Saturated:Unsaturated Ratio?

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LisaNY

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Hi Everyone,

I don't know if there is an ideal saturated to unsaturated fat ratio, but I wanted to ask anyway. I have a soap recipe that I just ran through soapcalc and it shows a 46:54 sat/unsat ratio. How does that sound?

Does anyone work with a "standard" ratio?

Thank you!
 

IrishLass

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Although it's not written in stone or anything, a good, basic rule of thumb to use as a guideline is the 60/40 ratio of hard vs soft fats, but a lot can depend on the synergy of the different oils/fats in your formula, and/or what you are hoping to achive in your soap.

Also- it is good to keep in mind that olive oil can be figured as a hard fat because it produces a rock-hard bar of soap over time. For that reason, I always calculate it as a hard fat in my formulas.

IrishLass :)
 

LisaNY

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Wow! So, my sat:unsat ratio is way off...

Actually, most of the recipes I've done so far are in that range. Are my batches not usable?
 

donniej

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I've made plenty of soaps which were 100% unsaturated (soy). It cleans just fine and is a very mild soap. The down side is it's soft and the lather is thin. Soaps high in unsaturated oils are also more prone to oxidation (DOS).
 

LisaNY

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Thank you! I am going to pay closer attention to my ratios from now on.
 

LisaNY

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Okay - I just went to the Miller's soap site and took one of the recipes through soapcalc:

Castor oil 2 oz
Cocoa Butter 4 oz
Coconut oil 4 oz
Olive Oil 12 oz
Palm oil 10 oz
lye 4.3oz
water 12 oz

soapcalc shows a sat:unsat ratio of 39:61

Is this recipe a bad one? I am getting confused.
 

IrishLass

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Nope- it's not a bad recipe. :) It'll actually make a good, hard bar of soap with lots of creamy lather.

I think you are stressing too much over having proper ratios. Remember, that 60/40 ratio that I mentioned is only a general guideline. :) It's not written in stone as an absolute, and also remember that a lot can depend on the synergy of your oils in combination with each other, too. In other words, the numbers on paper can sometimes lie when compared to your actual finished soap.

The 60/40 ratio was recommended to me when I first started soaping and it was good because it kept me from 'bad idea' extremes in my formulating, yet I soon began to notice the 'on paper' numbers didn't always match up with reality in my finished soap. From then on, I began to use the ratio as more of a tweakable plumb-line/jumping-off place than an absolute 'written-in-stone' certainty.

What I would recommend for you to do is to do what I did when I first started out: make a couple of different batches using different formulas and let them cure (use a few of the Miller Soap recipes). Compare your finished soap to the 'on paper' figures, and then tweak from there. For example, if your soap feels too soft, increase your hard fats and decrease your soft oils, etc... It's much easier to do things this way than to rely solely on the numbers, because now you have real soap to work off of and compare instead of working in the abstract with just 'on paper' figures.


HTH!
IrishLass :)
 

LisaNY

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Thanks so much, IrishLass! Sorry I did not respond sooner.
 

Vintageliving

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And then there are those of us who make single fat soaps, such as all olive, all lard, or simple olive/castor soaps. They all work well.
 

Chris-2010

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Liquid vegetable fats likely won't result in enough hardness (whatever that means).

Start at about 20 percent saturated oil by weight (of your mix) and work your way up from there. You'll know when. :)

(But solid oil is only 1/3 of getting a hard soap bar.)
 

Tinystar

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I didnt know soap calc shows the ratio of your soap... where...i been soaping 2 years but still trying to learn im a very slow learner sorry.
 

psfred

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Lots of debate on this, and I think it depends entirely on what you want and the oils you are using. 50:50 is supposed to be the "perfect" soap, but what's "perfect" for me isn't necessarily "perfect" for you, etc.

Keep records and see what you like. I have made a very nice batch soap with 80% "vegetable oil" (I assumed it to be equal parts soy and canola oil) and 20% soy wax. The soy wax was to "harden" it. It was fairly soft for a long time, and went rancid because I used tap water and didn't use BHT or citrate, but it's nice soap now. Eventually because quite hard like Castile, and other than the rancidity from iron in the water and used oil (left over from frying donuts), it worked nicely.

Don't make 20 pounds of anything until you know you like it, but make lots of soap!
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Most of these posts are from 2010, so the op most likely has a fairly decent recipe sorted by now. Of course, we never stop tweaking, though [emoji106]
 

Abeltran

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Also- it is good to keep in mind that olive oil can be figured as a hard fat because it produces a rock-hard bar of soap over time. For that reason, I always calculate it as a hard fat in my formulas.
Remember though, just because an oil preforms a certain way in soap doesn't mean it's something it isn't. While the advice given here is EXCELLENT, I humbly disagree with this particular statement. To count olive oil as a "hard" oil, and amongst that desired 60% (ish!) hard oil ratio will result in soaps that will initially be very soft (olive oil makes a rock hard bar of soap over time, yes, but soaps made with high amounts of OO will take CONSIDERABLY longer to cure), and will produce a finished bar with higher conditioning properties, but lower lather. The fact is that even though the long term outcome of OO in soap is a hard bar, OO is an UNSATURATED fat, and not a hard oil (ie: saturated). When formulating your saturated (hard oils/butters) fats and unsaturated fats (soft/liquid oils) to create a soap recipe, the general guideline (not rule!) Is to formulate recipes which contain approx 60% hard oils/butters and 40% soft oils. My fav recipe actually consists of 55% hard oils & 45% soft, so again, this 60%/40% ratio is just a guideline & nothing more. However, if I were to take my above mentioned favorite recipe & count the olive oil as one of my hard/saturated fats, my recipe would be 83% "hard oils" and "17%" soft... This just isn't correct, and my recipe will always be a ratio of 55% hard/saturated fats and 45% soft/unsaturated fats, regardless of what qualities these fats impart to my finished soaps. Another thing to keep in mind is that the hard/soft percentages or ratios in my soap recipe are NOT the same thing as that little Sat/Unsat ratio soap calc shows you in the upper right-hand corner... understanding your fatty acid profiles, and what they bring to your recipe will help you to balance this! For example... That favorite recipe I was telling you about; while it might contain 55% hard oils & 45% soft, the saturated/unsaturated ratio of this recipe is 43:57/Sat:Unsat. As a general guideline for your recipe's fatty acid profile, a sat:unsat ratio of 40:60/sat:unsat is recommended. As you can see, my favorite recipe doesn't land precisely on that 40:60/sat:unsat "bullseye", but is within close proximity of it, and is a wonderfully balanced recipe! The 3 most valuable things I learned when formulating my own recipes (and having them actually turn out awesome!) were: #1 When you fully understand your fatty acid profiles (oleic, linoleic, linolenic, stearic, myristic, etc etc etc), and what roles they play when formulating recipes, there's NOTHING you won't be able tweak to formulate the best recipes ever ("best" being subjective, of course)! #2 Soap Calc is NOT the bible... Take it's final "judgment" with a grain of salt. And #3 There are VERY VERY VERY few rules when it comes to soap making (with rules pertaining mostly to lye safety), so any suggestions or guidelines you see out there (INCLUDING my own!) are ONLY that! Experiment, think outside the box, go against the "standard" and see what YOU like best! I know this thread is old, but I say these things more so for any soap maker who may stumble upon it in a search, as I know that sometimes it's hard to find answers to every single question that comes to mind, and when you DO, everyone seems to have a different opinion (myself included!). That can be SUPER confusing & frustrating to the newbie soap maker, so I do hope this helps in some small way!
 

cmzaha

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Abeltran the person you are responding to has not been seen since 2014. I will note my go to recipes are 50:50 and 42:58 both soaps have a decent longevity.
 

Sar

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Remember though, just because an oil preforms a certain way in soap doesn't mean it's something it isn't. While the advice given here is EXCELLENT, I humbly disagree with this particular statement. To count olive oil as a "hard" oil, and amongst that desired 60% (ish!) hard oil ratio will result in soaps that will initially be very soft (olive oil makes a rock hard bar of soap over time, yes, but soaps made with high amounts of OO will take CONSIDERABLY longer to cure), and will produce a finished bar with higher conditioning properties, but lower lather. The fact is that even though the long term outcome of OO in soap is a hard bar, OO is an UNSATURATED fat, and not a hard oil (ie: saturated). When formulating your saturated (hard oils/butters) fats and unsaturated fats (soft/liquid oils) to create a soap recipe, the general guideline (not rule!) Is to formulate recipes which contain approx 60% hard oils/butters and 40% soft oils. My fav recipe actually consists of 55% hard oils & 45% soft, so again, this 60%/40% ratio is just a guideline & nothing more. However, if I were to take my above mentioned favorite recipe & count the olive oil as one of my hard/saturated fats, my recipe would be 83% "hard oils" and "17%" soft... This just isn't correct, and my recipe will always be a ratio of 55% hard/saturated fats and 45% soft/unsaturated fats, regardless of what qualities these fats impart to my finished soaps. Another thing to keep in mind is that the hard/soft percentages or ratios in my soap recipe are NOT the same thing as that little Sat/Unsat ratio soap calc shows you in the upper right-hand corner... understanding your fatty acid profiles, and what they bring to your recipe will help you to balance this! For example... That favorite recipe I was telling you about; while it might contain 55% hard oils & 45% soft, the saturated/unsaturated ratio of this recipe is 43:57/Sat:Unsat. As a general guideline for your recipe's fatty acid profile, a sat:unsat ratio of 40:60/sat:unsat is recommended. As you can see, my favorite recipe doesn't land precisely on that 40:60/sat:unsat "bullseye", but is within close proximity of it, and is a wonderfully balanced recipe! The 3 most valuable things I learned when formulating my own recipes (and having them actually turn out awesome!) were: #1 When you fully understand your fatty acid profiles (oleic, linoleic, linolenic, stearic, myristic, etc etc etc), and what roles they play when formulating recipes, there's NOTHING you won't be able tweak to formulate the best recipes ever ("best" being subjective, of course)! #2 Soap Calc is NOT the bible... Take it's final "judgment" with a grain of salt. And #3 There are VERY VERY VERY few rules when it comes to soap making (with rules pertaining mostly to lye safety), so any suggestions or guidelines you see out there (INCLUDING my own!) are ONLY that! Experiment, think outside the box, go against the "standard" and see what YOU like best! I know this thread is old, but I say these things more so for any soap maker who may stumble upon it in a search, as I know that sometimes it's hard to find answers to every single question that comes to mind, and when you DO, everyone seems to have a different opinion (myself included!). That can be SUPER confusing & frustrating to the newbie soap maker, so I do hope this helps in some small way!

I was trying to figure the appropriate sat:unsat ratio. Thanks for this general guideline! :)
 

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