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Author Topic: Home made soap, lye, saponification, & soap package label list of ingredients  (Read 185 times)

Offline JackInCT

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This post is an attempt to clarify (via replies to this post) whether there is lye in ALL soap, AND, equally important, why it does NOT appear in the product list of ingredients (in store bought soap). i. e., why it doesn’t have to be listed since, it is claimed by its manufacturer, that the FINAL product has NONE [due to the chemical processes that occur in its manufacturing].

Lye is chemically, sodium hydroxide, and is also known as caustic soda.

I did a considerable amount of searching (via Google) and reading re the role of lye in soap.  Interesting, no hits were signed off by anyone claiming to have a degree in chemistry.

But a common thread in these hits is this chemical reaction called  saponification.

I copied and pasted, AND CONDENSED, the following from a website, but it is in line with what I found in other websites (the site rules for my post do not allow me to post the URL for others to see my source unless I mail it to the beemaster first--more trouble than it's worth for me to do that).

The term saponification is the name given to the chemical reaction that occurs when a vegetable oil or animal fat is mixed with a strong alkali. The products of the reaction are two: soap and glycerin. Water is also present, but it does not enter into the chemical reaction. The water is only a vehicle for the alkali, which is otherwise a dry powder.

The true fact is that modern handcrafted soap, though necessarily made with lye to get true soap, has no lye in the final product. It has all been reacted with the oils to form soap and glycerin.

Me again: from a truth in advertising perspective, it appears to me, unless contradicted by a reply from someone, that lye is ALWAYS used in soap making, and all manufacturers find it “convenient” re marketing to leave that out in the list of ingredients since, technically, there is no longer any lye in the final product, i. e., claiming that your soap is “all natural”, “organic”, etc., is going to hurt your sales if you state that lye WAS used in its manufacturing; so apparently our government's list of ingredient rules don’t require stating that.

So let's see if we can resolve this once and for all.




Offline annette

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What is Soap?
"Soap is made from three basic ingredients; oils (fats), lye and water. All soap is made with lye. If it is not made with lye, it is not soap. Lye is not present after the soap making process is complete.
The lye is combined with water and then this mixture is combined with the oils (fats). A chemical reaction takes place with all the different molecules: fatty acid, hydrogen, oxygen and sodium. This reaction is called saponification, resulting in soap.
The process is called Cold Process Soap Making. It is not melt and pour soap that is made from glycerin, a by product of soap making. Melt and pour soaps can even look like bars of cold process soap. Melt and pour glycerin usually contains several synthetic ingredients like the harsh detergent sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol. Both are known to cause allergic reactions to the skin." Per Joan Morais Website.

Please refer to this women's website. She is like the Guru of natural cosmetics.
http://www.naturalskinandbodycare.com/

You can email her any questions you have.

Hope this helps.  At some point I may try making soap.

Annett

Offline JackInCT

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Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post.  I am going to have to take some time to read through and digest your URL and the website from which it was derived.  My goal in this research was to take my beeswax and make a soap (for home/personal use) that is both effective as a cleaner, and contained as few (if any) potentially problematic chemicals that could be made.  The words "natural", "organic", etc., on product labels are bandied about with what I think is insufficient regulation as to just what criteria have to be met in order to use those terms.  In particular in what a consumer thinks of as personal care products, those terms are very, very commonly used by many products (on their labels) that are found on the shelves of ANY grocery store.   There is a kind of war of "abstract" (and ill-defined) words occurring in the marketplace that are designed to beguile the consumer.

Offline luvin honey

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From what I read on forums, there is apparently a lot of IMPROPER labeling of soap. Some people refer to "saponified oils of blah, blah, blah" and don't list lye. It's not legal, but....

So, yeah, lye needs to be listed and is used in all soap making. Here's another one I cringe to think of putting on a label: "LARD".  :D
The pedigree of honey
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A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
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Offline iddee

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>>>>It's not legal, but....<<<<

Yes, it is legal......

There is NO lye in properly made soap.

I just looked on a jug of milk. It lists milk, with added vitamin d. Nothing else.
Why does it not list all the elements used to make milk? Because it isn't needed nor required. Bottled water ingredients does not list hydrogen nor oxygen,because they are no longer there in pure form. Soap is a different product than either lye or oil, even though it is made from both.

I make soap almost weekly, both hot and cold process. I have about 150 bars now, curing. Lye will burn your skin off just from contact. Soap will not, because there is no lye left in it.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Offline luvin honey

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Well, now I can't find my sources. But, I keep hearing and hearing how lye MUST be on the label, whether called lye, caustic soda, NaOH or whatever. Think about bread: Even though the result looks nothing like the original ingredients, they still must be listed. So, too, is my understanding of soap labeling.

Hey--I have about the same amount curing in my house. I'd love to label it for the farmer's markets and leave out that nasty word "lye," so if you can find a good source online that proves me wrong, I would be delighted!
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson

Offline JackInCT

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My thanks to those of you who are participating in this discussion.

At the risk of beating this to death, allow me to insert another aspect to this.

First some more information (actually a restatement of what has already been stated in this series of replies).

Glycerin is a byproduct of the soap making process.

Oils + lye (with some water) = soap + glycerin

So, it seems to me, that making soap from a bar of glycerin (which in & of itself is soap), does NOT avoid the use of lye, i. e., it just shifts who in the “manufacturing” process uses it (to make the glycerin).  Yes/No?

Finally, what is most unclear to me at this point is the role of beeswax in the various manufacturing methods, i. e., can it ONLY be used in A process (of which there are several) that involves lye as one of the ingredients, OR can it ALSO be used with the bars of glycerin process.

Offline Bee Happy

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The Lye "disappears" from the labeling because lye NaOH is a molecule which reacts with the other ingredients. You can't change the sodium, oxygen, or hydrogen into other elements but lye is a molecule, I'm assuming the lye is not listed in the soap because the elements in the lye molecule unbond (ceasing to be lye) and "choose" a stronger bond elsewhere in the "soap molecules" I'm not a chemist, but I had a college chemistry course last semester.
-The lye isn't listed because it isn't lye anymore - nobody is lying on the label on this.
be happy and make others happy.

Offline luvin honey

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Most soap actually has the lye listed, whatever form the name takes. I noticed recently that some don't list at all or list in a way like: "Saponified oils of...." (Dr. Bronner's)

As for beeswax, I use it in most of my cold-process soaps. I love it! Also honey. I don't know about melt and pour. I think the point of melt and pour is that it is already formulated, and adding something as dramatic as beeswax would mightily affect the soap, but that's just my opinion.

Here's one: Using bee pollen in soap. I saw a gorgeous photo once of a clear glycerin soap, amber colored, with bee pollen pellets in it. Just gorgeous!




Okay, I found a link that proves me wrong :P Oh brother. Anyway, if soap only claims to be soap, it looks like it doesn't need to be labeled at all. Sounds strange. Like what if it was superfatted with peanut oil and an allergic person used it? Anyway, the labeling changes if it claims cosmetic things like buffing skin or medical claims like helping acne. So, I stand corrected:

From Thedish.com:

"If you have soap and all it claims to do is clean the human body and it is made of the alkaline salt of fat and hydroxide then it really requires no labeling at all. It has been suggested however, that it still have "SOAP" the quantity and contact information for the mfg. It is not controlled by the Food and Drug Commission but rather by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If your soap makes claims of a cosmetic nature, such as making your beautiful and so forth, then it becomes a cosmetic. This is controlled by the FDA as a cosmetic and requires ingredients list and such. It is outlined in a document on the FDA site.

If the soap makes claims of a medical nature, such as curing acne or treating dandruff then you have a DRUG. There are specific labeling requirements for this, as well as other things that need to be done. This is also laid out on the FDA site."
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson

Offline JackInCT

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I just could NOT resist this quip as A thought for the day:

If you were NOT a beautiful person BEFORE you started hiving bees, you will soon be after you start.

Regardless as to whether you were ALREADY a beautiful person when you started hiving, you will be a beautiful person in perpetuity.

I wonder what the FDA will have to say about that claim?

Offline Bee Happy

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Finally, what is most unclear to me at this point is the role of beeswax in the various manufacturing methods, i. e., can it ONLY be used in a process (of which there are several) that involves lye as one of the ingredients, OR can it ALSO be used with the bars of glycerin process.

I can only guess that beeswax is or contains a kind of "fat" that gives the lye something to bond with.

also on the ingredients: it's hairsplitting I know, but "contents" and "ingredients"  have two slightly different meanings.
be happy and make others happy.

Offline luvin honey

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In my experience, the beeswax makes the soap much harder than without it. For example, most people need to cure their castile (100% olive oil) soap for months to 1 year. With 5% beeswax, it is instantly hard enough to use. I love the beeswax in soap!
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson

Offline JackInCT

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This topic, and the various replies, has provided a rather extensive overview of soap making, and it would appear that the last "word" re the subject matter has concluded.

Now, would anyone who has experience making soap with beeswax be willing to start a NEW topic re the ins & outs of how THEY do that (processes, recipes, techniques, i. e. a tutorial for all practical purposes), AND the various responders who also do that be willing to share their own particular recipes, techniques, etc.,?

Offline BingalingBees

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Interesting to find so much controversy about listing or not listing lye in your cold processed soap list of ingredients. I've only been making and selling my soap with beeswax and honey for a year now but I only list the ingredients that are in the soap when I sell it. Lye isn't on the list for a very good reason, it's not in the soap when I sell it... I do include the list of the 7 saponified oils that are in it (plus all the other ingredients)
Brad Raspet - Mount Vernon, WA
www.BingalingBees.com