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castile soap and build up

 
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We love using olive oil castile soap from the middle east, but the problem is it leaves a build up on the sinks and drain.

Any easy and eco-friendly solutions for dealing with this?
 
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Have you tried vinegar? It's what I use to remove the Dr Bronner's soap residue.

If vinegar is too weak, and the build up is in your drain, maybe try adding citric acid to your vinegar to make stronger and pouring that through the drain every few months?
 
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I've been using borax. I wet down the tub, shower, & sink, sprinkle on the borax, & let it sit for a while. Then go back, and scrub it off - only a little elbow grease involved.
 
r ranson
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Today I talked with a drain expert.  He came to clean the septic system and pestered him with all sorts of questions.

In his experience, the most common cause of clogged drains and broken septic systems is grease.

The second most common cause is natural soap.  The reason for that is that most natural soaps are made with the cold cure method which leaves a lot of the fat untransformed into soap.  Using this soap puts a lot of fat down the drain which is a huge no-no!  

He suggested switching to biodegradable detergents.  

But it got me wondering about hot processed soap.  It's not as safe to make as cold processing, but it does easily eat up all the fat and we know right away if the soap is safe.  Because it cures as it cooks, we don't have to be so careful about getting the ratio of fat to lye perfect.  

from here: https://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/tips-and-tricks/pros-cons-of-soapmaking-methods-cold-process-melt-pour-hot-process-and-rebatch/



Pros:

Allows you to customize every single ingredient, including fixed oils.
The additional heat speeds up the saponification process. Three cheers for instant gratification; hot process soap can be cut within one day, and used right away.
The bars have a “rustic” appearance with a less smooth texture than cold process. Whether or not you like this look is a personal preference.
Can be made in a Crock-Pot or double boiler.
The thick texture makes it great for suspending heavier additives.
Generally considered a more “natural” bar of soap.
Clean-up is easier because the soap in the slow cooker/Crock-Pot is already soap.

Cons:

The thick texture of hot process soap makes some swirls and techniques, such as layering, very difficult.
The bars have a “rustic” appearance with a less smooth texture than cold process. Whether or not you like this look is a personal preference.
If your fragrance or essential oil has a low flashpoint, some soapers find the high temperature of hot process tends to “burn off” the fragrance, causing it to fade.
As the soap cooks, it expands. Because of the possibility of it overflowing, it’s important to not leave it unattended.
Difficult (but not impossible) to add fresh ingredients like milk and purees; they tend to scorch during the cooking process.

 
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I make my own soap, and am a chemist by trade. The way in which you make the soap (hot or cold) should not affect the superfat percentage. This percentage can be lowered by simply using more lye. Having hard water will cause this build up more with natural soaps than artificial soaps. The hard water contains calcium(strong positive charge), which then bonds with the soap molecule(strong negative charge.) This results in neutrally charged substances which are almost impossible to dissolve or disperse in water. The build up you are experiencing could be coming from either the superfat in the soap itself or any grease/oil the soap could have attached to. All this is to say that hot processing your soap will not fix the issue, unfortunately.


A water softener or a regular acidic wash are going to be your best bets.
 
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Whether it's hot or cold process, the lye-to-fat ratio is the same. If you're seeing more leftover fat with one method, it would be because there's also leftover unreacted lye, which is dangerous for more than just your drain. It's true that getting lye and fat to react together requires a certain temperature, but "cold process" soap is a bit of a misnomer because you are supposed to mix the lye water and fats when the lye water is still hot (somewhere in the ballpark of 100-160F depending on the recipe). If the soap is made correctly it will have the same superfat % with both hot and cold process.
 
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Meg Mitchell wrote: If the soap is made correctly it will have the same superfat % with both hot and cold process.



Nail on the head!

Most people I've talked with who make soap (including many 'professional' soap makers who sell 'natural' soap in the shops here) tell me the following:  It's important to add extra fat above and beyond the recipe so that you a) don't risk having the finished soap have any excess lye in it, and b) so that it helps moisturize the skin.

The library has about 45 books on soap making.  More than half of the ones I read suggest adding extra oil above and beyond the amount I need for saponification.  Of the other half, many of them were about adding scent and dye to pre-made soap and putting it in new shapes.

I suspect that people who are over-cautious (which isn't a bad thing) favour cold processing because it has so many added safety benefits (no soap explosion) and this over-cautious nature also causes them to add more fat than is needed.
 
Carla Burke
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A very long time ago, a septic man once told me(as he emptied out the septic tank) that if people would dump a cup or two of raw apple cider vinegar down the toilet once a month, stop using bleach & harsh detergents, use water softeners, and stop dumping grease and oil down their sinks, he'd probably be put out of business. I've spent my life, since then, trying to do exactly that - and have, so far, been successful at it. I can only use natural soaps, because my skin is ridiculous. The strongest thing that ever goes into my sinks is the baking soda/ vinegar combo. I know they cancel each other out, chemically - but the chemical reaction is also physical, and essentially, does the scrubbing, so I don't have to.

Edited because I truly cannot vouch for the idea that the strongest thing to go into my (nearly 35yr old) son is baking soda & vinegar.
 
Meg Mitchell
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r ranson wrote:Most people I've talked with who make soap (including many 'professional' soap makers who sell 'natural' soap in the shops here) tell me the following:  It's important to add extra fat above and beyond the recipe so that you a) don't risk having the finished soap have any excess lye in it, and b) so that it helps moisturize the skin.



Usually a premade recipe will already include the extra oils (superfatting); if someone is adding even more extra oils than that I could definitely see it getting very greasy and clogging some pipes. :D

I think the chances of mismeasuring will be the same whether you are making hot or cold process soap so if you end up with a fat-heavy cold process soap using the same recipe that produces good hot process soap, I would want to chop that cold process soap bar up and check for lye pockets. If we're talking about cold soapers choosing recipes with a higher fat % then you're probably right. Most hot soapmakers I know of started with cold process and moved to hot process for a specific reason so I would guess on average they're more experienced. (Not that there aren't lots of really experienced cold process soapmakers, just that most of the relatively new soapmakers are also making it cold.)
 
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I bought a Fleck system a few weeks ago. In reading multiple reviews from various sources, this unit was highly rated, and competitively priced. In reading about the device, the literature claimed that it was easy to install, perhaps it is for an experienced plumber, but not the do-it-yourselfer. The unit requires an electrical outlet and a readily accessible drain. I had neither where the unit needed to be with the main water line into the house, so I did install an electrical outlet, but the drain was a whole different story. So, I’d strongly recommend that you find and hire a good plumber who has experience in installing water softeners to do the installation. However, once in, the unit works great and as advertised. The difference in the water was immediately evident and noticeable. I highly recommend this product, it is high quality, well designed, and works great.
 
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