Against what types of consumer complaints must natural soapers always safeguard?

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Garden Gives Me Joy

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2020
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United States
Regarding more serious consumer complaints and liability; what are the worse things that can or have gone wrong ... and how do you prevent the problem?

These are 2 that immediately came to mind.
  • Respiratory issues, eyes that become red & itchy (from black mold): To avoid:
    • Avoid ingredient triggers (like sugary additives) in high amounts and in combination.
    • Use water discounts as far as possible, especially in high humidity environments.
    • Cure on non-porous racks that encourage the maximum possible ventilation. Ideal racks are hard plastic. Clean non-porous racks with bleach or non-toxic alternative (to prevent, kill and or discourage re-growth). Ventilation examples: electric fan, room with ample air flow that is lower & drier than the product's ambient environment otherwise.
    • Delay storage until as late as possible. Keep dry with the use of a dehumidifier.
    • Avoid packaging materials made of moisture-wicking materials.
  • Rancidity. To avoid:
    • Use chelation (Citric acid) and antioxidants (ROE or Vitamin E). Q Thanks to Covid restrictions, I can not get suppliers to ship ROE to my overseas current location. Until I can figure how to get some, can I just add extra Vitamin E for comparable protection?
    • Treat with antioxidants immediately after purchase and refrigerate.
    • Avoid metal contamination. Avoid water prone to metal contamination (like tap water). Avoid metal tools, including cheap stainless steel. Only high quality stainless steel is acceptable, for soap-making as well as cutting. Q: Salt contributes to metal contamination and the likelihood of rancidity, right? I absolutely love brine soaps. Despite using vitamin E and citric acid @ 1% simultaneously, must I still limit salt in brine soap? Is there a rule of thumb for a situation like tihis?
    • Minimize exposure to light and heat.
    • Limit linoleic acid to 15%. Keep Iodine index below 90.


Respiratory issues from black mold in regards to soap aren't even on my radar. I'm not sure why soap would have black mold.

Rancidity is more of a complaint than a liability. (I consider liability to be something they could sue me for.) This should be resolved by using good time tested recipes. Also remember, as makers we can't control how customers store their soaps. Many rancidity problems with a good soap recipe occur in the customer hands by poor storage.

Many liability issues can be resolved by clearly having Terms & Policies listed on your website.
List your ingredients so that customers can make informed decisions regarding sensitivities and allergies.
Have good insurance.


Grandmother & Soaper
Supporting Member
Apr 30, 2016
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Western Illinois, USA
I looked for lawsuits against artisan soapmakers, and couldn't really find any, but with different and more explicit search parameters it may be possible.

The only ones I found were against makers claiming organic &/or natural ingredients, but I didn't delve deeply because the companies were larger than the small home-grown soap maker.

Insurance is a must. Proper labeling is a must. Good Manufacturing Practices are a must. Full knowledge of ALL applicable laws and regulations are a must. Adherence to safe usage guidelines for ingredients (Essential Oils, for example) is a must. Awareness that the FDA might show up at your doorstep if there is a complaint and what to expect when that happens. (The latter is for US FDA, as the OP is in the US.)

Now, as your post lists only two possible problems, black mold and rancidity, which has already been addressed, I think you have a lot more to learn about what could be a problem for a consumer.

Some examples of things that will be a problem for consumers and can result in claims against the soap maker:
False claims about the soap they buy.
Ingredient to which the buyer is allergic.
Ingredient contraindicated for age or condition of user.
Ingredient in excess of safe usage amounts which may cause adverse effects in user.