Using OATS/Tea Leaves/Coffee Beans, etc in soap - A biological risk?

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FerrisWheel

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Is it a risk to use organic materials like the above in the creation of soap- either in the bar itself or as decoration.

Stuff like coffee goes bad pretty quick once brewed - how does it react in soaps?

How do you ensure it is safe to use in soaps without preservatives given that soaps ultimately get wet during use?

Many thanks in advance for replies/help!

Ferris
 

dixiedragon

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I have used milk, yogurt, coffee, cucumber and oats in my soap. The only one I've had go bad is the milk - sometimes my milk soap is great, sometimes it smells like baby spit-up. Since I've gone to canned milk, it is much easier! Part of what makes things go bad is if there's a lot of water - fresh fruits and veggies can mold in your soap if the are in big chunks. I made a lovely cucumber yogurt soap - I pureed the cucumber and replaced 1/2 of my water with a combination of yogurt and cucumber.
 

shunt2011

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I too have used milk, tea, beer, coffee, oats and carrot puree for all or half my liquids amount. I've never had a problem with any going bad. However, I personally don't make soap that has bits and pieces of botanicals on top as I would hate to clean it up in my tub after use. I do put finely ground oatmeal on top and glitter.
 

FerrisWheel

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Thanks for the reply guys- do any of you sell your soap?

I am just paranoid at the moment with my products not being safe. Coffee for instance is fine dry but once wet it goes off fast!

I realise water is the cause of microbe growth and soap by its very nature gets wet. A bar of soap may last a month, maybe more. I don't want to sell a product or even give it away to friends and family that is potentially a bar of germs!
 

shunt2011

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I don't know how long you've been making soap. I do sell and I've tested all my soaps for the most part at least 6 month up to a year before selling a particular formula. I have coffee soaps made with coffee and has coffee grounds in it that is over a year old and it's just fine. So, your mileage will vary depending on what you are adding. You also have to remember the chemical reaction with liquids, oils and lye will change the structure of what you are adding. The key is time and patience to allow for testing what you are selling
 

fionasfrightsoap

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I use grounds in a few bars, haven't noticed anything off, and one of the bars I have kept for almost 2 years (it was the first of it's kind). Have never heard any feedback from customers about any issues either.
 

IrishLass

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I realise water is the cause of microbe growth and soap by its very nature gets wet. A bar of soap may last a month, maybe more. I don't want to sell a product or even give it away to friends and family that is potentially a bar of germs!
Welcome FerrisWheel!

I must say that if one of my bars ever went off before they could be used up, I would seriously consider reformulating poste haste! lol I've been making soap going on 10 years now and I still have soap bars around that I've saved from when I first started and they are perfectly good/fine- even those with milks, coffee as liquid, and pureed foods like avocado and carrots and cucumber. Every once in a while I'll take one out and use it in the shower (vintage soap is awesome to use) and they still remain good.

Like Shari said, you have to keep in mind that when you add a food to soap batter made with lye- it changes the molecular structure of things.....however, it's best to make sure the food is finely pureed or juiced. Food chunks that are too big for the lye to saturate them will go bad. When I add foodie things, I always make sure they are well pureed or juiced. Even if food chunks didn't go bad, though, I still wouldn't like them in my soap anyway. I've used other's soaps with dried herbs and such in them, and it drove me crazy trying to clean all the leafy bits out of my shower, not to mention that I didn't like the fact of them going down into my pipes. Yuck!

Shunt said:
The key is time and patience to allow for testing what you are selling
That's the key right there. You want to make sure you allow time for testing. I always tell those new to the craft to give things a good year of testing before deciding to sell, because lye-based soap is persnickety enough that certain serious 'quality-control' problems don't rear their ugly heads in the soap until a few months have gone by. So, you'll definitely want to make sure you have your formula and additives tested under different conditions over time to make sure things stay good for a certain amount of time.


IrishLass :)
 

FerrisWheel

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Thanks to everyone for your input. Gratefully received! :)

This is the little bugger that caused me concern...

Notice the bright pink dot in the soap just below where the oats are? What could that be? It was only just un-molded when this was discovered.



Now there is one possible idea...the molds are the identical colour, but I fail to see HOW any of the mold colour would get to that location of the soap? Not in contact with the mold at all.



Is it simply a case of the mold colour affecting the soap or is this some microbial action?

Is it safe to use food stuffs in soap like this?

Thanks as always.

Ferris.
 

IrishLass

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What Saponista said makes the most sense to me at first glance, especially since some colored silicones have been known to bleed into the soap when new. I remember when people were having similar color 'bleeding' problems with Essential Depot's red silicone mold (which I suspect is why they started selling a neutral/non-color version). Since it matches the color of the mold exactly, my first thought is that some kind of contact may have taken place. The only other thing I can think of is discoloration from the FO. I have a certain manly FO that I use from time to time that does that to me (and others)- it turns the edges of my soap bright neon pink (just the edges), which I notice upon unmolding. Thankfully, it cures out, because it doesn't match the scent at all! lol


IrishLass :)
 
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