Get full access to soap making tutorials and recipes, Master Class LIVEs, special discounts… and exclusive members only content including recipes, live demos, and more!

close window

Seized Soap: Understand Why Cold Process Soap Seizes (and How To Save it!)

Some links on this site are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases by recommending products I personally use and enjoy.

seized soap 1

Cold process soap making is an art that combines creativity with chemistry. However, even the most experienced soap makers can encounter challenges, such as soap seizing. But what exactly causes this phenomenon, and how can you deal with a batch of seized soap?

The Science Behind Soap Seizing

Seizing in cold process soap making occurs when the mixture of oils and lye thickens suddenly and becomes almost solid. Sometimes you’ll hear soap makers refer to it as “soap on a stick”! This usually happens very quickly, leaving little time to pour the soap into molds.

soapy friends memberships

Get full access to soap making tutorials and recipes, live soapy sessions, special discounts… and exclusive members only content!

Several factors can contribute to cold process soap seizing:

  • Fragrance Oils: Some fragrance oils can accelerate trace and cause seizing. Always research and test your fragrance oils before adding them to your soap batter.
  • Essential Oils: Similar to fragrance oils, certain essential oils can also speed up the saponification process and lead to seizing. Common oils that accelerate trace include clove, cinnamon, bay, basil, and nutmeg. All of which contain eugenol; a chemical component that accelerates the saponification process.
  • Temperature: Soaping at too high or too low temperatures can affect the behavior of your soap batter. Too low, and it will take a long time to obtain trace. Too high of a temp, and your batter can easily seize.
  • Trace: Over-mixing to a thick trace can increase the likelihood of seizing, especially if additives are introduced at this stage. Need example of trace with more details on what exactly trace is? Check out this article: 7 Tips to Control Trace in Cold Process Soap Making

Looking for the tools I use when making soap? Check out my Amazon Shopping List.

Tips for Saving Seized Soap

If you find yourself with seized soap, don’t panic! Here are some tips to help save your batch:

  1. Heat It Up: Gently heat your soap to see if it will loosen up. You can transfer your seized batter to a crock pot or a stainless steel container. I don’t recommend a microwave as it could easily overheat the batter.
  2. Stir Manually: Use a spoon or spatula to try and stir the soap to a more fluid consistency. Keep stirring! It will loosen up!
  3. Add Liquids: Not my favorite option, but sometimes (just sometimes) adding a small amount of liquid, like milk or water, can help save seized soap. Just be careful that you’re not adding too much liquid. For a cold process I recommend keeping the total water to a maximum of 2:1 water:lye.

For a visual guide on how to handle seized soap, check out this YouTube video: How to Save Seized Soap. You’ll see me “not panic” as the darn soap seizes from too much cinnamon! I swear I thought I lowered the amount to a reasonable usage (hahaha!).

Rebatching Seized Soap: A Second Chance

When all else fails, rebatching is a reliable method to salvage your hard work. Rebatching involves grating the seized soap, melting it with a bit of added liquid, and then re-molding. This process allows you to save the ingredients and still end up with usable bars of soap.

For detailed instructions on rebatching, I recommend the “Rebatching Handmade Soap Master Class Bundle,” which provides a comprehensive tutorial on every single way you can save “whoopsie” soaps including: traditional rebatching, partial fluid rebatching, salting out soap, confetti soaps, and Ciaglia soap rebatching. Not to mention… it includes my recipes for Christmas Coal, floating soap, and laundry soaps! All of which are made from soaps you might otherwise give up on a toss in the trash.

While seizing can be a frustrating setback in cold process soap making, it’s not the end of the world. With the right techniques, you can either save the batch or turn to rebatching as a creative solution to recover your soap.

Have you had a seized soap that you turned into something amazing? If so, share the dets. with us in the comments below!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE Wet Soap Wednesday Live Streams!

Buy Me a Coffee donations go directly to supporting FREE live sessions by funding supplies and time.

Some of our "non-soapmaking" Soapy Friends

Kandra's Favorite Soap Dishes

"Kandra, You are amazing! ...And too generous with your time!"

Ethically Sourced Clays and Oils

"This chica knows a lot about soap. Her testing processes are so methodical and detailed."

Soapy Friends Master Class Live Sponsor

"Thank you Kandra, for considering me your friend on this soapy color journey. It goes without saying that I am in awe of your work and ebullience."

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top