This post is simply my observations and thoughts about Salt Soaps.
Several weeks ago, I acquired a salt soap and placed it at a stainless steel kitchen sink for testing purposes. For the first few days, there was not a problem with the soap, but I noticed that the sink started to have mineral build up in the sink and around the place where the soap sat and there was a chalky feel all over the sink that had not occurred before. Now, I don’t know if the build up is a combination of our hard water and the soap or just the soap. If I had used it at a white sink or bathtub, would I have noticed the build up? Probably not at first, but I would have noticed the chalky texture of the build up after while.
For those of you making salt soaps, are you mostly looking for abrasive textures, or are you finding the salt adds something to the soap?
For those of you who have used salt soaps, are you using in a softened water situation? If not softened, is your water hard? How hard? If you soften, how is it done? Reverse osmosis? De-ionized? Ion exchange with salt water flush?
So, let’s start a discussion about salt soaps!
Common table salt was used in the olden days to harden soap. Some soapers still use it today for the same reason — at very low percentages — like 1 teaspoon ppo — and of course, taking the type of oils/fats/butters into consideration.
Living in a dry Alpine desert climate as I do, I’ve never been tempted to try a salt bar — my skin tightens just thinking about it! LOL But many soapers make specialty bars that are commonly known as “Salt Bars” or “Spa Bars”. Just like salt scrubs, they exfoliate but lather up at the same time. They say it leaves the skin very clean and moisturized.
The basics are 1 pound of salt per 1 pound of coconut oil!!! Yes, you read that right. Coconut oil is used because it is the one oil that will still lather in this type of soap, although some soapers add 20% or so emollient oils. Water is discounted. Salt is added at trace to the max that the soap will take. The bar needs to be cut sooner rather than later, while it’s still warm, because it gets so hard you can’t cut it.
If I remember correctly, Dead Sea Salts are not a good option due to “sweating”. I need to check on that. If you like, I can send a recipe or two for you to try. Should be fun?!
My thoughts are simply based on my experience using the salt bar. Due to these observations, I am not particularly interested in making a salt bar myself. I’d rather make a mess making something to clean the mess. LOL! I like keeping my shower clean and I struggle with mineral buildup anyway!
Regular salt is the way to go. Dead Sea Salt does not work due to the extra minerals and other items in the salt. You want just a regular salt to prevent a batch failure.
I am anxious to try including Dead Sea salts in my soaps since I have read about their many benefits for our skin. I have had trouble, however, finding information on how much actually to put in a batch. The quantities I have seen have been quite large and would be interested to know what the proportions are. Thanks, Anne
I forgot to mention — Spa Salt Bars are made with 15%-20% superfat!
One more thing to remember about salt — too much salt added to a normal recipe will cause the soap to separate. There’s an old timey technique called “Salting Out” that soapers used to remove impurities and excess lye from the soap. It also removes glycerin. This technique is still used today in commercially made soaps to separate the glycerin out.
I’ve never made Salt Bars but I have tried salting out. Here’s what I did:
1 liter (32 oz.) water
35 grams (1 oz) common table salt
8 oz. soap bar, grated (NOT castile)
Bring water and salt to boil. Turn down to a simmer. Add soap gratings. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. In that time, the soap will curdle and rise to the top. Skim it off with a hand held strainer. I shape it into a ball, squeezing out as much water as possible. I then put it in a double knee high nylon stocking, knot it, and hang it over a banana holder (highly technical, I know, LOL) and let it “drip dry” for several days, squeezing and shaping once a day until the soap becomes hard. NOTE: You lose a lot of soap doing this, but the result is indeed a lovely bar of soap — similar to smooth, creamy, and elegant triple-milled French soap.
Good Point! Thanks for sharing your observations!
One more item — the concensus among soapers I know who make Salt Bars is that coarse Kosher salt is the best — although common table salt is okay — but definitely NOT Dead Sea Salts (sorry, Anne) or Epsom Salts.
I started using a salt soap a week ago and now my daughter’s skin is a wreck, could it be the salt?
YES! Salt, this can be very drying to the skin.
Hummm I always read that table salt was terrible to use cause it was very drying. That a sea salt was best just not dead sea. The claims are that it exfoliates and removes toxins from the skin leaving it soft.
But I do agree about it not sounding appealing with build up and my personal concern with dry skin! I live in Colorado, so we combat that enough with out the soap!
Here is a 2lb batch if you are still curious to try it yourself:
Coconut Oil – 504 gr. or 17.78 oz. 70%
Castor Oil – 72 gr. or 2.54 oz. 10%
Grapeseed Oil – 144 gr. or 5.08 oz. 20%
Distilled Water – 237.6 gr. or 8.38 oz.
Lye – 102.15 gr. or 3.6 oz.
Sea Salt(fine) – 576 gr. or 20.32 oz.
Super Fat/Discount = 15%
This is not my recipe but a recipe from a free site I use often… their free recipes are fantastic
Thank you for the info. I’ll switch her back to my soap.