Red red palm oil.....EWWWWW!

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Sep 12, 2015
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New Brunswick, Canada
My bf bought me 3 huge containers of RED palm oil on sale at Costco. (thanks a lot costcon) It sucks for cooking and baking because it tastes gross and not even copious amounts of pumpkin pie spice will cover up the gross taste. To soap making it goes. BUT it is SO RED! And it smells like POO!! YUK!
First, will this red color stain skin or wash cloths as soap?
Second, anyone ever been able to suppress that horrid smell? I tried a metric crap-ton of chai tea with no effect. It's mostly a bar of chai tea bound together with orange tinted soap now, even though the palm oil was only 30% of the fats. Demon Fat!!
I too regretted buying red palm oil :) I only used it at 5%, and it resulted in a much more orange color than I expected (for me it was kind of a butterscotch-light orangey color). I had read that it was best to keep it low, but I was still shocked at the degree of coloration, I used it in an OMH soap w/o any other colorant, and it was still too orangey for that. I think if you are going to use this, you have to (a) use it in small percentages and (b) even then, expect a dark yellow to bright orange soap. I still have a couple of lbs or so of this, don't know if I will use it up, but I can't imagine going over 10%, personally (and that is if I wanted a bright orange.)

Mine does not stain skin or cloth, but it is so much lower than yours that I'm not sure what would happen at 30%. The acrid smell of the oil did go away in the soap, at least at my usage amount.

ETA: I will say, I have a soap that a friend from here (SeaWolfe) gave me, she used RPO for a beautiful bright yellow-orange swirl that did not bleed. I do not remember what her numbers were, though.
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30% is too much, I really recommend it at 5% for a nice color that doesn't bleed. I made a bar with 25% red palm and it bled badly but didn't stain skin, I don't use washcloths so I can't help there. My soap didn't have a smell from the oil but the oil really doesn't smell like much.

Pretty sure its best used in certain heavily spiced dishes, you don't use in place of oil in most recipes or for baking.
This may or may not work and it may be completely crazy/ bogus but... since you hate the smell/ color soooo much, you may want to try this. I found an article on bleaching/deoderizing palm oil. It does say this happens under pressure though so it may not do much for you. (they also mention tallow)

It says it is cleaned with fullers earth and a mineral acid (according to wikipedia, this can be nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid and even boric acid, borax in water).

It talks about how if you dont wash it really well with hot water first though that it gets suuuper gross. From the article:

" However, when these oils or fat were
pre-treated by washing with hot water at 80oC for 30 minutes, the bleaching cost was
reduced by 50% and the bleached oil colours were lower (0.8R, 4Y, 0B, 0N) and stable
for both palm oils and tallow fat. No extraneous odour was associated with the bleached
oils. "

So, if you wanted to, I would try this with 1 cup of oil. Heres what I would do (this is complete conjecture/ on a whim. I'm basing some of it off of my used cooking oil cleaning experiment).

1. Weigh 8 oz of oil
2. Add oil into a closable/ shakeble container (20 oz soda bottle works well, make sure its PP5 or HDPE though)
3. Add 8 oz HOT water (80 C is almost boiling) bring the water to almost a boil and add it to the bottle.
4. Cap and shake gently (use gloves!). Open the cap to release pressure every so often. Do this for about 2 min. You dont want to shake vigorously or your oil will become emulsified.
5. Remove the water layer (thats the bottom layer, probably easiest with a turkey baster, no need to remove all the water at this step)
6. Add more hot water and repeat 2x.
7. Take off the water one last time, this time try to get out as much water as you can don't worry if you loose some oil this time.
8. Add 1/4 cup fullers earth and 1/4 cup borax.
9. Shake a few times a day for a week or so, The color should go down at this point and start staining the fullers earth/borax mix.
10. Warm the bottle (like a double boiler) so that all the palm is melted again and filter it through a sifter and then through a coffee filter if you want.

I know it seems like a lot of work but, it might be worth a shot. Who knows?? Btw, I'm totally guessing at the amounts of fullers earth and borax (if borax will even work... they might use hydrochloric). Plus, they use a high pressure system that is probably at high heat and has continuous stirring....

Thought I'd share it though...

Acording to another article, they use phosphoric acid which is found in relatively high amounts in coke (or pepsi). Maybe you could try the hot water stage with hot, flat coke instead?
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One of my best soaps was using red palm oil. The butterscotch color looked awesome and the soap was great.
I can't remember how much I used in this but I'd use it again for colouring. It created a great yellow.

Very lovely soapies! I especially love the 3rd one from the left! I hope you will excuse my cheekiness in posing the following question in rhyme (couldn't help myself), but I sincerely do want to know.... did it smell, Relle? :mrgreen:

IrishLass :)
The organic RSPO red palm oil I got from SC has a very different smell from the regular Palm I used before. It gives a yellow hue to soap, not exactly a yellow or orange that you would get by adding colors. When you mix in TD, it's a gorgeous creamy yellow. It doesn't smell after the soap is made, I don't know if this is true for un scented soaps though. I have so much of it that I can't avoid using it anymore, so I master batched my oils today, with this thing in the mix at 20%. It's also in my failed beeswax at similar percentage. I will post the cut pics tomorrow, 1/3rd of the batter was un colored.
This is what the red palm oil did to my soap.( don't judge it too harshly, it's my 2nd soap EVER) The color is nice, i guess, but it smells weird. it's not pleasant. you can't smell the tea at all through the smell of the oil.

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I think it looks just fine and I wouldn't worry about the colored lather, It's not going to be too bad. The seeds look nice with the yellow.
I dumped a bunch of chai tea in it. I just started trying soap making and I find myself looking in my cupboards for additives. Just like when I make homebrew. I don't own any essential oils, so I am raiding my spice cabinet and garden.
Spices and herbs won't scent your soap if thats what you are going for. Unfortunately, most things are destroyed by the lye so you'll need proper essential oil or fragrance oil.
Very lovely soapies! I especially love the 3rd one from the left! I hope you will excuse my cheekiness in posing the following question in rhyme (couldn't help myself), but I sincerely do want to know.... did it smell, Relle? :mrgreen:

IrishLass :)

Yes, it did smell, really nice, thank you.:lol:

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