Lye discount. organic certification

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Nikolye

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I've been soaping for 3 or so years now. For myself, my family, coworkers and my mates. I have someone whom has been using my soap and loves it. I don't sell it, its just thank you's, gifts and bartering material. (I'm careful, I'm slow and steadily moving towards awesomeness. I didn't just dive right in this crazy pool, I made unscented, un colored soap the first two years!!! every day's a school day)

They have recently asked me to make a huge batch for them to purchase and give as gifts to clients. They are familiar with my soap, and know my skill level. I have never made a batch that was unusable, as i said, slow and steady. I don't win any races!!!
Ok, all good, i can do this.
However, they dropped a bomb on me.

I formulated a recipe based on the oils they want, they told me that they want me to lower the lye, as its the only non organic ingredient in the soap. So by cutting down lye they can certify the product organic. It may sound mental, but this is the life they live and breath, they wouldn't' give a product out that wasn't certified, or at least certifiable. This is just gifts, not for sale. but they wan't it certified. OK then.

They aren't soapers, clearly. (hey by the way, can you just skip the lye so we can put a fancy sticker on it? hahahaha) i told them i can swap out water for organic tea, I'm familiar with this game...that bumps me up a few % towards organic but i still need a few %, i think 3.4ish to be certifiable. I'm already soaping at 8% superfat.

I just don''t know how it will behave any higher. I will do a small test batch this weekend, but i'd love some input. I will provide my recipe i have ran through soapcalc. I was hoping the coconut and cocobutter would help harden it up and give me a bit more superfat room, but I'm not certain and so here i am.

Percentages
Avocado-15
Almond-5
Coconut-25
CoCo butter-10
Olive Oil-45
Lye concentration-27.932


I'd love to hear feedback on experiences going higher than 8% Thank you.
 

ngian

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Well by lowering the NaOH amount, and thus making a higher lye discount in your recipe, you will have a soap that will have lesser suds and a little softer bar soap that will melt with water a little quicker.

NaOH will not stay as is by the end of saponification and the only thing I can think of that you can suggest them is to use a chemically cleaned type of NaOH that is a little more expensive. I can find here in my town the normal NaOH with 2,5E / kgr and the chemically cleaned version of it at 10-12E/kgr.

The latter one has lesser compounds that are non NaOH and may be used for such requests.
 

topofmurrayhill

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I formulated a recipe based on the oils they want, they told me that they want me to lower the lye, as its the only non organic ingredient in the soap. So by cutting down lye they can certify the product organic. It may sound mental, but this is the life they live and breath, they wouldn't' give a product out that wasn't certified, or at least certifiable. This is just gifts, not for sale. but they wan't it certified. OK then.
I'm answering based on the assumption that your requirements are the same as for the USA.

Maybe tell them you probably can't design a product that is virtually non-existent. Play with the numbers any way you like, but you won't make them work for bar soap without compromising the product, as many have discovered. You just can't dilute it like you can liquid soap.

High superfat can be okay in soaps with a very large amount of coconut oil, but the coconut oil requires more lye so you still can't win.

Having said that, I seldom completely discount the possibility of doing something clever that most people haven't thought of. I don't know how in this case, but off the top of my head you could begin by formulating a recipe that doesn't separate with a 25% lye solution, to maximize the organic liquid amount -- which could be tea like you said or maybe fruit juice like Dr. Bronners uses in their liquid soap. But you will still need a filler -- something that can be an organic ingredient, contribute a useful property, and not need to be saponified.

I think some sort of wax might be worth considering, but I have no experience trying this; I'm just brainstorming. I don't use beeswax, but you might prefer something vegan anyway. There are rice bran and sunflower waxes -- and others -- but I don't know if organic versions are available or how they work in soap.
 

BattleGnome

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Jojoba oil? Based on tomh's thought of non-sopanifacables, but I don't recall ever hearing anything about jojoba adding anything to the soap.

Would an additive work like a salt/brine bar or exfoliant? Some organic oats could easily add visual interest and up the % without using something questionable for colorant.
 

green soap

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Wow, this is quite a challenge. I entered your recipe in soapcalc and I get that the lye is 8.9% of your total weight, do you concur? So if I understand correctly they want the lye to be 3.4% or less of your recipe for organic certification, right?

I though maybe a salt bar? If you can get organic salt, you could use the same weight of salt as the oils, making the total organic ingredients a larger proportion. At 100% coconut oil and 20% SF (a standard SF for 100% CO) and using some organic essential oil at 3%; the best I can do is get the lye at 5.8% of your total weight. This is lower than your present 8.9% but still much higher than 3.4%. Having said that, a salt bar is completely different than your recipe, and 100% salt (per oil weight) is a bit high for most people. I use from 50% to 25% myself. However, it can be done but then you end up with a completely different type of soap that requires a rather long cure.

So perhaps the best is to tell your friends "sorry, it can't be done because the quality of the soap would not be what you are accustomed to". If these would be your first clients (your first sale) you do not want to compromise on the quality of your soap. By the way your recipe sound lovely as it is.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Does it really work like that? With soap you no longer have an organic oil and some lye, but a salt of an organic oil (which is of course no longer the oil).
 

BrewerGeorge

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Is there really a requirement for an inorganic chemical to be certified "organic"? Does the water have to be "organic" too? If so, that word is being tortured to death.

If it were me, I'd just explain to them that everything agricultural (the oils) is certified organic, and that the chemicals required to make soap - lye, water, salt, sodium citrate, whatever - are "pure" because calling any of those "organic" is an oxymoron. If that wasn't good enough, I'd have to bow out of making their soap.
 

earlene

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Does it have to be vegan? If not, lanolin works in soap and has lots of unsaponifiables. I like it myself. You just have to be careful not to overuse it because too much makes the bar feel sticky and slick. I think it also decreases bubbles.

Beeswax, as mentioned previously is also good in soap for hardening the bar. Organic beeswax is available, I believe, but again, not vegan if that is required. Also some organic salt as mentioned above supposedly helps to harden the soap.

To increase bubbles if you need to do that, you can add organic sugar.

I wonder how much more of these you can add without having to actually change the amount of lye? If your percentages of organic ingredients can be increased without having to compromise the amount of required lye to make a good soap, can it be done?

One other thought: Would doing a Dual Lye soap help at all? Does KOH have a greater or lesser 'certifiable percentage number'? For high Oleic soaps, using a dual lye solution (NaOH and KOH together) can improve the soap. I've done 95% NaOH with 5% KOH, but I think DeeAnna posted at least once about experimenting with a 90/10 combination. I could be mis-remembering, because I can't currently find that post.
 

topofmurrayhill

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Is there really a requirement for an inorganic chemical to be certified "organic"? Does the water have to be "organic" too? If so, that word is being tortured to death.

If it were me, I'd just explain to them that everything agricultural (the oils) is certified organic, and that the chemicals required to make soap - lye, water, salt, sodium citrate, whatever - are "pure" because calling any of those "organic" is an oxymoron. If that wasn't good enough, I'd have to bow out of making their soap.
I guess some torture is inevitable. Organic is a word with real meanings, but in this context the definition is purely statutory. Products are organic if people say they are, or at least the people who make the rules. It's a regulatory game to gain a marketing advantage.

If the customer actually wants it certified with a logo on the label, it has to be 95% organic ingredients, which is why you seldom if ever see that on bar soap but occasionally on liquid soap.

Ordinarily, the water would be excluded from the calculation (thus there is no such thing as certified organic water), which hurts you because it makes the percentage of lye higher. Making certifiable soap is a matter of tricks though. Substitute an organic agricultural product for your liquid -- even if it includes added water -- and that counts in your product as a 100% organic ingredient (hence the Dr. Bronner's approach or using grape juice in liquid soap). To have a fighting chance, you have to do that with bar soap too, but by itself it isn't enough.

Salt is also excluded from the calculation, and it can't be certified as organic, so it doesn't help.
 

Obsidian

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If the customer actually wants it certified with a logo on the label, it has to be 95% organic ingredients, which is why you seldom if ever see that on bar soap but occasionally on liquid soap.

Ordinarily, the water would be excluded from the calculation (thus there is no such thing as certified organic water)
I thought lye was also excluded as it can't be certified either? I think the OP needs to contact their governing body that deals with organic certification and ask about the lye and water content.

Another option is the label the soap *made with 100% organic oils* It might be as close as you can get while still being able to provide a quality product.
 

topofmurrayhill

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I thought lye was also excluded as it can't be certified either? I think the OP needs to contact their governing body that deals with organic certification and ask about the lye and water content.

Another option is the label the soap *made with 100% organic oils* It might be as close as you can get while still being able to provide a quality product.
The caustic is allowed even though it's synthetic, but it's included in the percentage calculation for certification. Again, this is for the USA. Salt and water are the only two specifically excluded ingredients.

I just double checked, and without any certification you can't use "made with organic oils" on the main panel but you can with the ingredients.
 
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The Efficacious Gentleman

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But unless the customer is going to get the soap actually checked certified, any sticker that they put on the label regarding it being organic is not going to be right - so why not "made with organic oils"? That is not right, but nothing would be.

Besides, isn't it more for products for eating and drinking? There are no organic clothes. Or paper. Or chairs. There are ethically made products, but not organic because it would of course have things in there which are not for consumption.

Like soap does. It has oils, yes. And we do consume lye, yes. But not at the amounts used in soap because soap is not for eating.

Soap also doesn't need nutritional information on the label. A loaf of organic bread would need it, because it is for eating. But soap isn't, so it doesn't.
 

topofmurrayhill

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But unless the customer is going to get the soap actually checked certified, any sticker that they put on the label regarding it being organic is not going to be right - so why not "made with organic oils"? That is not right, but nothing would be.

Besides, isn't it more for products for eating and drinking? There are no organic clothes. Or paper. Or chairs. There are ethically made products, but not organic because it would of course have things in there which are not for consumption.

Like soap does. It has oils, yes. And we do consume lye, yes. But not at the amounts used in soap because soap is not for eating.

Soap also doesn't need nutritional information on the label. A loaf of organic bread would need it, because it is for eating. But soap isn't, so it doesn't.
Cosmetics and soap are part of the USDA organic program in the USA. It's not limited to food. My understanding was that the customer of the OP wants to obtain certification, but I might be mistaken. In any event, what we are describing here are the actual issues involved in getting soap certified. There are certified organic liquid soaps, but those are easier because you can take advantage of the large liquid component as part of your organic percentage.
 

Susie

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You really don't use much oatmeal in a batch of soap, maybe a tablespoon to a pound of oils, MAX. More like a tablespoon to a whole 3 lb batch.

I really think they are going to have to be happy with "oils from certified organic sources" on the label.
 

joy.

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I think there's an exemption for lye in soap. It can be certified organic and the lye is "ignored":



Title 7, Subtitle B, Chapter I, Subchapter M, Part 205, Subpart G, §205.605, b) Synthetics allowed:
Potassium hydroxide—prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables except when used for peeling peaches.
Sodium hydroxide—prohibited for use in lye peeling of fruits and vegetables.
This is from this thread: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=57543

But it's my understanding that products have to be certified at the manufacturing level, so you'd be the one that would have to get it certified.
 

Nikolye

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I am learning so much, its been really cool all of this actually. Everything everyone is saying above is what we've all been talking about the last few days... not a stone unturned guys!! Water and salt are the only things exempt however the cert guy was stumped by the sponification process and asked to get back to us after he chatted with his people. When he is clear ill update everyone! I dont care if its certified or not, its been a real learning experience!

But it's my understanding that products have to be certified at the manufacturing level, so you'd be the one that would have to get it certified.[/QUOTE]

Well technically they are the manufacturer. Since i work for them. I am doing it while at work actually. We are in the medicinal oils industry, so she wants her goodness in my bars for her special customers. Instead of doing my normal job that day, i'll be soaping!!!!
 

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