because they are "top heavy" and lack the depth that your nose cannot detect. On the other hand, a fragrance can smell less than impressive out of the bottle but perform wonderfully because it is well balanced.

Why do some fragrances discolor a product?

Fragrances have ingredients and some of those ingredients have a natural color.

Why do some fragrances turn brown?

Vanilla based fragrances will always turn color...the more vanilla, the more likely the soap will eventually turn dark brown. The color change can occur from days to weeks to months. It is most often associated with the vanilla level in the fragrance oil. It is an inherent property of the vanilla. We developed a product called Crafter's Choice Vanilla Color Stabilizer. This product is added to MP Soap and it will stop a vanilla fragrance from turning brown. It does not work in CP or HP Soap.

 
     
  Package and Labeling  
  I am wrapping a bar of MP Soap. Can I leave the ends of my wrap open to air?

No, all mp soap needs to be fully wrapped in plastic wrap, shrink wrap or a cello bag. If you do not wrap your soap in an air tight wrap, it will likely develop glycerin dew.

I am wrapping a bar of MP Soap. Can I use saran wrap to package my mp soap?

Yes, we have found that the cheapest wrap works best because it stretches a bit more than the expensive wraps. This stretch will give you a tighter and smoother fit.

I am wrapping a bar of MP Soap. Can I use shrink wrap to package my mp soap?

Yes. You will want to make sure that you do not keep the heat source in one place for long periods of time. We find that waiving the source back and fourth prevents soap melting.

Can I use your soap boxes to package my MP Soap?

Yes, this provides a beautiful package. You will want to first wrap the soap in plastic wrap or shrink wrap.

Do I need to label my MP Soap?

Some soap must be labeled according to the FDA Cosmetic Regulations and others meet the exemption and fall under the Consumer Product Safety Commissions rules. I highly recommend labeling all soap according to the very clear and easy to follow FDA guidelines.

 
     
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