Source for ROE? And question about usage.

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merrysoap

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Hello lovely soapers,

I'm in the market you purchase some ROE to add to my CP soaps and any new bulk liquid oils I purchase. Where do you all get your ROE from? Do you have a favorite reputable source (for ROE or other bulk oils and additives)?

A brief search looks like Wholesale Supplies Plus and Crafter's Choice both carry it (carnosic acid 7%) at a reasonable price. I've ordered my lye from WSP before but that's it so far. Oils were from Bulk Apothecary.

I've also seen numerous posts about how people use ROE in their products. There was a link to a blog post by Crafty Monkey (or something similar) that apparently went into much more detail but the link did not work... anyone have that available to share?

At risk of beating a dead horse, how do you all use ROE in your products? Currently my bulk liquid oils are opened and partially used, so my thought was to add ROE to each batch of oils during the soapmaking process and then add it to the entire container immediately upon opening any new bulk liquid oils (so I'll know exactly how much to add without exceeding recommendations).

When you do add ROE to bulk oils, do you add more during the soapmaking process to account for solid oils (coconut, palm, butters, etc.) that didn't get ROE added?

I'm adding ROE primarily to decrease the risk of DOS in my high heat and humidity climate (in addition to always using distilled water, running a dehumidifier and having DampRid in my curing area, and making sure my oils are well within use by dates).

What else do you all do to combat DOS? Please feel free to point me to another post of this has already been covered elsewhere. Thanks in advance for sharing!
 
If you already have a reputable supplier that carries ROE, then buy from them. There's no particular source that's better than the others. I've seen it at Lotioncrafter, Majestic Mountain Sage, Wholesale Supplies Plus (aka Crafter's Choice), and others.

Swift Crafty Monkey's info is mostly behind a paywall. I suspect you have an older link which is why it's not working for you. No help for this except to become a subscriber to her blog.

I add ROE to the fats I am going to be storing away for soapmaking. You want the ROE to protect the fats even before they're turned into soap.

I started using ROE after I learned to make soap, so I had some partly used containers of fats when I got the ROE. I added ROE to the more fragile liquid fats. As I purchase new liquid fats, I add ROE to these fresh fats as well.

I also add ROE to home-rendered lard and tallow. Store bought lard and tallow already have antioxidants in them, so there's no point to adding ROE.

Some fats are naturally stable without ROE -- coconut for example -- so I don't bother adding ROE to those. I don't dose the soap batter with extra ROE to account for the fats that don't contain ROE. If I thought this was absolutely required to dose all fat with ROE, I'd rather melt all my fats up front, dose them with ROE, and be done with it.

The other reason why I don't add ROE at the time I make soap is I'd rather err on the side of having less antioxidant than what might be the optimum rather than having more than optimum. Too much antioxidant can be worse than under-dosing because too much antioxidant can accelerate the rate of fat oxidation rather than slow it down. Look into "pro-oxidation" to learn more.

Last but not least, an antioxidant isn't the only thing you want to consider if you want to guard against rancidity (DOS). I'd also recommend using a chelator when you make soap. A chelator immobilizes metal ions that can accelerate rancidity.

If I had to use only one -- either an antioxidant like ROE or a chelator -- I'd actually choose the chelator first. Rancidity specifically triggered by metallic contamination appears to be far more common in soap compared with the general, overall rancidity that is triggered by other factors such as aging fats and fatty acids, oxidized fragrances, etc.

Here is my article about ROE: https://classicbells.com/soap/ROE.asp
And another about chelators: https://classicbells.com/soap/chelator.asp
Last but not least, one about rancidity: https://classicbells.com/soap/rancidity.asp
 
@DeeAnna , thank you for sharing all of that information. I've spent a lot of time perusing the forums over the last few days and I'm sure you must get tired of saying the same thing over and over again... this newbie very much appreciates your input.

This will come as no shock to any of the experienced soapers, but now I'm not so sure that my "old castor oil as the cause for DOS" theory will hold up. I haven't had any bars that have gone completely off, just the occasional bar with 1-3 "orange freckles" on different surfaces of the bars. Now I'm wondering if it's more of a problem with metal contamination or environmental contamination rather than the old oil. Although I still don't know why the original bars I made last year and early in 2024 had zero problems with DOS when I haven't changed my equipment or curing process, at least in any way that I can remember (except adding a dehumidifier and DampRid)... the only thing that has changed significantly is the climate, which is now very much in high humidity summer mode. I've been emptying my dehumidifier 2-3 times per day lately!

In terms of oils, here's a list of all of the oils I've used thus far (pretty basic):

- pure olive oil
- canola oil (no longer using)
- coconut oil (store bought and 92F melting point purchased in bulk)
- avocado oil
- castor oil
- Shea butter
- mango butter (not used yet, bought to experiment)
- lard (store bought with BHT, no longer using)

I have always used distilled water. I do wash my equipment with tap water and we do have hard water here, so perhaps that's a source of residual contamination.

Equipment-wise, I use a stainless steel stick blender and utensils (measuring spoons, etc) and glass bowls and beakers (for batter and lye solution, respectively). I did previously use a whisk that was metal... not sure if it was stainless steel so perhaps another source of contamination. I plan to purchase a plastic one if I can't find stainless steel. Molds are silicone and washed to the best of my ability.

I've had multiple different recipes get spots while I was experimenting with different formulations. All recipes that got spots were made within a month of each other and contained castor oil (which is why I was thinking my old castor oil may have been the culprit). SF was never above 5% and lye concentration ranged from 25% (earlier on) to 40% (what I'm currently using). There were no commonalities in colorants or fragrances added. Some bars contained SL at 1 tsp PPO, others not.

I mostly CPOP but occasionally put bars in the freezer or fridge to discourage gel if using honey.

Curing - bars are stored on a large storage rack sitting on plastic cafeteria trays with ample space between bars. Bars are turned at least once or twice a week. Dehumidifier is running and damp rid as a back up. The bars are not exposed to any direct sunlight. I do not have the rack covered at all... so I suppose dust from the air could be another source of contamination. I wear gloves when handling bars.

@DeeAnna , as you mentioned, it seems like a chelator may be more beneficial than just ROE if I had to pick one. Unfortunately, the majority of my supporters are in the "natural" leaning crowd and would probably not be thrilled with BHT or EDTA. Sodium citrate may not be quite as problematic but Kevin Dunn's experiment made it sound like sodium citrate by itself was not prophylactic against DOS... only worked when in combination with BHT.

Sigh. I may have myself a dilemma if there aren't any good chelator options that would be natural-leaning-folks approved. If there are any folks out there in a similar pickle, I'd love to know what you do.

If anyone can spot (ha, pun intended!) things that may seem problematic in what I described above, I'm all ears.

I think I will get ROE anyway and add it to my liquid oils, but the chelator issue is something I will have to consider more thoroughly. I don't want to put off (oh dear, another pun) potential customers by using an additive they're not comfortable with, but also won't have much to sell if I can't get this spot problem figured out.

DOS is very aptly named. They are dreaded, indeed
 
You can read about the chelator sodium gluconate on my website. That's definitely a "crunchy" option that is as good as EDTA as long as it's used properly.

In the case of rancidity, I firmly believe my reputation as a soapmaker is far more affected by my soap becoming rancid than by the use of a chemical with a name that customers can't pronounce or find in their kitchen pantry.

"...more of a problem with metal contamination or environmental contamination rather than the old oil..."

I'd agree. Spots of rancidity (aka DOS) are different than rancidity that is widespread throughout the soap. Widespread rancidity comes from something that's an integral part of the soap -- fat that was highly oxidized or rancid to begin with, oxidized EOs, etc.

I think any soap maker can minimize the chance of DOS (localized spots of rancidity) due to metallic contamination, but we can't entirely reduce the chance to zero. That's why a chelator is useful -- to mop up the inevitable problems that sneak by our best efforts to minimize the problem.
 
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@DeeAnna , thank you!

It does look like sodium gluconate would fit the bill for my clientele. Looks like a large number of larger scale "natural" companies (like Tom's of Maine) use it as their chelator of choice for personal cosmetics.

In your experience, would the combination of ROE in liquid oils and sodium gluconate added to each batch at the time of creation be a good combo? I know this combo wasn't specifically studied in Kevin Dunn's DOS study... but it seems more palatable for me given my potential customer base.
 
...would the combination of ROE in liquid oils and sodium gluconate added to each batch at the time of creation be a good combo?...
I use ROE and EDTA in my soap and have had excellent results. At the time I restocked on EDTA some years ago, sodium gluconate wasn't available to home crafters, so it's wasn't an option for me to buy.

When I run out of EDTA, however, I plan to use ROE and sodium gluconate -- I expect this combo will work well.
 
If you already have a reputable supplier that carries ROE, then buy from them. There's no particular source that's better than the others. I've seen it at Lotioncrafter, Majestic Mountain Sage, Wholesale Supplies Plus (aka Crafter's Choice), and others.

Swift Crafty Monkey's info is mostly behind a paywall. I suspect you have an older link which is why it's not working for you. No help for this except to become a subscriber to her blog.

I add ROE to the fats I am going to be storing away for soapmaking. You want the ROE to protect the fats even before they're turned into soap.

I started using ROE after I learned to make soap, so I had some partly used containers of fats when I got the ROE. I added ROE to the more fragile liquid fats. As I purchase new liquid fats, I add ROE to these fresh fats as well.

I also add ROE to home-rendered lard and tallow. Store bought lard and tallow already have antioxidants in them, so there's no point to adding ROE.

Some fats are naturally stable without ROE -- coconut for example -- so I don't bother adding ROE to those. I don't dose the soap batter with extra ROE to account for the fats that don't contain ROE. If I thought this was absolutely required to dose all fat with ROE, I'd rather melt all my fats up front, dose them with ROE, and be done with it.

The other reason why I don't add ROE at the time I make soap is I'd rather err on the side of having less antioxidant than what might be the optimum rather than having more than optimum. Too much antioxidant can be worse than under-dosing because too much antioxidant can accelerate the rate of fat oxidation rather than slow it down. Look into "pro-oxidation" to learn more.

Last but not least, an antioxidant isn't the only thing you want to consider if you want to guard against rancidity (DOS). I'd also recommend using a chelator when you make soap. A chelator immobilizes metal ions that can accelerate rancidity.

If I had to use only one -- either an antioxidant like ROE or a chelator -- I'd actually choose the chelator first. Rancidity specifically triggered by metallic contamination appears to be far more common in soap compared with the general, overall rancidity that is triggered by other factors such as aging fats and fatty acids, oxidized fragrances, etc.

Here is my article about ROE: https://classicbells.com/soap/ROE.asp
And another about chelators: https://classicbells.com/soap/chelator.asp
Last but not least, one about rancidity: https://classicbells.com/soap/rancidity.asp
So funny - I was going to recommend that she read the articles on ClassicBells.com and here you are! Lucky for us all. Thanks you. I referenced your site or exactly the issues discussed. ~ ; )
 
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