ruined the dishwasher with soapmaking tools, bowls

JillGat

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After making soap, I put my bowls and tools into the dishwasher. I figured that would be easier than washing them by hand and it's only soap, right? No! It gummed up the working parts of the dishwasher. I took the dishwasher apart and am now trying to figure out how to clean the parts, as they are covered with oily soap residue. My husband has disallowed me to wash my soapmaking equipment in the sink either, because he's afraid it will clog the pipes. What do I do??
 

Yooper

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Soap batter is liquid, and gooey, and when it hardens it would definitely be hardened into a bar of soap. Just like in the shower, a hard bar of soap does melt, but very slowly and would definitely clog the drains. What I do is to scrape it out of the dishes as much as possible while still liquid and throw that away if I can’t put it in the mold, and then rinse with super hot water that makes it 100% liquid. Many will use newspapers or old rags to scrape out the leftover soap batter and throw that away before cleaning the dishes well.

Now that they are gummed up, I’m not sure the best way to get it off except with super hot water and a brush and lots of scrubbing.
 

Iluminameluna

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Have you tried pouring boiling water with washing soda, some dishwashing detergent or liquid laundry detergent over those dishwasher parts? I mean a potful of water with those ingredients, maybe a gallon or 2. I usually don't put my stuff in the dishwasher because ours stopped working a while ago so now it's just used for storage. I wash my smaller working soap tools in the sink with Dawn dishwashing detergent (very little, it doesn't need much!), gloves on, and a small sponge. The big things get stored until the batter remnants saponify and I can just scrape them off with a plastic bench scraper from my bread baking stash.
 

Iluminameluna

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After making soap, I put my bowls and tools into the dishwasher. I figured that would be easier than washing them by hand and it's only soap, right? No! It gummed up the working parts of the dishwasher. I took the dishwasher apart and am now trying to figure out how to clean the parts, as they are covered with oily soap residue. My husband has disallowed me to wash my soapmaking equipment in the sink either, because he's afraid it will clog the pipes. What do I do??
I think the only mistake you made in putting them in the dishwasher was not adding detergent (unless you just didn't mention it in the post).
The soap batter, while still liquid, hasn't quite become soap yet, it's still raw. It's capable of burning your hands and why you should keep your gloves on while cleaning up your tools, equipment, and working areas. All these things will feel oily to the touch because the salt that is soap (chemically speaking) hasn't quite formed yet, so the components are still quite separate: the lye is active and the fats still themselves.
This is why your dishwasher got quite gummed up. If you'd added detergent it would've broken up their party! :D Show your exasperated hubs this post, or one from some other, more experienced soaper who has MUCH more chemistry knowledge, that it was a simple mistake that WON'T be repeated.
Happy soaping!!!
 

Earlene

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There are many threads on soapmakingforum.com regarding this particular topic if you want to go over there and read about what people generally do for clean-up. But if not, here are some common clean-up methods used:

  • Wear protective gear during the clean-up process (gloves, etc)
  • Wipe down all containers & utensils (as mentioned in above posts) to eliminate excess oils/mess to clean-up later
  • Let the soap batter solidify in the containers prior to clean-up (24 hours or more), then hand wash in a tub, sink or what-have-you, using dishwashing soap/detergent (hot water helps of course)
  • Using a lower SuperFat in soapmaking recipe decreases the amount of excess fat to clean-up later
  • Pre-soak - some soapers pre-soak while others do not
  • Washing up immediately works best if pre-wiped to minimize excess oils going down the drain, but requires extra care to ensure pipes don't get clogged by soap solidifying inside the drain somewhere before it reaches the huge pipes in the street
  • Some folks spray the vessels with either vinegar (to neutralize the lye prior to clean-up) or alcohol (to help de-grease)
  • Periodically pour a weak lye solution down the drain to keep the pipes clear (frequency of doing this depends on the soapmaker)

Since your husband is concern the plumbing may suffer, and that is a real possibility if clean-up isn't done correctly, and if you have pour quality plumbing in the first place (it happens), I suggest trying the above methods and then sharing your methods with him so he understands what you are doing to prevent messing up the plumbing.
 
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