Creosote/Chaparral Soap

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AAShillito

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My brother is in Seattle and misses the desert. He asked me to try to make creosote soap. I have an infusion going but wondering if anyone here has made this and how did you get the scent to stick. Thank you!
 

DeeAnna

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I don't have answers to your questions, unfortunately.

Since you mention the desert, I gather you are talking about making an infusion from the "creosote bush"?

If you're talking about actual creosote made from wood, just use pine tar.

If you're talking about creosote made from coal, I don't recommend it -- it's not something you want to intentionally put on your skin.
 
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The scent will not hold, unfortunately. If you are lucky maybe a hint of it but it is doubtful. I also love the smell of the Cresote bush and was thinking of planting some on my new property in Winnemucca, but I am re-thinking it since you brought this up.

ETA:This is information I found on this site. I would make a small test batch and test for a reaction.

Toxic / Danger: Poisonous to, and usually avoided by, grazing animals. The crushed leaves may impart a skin rash.
It is unsafe as home remedy.
 
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DeeAnna

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Short answer -- Generally scent from infused oils doesn't survive in soap. The main reason is the fragrance in an infusion is far too diluted in the soap. Another issue is fragrance chemicals are often changed by exposure to lye.

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Longer answer -- Fragrance oils and essential oils from reputable companies are 100% made of chemicals that provide scent. We also typically add a LOT of those EOs or FOs to get a definite, clear aroma -- many people go with 3% in their soap and that amount generally only lightly scents the soap.

The fragrance chemicals in an infused oil will be only a tiny part of the total oil. When diluted with other fats, water, lye, etc., the % of fragrance chemicals in the soap is even lower -- I guess-timate no more than 0.3% fragrance in the soap by weight.* A fragrance would have to be exceptionally strong to be detectable at 1/10th the usual dosage for fragrance in soap.

That's the main reason why scent from infused oils doesn't carry over into soap -- there's not remotely enough scent in the soap for our noses to smell.

And we haven't even gotten into the problem of whether the fragrance chemicals will survive being exposed to NaOH.

But there's no harm in giving it a try -- perhaps creosote bush will be the exception to this general rule.

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* Seriously geeky details -- The yield from distilling many essential oils is typically well under 1% by weight of the starting weight of botanical material. I don't have any idea about the yield from infusions, so I'm going to make a SWAG that the yield is 1%. That means if you infuse 100 grams of dried botanical material in a cup of oil (about 230 grams), you'd get 1 gram of fragrance chemicals in that oil. That translates to less than 0.5% by weight of fragrance in the oil.

The next thing would be to use that cup of infused oil in a batch of soap. Let's assume the soap is made entirely from infused oil. Based on info from my last batch of soap, 230 grams of oil will become about 335 grams of soap batter (oil + NaOH + water).

The 1 gram of fragrance chemicals in the infused oil will be diluted in the soap batter to about 0.3% of the total batch weight. Compare that to the 3% dosage that many people use to scent soap.
 
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You can find sagebrush essential oil, but it is VERY expensive (which is weird to me since sagebrush is ubiquitous across the western US.) I have not heard of creosote essential oil.
 

dibbles

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When my daughter and I took a trip to Phoenix a few years ago we went on a balloon ride. At the breakfast, there were bunches of creosote on the table. They suggested taking some and putting it in the bathroom so that the fragrance would be released in the moist, humid air from the shower. I fell in love with the scent and have never found anything that replicates it. If you find something that works, please let me know.

Can the plants be grown in a pot?
 

AAShillito

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When my daughter and I took a trip to Phoenix a few years ago we went on a balloon ride. At the breakfast, there were bunches of creosote on the table. They suggested taking some and putting it in the bathroom so that the fragrance would be released in the moist, humid air from the shower. I fell in love with the scent and have never found anything that replicates it. If you find something that works, please let me know.

Can the plants be grown in a pot?
I've tried transplanting my own creosote plants and they all die. Something with the root system. Your best bet is to find a native plants nursery that you can buy from directly or have shipped to you. I am attached an etsy screenshot- they have plants too!
 

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