Dutch Soapers - Zachte/Groene Zeep

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
4,047
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
Being from a Dutch background, I grew up with Zachte zeep (soft soap) or Groene zeep (green soap). It's a paste soap that my mother used to use get from Holland, and used for almost everything... washing the bathtub, stain removal, washing greasy hands, etc. I'd love to make my own but I have no idea how and I"m not sure where to start looking.

Any Dutch soapers on SMF who might be able to help me?
 

Obsidian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Messages
10,328
Reaction score
8,160
Location
Idaho, USA
Any chance you can post a ingredient list for either soap? I tried to look them up but I don't read dutch:)

From the pics I saw, it looks a lot like beldi. I've made this recipe before, liked it ok but I feel it needed a bit more cleansing ability.
http://wikitalks.com/2013/06/honey-beldi-hair/
 
Last edited:

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,291
Reaction score
11,092
Location
Right here, silly!
I'm not Dutch, but I learned a little bit about "green Soap/soft soap" in that loooong glycerin liquid soap thread over on the Dish forum, by Dish member Silver Doctor, who is a retired doctor. At least the USP formula for green soap anyway, that is. It's basically what jump-started the whole glycerin liquid soap-making movement amongst the different soap-making forums.

Basically, the USP green soap is soap paste is made from saponifying olive oil with KOH, using glycerin instead of water. The method of using glycerin in place of water was developed by pharmacists to make green soap paste in a much quicker manner than the water-version. It turns out that green soap was used for lots of things by pharmacists back in the day (don't know if it still is or not).

For what it's worth, here is the link to that thread (see posts 857, 862 and 863, which includes the USP formula for green soap using glycerin): http://www.thedishforum.com/forum/i...cerin-method-liquid-soap/page-35#entry2795525

Also, see post 18 by SilverDoctor here, where he talks about the 2 different varieties of green soap: http://www.thedishforum.com/forum/i...t-is-widely-available-in-the-uk/#entry2812449


HTH
IrishLass :)
 

Obsidian

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Messages
10,328
Reaction score
8,160
Location
Idaho, USA
So it seems you can use any oil you want in your soft soap, guess that would depend on the use of the final product. I've actually made soap similar to that using water.

I made regular 100% olive oil paste for liquid soap but I added very little water to the paste, once it soaked into the paste, I whipped it with a stand mixer until it was creamy. Once it sat awhile, all the bubble went away and I was left with a thick soft gel like substance. The idea here was to make a soft soap base that would be easier to dilute when I needed more liquid soap.

My second one was made with 100% HO safflower oil and I didn't have to dilute the finished paste, it was soft right out of the crock pot. I actually like this one better then the olive oil, its easier to work with and feels better on the skin. I do feel that both need coconut oil though, the lather is poor and there is no way I could clean dishes or greasy hands with either.
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
4,047
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
Awesome! I don't have time to do much reading at the moment (time to get ready for work) but will when I get home tonight. I've been wanting to try a soft soap for a long time but really didn't know where to start. I can read Dutch so tried searching for recipes in Dutch but couldn't find anything.

Thanks IL!
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
4,047
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
I love serendipitous moments! My husband just happens to be reading a book about the history of the city of Amsterdam. In it, there was mention of "green soap" and how there were many soap makers along the canals of the city. The soap was made with hemp oil, rapeseed oil, and potash (KOH). That got me thinking, and Googling. I came across this brief article on a geneology website:

The soap making business (in the Netherlands) goes back till the 15th century and the
ingredients were always strictly regulated in order to protect the
quality. The top years in the early 1600 could be characterized by
small-scaled production; most soap makers had only two or three man on
their pay list. Such a small company could produce between 30 to 60
barrels of the famous green soap per week. During the following 150 years the companies grew, but the production and quality declined.

The Dutch zeepzieders (soap makers) produced two kinds of soap: summer- and winter
soap. The two main ingredients were hemp-oil and coleseed-oil (rapeseed oil). From
Martinmas (11 November) until Shrove Tuesday (six weeks before Easter)
the mixture contained two parts hemp-oil and one part coleseed-oil and
from Shrove Tuesday until Martinmas two parts coleseed-oil and one part
hemp-oil. These two kinds of soap were called winter- and summer soap.
In later years linseed oil became the third ingredient, but it had to be
crystal clear, not turbid.

But increasing oil-prices forced the soap makers to bend their rules
sometimes; in 1704 and 1716 they were allowed to use butter in the
summer soap and in 1709 and 1740 they added talc, which had a negative
effect on the quality. Those deviations from the rules were exceptions,
the quality had to be protected. Soap makers who broke the rules by
using fish-oil could count on a 300 guilders fine and closure of their
mill for at least three months.


I can remember green soap (groene zeep) and soft soap (zachte zeep) so we must have used both kinds, winter and summer soap.

After getting my Andalusian Castile into molds, I turned my attention to this soap and started reading about the glycerin method, as described by Irish Lass and LSG and I decided to wing it. The first thing I noticed after mixing the glycerin/KOH mix with the hemp oil and sunflower oil (I don't keep canola oil in my house) was the scent - it brought me right back to cleaning the bathtub (among other things) with zachte zeep on a wash rag. I knew I was on the right track.

The only thing is, I've never designed, or made, a liquid soap of any kind. I know I have a paste soap but it really was by trial and error. I followed the directions in the above mentioned thread but I really need to do more research on how to figure out a recipe correctly.

I will say that I have no more zap. That's a good thing.

Now, off to figure out how to use the Summer Bee Meadow calculator.
 

dixiedragon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
4,905
Location
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
That is so interesting! So, why did they have summer and winter soap? Was hemp oil more available in the winter and that's why it was 2/3 of the winter soap?
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
4,047
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
That is so interesting! So, why did they have summer and winter soap? Was hemp oil more available in the winter and that's why it was 2/3 of the winter soap?
That's my thinking. Hemp was a crop widely used for all kinds of purposes and the oil was processed from the seed, which would have come later in the season considering that the Netherlands is a northern country.

Rapeseed would be more of a summer crop, perhaps? I'm not sure but that was certainly my impression.
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
4,047
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
Wow, Misschief! Nice bit of research!!!!
Thank you! I think the part that intrigued me the most was the amount of the possible fine. In that day and age 300 guilders was a lot of money! They took their green soap very seriously!

I checked my paste this morning and, being at work, I can't spend too much time here but...

1. I didn't use nearly enough glycerin so after it had congealed into a solid (I could have bounced it!), I microwaved it for one minute and added way more glycerin (I used about 1/3 of what I should have used).
2. This morning, it's still pretty solid so I'll play with it a bit tonight, adding distilled water this time.
3. I tried using a little bit of it and I can certainly recognize the scent (hemp) and it cleans beautifully. My kitchen sink sparkles and the water beads up on the surface.

I'm certainly happy with the results so far and I am looking forward to playing with soap paste (and making liquid soaps... phew, the reading I've been doing! My brain hurts!) more. I love the glycerin technique!
 

amd

Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2015
Messages
3,901
Reaction score
5,710
Location
South Dakota
I love this! I'm going to be heading to Germany sometime in 2016 and will be planning a few extra days in Belgium. This gives me a great idea of what to look for over there. Heaven forbid I travel somewhere and DON'T bring home soap...
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,470
Reaction score
19,380
Location
USA
" So, why did they have summer and winter soap?..."

From my reading, it's because the fats in a summer recipe gave a firmer soap, so the summer soap would not be as runny in the summer heat. The opposite would be true in winter -- you could make a softer type of soft soap and still have it be not-runny because your home would be a lot colder. The quote below is about soft (potassium) soap recipes. I know some hard (sodium) soap makers also had summer and winter formulas, but I haven't been able to find the source to share with you.

***

"...The fabrication of soft soaps will now be described. Soft soap is a more or less impure solution of potash soap mixed with glycerin in caustic lye, and forming at ordinary temperatures a transparent smeary jelly, containing at times, and especially in cold weather, white grains, which are impure potassium or sodium stearates....

"In England, whale, seal and linseed oils are chiefly used, and occasionally a little tallow to produce the grains, or figging just described, an appearance which serves no really useful purpose. On the European continent, hemp-seed, linseed, camelina, and poppy oils are used... [R]apeseed and train oils [are also used], especially in summer, since they produce a harder soap. In America, cottonseed oil and oleic acid are often employed...."

Source: J. Veitch Wilson & William Lant Carpenter. A Treatise on the Manufacture of Soap and Candles, Lubricants and Glycerin. 1895.

***

It's interesting to me that the "stearic spots" we all love to hate nowadays were a desirable feature called "figging" in the soft soaps of the 1800s.

"Train oil" is oil rendered from whale blubber. According to Wikipedia, the word train in this context "...comes from the Dutch word traan ("tear" or "drop")...." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_oil
 
Last edited:

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
4,047
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
Fascinating stuff, DeeAnna! Thank you so much!! It makes sense, doesn't it, especially since they didn't have the heating and cooling systems we have today.
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
4,047
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
Well, I think a picture tells a thousand words in this case. Tomorrow, I'll see how thick it gets but I have to tell you, it's been a fun adventure. I don't think the original Groene Zeep had as much glycerin, perhaps none, going by the smell of it. I can definitely smell that there's glycerin in the soap but I can smell the distinctive scent of the hemp as well.

I used a combination of hemp and corn oil. I love this method, by the way. If I added too much water, I'll turn this into a liquid soap. If it's a good gel consistency, I'll use it as is. Either way, I'm calling this a success, whether it's true Groene Zeep or not!

Thanks for the encouragement and for following along on this learning experience. It's been a lot of fun and a definite starting point.

017.JPG


016.JPG
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
4,047
Reaction score
6,191
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
Quick update

Gotta get ready for work (we've had more snow so I have to leave earlier than usual to pick the grandkids for school) but I did want to do a quick update.

This morning, the gel is absolutely sparklingly clear and gorgeous. I put a little too much water in it yesterday so I'll turn it into liquid soap. It's like cold molasses right now, not a paste. That's ok. I'm still calling this first experiment a partial success. I know I'm on the right track for making my own Groene Zeep.

ETA: Hmmm... I may have spoken too soon. I decided to put some of my soap into a foam pump. Spooning it out of the jar, I found that it's not quite as thick as the soap I remember but I can spoon it out without it being really runny. Pictures later. It does foam beautifully in my pump bottle, though.
 
Last edited:

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,470
Reaction score
19,380
Location
USA
Depending on the oleic acid content of your soap, you might find your soap will firm up to a Jello type of consistency, and it might want to stay that way even if you add more water.
 

topofmurrayhill

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 11, 2015
Messages
1,183
Reaction score
1,420
Location
New York City
I don't know how much it matters -- maybe just to my geeky mind -- but the rapeseed oil they used would have been nothing like our canola oil. The fatty acid profile of rapeseed has been entirely altered by breeding and genetic engineering. I guess it happens to be a convenient seed to grow and process for oil, but the plant now works to produce the oil designed by its human masters.

Haven't yet been able to find the fatty acid composition for wild rapeseed or coleseed oil, but it should be something more like meadowfoam oil. Eruric acid was a major part of the profile, now gone.

Edited to add:

Found it.

Rapeseed
16:0 palmitic 4.0%
18:0 stearic 1.5%
18:1 oleic 17.0%
18:2 linoleic 13.0%
18:3 linolenic 9.0%
20:1 gondoic 14.5%
22:1 eruric 41.0%

Canola
16:0 palmitic 4.1%
18:0 stearic 1.8%
18:1 oleic 63.0%
18:2 linoleic 20.0%
18:3 linolenic 8.6%
20:1 gondoic 1.9%
22:1 eruric 0.0%
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top