Is homemade soap biodegradable soap?
Recently, I was asked for a biodegradable soap recipe. I was stumped because I had not made any and I wanted to see what ingredients made soap biodegradable.
We know homemadesoap is better for our skin and our finances. While researching this issue I found out that handmade soap is ― actually a better alternative for the environment.
Biodegradable means:materials that have the ability to decompose naturally. Please not there is no legal definition for biodegradable as it applies to soap, so this is again a subjective term.
Handmade soap does not contain detergents and phosphates. Phosphates have been found to be a major polluter of lakes and streams.
This being said, itis still considered an unsafe practice for the environment to use soap within200 feet of any water sources.
Homemade soap is a saferbetter product for the environment because it is biodegradable. The ingredients used in homemade soaps will degrade over time. There are ingredients that you find in your kitchen (except for the lye).
You can tailor the ingredients to ensure that your soap is eco-friendly.
Here is the description of some of the ingredients in handmade soap.
Lye (sodium hydroxide) is a necessary ingredient for making your homemade soap. It reacts with the oils in the recipe to transform them into a useable soap. The saponificationprocess makes this ingredient safe for your skin and does not contain detergent.
Most any vegetable oil can be used to make biodegradable soap as all vegetable oils are biodegradable. Some ideal oils to use are coconut oil, olive oil, and soybean oil for example. Olive oil is especially beneficial for the skin even in its natural state. This is something to think of when making your soap. Follow this link for some simple single oil soap recipes.
Animal fat can be used in place of vegetable oil to make soap, but you will have to render the fat first. This was used to make homemade soap long before vegetable oils were available. However, if you are a vegetarian this idea may not appeal to you. Find lard soap recipes here.
Essential oils areoften added to homemade soap to add some environmentally safe fragrance. Oil ofpeppermint is one example of this or maybe lavender oil. There are many otherones that can be added though, it all depends on what scent you like.
Distilled water isused to process many of these soaps. When it is not used something takes itsplace such as coffee in one recipe I saw. Water is used to dissolve the lye andis part of saponification, which is a chemical process necessary to soapmaking. When the soap is left to dry, any excess water evaporates.
Are you realizingthat this list of ingredients is not filled with a bunch of chemical names?Other than the lye, I have not said one other chemical. This is what helps tomake your homemade soap biodegradable.
Below is one exampleof a biodegradable soap you can make.
Fats, oils andbutters
- 180 grams palm oil
- 120 grams soybean oil
- 180 grams olive oil
- 180 grams coconut oil
Lye ― WaterSolution
- 84 grams lye (sodium hydroxide)
- 228 grams distilled water of brewed coffee that has been refrigerated)
Additive andscent at light trace
- optional: 20 to 36 grams of your favorite essential oils or fragrance oils (you will need a little over 30 milliliters bottle the equivalent of about one fluid ounce).
This recipe makes about 2pounds of soap which will produce about 6-7 bars of natural soap.
Remember you need to wear a pair of goggles and gloves when you handle lye. NEVER pour water into lye – ALWAYS pour lye into water.
Remember that ingredients (except for additives when indicated in volume) need to be weighted and not measured.Fragrance and essential oils should also be weighed.
Go to Natural Soap Making