Monday, July 23, 2012

Is there LYE in Handmade Soaps?

Is there LYE in Handmade Soap?

I have had quite a few people asking me lately if there is lye in my homemade soap….the answer is NO!  when soap is made properly and then cured the soap no longer contains lye.

I think the confusion comes from years ago when lye was leached from wood ashes to make soap.  They also did not have digital scales to properly measure the fats and water.  In this process the soap would sometimes come out harsh and mushy.  Now we use a process that when used properly will create a perfect bar of soap everytime.  Once this process – called saponification is complete there is NO LYE left in the soap. 

Water + Oils + Lye = moisturizing soap with glycerin retained.

If too much lye is used your soap will come out hard and crumbly.
If too little lye is used your soap will become soft and turn rancid.

If anyone tells you they make soap without lye, then they must be using detergent, because even with melt and pour soap lye had to be used to create the blocks of soap that are melted.

When purchasing soap whether it is cold process (made from scratch) or melt and pour in which you can melt the blocks in microwave and pour into fancy molds.  Make sure the ingredients are listed on your soap package.  Some melt and pour soaps also contain synthetics.

A little history:

In 1890 there were five major soap companies – Pears, Albert, Morse Taylor, Baily and Colgate.  At that time a bar of Colgate’s Cashmere Bouquet cost 25 cents, and at the same time a quart of milk would cost you 5 cents, by 1933 Procter and Gamble had found a cheaper way to make soap thus introducing the first synthetic detergent and in 1947 the first non-soap laundry product hit the shelves….it was called Tide.