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Oils, Soap and exposure to heat (Carr Fire)

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Logansama

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Hey there,
I was evacuated from the Carr Fire for about 9 days and during that time, my house (which is unharmed!!!) had no power. Everything in my refrigerator went bad, and I'm going to throw out the avocado butter I had stored in there. My question is this: I also had hemp, tallow and Laurel oil in there, do you think those will have gone bad?

What about the oils on my shelves? Coconut, Olive, Rice Bran etc, etc. The interior of the house will have reached 115+ degrees. (very high temps while we were gone.) Should I risk using those?

My soap, some was only lightly covered with paper towels for curing, some was covered and the majority was still packaged in a case that got left outside while we were gone. It was also exposed to heat and smoke. My friend who worked as a first responder told me to toss all the soap as its been exposed to soot and possibly toxic chemicals. ARGH!!!

Fragrance and essential oils...they're mostly stored in drawers, but again, will have been exposed to high temperatures.

Anyone have any advice or insight into this?

Thank you!
 

LiLiSoapz

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I'm sorry you have to go through this, my grandparents evacuated in the Butte fires a few months ago.

I read somewhere on this forum that you can make soapm from rancid oils, I'm new to soaping so, I can only direct you to what I read, but have not applied yet myself.

Let me see if I can unearth my former findings and get back to you.
 

LiLiSoapz

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My reply is awaiting moderator approval due to the links I posted, however you can google "don't throw out that rancid oil make soap", and the article should show for you. I hope you are able to salvage it.
 

NsMar42111

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After dealing with DOS, I wouldn't chance the oils and soaps. If there's no way of figuring out exactly how hot it got in there, even the FOs would be suspect for me...although those I might judge by their smell. I'm sorry to hear you had to go through that, glad to hear you/family and housing are ok though!
 

SaltedFig

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I'm sorry to hear that you've had to go through such a frightening event, but glad for you that your house and selves are all well.

We sometimes get that sort of temperature in Summer (thank goodness not often at all), and it's horrid on oils and essential oils left out, but they don't go rancid immediately.

I reckon you could soap now with the oils and essential oils that were in sealed jars or tins (maybe not plastic - smoke can get through plastic), rather than throw them all out.

Sorry about the soap - I agree with your friend, the smoke will have got to it :(

I hope they'll let you claim any lost oils and soaps on your household insurance.
 

earlene

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I wouldn't bother with that process, LilySoapz. I tried it a couple of years ago and it was a total failure and hugely time consuming.

Logansmama, I am happy to hear your home was unharmed. Because of that, I assume the fridge did not get burned, so it was simply unopened and without power for that 9 days. How hot were the oils when you opened the fridge? Did you take a temp to check? I'm sure that may not have crossed your mind, though. I probably wouldn't have thought of it myself. My guess is that the fridge was so well insulated that the heat did not reach heights comparing to the outdoors for several days. But perhaps you could contact a refrigeration expert and ask if they can give you a ballpark figure of how many days it would take to get to 'x' temperature in those circumstances. ('x' being the temperature you would definitely say is too hot for all those oils to remain without immediate use.) You can also do the same regarding the house itself (not the fridge) to get a ballpark on how high the temps got inside the home. (fire department could point you in the right direction, I think.)

Another thing you could do is see if any of these oils taste off if you prepared food with them. I know an oil goes bad, I can't stand the smell, let alone eat food containing it. When that happens I toss it. After that 'cleaning the rancid oils' fiasco, I don't hold onto them ever.
 

LiLiSoapz

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I wouldn't bother with that process, LilySoapz. I tried it a couple of years ago and it was a total failure and hugely time consuming.

Logansmama, I am happy to hear your home was unharmed. Because of that, I assume the fridge did not get burned, so it was simply unopened and without power for that 9 days. How hot were the oils when you opened the fridge? Did you take a temp to check? I'm sure that may not have crossed your mind, though. I probably wouldn't have thought of it myself. My guess is that the fridge was so well insulated that the heat did not reach heights comparing to the outdoors for several days. But perhaps you could contact a refrigeration expert and ask if they can give you a ballpark figure of how many days it would take to get to 'x' temperature in those circumstances. ('x' being the temperature you would definitely say is too hot for all those oils to remain without immediate use.) You can also do the same regarding the house itself (not the fridge) to get a ballpark on how high the temps got inside the home. (fire department could point you in the right direction, I think.)

Another thing you could do is see if any of these oils taste off if you prepared food with them. I know an oil goes bad, I can't stand the smell, let alone eat food containing it. When that happens I toss it. After that 'cleaning the rancid oils' fiasco, I don't hold onto them ever.
Thank you for saving me from ever trying it.

I love the advice about the insulated fridge, you are right, the fridge probably insulated the avocado oil.
 

Lin19687

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DO NOT make soap with Rancid oils ! I don't know who said to do that but that is not correct LiliSoapz.

@Logansama I think your oils in the fridge will be fine, really, they were insulated.
the FO's you will have to smell to see how they are. When I moved from MA to TX and then TX to MA Both were done in 100° + in a POD storage, so the temps were Way up there sitting in the sun. Now mind you most of these were 4-6 years old already. Most made it ok and I JUST took these out of the basement last Fall. I tossed a bunch because I just was not sure I liked the smell, others just smelled off. I think once things cool down there, smell them and take it from there.

As for the soaps that were outside, yeah I would toss them. Soaps INSIDE I would wait and see, not to sell them but if the smoke did not penetrate the interior of the house they may be fine for you. Again I would wait and see, I am sure there are more pressing things you might want to do so put that on the back burner.

Oils on the shelf you might want to check the smell/taste test like @earlene said. Remember these oils are shipped in trucks that are metal and not refrigerated. most have a high smoke point so really time will tell.

Big hugs and glad your house and stuff made it ok. So sad this all happened :(
 

Logansama

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I wouldn't bother with that process, LilySoapz. I tried it a couple of years ago and it was a total failure and hugely time consuming.

Logansmama, I am happy to hear your home was unharmed. Because of that, I assume the fridge did not get burned, so it was simply unopened and without power for that 9 days.

Another thing you could do is see if any of these oils taste off if you prepared food with them. I know an oil goes bad, I can't stand the smell, let alone eat food containing it. When that happens I toss it. After that 'cleaning the rancid oils' fiasco, I don't hold onto them ever.
At some point, the power came back on, but the fridge smells horrid from the decaying food. I'm throwing out pretty much everything, even sealed non-perishable food because of bacteria. I haven't checked the oils yet, they were hemp, Laurel and avocado butter. I'll throw out the avocado butter because it was in plastic wrap and the smell will have penetrated it. I'm not sure about the other two.

I noticed that some of the oils on the storage shelf got hot enough to leak through the caps, which isn't too promising. While our temps were super high because of normal summer heat, outside, I notice the big cottonwood tree is half yellow, other established trees look crispy so I imagine the heat was higher than the temperatures that were forecast.

And yes, my insurance will cover the losses. :)
 

LiLiSoapz

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At some point, the power came back on, but the fridge smells horrid from the decaying food. I'm throwing out pretty much everything, even sealed non-perishable food because of bacteria. I haven't checked the oils yet, they were hemp, Laurel and avocado butter. I'll throw out the avocado butter because it was in plastic wrap and the smell will have penetrated it. I'm not sure about the other two.

I noticed that some of the oils on the storage shelf got hot enough to leak through the caps, which isn't too promising. While our temps were super high because of normal summer heat, outside, I notice the big cottonwood tree is half yellow, other established trees look crispy so I imagine the heat was higher than the temperatures that were forecast.

And yes, my insurance will cover the losses. :)
I'm so glad the insurance is covering you, make sure to take lots of pictures of everything for the claim.
 
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