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DOS - Dreaded Orange Spots

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Soap with DOS

Soap with DOS

David Fisher
Definition: DOS, or Dreaded Orange Spots, is something that most every soapmaker will come across at one time or another. Basically, they look like they sound - small yellow-orange spots, about the size of pencil erasers, on your bars of soap. Sometimes they're on the edges, sometimes in the middle. Sometimes just one spot, sometimes a lot. While many theories exist as to just what causes them, most people seem to agree that it has something to do with either rancid oils, humidity, high superfat percentages, combinations of oils - or all of the above. The best ways to prevent DOS seem to be:
  • Keeping your superfat percentages to about 5% maximum
  • Only using oils that are fresh and have been stored properly
  • Only using distilled water to make your soap
  • Reducing the amount of canola and/or sunflower oil in your recipes (I've heard Rice Bran oil can be prone to DOS too, but haven't had it happen to me)
  • Let your soaps cure in a cool, dry spot out of direct sunlight
Whatever you do, if you do get some spots on your soap, don't fret. It's really mostly an aesthetic problem - your soap won't look (and perhaps smell) as nice as other bars. But it's perfectly safe to use.

Be sure to check out the links below for even more information about DOS and other people's interpretation of what it is and how to prevent it.

Also Known As: Dreaded Orange Spots
Examples:
Oh no! My soap has DOS!
or
"Honey, what are these orange spots on the soap?"

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