Using Fruits/Veggies in Soap--Preservative Questions

by Elizabeth
(North Carolina)

I really want to make some soap using fruits and vegetables and I'm thinking that means I need to use a preservative of some sort (right?).


I keep reading contradictory statements about preservatives (which ones to use, if they're necessary at all, etc).

Are LiquaPar Optima, Optiphen, and Phenonip for use in bar soaps or just lotion/liquid soap products?

If you could shed any light on these questions I'd greatly appreciate it--thanks for your time!

Answer:

Many preservatives are for water based lotion type products and cannot be used in handmade soaps. This is due to the high temperatures during in the process and the alkaline nature of soap.

Optiphen, Phenonip and LiquaPar Optima are not for use in preserving handmade soaps.

If you want to use fruits and vegetables in your soaps, you will have to blend them into a watery puree and add them in place of the water.

I have made soap using finely ground orange/lemon rinds and dehydrated carrot peelings that have been finely ground and had no problem with spoilage. These were all added as a powder at a thin trace.

I've never made soap using the puree method so I'm unable to advise you on that....sorry. From what I understand, it's fine as long as you do not use chunks of fruit/veggies. I'm not sure what the shelf life is like though.

Good luck,
Cathy

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Thank you!
by: Elizabeth

Finally--some good advice! :) I really appreciate you taking time to answer my question. I think I'll be giving the veggie soap a go next time I make soap and see how it turns out. Thanks again!

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Adding Fruit to Soap
by: Debbie P

I just read an article today about adding fruit and vegetables to soaps. It advised you not to do it because "fresh" fruits and veggies carry bacteria that can continue to grow in your soaps. I'm not an expert on soap making at all, but I'd hate not to pass this along, just in case it ruined your batch. If you do try it, please share how it turned out.

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Fruits and Veggies in Soap
by: Cathy

Thanks Debbie!

If you can find that article again, it would be great if you could post a link. I'd love to read it...I get quite a few questions about fruit and veggies in soap and the more information I have the better!!

Cathy

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Adding fruit
by: Debbie P

This is not the article that I read, but it is along the same lines.
Here's the link

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Fruits n' Veggies
by: Heather

I don't know if this info will further help you but I make cp soap and I personally have played around with, pumpkin puree, puree cucumber, carrot juice, and even pureed oranges. I'm no scientist but have never experienced any spoiling, molding, or going bad batches, even after sitting for a year. Still fantastic! Some I add with lye some I use after light trace is reached. Great either way.

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Hemp oil
by: Anonymous

I'm not going to add fresh vegie but I want to use high percentage of hemp oil which very easy to spoil. I'd like to use preservative but I have in hands only hibiscus extract and olive leaf extract and they are both water base.
Thank you for reviewing that water base preservative are not for soap!!

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Using fresh juice in CP soap
by: Cheryl

Feb 13th 2011 I made cantaloupe cp soap with fresh cantaloupe juice. I juiced the cantaloupe with my juicer. I used 6oz fresh juice(I froze the juice) and 4.4 oz distilled water then added my lye to the water & frozen juice solution. Eight months later my soap is perfect. No problem with mold or anything else. I haven't tried any other juice,but I plan on making another batch of soap with a berry juice. All my oils I used have a long shelve life.

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Request for procedure
by: Beena

I was looking for the procedure for making soap with carrots,lemon papaya,banana & virgin cococnut oil. Can anyone please give me the actual procedure to work? My emal id is beenashamesh1@gmail.com

Thanks

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Dangerous Advice
by: Anonymous

Those who are assuring soapmakers they've used fruits and fruit juices and months later "their soaps are fine" are giving dangerous advice. Unless those soaps have been sent out for lab testing, they have NO way of knowing they are indeed, 'fine'. Just as we cannot always smell or see with our naked eye, the organisms that will make us sick with food poisoning, there could very well be growth of harmful organisms in those soaps, that cannot be seen with the naked eye or smelled with the human nose, but may very well cause someone a health issue.

I would prefer to know that the maker of the soap I may buy is following proper science and not someone's word (whom they don't know at all) on the internet. If someone has a link to a reputable source that can affirm the safety of using these pulps and perishable ingredients in soap, then I wish they would post that instead what may very well be bad/dangerous advice.

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Use your head
by: Anonymous

I think it's probably safe to say that common sense here is the key. I also think sometimes folks get a little overly paranoid about handmade soap making in the wrong light. I mean come on...I look at the ingredient list of what's "approved" to use in cosmetics for colorants and additives and see that a grand majority of these are TOXIC and cause cell mutation as well as all kinds of horrid DOCUMENTED side effects in lab tests. Yet, these things are still approved, being used and sold by Soapers and well known soap suppliers - why?

So...if you are creating a "from scratch" cold process soap and use "truly" natural ingredients and want to use some fruit juice or pureed fruit, I'd say go for it. I'd rather that come in contact with my skin than some of the "approved for cosmetic use" crap ingredients that are given the "OK" by our dear FDA.

And also... I've used freeze dried fruit and fruit powders many times in my in Cold Process and MP soaps and have NEVER had a problem. Use Vitamin E oil and/or Rosemary Extract Oil (known natural preservatives) and use the soap within a reasonable amount of time.

I hardly doubt that even if there was some turning that it could or would cause any real physical harm to anyone and you should be able to tell if you are using soap that is "bad". Smell it, look at it..etc.

I'm a Holistic Practitioner and I just find some people's paranoia unsubstantiated when they "Trust" the chemical garbage that is approved by the FDA yet question the use of natural ingredients...etsy is FULL of soap makers who are using potentially hazardous chemicals and synthetics in their soaps. But because they are "pretty" people are ignorantly buying them. You don't get the true benefit of using a handmade soap if you are buying stuff loaded with synthetics and chemicals.

Ok, and I guess we need to worry about using Goat's milk in our soap for the same reason then right...? Goat's milk is a natural product, and can spoil just as easily as fruit juice. Have you heard of anyone getting ill from using a spoiled bar of goat's milk soap???

I say use good judgement, use within 6-8 weeks as long as there is a good preservative in it, have fun and stop stressing. Anything natural that you make by hand is far less dangerous than the garbage found in the supermarkets or in soap made using chemicals, detergents and synthetic ingredients. If a soap is brightly colored or smells like candy it's more than likely worse for you than a bar that is less attractive, has natural fruit in it and needs to be used within 6-8 weeks.

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Botanicals in Soap
by: Anonymous

Hi All, agree totally with the Holistic practitioner. Big soap, from Big Pharmacy is loaded with all manner of harmful things. Check out the Skin Deep website for all kinds of detailed information on all substances used in body care products.

Also re the Hemp issue, I had a professionaol soap maker make me hemp oil bars, loaded with hemp oil and they are now like 14 years old (made in 1998) and still fine.

I have been experimenting with using fresh botanicals in my soaps. I have not usually had any problems and I live in fungus rich Panama....cannot get a better fungus growing place than this. To be safe, I pùt in sea salt in a 10 % to base oils amount - like one pound salt for 10 pounds oils. Now my trick is to lightly grind it, not too fine. With this technique I find the salt does not destroy the lather (in a regular 10% coconut oil mix)but it is enough salt to significantly hinder any bacterial growth and makes a lovely hard bar also. Also for all botanicals fresh or dried, do make sure they are fully ground as chunks of things can go off more easily and can turn into little ugly brown things in the soap.

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We won't know until we try it !
by: Anita Renee

I've decided to add pureed cucumber, mango and avocado in my soaps. I'm putting rosemary exact and Vitamin E T-50 in my batch. I plan to label with an expiration date use within 3-6 months. I will hold on to a few bars and within 6 months have a research student at Duke University test for bacteria.

Anita Renee
Efland,NC

Answer:

Excellent idea Anita. I would love it if you could post your findings here after the six month test.

Cathy

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Information
by: Anita

Thanx so much all of you for providing such valuable information.

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NO LYE SOAP W/ FRUIT JUICE
by: Nicole

Hello,
I am making a Yucca-based soap with fruit juice and I am going to be using natural preservatives. Any ideas on shelf life for a liquid soap with no lye?

Anything would be helpful, please.
Thank you!
~Nicole

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The on going discussion of fruit juice in CP soap.
by: Colleen

I have read with interest all the pros and cons of using juice in CP soap and still want to try. Anita did you get any results back? I agree that I'd rather take my chances with a bit of bacteria than worrying about what I'm putting on my skin with chemical overload!! That said, I'll use the soap with the juice in it as soon as possible. The one thing I'm still a bit unclear on is, is it half juice and half water for the lye solution or can it be all juice and no water? Does anyone have any experience with cherry juice? Thank you!

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eria
by: Anonymous

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter where the bacteria or harmful ingredients originate - if it's bad, it's bad. whether it's from a chemical/synthetic from a lab or from a garden, i.e. fruit or vegetable. Fruits and vegetables can have e coli or salmonella or other harmful substances and it's important to use caution for any potential harmful substances no matter where they're from. The reasoning that someone would rather have a natural ingredient that's harmful over an approved synthetic that's harmful is irrational. Both are bad. Please consider expiration timeframes regardless of which you choose....hopefully natural.

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Using Fruits/Veggies in Soap--Preservative Questions
by: Anita Renee

I never got a chance to have the tested. However; I'm still using the soap and since have made pureed papaya and pumpkin soap. I have not seen any mold on the soap. I’m thinking the heat from the lye may kill any possible batceria. I'm not using any preservative. Keep in mind once the mixture comes to a trace, you can slow cook it for 20 minutes in the crock pot this will also help kill batceria.If I do get the chance to have a bar tested I will post my finding.

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about bacteria in soaps
by: Andi

For those of you concerned about bacteria in soaps,there are a few things I feel may be able to help with the debate here...
First: If anyone has felt their soap during saponification, it gets pretty hot, which not only eliminates the smells of the purees etc that are used, but will kill many of the bacteria. Between that and the lye, I highly doubt any bacteria would survive. If those don't kill the bacteria, the heat destroys a lot of the carbohydrates (think the caramelization that can happen with milk soaps) that the bacteria would feed off. Mold isn't a bacteria, that's what the major risk is here, that's what you need the preservative for.

Second:You aren't eating the stuff. There are thousands of bacteria on your skin all the time, and to be truthful, within you're body as well. Many of them are basically just hanging out there, some are helpful. Your skin's job is to keep the little organisms out. If you're going to worry about bacteria IN the soap, worry about the bacteria it collects while it's in you're bathroom between uses.

As I said above, the reason a preservative is often used is because of the water content. Mold is a fungus and can grow pretty much any where. I would suggest using a preservative, just to be safe!

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Use Common Sense
by: Anonymous

I have been making soap approximately 15 years. I use veggies in my soap all the time and I make it using the CP method. THIS ADVICE IS NOT TRUE FOR MELT AND POUR SOAP.

It is science. Soap is an alkaline, like salt, which was used to preserve beef before we had proper refigeration methods. If you puree your veggies to a water consistency in the proper percentage it will react chemically with the soap making process and will combine in the final soap thus being preserved by the soap. You are more likely to find bacterial growth in your lotion products which are binding oils and water. Ive seen lotion grow mold just through using the wrong preservative.

Furthermore if by your theory that fruits and veggies add to bacterial growth, what do you think would happen adding goatsmilk or coconut milk? Or the fact that you are adding water to oils?

Use common sense. make sure you are adding it at the right percentage and that it is pureed into liquid form. Yes it is SCIENCE. Even if you dont send it off to a lab. Soap making is science. Btw have you looked at studies involving many commercial preservatives? Scary!

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Using fruits/veggies in CP soap
by: Colleen

Thanks Andi and the other Anonymous writer. I found all that information to be very helpful!

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It may grow bacteria
by: Anonymous

There are reputable articles that say bacteria can grow on and in soap, you can google it.

So I too worry about adding fruit juices...because I think a soap I added carrot juice to you is causing irritation in areas that stay moist like armpits. None of the other soaps did this.

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fruits and veggies in cp/hp soap
by: Anonymous

have to wonder how an international business like Lush Cosmetics manages to use fresh produce in their products with no negative effects and no lawsuits......if there was any danger of bacterial or mold issues certainly it would be there.

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Yes, it IS okay to use fruit!
by: Anonymous

I've been making goats milk soap for about 7 years now, exclusively. I use no water at all. I have soaps still around that I made 7 years ago with goats milk with NO mold. Since milk is even harder to preserve than liquified fruits and veggies, I can see no reason not to use them and in fact, I have been doing just that for the last year with terrific results. I now make mostly goats milk yogurt soaps and liquify my fruits or veggies in the yogurt in a high-speed blender or use my juicer. If you have a lot of free fatty acids in your soap after saponification, it will not work to use goats milk or fruit. I soap at 5% because I want all the fats in the goats milk to be saponified. Those extra free fatty acids hinder lather, can go rancid, and give homemade soap a bad rap. My soap is not drying, and I have feedback from hundreds of repeat customers to prove it.

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yes you can use fruit!!! Just dehydrated fruit or freeze dried
by: Brooke

If you use the fruit in it, make sure it is dehydrated fruit or freeze dried. No fresh fruit. I like to use dehydrated blueberries with cocoa butter and use a couple drops of blueberry cobbler fragrance fragrance, it's only a couple drops and it smells spectacular. I use it with cocoa butter, shea or goats milk soap. If I want a color I use a mica color because the blueberry tends to make it look gray, or you can use a clay to color it. when you pour it into the big mold and add the mica is when I add my dehydrated blueberries and the 4 drops cobbler scent for the two lbs. I also like to add a couple essential oils that are beneficial to the skin. I am experimenting more. I am making massage bars and natural deodorant. I am going to make a massage bar with cocoa butter with a valor, a exceptional essential oil that is great, i call it a chiropractor in a bottle. If anybody else has used any fruit in their soaps like this I would love to hear about it, as in dehydrated, pureed (freeze dried or dehydrated pureed) or freeze dried. It smells great all warm with the blueberries it smells like blueberry muffins. This has always been a hobby of mine or a dream of mine and now I am doing it and I want to master it by the holidays and make gift baskets to hopefully sell online, at farmers markets, give to families instead of buying each family member a gift it will save me money. It's something special that came from the heart. I also want to make one that is teakwood and mahogany scented for the men and that also the women will like just the same.

Do any of you have any great recipes for some soap that have worked really awesome for them? I am looking for some super creamy soap. I have been making soap containing no lye but I am pretty sure that I will have to use lye sooner or later. I don't know why I am so afraid of it. Can somebody give me some great recipes that are easy? Why are the melt and pours bad? I was seeing some of those I thought they were neat but I haven't tried them yet. I want to master making all kinds of soap!

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MP Papaya soap
by: Anonymous

i am new in soap making and i love mp process because its so easy and i find my soap to be perfect in color and texture plus i can use it instantly without curing..lately i've been esperimenting on making a papaya soap, MP. all i do is cook the puree with my coconut and olive oil in a low fire for 30 mins..and add it to my melted glycerin with my colorants and c=scent..can somebody tell me if im doing it right because i have been using my papaya soap and i like it so much..pls and thank you..

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Fruits are Great!
by: Anonymous

I am a newbee soap maker with my own business.
I am only going to respond on the behalf of the fruits. I live in S.Florida all my life and we know about mold. I have eaten almost all fruits thats grown here and I have been in spoiled rotten fruits and veggies up to my shoulders. I have never gotten a rash itch or bumps or any skin affects other than bad smell. This is my skin. These are fruits Ive gotten on my skin, all my arms,legs,chest and face.
Florida grown Tropical and Exotic here.
(LIMES,LEMON,ORANGE,TANGERINE,GRAPEFRUIT,AVOCADO,
MANGO,PAPAYA,CATABOLA,CANTALOUPE,WATERMELON,HONEYDEW
LYCHEE,KIWI,PUMPKIN,PASSIONFRUIT,SUGAR APPLE,GUANABANA,LONGAN,GUAVA,JACK FRUIT,DRAGON FRUIT,BANANA,TOMATO,GREEN BEANS,CORN so many Etc's... You get the idea. So I've been in skin deep in all these and so many more while they were rotting. Never any skin rashes,bumps,burns,redness,or etc. Again,this is my skin. All skins are different. Hope you guys can search these fruits here in florida and see for your self. Hope this info can help. CHOW.!

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Fruits & Veggies
by: Cathy H

I have used fruit & veggie purees in my CP soap numerous times and never had an issue. Someone mentioned bacteria. I do not claim to be an expert, but I would have to believe that between the initial caustic nature of the lye and the high temperature, if there were to be any bacteria it would be killed.

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To the Anonymous Who Said Vit E and RE Are Preservatives
by: Anonymous

...no, they categorically are not.

Please, people, if you're going to give a 'fish wives' version of preservative advice, at least know the difference between an anti-oxidant and a preservative.

Vitamin E and Rosemary Extract are NOT preservatives - they're anti-oxidants. They couldn't preserve anything if your life depended upon it (which I hope it doesn't!).

Anti-oxidants only help prevent oils from turning rancid, extending their shelf life a little.

There's a very big difference!

Go ahead, look it up. Do your research.

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cucumber
by: Anshionaonymous

Can i use cucumber peel in clear melt and pour?

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Puree in soap
by: Katyrasdesigns

I practice both CP and HP. For purees/fruit juice in soaps I use use 1/3 of total water to mix the lye then add puree the heating process with lye and water tends to scorch if added directly to purees, juices or milks. So mix lye mixture then add puree for safety you may want to freeze or cool pureed, juices or milks before adding lye mixture.

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Scary !!!
by: Lydia..UK

What is scary is the amount of Conflicting Advice On This Page !!! Which is Far More Dangerous Than Mouldy Soaps !!! Do your research people...carrits tomatoes cucumber etc have been used for centuries in soap n to date.No Obe Has Died !! So go and do research ladies...

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ALL SOAP HAS LYE
by: Anonymous

Brooke I am curious what kind of soap you re making? You say you aren't using lye and you aren't using melt and pour. All soap has lye. I suggest doing some research on how soap is made. Even melt and pour was made with lye. It will show up as sodium hydroxide, lye, saponified oils "of", or it can be left out of the ingredient list. Some companies use the terms sodium palmate, sodium cocoate, etc. This is saponified Palm and coconut oils ( reaction between lye and the oils to make soap) that is just a way to get around saying lye. Melt and pour isn't bad if you get the natural kind. It just doesn't come close to handmade soap in my opinion. It is a matter of opinion.

There is a reason handmade soap doesn't need a preservative. The ph is too high for bacteria to grow. You add water, goats milk, aloe juice, etc. so why wouldn't fruit juice be ok? I would think goats milk would be more of a concern. It is science. Reaserch and come to your own conclusion.

Lush says they use fresh fruits and that may be true but there is no way they would hold up in products like lotion bars, face masks, etc. there is a lot of talk that they use hidden preservatives that can be listed as fragrance. We will never know.

I think it's best to not go by everything you read. Like I said do your research and do what you feel comfortable with. Personally I trust fruit juices in my soaps more than milk. And even my milk soaps are fine. Also acidic products hinder the growth of mold and bacteria from my understanding. Think of vineger , and honey. Bacteria thrives in neutral to slightly alkaline environments from what I have read. Hope this helps.

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Have used fresh fruit, vegetables & berries in my soap
by: Spring Coffey

I have made soap for years using fresh and canned fruit, vegetables & berries Cold Process & Hot Process with no problems the soap has always turned out fine as long as I freeze my puree prior to mixing with lye sometimes I even mix the puree with milk, Greek yogurt or other things before freezing we love the soap and feel it could have benefits to the skin the lye will kill much of the good stuff though maybe not all will be lost through the process never had a problem with my soap going bad or not bubbling and working as soap should we love it and so do my customers this is my personal experience making soaps using fresh fruits, vegetables & berries I always wash them good prior to pureeing. You should not use if plants have been sprayed with chemicals or pick next to highways if I wouldn't put the fruit, vegetable or berries in my mouth I am not using it in my soap this is just my opinion and experience

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