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David Fisher

Reconsidering Crisco - A Neglected Soap Making Oil?

By August 15, 2008

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Crisco
Today, I want to talk about Crisco.
Yes...Crisco...
It may be "better than butter for cooking," but what about for making soap? I've always considered Crisco (which is a hydrogenated blend of cottonseed and soybean oil) to be a "filler" soapmaking oil...inferior to our "core" soap oils of coconut, palm and olive. And my impression is that most soap makers do as well. However, I was preparing to do an article about Sandy Maine of SunFeather Natural Soap Company and her book The Soap Book, and found that the "basic" recipe that she uses for all the varieties of soap in her book is 44% Crisco, 28% Olive and 28% Coconut. That's her core, basic recipe. Just those three oils.
So I tried it...
It's good soap...!
It doesn't have quite the rich, heavy, creamy lather that castor oil in the recipe gives...it's a lighter lather...but quite plentiful. And I don't feel any more or less moisturized than I do with batches that have higher palm or olive amounts. So what do you think? The qualities that Crisco gives to soap are actually very similar to the qualities that would be imparted by cottonseed oil. They have nearly identical scores on the SoapCalc. But how many of us every use cottonseed oil in our soap...or are at all familiar with using it???
So that's my point...have we been missing out on a really good and cheap soap making oil - just because it comes in a can we get at the grocery store? What do you think? Oh...and did you know that Crisco was originally invented to be a replacement for tallow in candles!!?? Click on "comments" below to add your two cents...
Image Credit: Ladies Home Journal - 1912

Comments

August 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm
(1) the soap bartender says:

OK David … here’s what I think about Crisco.

The first soap I ever made had Crisco in it because as I said in my presentation at the TX Soapmakers Convention, I used Sandy Maine’s first little book which was all well and good. It’s decent soap. No doubt about it.

BUT… as a farmer’s daughter…I know that almost all of the soybeans and much of the cotton crops are GMO (genetically modified), which in and of itself is despicable, plus they’re planted in huge monocultures, thereby reducing bio-diversity, requiring major pesticide usage, depleting the soil, and on and on. So for me, it’s not that they make bad soap (although I think there are better oils), it’s more about the damage they do to the environment There’s lots of that going on though, so you have to pick and choose your evils.

Our choice of ingredients shouldn’t be just about the cost. In the long run, we really can’t afford to use that as a basis for our decisions either…

August 19, 2008 at 5:37 pm
(2) Teresa says:

I actually want to comment on the previous comment rather than on Crisco itself (which I never buy any more, even for cookin, on principle; I’m glad our health food co-op sells the Spectrum organic veg shortening). I heartily agree with the Soap Bartender! It’s so nice to see yet another person who feels the same way about these things. :)

I have my doubts about palm oil now, too, with the world shortage; I don’t want to take away oils that people in developing countries need desperately for food.

August 23, 2008 at 12:45 pm
(3) Draes says:

*laughs* And I would like to add my agreement with BOTH the above comments, and add my personal reasons for not using Crisco (and palm oil, actually). Crisco is – as your article states – hydrogenated oil. While the hydrogenation process renders the oil solid at room temperature and therefore extends the shelf-life (which is the point), the method employed to accomplish the bonding of the hydrogen molecule with the oil molecule – which often involves metals such as nickel – results in the finished solid oil being toxic to the body (not to mention the creation of trans fats, which we all know are bad). I refuse to eat anything with hydrogenated oil in it, and since I firmly believe that ‘on the body is IN the body’ (though people like to argue with me about this, scoffing at my reasons for not using/making products with synthetic ingredients, I have to counterpoint ‘why do you think nicotine patches work?’), I will not use it in my soaps. As for palm oil, in addition to the reason stated above, the over-production of palm oil is deforesting tropical habitats that many already-scarce creatures are dependent on for their survival. Even unknowingly contributing to the further endangerment of precious ecosystems is unconscionable – in today’s information-saturated culture there is no excuse for not educating oneself about the impact your actions have on the world and its inhabitants.

August 27, 2008 at 9:37 am
(4) Lisa in MD says:

In addition to the environmental effects of GMOs — I don’t put trans-fats inside my body, so why should I put them outside my body to be absorbed? I never have and never will use Crisco.

September 2, 2008 at 11:25 am
(5) Soap Guy says:

I’m glad to hear that these “Soapers” don’t use Crisco. I personally do, and over the past 12 years have been told by thousands of people that they have never used a better bar of soap. I don’t use as much as Sandy , but it is still a main ingredient in my batch.
It is true that it is a low cost ingredient, but so what. With the skyrocketing costs of all of the other ingredients, it is nice NOT having to charge customers $2.00 per ounce for my product.
And have we forgotten about “Soap Making 101″?
Saponification, changes the moleculear structure of the oil to the point that the “hydrogenated” properties are changed anyway.
And as far as the “eco system” argument, I’ll bet that your also a firm beleiver in not using plastic bags for your customers. So what do you use? Paper? Cloth? Whatever it is, I’m sure that it is also cutting into your “Bottom Lilne”
So what else do you have to say about this great ingredient?

December 8, 2008 at 1:25 pm
(6) Caro says:

yeah, i hafta say that the whole i-won’t-eat-it-so-why-would-i-wash-with-it arguement seems silly. sodium explodes in water, but when chemically combined with chlorine, salt is necessary for life. people who lower their salt or cholesterol intake *prob*ably don’t induce heart disease by using salt scrubs or washing with lard-based soaps. saponification chemically alters the fats, this is the magic of soap, yes? it seems like a simplistic and flimsy reason not to use shortening to make soap.

December 17, 2008 at 7:15 pm
(7) Amy Warden says:

I also used vegetable shortening in my first batch of cold processed soap. As I experimented with other oils, however, I found that I could create something more substantial with better lather. Sure the shortening will make soap. I just don’t think it makes GOOD soap. The majority of my soaps are made with vegetable oils and butters, but if I had to choose, I would rather soap with lard than Crisco!

January 5, 2009 at 3:42 pm
(8) DW says:

Teresa, so what do you think your ORGANIC veggy shortening is made of? :-)
Check you ingredients list (or http://www.spectrumorganics.com), and you will find that it’s made of 100% PALM OIL!
Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s the “holy grale” that saves the world!
I will definitely give Crisco a try (am a beginner)! Thank you for this post!

May 1, 2009 at 5:37 pm
(9) BG says:

I’m not a “soaper”, but in defense of using cottonseed oil isn’t it somewhat “green” to get double use out of a cotton field? We get both fiber and oil from one agricultural footprint. Being from a cotton producing state (AZ) I’d rather see more land left as natural sonoran desert rather have one field for fiber (cotton) and then have to put some other virgin ground under the plow for an oil producing crop. Just a thought.

June 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm
(10) hanna says:

I have made over 300 soaps with Crisco and have been told by people that they have never used a better bar of soap.

August 8, 2009 at 9:40 am
(11) DK says:

crisco sucks and palm oil is unethical

September 12, 2009 at 7:13 pm
(12) Simone says:

I am working up to making my first batch of soap. Never have done it yet. I have bought the coconut, lard, and olive oils and was have read that palm oil is used in most cold process soap recipes. I read the label of Criso and there is fully and partially hydrogenated palm oils in it, so I chose it over the other shortenings on the shelf. How much of the palm is in Crisco? If I lower the amount of Crisco, what should my other percentages be? Helping hints? I don’t know where to even get pure palm oil from.
Thanks, Simone

September 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm
(13) David Fisher says:

When I look at crisco.com, it’s listing the ingredients for Crisco as “SOYBEAN OIL, FULLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED AND SOYBEAN OILS”

If there’s palm oil in it, that would be new for me.

In many lye calculators, there is a choice for “shortening” – and that should be fine. The SAP number for palm is a bit higher than soybean – but probably nothing that a 5-7% superfat couldn’t give you enough wiggle room for.

You can get palm oil from some ethnic grocers…but be careful not to get the “red” palm oil. The red color will color your soap. You can also get it from any of the various soap making supplies vendors online.

September 17, 2009 at 5:27 pm
(14) jorgi says:

I happen to love crisco soap I also add coconut and shea butter to it as well. Their are two kinds of people who buy homemade soap organic save the earth types and babyboomers who grew up with granny who grew up during the depression and made her own soap with whatever was in the kitchen. As a retailer of soap the babyboomers are my customers.the earth cookies shop at Whole Foods in my area

September 21, 2009 at 10:59 am
(15) Simone says:

In regards to palm oil as an ingredient in Crisco, research on the internet shows that in 2007, Crisco reinstated palm oil as an ingredient to their recipe and left out the cottenseed oil. There were many complaints and they soon went back to cottenseed. For whatever reason, the tub I bought just last week has palm oil listed as an ingredient and not cottenseed. Is it an old tub, and old label, or something else? Mystery. Anyway, if my can of Crisco does indeed consist of palm oil instead of cottenseed oil, will it then produce a better soap????…setting aside, of course, the other oils that I might use.
Thanks, Simone

November 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm
(16) Gila says:

I have crisco and I have generic shortening that my mom bought and the generics ingredients say animal and vegetable shortening. If I use it in place of what says crisco or shortening in a soap recipe will it come out ok?

November 15, 2009 at 9:47 pm
(17) candleandsoap says:

The generic shortening is most likely a blend of lard and hydrogenated soybean oil. Without knowing the % of each oil, you can’t get an EXACT lye amount – however…the saponification numbers for both oils are very similar…so with a lye discount of at least 5%…you should be o.k. You could figure the amount of shortening as 50% lard and 50% shortening (vegetable.) You might be able to find out the % blend from the manufacturer.

January 10, 2010 at 11:36 pm
(18) Arin savingdogs says:

I am new to soapmaking but have made two batches, both with just crisco as the oil and it came out awesome. Everyone who has used it loves it, but it is a bit soft. I also don’t want to use this product for eating but we are talking about turning it into soap which is no longer the same thing, I am not afraid to wash in it, if it is safe enough to eat (even if it might not be great for you).

February 1, 2010 at 2:38 pm
(19) Angela says:

You guys who say you would not wash with something you would not eat, would you eat lye??? yet it is in all of our soaps. Really guys, move on.

February 18, 2010 at 3:05 pm
(20) Sam says:

Crisco is a Procter And Gamble product , and they test on animals. So, I will not be using Crisco in my soap making. But, I have found Spectrum shortening. Spectrum Organics currently sources their palm oil from a sustainable certified family owned company called DAABON Organic. It’s non hydrogenated. I will be making my first bar of soap soon. Exciting.

June 8, 2010 at 11:51 am
(21) Christina says:

Sam I would love an update on that soap you are making. On another note…I think everyone has their own ideas on oils and their own preferences. I say no is wrong and no one is totally correct. Go with your heart.

October 2, 2010 at 11:21 pm
(22) Gemini says:

I adore the soap I make with shortening.
There are many soap calcs out there, and soapcalc.net has old crisco, new crisco with palm, and gv shortening with animal fats listed in their oils list.
Here’s my question: how do you label your soap made with shortening? Crisco has the oils in it as well as other ingredients. Do you list those other ingredients on your labels?

October 17, 2010 at 3:03 pm
(23) Kat says:

Draes said, “On the body is IN the body”?? Well, I guess Draes has never taken a cell biology course. It certainly does work that way – SOMETIMES. But only under very specific conditions. Otherwise we would be at the mercy of everything – good and bad – in our environment. The whole purpose of our skin is to keep impurities out. MOST things we encounter cannot get through unbroken skin – and fat is one of them.

Back to Crisco, why not? Why is one fat more dubious, or better, than another? Everything we purchase has exploited some piece of land or some person directly either through bad farming practices in poor countries, or through low wages and long hours working the factories. Let’s not be so high and mighty striving to make $10 vegan bars of soap which only the wealthy, psuedo-earthy-crunchy types could afford (and whom do they exploit making all their money?). It all circles around. Think about it.

December 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm
(24) Sharon says:

I just made some soap for the first time…not sure how it will turn out…I have a few questions and would love it if someone could respond or point me in the right direction.

I mixed the lye and water outside- I had a mask, goggles, and gloves on for fear of sniffing it or burning myself…not sure which. But…when is it safe to take the gloves, goggles, and mask off? When is it safe to bring it back in the house? I assume once I mix it with the other oils…? Wasn’t sure and would like clarification.
(I do hope the neighbors don’t think I was mixing a bomb mixture as I looked like a mad scientist or something.)

Also, can I use LARD instead of crisco and would I use the same amount of lard?

The recipe I used was with 17.5 oz of crisco, 8 oz of coconut oil, 16 oz of olive oil…and of course the 6 oz of lye and 16 oz of water… Any advice would be of help…Gracias…

January 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm
(25) WhiteCedar says:

According to the Crisco website, the current formulation of Crisco contains a substantial amount of Palm Oil, in various states of hydrogenation.

The soybean oil can be replaced by cottonseed oil, depending on the availability of each, again from the Crisco.com website.

Who knows if those clever Crisco people will change the formulation in the future…

Ingredients:
SOYBEAN OIL, FULLY HYDROGENATED PALM OIL, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM AND SOYBEAN OILS, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID (ANTIOXIDANTS).

April 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm
(26) Eve says:

Personally, I think that if going “green” means not using what we have already created for use, then we are just “silly!”

We may not like animals being used for food, but that is not going to change. Having said that, there is animal fat going to waste and we could re-claim that.

There are envelopes at the Dollar Stores that could be used for packaging soap. I suspect people turn up there noses at them because they are not “green” envelopes. Why in the world use more electricity to only make a green product and leave the other on the shelf wasting? Go figure!

June 3, 2011 at 12:14 am
(27) summerland says:

I just started using lard and crisco in soap 6 months ago or so. People love it! And, palm is not evil either if you know where to buy it and get the sustainable. There are fields of palm trees that have been farmed by the same family for 30 years or more. Palm trees don’t have to die to product the oil. Lard and tallow is often rendered from animals that die of natural causes(not butchered), so even a vegan could use my soap and not feel guilty that they contributed to the meat industry. I fully believe in using all parts of a plant or animal and leaving no part unused is green. I have used both refined and unrefined oils in soap, and found no difference in results. I think if something makes great soap, use it. I think it all evens out in the end of the process, no matter what’s been done to it.

June 3, 2011 at 11:52 am
(28) summerland says:

..just wanted to add that I plugged soybean oil and palm oil, the unhydrogenated-into Soapcalc in place of Crisco, and there was very little difference in the characteristics of the soap. So, if those of you who are anti-Crisco want to make old fashioned soap without Crisco, you can. I just split the amount of Crisco used in half between the two oils.

August 4, 2011 at 4:08 am
(29) Shelby says:

Hello!

I know this comment thread is old, but I have some useful information about the ratio of soybean to palm oils in the “new” Crisco.

The ratio is 75% soybean oil to 25% palm.

I found this ratio by entering a known recipe into 2 soap calculators online, 1 with “new” Crisco listed as an ingredient option and 1 without. I changed the ratios of soybean oil and palm oil until the lye recommendations were exactly the same.

So, for saponification purposes, 75% soybean oil + 25% palm oil = 100% Crisco.

Happy soaping!

October 12, 2011 at 8:27 pm
(30) Sunflower says:

This sequence of posts was very enlightening and informative. I got the full spectrum of ethics as well as the utilitarian info I was looking for! Thanks David, for providing this site. I will be making some soap with my chemistry students tomorrow out of the crisco I have on hand. Maybe next year I will try other combinations to see how they work.
Signed, the earthy-crunchy-utilitarian-teacher type

December 15, 2011 at 10:37 am
(31) Angela says:

I agree with Christina, “go with your heart”. (If making soaps to sell) Let the consumer decide which ingredients they want in a soap. Make a variety of soaps and give your consumers options.

January 8, 2012 at 8:36 am
(32) Laurie says:

Well, I am still in the ‘thinking about’ making soap stages. When I went to find out about where to find palm oil, I realized I probably don’t want to use it for ecological reasons, though I will check into the ‘sustainable’ types. I suppose I will use crisco-ish for my first trial batch as it is readily available.
This discussion seems to imply it is pretty much one or the other- or lard, which I also don’t really want to use for personal reasons. So- are there any other choices?
If I decide to do this, I imagine I’ll be calculating till my fingers wear down trying to figure out a new solution!
This is a great discussion- told me many things I wanted to know. Thanks, y’all!

February 3, 2012 at 10:47 am
(33) lora says:

I just started getting into soap making. I have been using Crisco- with other oils -because it is affordable and easy to find, also because it is the only shortening I have seen with Palm oil in it (however little). So far everyone who has tried my soap really likes it. I have read the controversy on Crisco, Palm oil, Cottonseed oi, animal fats…..it all makes my head spin and feeling like there is nothing “right” to use. I even had a lady at our local health food store tell me she didn’t want to buy my soap because it had soybean oil in it and that it is bad for you and people shouldn’t be rubbing on their skin, news to me. So I have been thinking of another base oil to use, but I suppose there is no pleasing everyone.

February 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm
(34) justanothersoaper says:

What you put on your skin (the body’s largest organ) does in fact enter the body so therefore yes, it does matter what we use. This is just a basic scientific fact, the body absorbs what is on the skin – period. I’m extremely picky about where I get my oils, and when possible I do choose organic simply because, as of right now at least, organic means that it is not genetically engineered and is produced in a much more environmentally friendly way. Yes, we have further questions we should be asking ourselves too, such as is this product impacting the environment or the well being of another cultural etc?…again, I think if you “KNOW” who you are getting your ingredients and supplies from that is the key. Such as Mountain Rose Herbs. I’ve been purchasing my soap making supplies from this company for years. Basically, in my opinion, it all boils down to research and consciousness. Crisco…sorry, that is garbage and I would not use it even if it were free. It’s GMO and hardly anything I want to promote or support with my purchases. Whether it is altered well enough during saponification to reduce it’s test tube like monstrosity like nature rendering it harmless – I don’t care LOL. I don’t think any of us have the laboratory type setting to actually test this to begin with, so until I see lab results I’m going with my gut instincts on that and staying away from it. Just because it’s a Monsanto product, that’s reason enough to not use it. Ethics are important too, it’s not all about the bottom line. At the end of the day, we produce products that people use on their skin. I don’t think using ingredients that support unhealthy companies and organizations is what anyone really wants to do, so why do it? I’m a Holistic Practitioner and this is just how I personally feel, it’s a responsibility of mine to look at the “whole picture” especially when creating products for my clients to use on their bodies. Crisco is cheap, but the awareness of my actions are NOT.

May 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm
(35) Melissah says:

Ok so I am fairly new to my soap making but I started with a friend she uses crisco and I do not use crisco or lard (or palm oil– we have more options then these). Mine actually lathers better.
Aside from the ethical issues I will address in a moment speeking strickly about soap I have very sensitive skin. I started thinking about making soap because my skin kept reacting to store bought soaps or felt dried and irritated after using them and I found I needed tons of lotion after ward.
So I did the resurch and have been making my own soap. I found the oils that worked for me cosmetically and ethically. I noticed an improvment in my skin after one use after week other people noticed. So quite simply it is better higher quality soap.
Now on the ethical issues I have to say I found myself quite irritetated with some of the comments. Making soap without crisco doesn’t mean it’s going to make it so it is a $10 bar of soap or ‘high and mighty’ soap to cast such judgments makes me wonder if Kat actually makes her own soap. In any case my skin will be with me for hopfully the next 50 years and I want to make sure I am taking good care of it. Its worth it to me if it cost and extra dollar or two per bar of soap (which is what we are talking per bar of soap not $5 or $10–which still isn’t that bad how much do you pay for a body wash at bath and body works or facial cleanser from numberouse venders)

May 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm
(36) Melissah says:

Yes it’s true that making small attempts to be more earth friendly is a big venture and as soon as you make one step toward it people seem to want to condem and ridicule it. Just because someone cares about the effect they have doesn’t mean they have to be perfect. It is the effort that leads us to something better. Isn’t that what we all want?
(I would also just like to acknowledge the fact that although no I do not believe in waisting but what people buy is what retailers will make. If sales decrees in one area and increase in another that some productivity will be redirected– lets please just be aware of the direction we are leading our vendors)
Yes I am someone who is trying to be earth friendly I also feel that change happens on an individual level. If you feel your life is better for the choices you make isn’t that what this life is about? Yes I do feel people need to take good care of this earth and take a little time and inititive to realize the effects of their actions that is part of being a grown up.
I know that I am only one but its not acknowledging the power of the individual that has kept countries in suppression and allowed evils and injustices to be prolonged over long periods of time. (Yes I know we are just talking soap here lol but it is the same principle deside what you care about and work toward it)

July 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm
(37) Barbara Daca says:

I hope all you who are refusing to use crisco as an cheap alternative are not turning around and eating Canola Oil (genetically modified rape seed oil from Canada ie CANdian OiL a). And for those of you using the crisco in your soaps please remember that your skin is the biggest organ you have with the greatest absorbtion rate…therefore bathing in it iS eating it.

August 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm
(38) James King says:

The thing about soaps is that the molecules of oil are too large to get past the extreme upper epidermis. And they are rinsed away or toweled off. If you leave any significant amount of soap on your skin without rinsing, your skin will get irritated.

If absorbing the oil from the soap you use is the same as eating it, then bathing by itself could cause weight gain. People on diets would be told not to use soap because they would be adding calories. It would also be used in hospitals as a way to give calories to patients who are unable to swallow and digest food. This, obviously, does not happen in hospitals because you are not digesting the soap you use. Soap is attaching itself to dirt and oils on your skin, making them available to be rinsed off in water.

If soap contributed that much to the detriment of your health, the FDA would have created many regulations for soap labeling. As it now stands, as long as you merely claim that your soap cleans and you promote no additional cosmetic benefits (such as moisturizing, anti-aging or anti-bacterial), you don’t have to have the FDA test for safety and effectiveness, nor do you have to list the ingredients.

All the available evidence shows that plain soap, regardless of the fat that is used to make it, is on the skin for such a short length of time and is used in such small amounts that any health risks are negligible. You have far more things to worry about than what your soap is made of.

Another thing to consider: if your skin is that absorbent, then why don’t you get drunk when you use alcohol based hand-sanitizers? Kids have gotten drunk from them–by licking their hands before the sanitizer dried, not by having absorbed the alcohol.

Our skin is designed to keep things out: it’s extremely good at preventing bacteria from getting into our bodies, unless it gets broken.

The idea that you’re eating the soap you’re bathing with is pure hogwash and has no scientific merit.

October 11, 2012 at 10:08 am
(39) Lorraine says:

I have been making Beeswax soap fpr 14 years, because I wanted to stay away from palm oil in my soaps, and beeswax is a locally produced ingredient and it hardens my soap in place of palm oil. I use Coconut oil, Olive Oil, Cocoa Butter and filtered Beeswax in my soaps, plus Sodium Hydroxide and Distilled Water, in my basic preservative free soap. I add GSE and oat flour in my oatmeal soap.
I’ve been toyinh with using Crisco in a batch of soap., but as mentioned we don’t know the ratio of cottenseed and soy oil in the can, so the lye water ratio could be incorrect. Cricso makes 100% soybean oil sold as VEGETABLE OIL on the label. We could probably use that instead. I use the Mountain Sage website for my recipes. I was also tyoing with not adding the coconut butter to that soybean oil recipe. I would still add the coconut oil for the lather and some olive oil but not sure about %.

December 5, 2012 at 10:29 pm
(40) BJ Jones says:

Crisco has changed their formula. It now contains soybean AND palm. Has anyone had experience with usage in soap making with the new formula? Please let know if you are aware of the SAP value of the new formula. Thanks

December 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm
(41) Brenda says:

Shelby comment # 29.. Thank you. The old formula was soybean and since it has been awhile,since I made soap, I had no idea they had change it. I will likely not use more than I already have, and I do not yet know how the new formula works in the recipe, I have been trying to find this info for days. Will you,email me if you get a chance and let me know which lye calculator you used? Bjonesdesigns@gmail.com. Also, any other comments would be welcomed about non GMO and also palm oil subs that will be similar. Also, soybean substitute….. Would soybean oil be similar in its effects on the soap? Thanks guys. Haven’t made any since my husband died, and I can’t wait to dive back in tomorrow. EXCITED;-)

December 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm
(42) Brenda Jones says:

I have learned that the new Cisco formula is 25% Palm and 75% soybean. Spectrum is 100% palm and claims sustainable family farms as the source of this oil. Just a FYI.

February 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm
(43) Tamms says:

1. Has anyone used liquid shortening made for fryers?
2. Why do people use distilled water? Isn’t a large amount of fossil fuels used in the distillation process? Why not use filtered rain water?

I am not trying to pick on any one, I really want to know. I am a former food scientist / now chemistry & biology teacher that grows her own food and herbs, has a vintage shop, and now is venturing into soap making. I also have a dual water system in my 165-yr-old farmhouse: rain water and well water. I was going to use the rainwater in my soap (as well as cucumbers and tomatoes)

As for fat being absorbed into the skin, it cannot for the above-stated reasons…..the molecules are too large to pass through the skin.

March 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm
(44) Lakaya says:

I use Crisco for 3 reasons…1. That was its original purpose. It was developed so that solid oils was always cost effectively available, anywhere USA, 2. I can’t eat it…I have a thyroid condition and soybeans inhibit thyroid function so not allowed to ingest it….but here was a few cans in the kitchen. 3. Soybean oils is VERY good for skin and hair so why not. The bars that have it in there…far harder than other soaps I’ve made without it, traces faster, ready to cut quicker. Don’t over insulate….it can overheat.

One thing…becuz of the process used to create it…the destinctive pie crust smell…that don’t go away…use a fragrance oil. And keep on going.

May 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm
(45) auroralvn says:

I live in west Texas where our main production is cotton, I use 25% of cottonseed oil in my soaps. Why would I not support our local farmers? My customers love my soap. Say what you please, I will always use it.

May 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm
(46) judi says:

Angela
lye is not left in the soap when it is cured

June 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm
(47) Firefly says:

Okay so now I’ve read that Crisco is contaminated with GMO; I don’t want to use it. I made my first batch of goat milk soap with Crisco, olive oil and coconut oil because my baby has an eczema problem. This soap took the eczema off my baby and the poison ivy off my husband and daughter who are always working in the forest. I loved the soap. Then there is palm; gee, who wants to take from other countries? Then there’s castor oil; who wants to use this because there may be trace amounts of ricin; so what carrier oil options do I have for a goat milk soap that is moisturizing and good for the largest organ in the body that is capable of absorbing anything it comes into contact with? I think I just may try to make a goat milk castille and see if that works. Any other recipes I can try that may have a better alternative that’s vegan?

July 6, 2013 at 10:13 am
(48) Lorraine says:

I would like to use Crisco in a recipe due to the fact I’m on a very tight budget and Olive Oil is expensive. The problem is the MMS lye calulator doesn’t compute shortening. How can I use it in place of olive oil?

July 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm
(49) candleandsoap says:

Lorraine…
use the calculator at soapcalc.com – it has settings for both the “old” Crisco (just soybean oil) and the “new” Crisco (with palm oil). Works great.

July 15, 2013 at 3:27 am
(50) Lois says:

As a fairly new soaper, I have to say that I have used Crisco. I have also used an organic shortening. I am getting ready to start selling my soap and as such I am considering the quality of the soap that I already have on hand. Currently I have one batch with the organic shortening ( I think it had a higher concentration of palm oil in it.) and 2 batches made with Crisco. Of the three I like the hardness of the bar made with the organic shortening better. Even after the curing process, the bars made with the Crisco are still almost spongeily soft which is not what I really want. I am planning to try out some grass-fed tallow after my parents get their cows butchered. Yes we eat meat, and without apology. But I will be making some that are vegetarian also. I generally use a combination of olive, coconut, sunflower, and rice bran oils. I really like my homemade soap and those who have used it like it also.
Feel free to check out my blog and my shop for more info.
cabinofbows.blogspot.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/cabinofbows

July 17, 2013 at 7:59 am
(51) Busguy says:

For you newbies who might think, based on this discussion, that the oils mentioned are the only options available for soap making, they are not. Many soaps, of varying qualities, have been made through the centuries using only oils that happened to be available. These were, are, often one oil soaps. Prime examples of that in the U. S. is “Grandma’s lie soap” and in Spain “Castile soap”. Grandma Smith using lard exclusively and Grandma Martinez using olive oil exclusively because that is what they had. My point here is use a blend of oils from what is available.
Concerning the great palm oil debate: Remember that palm oil was introduced to soap making in Europe and North America as a less than perfect substitute for beef tallow. I will not enter into the vegan, carnivore argument, you must follow your heart on the subject. Consider this, beef tallow is a byproduct of the meat packing industry. The amount of tallow that you may or not use in your home crafted soap will not impact the number of animals slaughtered primarily for meat. On the other hand even responsibly produced palm oil must be shipped great distances to me in Texas, and to many of the readers I suspect. Which is more earth friendly, a fairly local product or one that must be shipped half way around the world using vast amounts of fuel in the process? BTW, both tallow and palm are in my soap oils stash.

September 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm
(52) dop says:

Repeat customers will always say “this is the best soap ive ever used” … that is why they are a REPEAT customer. But if you give them a superior bar of soap made WITHOUT CRISO, then they will have a new favorite bar of soap. People are easily sold on things too if they are unfamiliar. That does not prove crisco to be superior in ANY WAY. I could eat tons of feedlot beef for pennies on the dollar, but i know that eventually my stomach is going to rupture just like the the cow where the meat came from.

January 6, 2014 at 3:37 pm
(53) Jen says:

My customers LOVE my soaps! And yes I do use Crisco in some of my soaps. I think as in all things everything should be done in moderation. The ingredients I use is not going to cripple a foreign country. Should we we follow the saying “If it feels good dont do it and if it taste good spit it out because its bad for you”? I think not! Everyone has thier own opinions about things and thats ok because we are all different. Think how boring the world would be if we all think the same way. Thats why I make some soaps with Crisco for my customers that prefer it.

March 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm
(54) SparkyM says:

I’m an omnivore so not only do I not have a problem with tallow, I think it’s a sin not to use it. As our ancestors tried to make complete use of the animals they hunted, so should we. And for people saying money shouldn’t be the object, well then you probably have to much of the filthy green stuff anyway. For the rest of us here in what we like to call “reality” money is very much an object. You have to balance a good product against an affordable one. Or maybe your customers are ok paying $40 a bar, but mine sure aren’t. Crisco works and it’s cost effective. Not all GMOs are evil and not all “organics” are good. Recently Scientific America did a huge expose showing a great deal of what people believe about organics is complete bunk.

As usual, people buy into the hype and not the real, actual science behind it. Hell, there’s no conclusive proof that essential oils are of any benefit at all. We just assume they may help, and can’t really hurt. To me the anti-shortening crowd seems more concerned about stigma than product. I’d love to be able to conduct a proper double-blind soap study with them to see what’s really what.

In the end for me, I have a handful of customers that want natural, oraganic, vegan, EO oils. Most everyone else is more concerned with how it looks and smells – they don’t care if there’s shortening or tallow or it’s an EO or an FO. Many of my MPs people buy simply as display soaps/room scenters. They’re not obsessed tree huggers, and while they don’t mind paying more than a major commercial bar of soap there are definite limits to what they’ll pay regardless of how it’s made and what’s in it. And if you’re in the soap “business” that’s all that matters in the end.

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