Sodium Acetate (from Vinegar) - Safety, Other Reasons for Use & Sweatiness?

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Garden Gives Me Joy

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2020
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United States
I understand that the acetic acid in vinegar combines with caustic soda to produce sodium acetate and that, being a salt, the sodium acetate provides the benefit of hardening the soap.

My very unscientifically informed internet search suggests that sodium acetate can cause skin irritation. To what extent is its use safe for sensitive skin? Has anyone or their customers ever experienced problems? ... or discussions regarding skin irritation apply only when concentrations exceed what soapers can ever reach?

Outside of using vinegar for hardness (and adding bubbles), are there other reasons soapers use vinegar?

I will be gettting a dehumidifying system but, if possible, still want to elminate or at least reduce the potential for sweatiness for others who do not have dehumidifiers. Has anyone ever observed vinegar soap sweat? (Do all salts cause soaps to sweat)?
I use vinegar a lot and experience no sweatiness on my bars, nor any skin irritation whatsoever. And believe me, I am one whose skin reacts to so many things it is ridiculous.

I like how vinegar allows me to unmold sooner without using sodium lactate or other salts. Unlike adding plain table salt, vinegar doesn’t inhibit my lather at all, but rather enhances it somehow - adds a softness or something that i can’t quite describe. And vinegar never gives me chalky or crumbly spots like I sometimes get with SL, even at very low usage rates.
I use vinegar in all my soaps at 50-100% of my liquid requirement and have for several years now. I normally soap using a 50/50 lye masterbatch which is why the 50% vinegar which will vary a little since it is my extra liquid, if I am making up my lye per batch I use my vinegar as 100% liquid and mix my lye directly holding back enough vinegar to dissolve my EDTA & SG. If I want milk in my soap I use powdered milk. It allows me to de-mold sooner and does add a little chelating factor to my soaps although I also use EDTA and Sodium Gluconate as chelators. I use low a fairly low CO/PKO mix with a 2-3% superfat and my soaps lather well with absolutely no irritation to my skin that is prone to severe eczema. I love the initial hardness allowing me to de-mold faster and it does not interfere with lather. Just remember to multiply your amount of vinegar by 0.0.357 to determine the amount of extra NaOH to use.

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