Soaping

This page will detail my projects in the world of saponification 1).

There are several motivators for this:

  • Reduction of Ingredients. The main ingredient we're trying to get away from here are the synthetic perfumes. Many of them trigger migraines for me, and most of the people in my household seem to have fairly sensitive noses. Nearly all of the cleaning products and detergents we buy are “free and clear” varieties that don't come with any sort of fragrance added. Additionally, modern soaps tend to have additional additives that help make the fats and lye marry better with the dyes and perfumes – if I'm avoiding both of the latter, then I don't need any of additional additives that come with contemporary soap.
  • Reduction of material waste. It's fairly difficult to buy commercial soap that doesn't also include tremendous amounts of plastic or paper waste 2). Even refillable pump/liquid soap dispensers are going to have to be refilled with a large plastic bottle or pouch, which may or may not be recyclable (and we're all aware that recycling is a pretty big scam at this point, right?)
  • Reduction of water use. I'm exclusively interested in the manufacturing and use of bar soap. This is partially an ease of use – traveling with bar soap, either by plane or just in a gym bag – is much easier than taking liquid soap along the way. But reducing the amount of water used in soap is just a general reduction of water waste across the board – effectively, moving soap use from being a diluted to concentrated process.

Experiments

1)
a process by which triglycerides are reacted with sodium or potassium hydroxide (lye) to produce glycerol and a fatty acid salt called “soap.”
2)
this of course does not include most small-scale soapiers, or your local soap maker