Holy soap scum Batman!!

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SoapDaddy70

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Just got back from vacation in the Outer Banks NC. Rented a house with 4 other families and brought about 20 bars of my soap for everyone to use. I have never added any chelators to any of my recipes because Long Island water is not hard and I do not sell. Well, long story short - the water at this beach house turned my soap into a disgusting mess. I was slightly embarrassed and had to explain the whole idea of hard water and adding things to a soap recipe to combat what the hard water does to homemade soap and that this never happens to my soap at home. My question is - Does adding chelators to a soap recipe do anything weird if you don't have hard water. I am not selling so most of my soap goes to people that live near me. Wondering if its worth adding a chelator just in case or if it's not worth the hassle since I have never had an issue up until this isolated incident.
 
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lsg

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Here are a couple of links on the subject.


 

dibbles

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FWIW, I have a water softener. I do add sodium citrate at 1.5% of oil weight because everyone I give my soap to doesn't have soft water. Adding SC has never had any weird effect when using the soap in my softened water.
 
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I do the same as Dibbles. Never used to add any chelator because I didn't need it. Then I started adding CA to the bars I made for my sister with super hard water. Then our city water changed and became harder, creating soap scum on our shower. So I gave in and started using CA in all my soaps. Then I learned about sodium citrate, and that's what I use now. It requires no lye adjustment like CA, which I appreciate because, well, math.
 
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I use EDTA and Sodium Gluconate at 0.5% each for a total of 1%. I figure the 1% per total batch weight since I sold for 10+ yrs and I never knew what type my customer would have or where my soaps would be going. Sodium Citrate never worked as well for me nor my daughter that has extremely hard well water. I will also be having extremely hard well water so I am very glad my large supply of soaps contains my combination.
 
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I can tell you that you'd be fine if you want to try them. The chelators would be extra insurance for once you leave the NYC area and you go someplace where hard water and wonky well water are a thing. The only issue is that to be absolutely sure that your bar would be fine in hard water, you'd have to test it in that water. In any case, I've tried citric acid and sodium gluconate separately. The sodium gluconate is way easier to use and use it at 1% batch weight since I do not have a scale that can measure grams to the nearest hundredth. Citric acid, I also stick to 1% batch weight.
 

gloopygloop

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I use Sodium Glutomate @ 0.5% of oil weight which also works better for me than Sodium Citrate. I have hard city water but have never had a problem when using in place that does not. It will not illuminate scum but it will reduce it greatly.
 
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Everyone in my family that gets my soap has hard water except my sister-in-law. She says the only difference she can detect is extra bubbles. But she didn't have any of my non-EDTA bars left, so she could not do a direct comparison. I mix my EDTA with the Aloe Vera juice and sugar water (simple syrup) to make a "master batch" of additives that works out to the right amount with my master batched lye.
 

DeeAnna

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I echo what the others have said.

Keep in mind -- almost all water that people bathe with will contain some amount of hard water minerals. Softer water has fewer of these minerals, that's all. But your soap can benefit from a chelator even if you have softened water. It's just that you'll see more improvement from adding a chelator if your water is hard -- a chelator will help increase the amount of lather and reduce the amount of soap scum.

Regardless of the water you wash with, adding a chelator has, IMO, an even more important benefit. It will increase the shelf life of your soap by immobilizing the metal contamination that triggers rancidity (aka DOS) in soap.
 

gloopygloop

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Regardless of the water you wash with, adding a chelator has, IMO, an even more important benefit. It will increase the shelf life of your soap by immobilizing the metal contamination that triggers rancidity (aka DOS) in soap.

Absolutely true, this is something I have noticed as well.
 

Angie Gail

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I can tell you that you'd be fine if you want to try them. The chelators would be extra insurance for once you leave the NYC area and you go someplace where hard water and wonky well water are a thing. The only issue is that to be absolutely sure that your bar would be fine in hard water, you'd have to test it in that water. In any case, I've tried citric acid and sodium gluconate separately. The sodium gluconate is way easier to use and use it at 1% batch weight since I do not have a scale that can measure grams to the nearest hundredth. Citric acid, I also stick to 1% batch weight.
I have very hard water and I also have citric acid on hand (I make bath bombs too). So can I use that as a chelator? Is it 1% of the total batch weight or the oil weight?
Thanks!
 

DeeAnna

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I know I'm splitting hairs here, but I'm gonna split them anyways.

Citric acid in and of itself is not a chelator. When citric acid chemically reacts with sodium hydroxide, the resulting salt is sodium citrate. The sodium citrate created by this reaction is the chelator.

Many soap makers do this chemical reaction when they make soap. Because the citric acid reaction will use some NaOH, you will need to use a bit more NaOH in addition to the NaOH needed to make the soap itself. Some [email protected] recipe calculators can calculate the extra NaOH needed, but many do not. More: Citric acid, Citrus juice | Soapy Stuff

Or you can obtain sodium citrate and add that directly to your soap. (It's called "sour salt" in cooking.) Then you don't need to add extra NaOH. Some people prefer this method. More: Citrate | Soapy Stuff

I suppose, as far as soap making is concerned, the argument could be made that it doesn't really matter whether a person thinks citric acid is a chelator or sodium citrate is. But if you get away from soap -- say you want to include a chelator in handmade lotion -- a person does need to know there's a difference.
 
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I have very hard water and I also have citric acid on hand (I make bath bombs too). So can I use that as a chelator? Is it 1% of the total batch weight or the oil weight?
Thanks!
I'm afraid I'm in the same boat as OP in that I live in an area where I do not have hard water. I'm afraid I can't advise you on how much of that you made need to try to start. I can tell you that you'd want to use total batch weight if you want to try citric acid but you also need to take some other calculations into consideration, namely how much citric acid to use and how much lye is needed to offset the chemical interaction and avoid increasing your superfat. @DeeAnna posted the link above to her page where she goes into more detail.
 

Bubble Agent

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...My question is - Does adding chelators to a soap recipe do anything weird if you don't have hard water. ...

Hi!
Thought I`d pop in with my 2 cents worth. I use Sodium Gluchonate*.

So, I live in an area that has soft water. But my family, who live 4 hours away from me, have very hard water. As in, you have to use a hammer to break it appart to be able to drink it (lots of iron and minerals) And since they like to use my soaps I decided to add a chelator - Sodium Gluconate.

I have not noticed anything weird happening to my to my soaps, using sodium gluchonate with a softer type of water. As in nothing. Just creamy bubblyness. And soap scum has gone down to almost nil. Before I started with the SG I noticed a tiny bit of fatty residue in the sink and shower. Nothing dramatic, mind you, but it was definatly there. After I started with SG - nothing.

My family however, noticed a huge difference! After I started with the SG they got very little build up (or soap scum as you call it) compared to before. Then I could scrape it and get some under my nails.

In my personal experience:
Nothing bad happens when using it in soft water areas.
Something great happens in hard water areas.

I use 1% of the oils (1000 gr. oil = 10 gr. Sodium Gluconate)
I have tested with higher rates, and have found that 1% is adequate in my and my familys area.

*I have used SG for the last 5 or 6 years I think? I have it in all my soaps.

I actually came across it by accident, as I first noticed it in some foods here in Norway, and I got curious about why it was there in the first place! ("Oh no, it sounds like a poison, I must find out what it is!!")
Yeah, it wasn`t a poison. Obv. Easy there, tiger:rolleyes:

Had never heard about it before, so I googled it and found out via Jungblauzer it had a vartiety of usages, amongst other things, soaps! I googled some more, found a link to a supplier (ebay) and have used it ever since.

PS!
IIRC I think I found some information from this forum actually, I think it was here I actually got the usage rate.
 

gloopygloop

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Hi!
Thought I`d pop in with my 2 cents worth. I use Sodium Gluchonate*.

So, I live in an area that has soft water. But my family, who live 4 hours away from me, have very hard water. As in, you have to use a hammer to break it appart to be able to drink it (lots of iron and minerals) And since they like to use my soaps I decided to add a chelator - Sodium Gluconate.

I have not noticed anything weird happening to my to my soaps, using sodium gluchonate with a softer type of water. As in nothing. Just creamy bubblyness. And soap scum has gone down to almost nil. Before I started with the SG I noticed a tiny bit of fatty residue in the sink and shower. Nothing dramatic, mind you, but it was definatly there. After I started with SG - nothing.

My family however, noticed a huge difference! After I started with the SG they got very little build up (or soap scum as you call it) compared to before. Then I could scrape it and get some under my nails.

In my personal experience:
Nothing bad happens when using it in soft water areas.
Something great happens in hard water areas.

I use 1% of the oils (1000 gr. oil = 10 gr. Sodium Gluconate)
I have tested with higher rates, and have found that 1% is adequate in my and my familys area.

*I have used SG for the last 5 or 6 years I think? I have it in all my soaps.

I actually came across it by accident, as I first noticed it in some foods here in Norway, and I got curious about why it was there in the first place! ("Oh no, it sounds like a poison, I must find out what it is!!")
Yeah, it wasn`t a poison. Obv. Easy there, tiger

Had never heard about it before, so I googled it and found out via Jungblauzer it had a vartiety of usages, amongst other things, soaps! I googled some more, found a link to a supplier (ebay) and have used it ever since.

PS!
IIRC I think I found some information from this forum actually, I think it was here I actually got the usage rate.

Incidentally the official usage rate I believe is around 0.5% which is what I use it at but I dont I think double the recommended amount and you obviously do not have any adverse effects in your soap. It could be that at the 1% range it just becomes overkill? and 0.5% as recommended is actually enough to do the same thing? Have you tried it at a lower rate and found it to be less effective? this is an enquirey by the way not a suggestion:)
 

Bubble Agent

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Incidentally the official usage rate I believe is around 0.5% which is what I use it at but I dont I think double the recommended amount and you obviously do not have any adverse effects in your soap. It could be that at the 1% range it just becomes overkill? and 0.5% as recommended is actually enough to do the same thing? Have you tried it at a lower rate and found it to be less effective? this is an enquirey by the way not a suggestion:)


Hi @gloopygloop :)

I hope you don`t mind a longer answer, but it can be helpfull to know the reasoning behind it.

No, in my soaps 1% is not overkill. And I am more than happy to happy to share with you why.

I do agree wholeheartedly that it is always wise to be cautious when it comes to additives, so I do understand your concern when you think I doubled an aditive that could be used by half. I am actually really happy that you raised this question, because it can help others.

If it can be of some sort of comfort to you I`ll start by mentioning that my soaps have been safety assessed by the very strict EU/EEA rules as soaps are a cosmetic here in Norway (and the EU in general)

When it comes to Sodium Gluconate (from now on written as SG) it can safely be used from 0.1 - 1% and up, in products, depending on the product and the reason for using it. It has no special regulation that restricts the use in Europe, or other countries that I know of. If there is a product that hints of being unsafe, it will be pulled immediatly (as per EU regulations).

(FDA assigned sodium gluconate GRAS status and permitted its use in food without limitation other than current good manufacturing practice. Same goes for Europe)

The one I use is food grade and from Jungbunzlauer and is made from fermentation of glucose.
I have tried and tested it over many years, in everything from 0.1% and up.

I landed on 1% of oil weight, as that yielded good results, and allowed me to have my high lard soaps (60%) stabilized really well for long term storage, (because you know, people do strange things, like putting soaps in the sockdrawer for three years straight instead of using it...) aiding the BHA in the lard to prevent rancidity, and at the same time act as a chelator in hard water areas.

So my usage rate have been carefully tested long term.
As a side note my safety assessor allowed me to use 1.3% and more in my soaps, if I so wished. SG is biodegradable by 98% after 2 days, so had it been EDTA I would not have been allowed that amount.

(I did not ask further as to why that was, as we had a lot of other and more important things to cover, but I think it is because it has impact on water sources and environment in general, and several other reasons.)

Also, Norway has a big variation in water hardness. And although I live in a place that happens to have softer water, just a very few kilometers from where I live, friends of mine have very hard water. They get their water source from a different place than us, and they need that 1% SG in my soaps.

My family that lives 4 hours from me also have extremely hard water as they live a place where there is a lot of natural minerals and high amounts of iron (they get brown deposits/stripes on their porcelain because of that)

As soap is a cosmetic in Norway I have to abide by much stricter rules than those who live outside the EU/EEA. So when my safety assessor without hesitation allowed me to use 1.3% SG and even more in my soaps, I would not think they could do that, if there were some sort of hazard involved - even a minute one - for humans or the environment regarding this. But as I said, I landed on 1% as sufficient.

Hope this answered some of your concerns, and sorry for the long answer! But sometimes I prefer to be meticulous in an answer, as I don`t want to be giving a superficial response if it could help someone else understand a reasoning behind a choice.
 
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Incidentally the official usage rate I believe is around 0.5% which is what I use it at but I dont I think double the recommended amount and you obviously do not have any adverse effects in your soap. It could be that at the 1% range it just becomes overkill? and 0.5% as recommended is actually enough to do the same thing? Have you tried it at a lower rate and found it to be less effective? this is an enquirey by the way not a suggestion:)
The typical usage rate for SG is 0.1-1%. If I did not use EDTA at 0.5% I would up my SG to 1% total batch weight. I started using the mixture after I visited my daughter and checked some hair product labels she buys in her are when her water is so extremely, in the products the chelator combination is EDTA + SG. Her hair and my granddaughter's hair began falling out when using her regular shampoos which we decided was directly related to the extremely hard water deposits left of their hair. It lessened when they started using the hair products her salon sold. I will mention my granddaughter is 12 with thick waist-long hair which was always in superior condition. So I stick with my combination.
 

gloopygloop

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Hi @gloopygloop :)

I hope you don`t mind a longer answer, but it can be helpfull to know the reasoning behind it.

No, in my soaps 1% is not overkill. And I am more than happy to happy to share with you why.

I do agree wholeheartedly that it is always wise to be cautious when it comes to additives, so I do understand your concern when you think I doubled an aditive that could be used by half. I am actually really happy that you raised this question, because it can help others.

If it can be of some sort of comfort to you I`ll start by mentioning that my soaps have been safety assessed by the very strict EU/EEA rules as soaps are a cosmetic here in Norway (and the EU in general)

When it comes to Sodium Gluconate (from now on written as SG) it can safely be used from 0.1 - 1% and up, in products, depending on the product and the reason for using it. It has no special regulation that restricts the use in Europe, or other countries that I know of. If there is a product that hints of being unsafe, it will be pulled immediatly (as per EU regulations).

(FDA assigned sodium gluconate GRAS status and permitted its use in food without limitation other than current good manufacturing practice. Same goes for Europe)

The one I use is food grade and from Jungbunzlauer and is made from fermentation of glucose.
I have tried and tested it over many years, in everything from 0.1% and up.

I landed on 1% of oil weight, as that yielded good results, and allowed me to have my high lard soaps (60%) stabilized really well for long term storage, (because you know, people do strange things, like putting soaps in the sockdrawer for three years straight instead of using it...) aiding the BHA in the lard to prevent rancidity, and at the same time act as a chelator in hard water areas.

So my usage rate have been carefully tested long term.
As a side note my safety assessor allowed me to use 1.3% and more in my soaps, if I so wished. SG is biodegradable by 98% after 2 days, so had it been EDTA I would not have been allowed that amount.

(I did not ask further as to why that was, as we had a lot of other and more important things to cover, but I think it is because it has impact on water sources and environment in general, and several other reasons.)

Also, Norway has a big variation in water hardness. And although I live in a place that happens to have softer water, just a very few kilometers from where I live, friends of mine have very hard water. They get their water source from a different place than us, and they need that 1% SG in my soaps.

My family that lives 4 hours from me also have extremely hard water as they live a place where there is a lot of natural minerals and high amounts of iron (they get brown deposits/stripes on their porcelain because of that)

As soap is a cosmetic in Norway I have to abide by much stricter rules than those who live outside the EU/EEA. So when my safety assessor without hesitation allowed me to use 1.3% SG and even more in my soaps, I would not think they could do that, if there were some sort of hazard involved - even a minute one - for humans or the environment regarding this. But as I said, I landed on 1% as sufficient.

Hope this answered some of your concerns, and sorry for the long answer! But sometimes I prefer to be meticulous in an answer, as I don`t want to be giving a superficial response if it could help someone else understand a reasoning behind a choice.

Thank you very much for your very interesting reply, I love the detail. I am in the UK so fully understand the meaning of the safety assessment which I used have some years ago when I did sell a little soap, but now I dont sell at all and just make for home use. If your assessor says up to 1.3% is fine to use then I too would take that as gospel as they are heavily under control for all of these additives. I shall endeavour to try upping to 1% for my own use to see how I like the result
 
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