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Using our 100% vegetable oil soap

Posted by on Thursday 2 June 2011 in making, soap | 2 comments

You may remember a few months ago I spent a bajillion hours waiting for some 100% olive oil soap to reach trace then, as a glutton for punishment, I decided to make a second batch of another 100% vegetable oil soap the same day.

We started using the 100% olive oil soap and have got through a few small bars of it – John likes it a lot. He likes that it doesn’t lather much (as it, conversely, encourages him to use less of it) and it doesn’t smell perfumed either (he hates perfumed things).

In a “why change what’s working?” way, we hadn’t tried the other set of soap – the 100% veg oils one – but I decided that should change this week!

The non-lye ingredients of the 100% olive oil one are pretty obvious – the 100% veg oil one a little more complicated — but still, everything bought from the supermarket. I used Frugal Queen’s recipe and method – olive oil, sunflower oil and Cookeen (solid veg shortening) – just leaving out the scent. It traced faster than the olive oil one thankfully!

The resulting soap is softer than the 100% olive oil one (apparently that’s down to the veg shortening) and not quite as pale – a soft lemon-ish colour. (It had some soap ash on it when I first picked it out of its drying place, which I’ve mostly scrapped off – hence the not-perfectly-smooth edges and slight colour variation on the before use picture above). It lathers quite a bit more than the olive oil soap – not crazy commercial soap levels but noticeably more. It did feel more like shop bought soap though – leaving my skin feeling a little “squeaky”. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just a thing.

I spent £5.27 on the ingredients (£1.89 on the olive oil [on offer at Netto at the time], £1.06 on the sunflower oil, £1.43 on the shortener and £0.89 for the caustic soda needed for this recipe – based on a 500g bottle from Wilkinsons; and I used tap water and no scent) – which I think out frugals the Frugal Queen ;) I ended up with 2850g of finished soap – the bars were randomly sized but if they were normal 100g-ish bars, that would be about 19p a bar (or about 24p a bar if they’re 125g, which was the weight I used to work out the per-bar cost of the 100% olive oil ones [35p]).

As I said regarding the 100% olive oil ones, I’m not sure I enjoyed the process enough to do it often but I like the idea of making a big batch every six months/year as necessary. Before the next batch though, I’m going to try handmilling some of the ones from this batch to try out different (frugal, supermarket-sourced) scents – and might try turning a bar into liquid soap too as that’s handy when my hands are filthy from gardening.

Has anyone else made the Frugal Queen’s 100% veg oil soap? What did you think of it? Or do you have any 100% supermarket-sourced veg oil soaps? Or suggestions for frugal scents and any handmilling/liquid-soap-from-bar making advice?


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  1. Rachel

    Funnily enough, I did try making liquid soap from my homemade (not 100% veg oil) soap, at just about the time you were writing this post. I then made a second batch when the first one didn’t come out terribly well. Not sure I can offer much advice, but blog post on the subject here.

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