Exactly what's in melt-and-pour soap bases

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I've read several times on the Forum about folks using Melt-and-Pour bases, also called glycerin soap base, for making soap easily. I looked up the ingredients of a commonly used glycerin soap base, and here is what it includes: glycerin, sodium cocoate, sodium stearate, cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, propylene glycol, TEA laurel sulfate, sorbital, acetamide MEA, sodium laureth sulfate. I hope you agree with me that this is not a soap, but a detergent. Please don't confuse this glycerine soap base with vegetable glycerin, which is a natural by-product of soap, and good for your skin. Mary

-- Mary Fraley (kmfraley@orwell.net), January 01, 2002


Probably, all melt-n-pour bases are not made the same. SnowDriftFarms.com says their glycerin base is made with all vegetable oil and contains no alcohol or solvents. They list their ingredients as: sorbitol, propylene glycol, sodium stearate, sodium laureth sulfate, purified water, glycerin, sodium myristate, triethanolamine, tetrasodium etidronate (chelating agent), pentasodium penetate (chelating agent).

-- Bren (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), January 01, 2002.

I'll get my wife to look at your posting. I do know gylcerin soap is very different from fat/oil based soaps, in how it's made, a lot of those ingredients are use to clarifie it. There are a lot of transparent glycerin soaps out there though, the one your listing the ingredients for will be a high quality version.

-- Ross (amulet@istar.ca), January 01, 2002.

Propylene glycol is a common ingredient in antifreeze.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), January 01, 2002.

I guess the purpose to my original post was to make people aware that these soap bases are not soap, but detergent. Sodium Laurel and Laureth Sulfate are infamous for being harsh, propylene gylcol is used as an industrial antifreeze, and who knows what else all that stuff is that we can't even pronounce? Chemicals. I make my soaps with ingredients I know are safe, and wanted others to know what's in these "soap" bases. I would guess that pure glycerin soaps are made from vegetable glycerin, which is safe, but who knows? Check the list of ingredients before buying! Mary

-- Mary Fraley (kmfraley@orwell.net), January 01, 2002.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Mary! I'm surprised by the ingredients used by a company I thought was into using all-natural products. Do you have a source for vegetable glycerin soap?

-- Bren (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), January 01, 2002.

Glycerin soaps have added glyercin in them, and at least if you make them at home some kind of alcohol (like vodka) which makes them clear. Homemade regular soap keeps its glycerin (which occurs naturally through the soapmaking process), while commercial soaps and detergents often have the glycerin removed so that it can be sold separately.

If you are looking for glycerin soap because you want something gentle for your face, I would not buy the stuff marketed as melt-and-pour, I would either check out the labels at a health food store or make pure olive oil castile, which is pretty mild. But that is just me.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), January 01, 2002.

I don't have a source for pure glycerin soap. I'm not sure how it's made. I make my soap cold process, adding lye/water to oils. I guess you can add glycerin to any recipe. As for making transparent soaps, that is another process similar to what is mentioned, adding alcohol to cold process soaps. I haven't done that yet, but intend on trying it in the future. Those processes are different, though, from melt and pour. Mary

-- Mary Fraley (kmfraley@orwell.net), January 01, 2002.

>SnowDriftFarms.com says their glycerin base is made with all

>vegetable oil and contains no alcohol or solvents. They list

>their ingredients as: sorbitol, ... purified water, Sorbitol is the alcohol form of sucrose, also called hexahydric alcohol. Water, purified or not, is a solvent. >Propylene glycol is a common ingredient in antifreeze. Propylene glycol is also in salad dressing, which also contains salt (which is made of mustard gas and an explosive metal). What's more, if you add salt to water, it acts as an antifreeze and lowers the freezing point of water. Hmmmm..... Mark

-- Mark in West Central Ohio (mark@marksykes.net), January 01, 2002.

Many commercial ice creams also contain propylene glycol.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), January 01, 2002.

OK I asked my wife about it and she said there was a similar post on a board she visits. I'll post a link and you can get what you will from it. Soap bulletin board Propolene gycol is a sugar and yes there are antifreezes made out of it. There are also foodstuffs and a drench for downed animals made out of propylene gycol. The deadly antifreeze is ethylene glycol.

-- Ross (amulet@istar.ca), January 01, 2002.

I spent some time doing a search on glycerine soaps. I found a site for Clearly Natural Glycerin Soaps which has a lot of good info on the different types of glycerin. They also have a melt-and-pour product that looks to be pretty good. I really appreciate everyone's input on this!


-- Bren (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), January 01, 2002.

Here's a link for the Glycerin info.

-- Bren (wayoutfarm@skybest.com), January 01, 2002.

The basic difference between "basic" gylcerin soaps and "premium " soaps is the clarity. The first MP soap should be so clear it almost sparkles. Very pretty but it takes a lot of latin to clear the haze doesn't it! The basic versions will be a bit hazey but if your adding a pigment or dye who cares? Toss in some cosmetic grade mica if you want sparkle! Ok soap making isn't really my dept, sales and bookwork are. Check out that link I posted earlier there are lot's of good people there.

-- Ross (amulet@istar.ca), January 01, 2002.

This is where I would buy the glycerin soap base when I make that type of soap. It's vegetable base, it's easy on sensitive skin, my two young children both have a problem with harsh soaps and they do well with this when I don't have home made veggie soaps available. This company sells it for two dollars a pound, with a 5 pound min. order. Well worth it IMHO. Walmart used to sell soap base like this, but it was five dollars for a pound. http://www.suncoastsoaps.com/glycerinsoap.html

-- Bobbi (the_bee_lady@hotmail.com), January 02, 2002.

Many store-bought salad dressings also contain propylene glycol

-- HMM (h.m.metheny@att.net), January 05, 2002.

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