11-28-2018, 03:48 PM
#1
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I was doing my stock check(bad mistake) and to realise that I have two soaps with significantly changes upon opening. Could they be stearic spot, saponification or perhaps mouldy?


Soap 1 - Other than the rusty tin, I have never see such a big stearic spot before, which this probably is.
[Image: 1.0_zps2ifvemij.jpg][Image: 1.1_zpstdkj5xbe.jpg]

Soap 2 - This probably is stearic spot though.
[Image: 2.0_zpsivc2q7js.jpg]
[Image: 2.1_zpstmaoruom.jpg]

Soap 3 - I have my suspicion on this, I highly believe this soap went mouldy. Even at the bottom of the soap, there is similar spots with the above.
[Image: 3.0_zpsf5x2d5ws.jpg]
[Image: 3.1_zpsxlsdqvf0.jpg]

Bonus - Just a sample, which I will probably toss after making this post.
[Image: 4.0_zpsyavwdnjt.jpg]
[Image: 4.1_zpsn9kq9wsh.jpg]

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 11-28-2018, 04:04 PM
#2
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Stearic spots... Huh  I never heard of it. Please, tell me more.
The last one, brown crater looking spots. YUK!! Looks like mold to me.... Sad

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 11-28-2018, 04:07 PM
#3
  • Garb
  • Active Member
  • Oregon
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Man you're cooking up something the CDC might be interested in. Before they knock on your door I'd scrape that goop off and see if it lathers. LOL

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 11-28-2018, 04:29 PM
#4
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(11-28-2018, 04:04 PM)zipper Wrote: Stearic spots... Huh  I never heard of it. Please, tell me more.
The last one, brown crater looking spots. YUK!! Looks like mold to me.... Sad
I wish I can educate you more as I am learning myself. From what I know it's more of white spot appearing on soaps (which are totally fine and normal)

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 11-28-2018, 04:30 PM
#5
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(11-28-2018, 04:07 PM)Garb Wrote: Man you're cooking up something the CDC might be interested in. Before they knock on your door I'd scrape that goop off and see if it lathers. LOL
LOL. I wouldn't mind giving it a try if I can find my spare brush. Wouldn't risk it on my daily brush.

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 11-28-2018, 04:59 PM
#6
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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It’s too bad this happened to your soaps. How were they stored?

I should go check my stash...

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 11-28-2018, 05:06 PM
#7
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(11-28-2018, 04:59 PM)chazt Wrote: It’s too bad this happened to your soaps. How were they stored?

I should go check my stash...
My bad for not explaining this.

These soaps dropped out of my rotation probably more than six months ago.

I make sure that they were dry before I store them in a container in a corner of my room.

Singapore is pretty humid, but its like one out of the many soaps that show some growth(?)

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 11-28-2018, 05:16 PM
#8
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I live in humid Miami, Florida, and have never had anything like that appear on any of my soaps.  However, I keep the number of soaps in my rotation low enough that they are normally used up in a year.  White spots are common, and reflect the ingredients in the soap separating.  However, your soaps appear to be show something beyond the normal white spots.  Perhaps one of our artisan soap makers will give us the benefit of his or her expertise.  I'm definitely interested in following this thread.

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 11-28-2018, 07:35 PM
#9
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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(11-28-2018, 05:06 PM)aerolord Wrote:
(11-28-2018, 04:59 PM)chazt Wrote: It’s too bad this happened to your soaps. How were they stored?

I should go check my stash...
My bad for not explaining this.

These soaps dropped out of my rotation probably more than six months ago.

I make sure that they were dry before I store them in a container in a corner of my room.

Singapore is pretty humid, but its like one out of the many soaps that show some growth(?)

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Yes, I also dry my soaps thoroughly before putting them into ‘long term’ storage. My backups are in a box in my closet with a generous helping of desiccant. Active rotation soaps are kept in a drawer, also with desiccant. Soaps I’ve used within the last three to four days are left open on a shelf in my closet.

Good luck with this issue. Let’s be glad it doesn’t happen more often.

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 11-28-2018, 11:16 PM
#10
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Check out this article. https://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-...y-vs-mold/

I think this is a good thing for shavers to consider and it isn't dumb or overly cautious but it has been brought for many years. One of the things that comes to mind is this was probably becoming more common as shaving turned into a niche hobby. That translated to some using soaps and also buying more than we can consume so this talk of rotation does become important. It's possible that all of these soaps above could still be "useable" to shave with in the pure sense of being able to produce a lather.

My thought is so many of these artisan soap makers have been able to formulate soaps that edge on the side of having cosmetic value. Take the last statement with a grain of salt but yes, I do think we have many talented artisans who have experimented with different formulas. This is also led to the use of more and more exotic, but yes useful, ingredients that have a variety of effects on the skin. 

Let's take one effect specifically, anti-oxidizing properties, of a wide array of ingredients that can be chosen in combination of other ingredients. Many of these ingredients do have some of the same effects in a soap format but oils separate from lye are not soap and soap is not oils and lye water. Soap is the result of the oils/fat gone under the saponification process to make the linking chains that behave with water.

Stay with me for a second. If you make a soap with what you think is going to use the highest amount of anti oxidizing oils in the formula, those will only have that property as long as the stability of the shelf life (and/or with proper storing away from heat and sun) is still intact. If the oils by themselves or in a soap format turn rancid (not to be confused with growing mold), then the effect on the skin is actually reversed. So now upon contact, this will actually oxidize your still. Again, you may still be able to functionally shave with it and get it to make lather.

Your pictures don't shock me as we have all seen photos like this and as some mentioned above, you might have some that are showing stearic acid spots (crystals maybe?) but maybe the orange spots are rancid turn of specific oils included in the original formula. I'm not one hundred percent on this but maybe some others can chime in and take a look at the above link to see if they have similar conclusions. I would guess the soaps pictured are artisan made super fatted soaps but I also understand if you don't want to share whose or which soaps they are.

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 11-29-2018, 03:13 AM
#11
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I wrote a post on my blog a while back that might relate to the OP’s issue. It might be, or not, a good read.

I can’t make a certain diagnosis of all the pictured soaps without visually verifying in person. Only photos #7 & #8 show a clear problem that I can accurately determine as “rancidity”.

My suggestion is to NOT USE any of the soaps pictured and also closely inspect all other soaps in your collection. Anything that looks suspect should not be used. 

My advice has been and always will be to use a soap within a year of purchase. This is especially important if you have used a soap, even if only one time.

This thread has taken on a few directions and it will take me some time to try and shed light on each. I will do my best, please bear with me. I also want to stress these are my opinions and do not reflect any other soap makers (artisan or commercial) thoughts/practices. Many of my points can be argued and probably will be. I (CRSW) don't claim to be an authority on this subject only that it has been an interest and study of mine for five plus years. Saying that, perhaps I can shed a little informed light on the subject. I'm also taking the opportunity to explain causes and outline the steps I take to minimize risks of spoilage.

“Rancidity” of a soap can be caused by many factors. A couple of common causes would be an oil, fat or butter used in the soap being near the end of its shelf life or also the little known cause of metal contamination. 

To minimize the risk of rancidity I (CRSW), carefully select the oils, fats and butters used and log the Lot# and expiration date of each to ensure freshness. Fortunately we have a high enough turnover that spoilage is a rarity. Again, another reason I suggest to use a soap within a year of its purchase. 

I use Rosemary Oleoresin (ROE) in all of my soft oils. It is added to each container upon receipt of shipment or very shortly thereafter and also as part of the formula. It is considered as part of the “Fragrance/Parfum portion of our (CRSW) ingredient list. ROE is a powerful natural occurring antioxidant that helps to preserve the shelf life of oils, fats and butters.

Another step I take is to use a chelator, in our case Citric Acid. A chelator prevents any metallic contamination from triggering rancidity. Metallic contamination in soap come from many sources, tap water, dust and pollution from the air, contamination on your hands and so on. You can minimize some of this contamination but you cannot entirely eliminate it.

Studies have proven that using an antioxidant (ROE) as well as a chelator (Citric Acid) can do an even better job of preventing rancidity in soap than using either alone. Tetrasodium EDTA is arguably the most effective chemical chelator to prevent rancidity. I choose not to use EDTA as many people freak out when seeing it as an ingredient and why I use the more natural combination of ROE and Citric Acid.

I also use Vitamin E which is also an antioxidant in all of our soaps but it’s efficacy in preventing rancidity is questionable. It does have other cosmetic benefits so I feel it’s a good addition to our formula.

“Stearic Spots” are harmless. The high concentration of glycerin and other water-solubles in an older soap has an unexpected effect. Glycerin has the ability to "salt out" soap when the glycerin concentration becomes high enough. During salting-out, fewer soap molecules will remain dissolved in the liquid phase. Instead, they will coalesce into solid soap crystals. Not every kind of soap molecule will salt-out to the same degree. Stearic and palmitic acids salt-out quickly. Myristic, lauric and oleic acids do not salt-out nearly as easily. The concentration of stearic in the solid crystals begins when enough water evaporates to trigger the salting-out process. As the soap ages and the glycerin become sufficiently concentrated, the stearic and palmitic acids will form solid soap crystals.

As for mold (gram positive and negative bacteria) the only option is to use a broad spectrum preservative. Below are experts from my (CRSW) blog post;

"Suttocide A (Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate) is the best and arguably only broad spectrum preservative available that is effective against both gram positive and negative bacteria in cosmetic products with a high ph range of 10-12 such as shaving soap. Suttocide A is derived from the naturally occurring amino acid Glycine. Is it safe? Probably yes at the low concentration of use, .5% of total batch weight. However you can read both pros and cons as with most anything with the greatest concern being that it might break down into formaldehyde. The real problem from a practical standpoint is that the efficacy of this and most other preservatives lies in the fact that we are almost always adding water to our shaving soaps/creams when using them. This drastically lowers the effectiveness of most any preservative and can render them useless.

The real benefit of using a preservative in a shaving soap/cream is long term storage BEFORE opening.

I can't speak for other artisan or commercial shaving soap manufacturers but as for me personally these are the steps I take to insure as best I can that the risk of spoilage with CRSW is low.

1) Clean, sanitized manufacture environment

2) Low liquid content in shaving soap

3) Careful selection of moisturizing ingredients (low in linoleic acid)

4) Use shea butter, and cocoa butter that retard rancidity as moisturizers

5) Use glycerin and in some products lanolin as a natural moisturizer

6) Use Rosemary Oleoresin (antioxidant) and Citric Acid (chelator) to retard rancidity

7) Use Vitamin E (antioxidant) to help retard rancidity in free oils

8) Make products in small batches and do not wholesale for full control

9) Always suggest proper storage of products

My rule of thumb and general suggestions are to use shaving soap/cream within a year of purchase, allow product to dry before storage and store in a cool, dark, dry place. 

To summarize, it is my opinion that in general, using a non-preserved artisan or commercial shaving soap poses no greater risk of spoilage and possibly less risk health wise than a shaving soap prepared with preservatives." 

If anyone has other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to do help where I can.

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 11-29-2018, 03:25 AM
#12
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Thanks for a great post Larry.

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 11-29-2018, 03:32 AM
#13
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Queens, NY
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Larry, that was a very interesting and informative post. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and expertise.

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 11-29-2018, 06:01 AM
#14
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Those look awful. I wouldn't use them.

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 11-29-2018, 06:41 AM
#15
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Looking at the rust on the metal tins it would suggest that the tins did not seal properly, allowing moisture to enter the tin which would foster the growth of mold.  I try and stay away from soaps sold in metal tins and prefer the plastic tubs as I presume they seal better.  I do have a couple tins of soap and while I don't have the issue the OP does, I don't feel they are sealed as well as the plastic.  They dent easily and can lose their shape quite easily after a drop, causing the lid to no longer match up exactly with the body of the tin.  It is there that I feel the moisture makes its way into the soap and causes the issues.  Living in a humid environment year round must wreak havoc on shaving software.  I suppose I would not have such a large quantity of opened soaps and creams as I do now if I lived in humidity knowing my stash could become inundated with mold.  I'd probably stick with a small rotation of no more than 5 soaps or creams and replace as needed.  One option might be to scrap off the mold and see if it is just on the surface.  Some of those pics though look as though the mold goes down to the bottom of the puck.  Those I would just throw out.

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 11-29-2018, 11:58 AM
#16
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Larry is likely giving you the very best advice in telling you not to use them.  

Me, I'd probably scrape the top layer off of first few soaps, followed by a couple test lathers and then if all seems well I'd likely use them if they were something I was fond of.  The ones in the third and fourth pics seem like there's not much left there so it might be time to bin those.   I might also pull them from the tubs as well to make sure there are no hidden problems as well.  An off smell would necessitate me throwing them away.  They could potentially also be repurposed as shower soap.  The last one I'd definitely throw away.  While I've seen the white crystal type of spots on top of a soap, I haven't encountered the brown spots before.  

I've only encountered the crystal thing once and I don't seem to get any mold problems here as I live in a very dry climate.  I do keep the lid off of whatever soap I'm using overnight to let it dry out and they're stored in a dry dark closet away from any moisture.  Our bathroom is somewhat on the larger side which helps with the moisture when someone is taking a shower.  We rarely turn on the exhaust fan as we should.  

Another thing that I don't care for, and wish vendors would get away from, is the metal tins.  I've had plenty of these develop a rust problem that makes it's way to the soap.  First thing I do if I buy a metal tin soap is move it to a larger plastic tub.

Or on second thought I might just pitch them.  I'd save the wide mouth plastic containers (the ones worth saving) to reuse for samples or another soap before throwing the rest away.

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