Maybe it is just me but it seems like Kombucha is everywhere. If you have never heard of Kombucha, let me fill you in really quick. Kombucha is a fermented drink that is made from tea and sugar. It originated in China but eventually spread to Japan and the rest of the world. It is a sour, almost vinegary beverage and has a loyal following. One of the purported benefits is the probiotics that are in the drink. I am not sure how much of that is true but I can say I make my own and enjoy the taste of it. It can help me remember to drink when I am bored with water.
So when we were asked on our Facebook page about making Kombucha soap, Andee asked me what I thought about it. I have a rather long answer but if you will be patient with me, I will explain why I DON’T think it is a good idea. Before you get upset with me, please allow me to explain.
If anyone understands the desire to experiment and try things once, I do. I have done a number of things with that philosophy and as a kid, it would get me in trouble. If you didn’t already know, a CD will spark in the microwave and can be beautiful ~ in an alarming sort of way. Trust me. I understand being curious and wanting to know what will happen.
So let’s look at Kombucha. When it is ready to drink, it has a pH of somewhere between 3.4 – 2.9. That is pretty low when you consider orange juice has a pH of 4.19 – 3.3. The lowest pH orange juice can be is where Kombucha is at its highest pH. This means Kombucha is pretty acidic. It is no different that adding vinegar to our soap.
What does this mean for our soap? Rather that allowing our sodium hydroxide (lye) to react with our fats, we are making it choose between reacting with our fats and our acids. It is going to react with the acids first, every single time. This will not change. Because of this, we are more like to have a failed soap that is not smooth in texture and high in unsaponified fats, meaning we are inviting in DOS (dreaded orange spots).
Yikes! Okay, so what about the probiotic factor? Unfortunately no probiotics are going to survive the soap making process, so using that as a marketing claim is out. The soap just gets too hot. Darn it.
Here is my final reason why kombucha soap isn’t a good idea. If your kombucha has ANY sugars that have not been fermented, your soap is going to take off and get extra hot. If you have ever made a milk soap or a honey soap, you know what I am talking about. Something about sugars just seems to invite the naughty soap gremlins into your workspace. Sugars in your kombucha means you have a recipe for a soap volcano of epic proportions.
So while I think it sounds like it has label appeal and sounds like a great marketing claim, I don’t think it is a good idea. You already make incredible soap! Don’t sacrifice the quality of your product or your success rate for something that just doesn’t work.
Okay, so what if you find yourself with an excess of kombucha? Add a little to your drinking water. Let it go completely to vinegar and make salad dressings for green salads or even pasta salads, use it to marinate meat or fish for the grill. There are tons of fantastic ways to use an excess of kombucha! How might you use an excess of kombucha? Tell me! Even send photos of your pride and joy!