Have you ever purchased handcrafted soap with a white flour-like substance on it as shown in the picture above?
This is called soda ash. Handcrafted soap that contains soda ash is completely safe to use. Soda ash is a natural product of a reaction that sometimes occurs during the soap making process when naturally occurring carbon dioxide in the air comes into contact with the soap. Although this may be an aesthetic issue for some, this is simply mother nature running her course. Remember with handcrafted soaps, all bars are not alike.
Why does soda ash occur in the soap making process?
All soap, whether made with water or milk can develop soda ash on the surface or even deeper into the soap. However, I have found that it is harder to prevent when making goat milk soap. At Stone City Farm, our goat milk soap is produced at approximately 78-80 degrees to avoid scorching the milk, and then it is refrigerated uncovered for 72 hours before being placed on the curing racks for four to six weeks. The combination of low temperatures and exposing the soap to air creates what is commonly known as "soda ash". Some soap makers prefer to remove the soda ash using the following options:
- Reduce the amount of milk used in the soap.
- Spray the top of the soap with 90% isopropyl alcohol.
- Cover the soap prior to unmolding.
- Process at a higher temperature.
- Steam the soap.
- Rinse the soap under water.
- Shave the soap using a soap shaver.
At Stone City Farm, we feel that this is part of the natural process and do not remove the soda ash.