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Soap Making Ingredients – Palm Oil Alternatives for Soap Making

Rene Whitlock

Posted on September 14 2011

soap making school palm oil free soap makingThe other day I was in a cellular phone store waiting for a sales person to help me.

It took about 15 minutes so I watched a program on their store screen.

I thought at first it was a video on Nature in the Rainforest.
A few minutes later it turned into a show on Poachers and the illegal wildlife trade.

When a mother and baby orang-utan are spotted, the poachers first kill the mother with a machete.  This allows easy capture of the baby because it is totally dependent on its mother for safety.



One of the major comments that hit home was a native who mentioned
how easy it is for the poachers to capture Orangutans
because there is less and less rainforest for these animals to live in and hide.

The reason why the Rain Forest is being destroyed is simple.

Palm Oil Plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia are continually being created.

There are several reasons why this is a problem.

Here are just a few things that are happening with the Palm Oil Industry:

Millions of hectares of forest are being destroyed and the Orangutans along with other unique species
have nowhere to live.  The Rainforest is the world’s most species rich habitat,
but many of these animals are nearly extinct.

Most of the land that is taken for Palm Tree Plantations is areas where communities grow food
to sustain the families living in the area.
These areas are known as Traditional land.
There is hardly ever paperwork proving ownership of this land
because it has always been part of the community.
The bulldozers arrive to clear this area for Palm Tree growth
and there is almost always violence and death.

The Rain Forest also provided an economic source for the locals.
Thing like seeds, rubber and medicinal plants are becoming less available
with more of the forest being destroyed.  These people are forced to work
on the Palm Oil plantations to support their families.

The pesticides and herbicides that leak into the water from the plantations
make the water undrinkable.
A highly toxic herbicide that has been banned in 13 countries is being used on the palm trees.
The workers are not properly protected from these toxins.

There are so many more problems that are going on because of the Palm Oil Industry.

So what does this have to do with us?
How can we change things?
We are just soap makers and natural soap enthusiast,
there are around 7 billion people on this earth, what can we do?

Here is what the author Margaret Mead had to say:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”


What does Palm Oil offer for soap making?

#1 – Makes a hard bar of soap (so does natural wax)

#2 – Makes nice, big, thick, cleansing bubbles (so does coconut oil)

As a group, can we come up with some alternatives? YES WE CAN.


Whether you are into Soap Making, cosmetic making, candle making, chocolate making, baking, etc.


I would like to hear your thoughts, recipes, ideas or whatever you have to say on this topic.


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Now that we are informed and know there are alternatives to palm oil in soap making,
let’s do something about it.

After all, natural soap making is all about getting back to nature.
Why don’t we try to protect it while we are at it?


Here is my contribution, sorry about the name.  Hope you can do better than this:


Orange – utan  Soap

This makes a 2 lb soap batch; you can make it whatever size you like by doubling it or tripling it.

10 oz Olive Oil
7 oz Soy Bean Oil
7 oz Coconut Oil
1 oz Candelilla Wax (melt into the oils above)
8.4 oz Water(distilled, sea water, or filtered rain water)
3.6 oz Sodium Hydroxide
2 teaspoons dried powdered orange peel or dried powdered carrot
2 tablespoons glycerine or castor oil
½ oz Orange Essential Oil (optional)

Please follow all safety procedures when you are making soap.  Eye protective glasses, gloves and a handy spray bottle of vinegar to neutralize the sodium hydroxide.

The soap making technique I would use is hot process soap making method for this recipe
because citrus essential oil doesn’t always survive the cold process.

I do not recommend using artificial fragrance oils
because they can contain several different chemicals that can be very harmful.

For hot process, mix the glycerine or castor oil with the orange peel or carrot
and swirl it into the batch after the soap has cooked and after you mix in the orange essential oil.

You can then put it in your mold.

For cold process, swirl this either in the mold or right before you pour it in.

These are not the full instructions for soap making, only a recipe.

To learn several methods of soap making, you can either consult the internet for information or check out

Happy soaping everyone!