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Soap-making oils, which ones to choose?  RSS feed

 
steward
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I've had The Soapmaker's Companion book for years and finally have a spare moment to consider making soap for the homestead and maybe to peddle at our farmer's market if I like the craft.

I'm looking at the recipes with their lists of oils that soap-makers use and I'm a bit daunted by the idea of making wise choices in terms of sustainably grown and acquired. It hardly makes sense to use canola oil, what's the likelihood that's a GMO? Etc. Sunflower oil sounds like something that didn't come half-way around the world. Coconuts? On the surface, that sounds better than palm oil, but how would I know? My great-uncle was a jojoba ranching pioneer when I was a kid, that might be an eco-warrior choice.

Any resources or thoughts or experience?
 
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My wife wrestled with this for her soap business, plus vegan vs. tallow/lard (which are more sustainable and make a better soap than many oils but have a stigma).

There isn't one easy answer. She crossed off the " no, never" oils for us and then formulated the best soap based on performance with what was left. Once she got that where she wanted it, we sourced the best of each oil we could find. A few revisions based on experience and I think we have a really good product that is as sustainable as we know how to make it. We crossed off the list any GMO's and sourced things like palm oil from certified sustainable sources. We could easily cut our raw materials cost in half or less if we went with the normal oils, but we can charge a premium that more than makes up for the input cost.
 
Ann Torrence
steward
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R Scott wrote:She crossed off the " no, never" oils for us.


Can you ask her what the worst of the worst are, in her opinion?
 
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She should experiment some. Nothing is chiseled in stone yet, and the type of oil has a noticeable effect on the qualities of the soap.


My personal favorite was 50% soybean oil, 30% lard and 20% coconut oil. Freaking amazing soap. I'll never use that crap from the store again.


Too much coconut oil make the soap drying. The coconut component makes for a lot of lather, and performs well in hard water, but too much is too much, and it's expensive.

Straight lard makes great soap and pigs -can be- very sustainable.


I look at it like, anything made in my kitchen is better than anything from the big industrial soap complex.


 
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