Common Questions

  1. Can soap be made without lye?
  2. Isn’t lye soap harsh on skin?
  3. Why don’t most homemade soapers use tallow(rendered animal fat) in their recipes when most commercial soap detergents are made with tallow?
  4. Why does Mount of Olives use vegetable oils instead of petroleum products like commercial bars do?
  5. Are Mount of Olives soaps “glycerin soap”?
  6. Are Mount of Olives soaps long lasting?
  7. Why doesn’t Mount of Olives use fancy molds, or make clear or swirled soaps?
  8. Can Mount of Olives soap be used as on hair or even pets?

Q: Can soap be made without lye? [top]

A: No, all soap is made with lye. If it is not made with lye it isn’t soap. Labels on soap don’t list lye. They use words like sodium tallowate(soap made with tallow) or sodium palmate(soap made with palm oil) Another wording is saponified ____ oil with various kind of oils listed in the blank. This is technically true because soap that is made correctly no longer contains lye.

Q: Isn’t lye soap harsh on skin? [top]

A: Homemade soap in the past could be harsh because measurements were not as accurate and there wasn’t much excess fat used in the recipes. Today’s modern homemade soaps procedures are much more accurate. We use digital scales to weigh the oils, lye, and water for accuracy to the tenth of an ounce or gram so there is little room for error. We also calculate in an excess fat percent so we can be sure of the mildness and moisturizing effect of the soap. After the curing time has ended, there isn’t any lye left in the soap. The lye and oil molecules have combined to form new molecules of soap (technically soap is a salt)

Q: Why don’t most homemade soapers use tallow(rendered animal fat) in their recipes when most commercial soap detergents are made with tallow? [top]

A: We don’t use tallow because it is believed by many to cause clogged pours which leads to many skin problems such as acne, blackheads, and either causes or worsens eczema and psoriasis. Many people are also against the use of animal products that are obtained by killing the animal especially if the animal is treated cruelty. Tallow makes a very hard bar of soap but their are many vegetable oils that can be substituted that make just as hard of bar. Tallow is used commercially because it cost less. We use better oils in our soap from edible vegetable oils because they are better for your skin though they cost more.

Q: Why does Mount of Olives use vegetable oils instead of petroleum products like commercial bars do? [top]

A: A good general rule is not to put anything on your body that you wouldn’t be willing to eat. I wouldn’t eat chemicals or petroleum products would you? Our skin is porous and absorbs. Doctors make medicines in creams to be absorbed by the skin and you have heard of Nicotine patches for those who want to stop smoking, right. All the ingredients in our soaps are natural and good for your skin.

Q: Are Mount of Olives soaps “glycerin soap”? [top]

A: Yes, if you mean do our soaps contain glycerin. It is not listed on the ingredient list because it is not added but the natural chemical process of soap making produces glycerin in the soap. No, our soaps cannot be compared to commercial so-called glycerin soap because that kind of soap is really detergent and contains many chemicals as well as being processed with alcohol to make the soap clear. Our soap is truly homemade and cannot be compared to the so-called homemade melt and pour soap that begins with a commercial glycerin soap base, made with chemicals, that is melted, additional ingredients added, them poured into fancy molds. Those soaps are not really homemade.

Q. Are Mount of Olives soaps long lasting? [top]

A: They are made with oils that make long lasting soaps. We use all of our own soaps and they last us a long time, just as long as commercial soaps. We have a well vented shower area and the soaps are allowed to dry completely between uses on a well drained shelf. We usually have 3 bars of different kinds in each shower and at the spa tub. So we aren’t using the same bar each time. We don’t let the soap lay in the tub while we bath, either. I don’t know if our soaps will last a long time for you or not. There are too many variables. Many bathrooms are not vented well and stay humid even when not in use. I would recommend a good draining soap dish. The soaps are precious, so I also recommend that, if you can, you rotate using bars, for longer lasting, so they can dry well before each use. I have had bars that have lasted me months because they are only used every other day(this is my personal soap at the spa tub). We could make the soaps even harder but would have to sacrifice other nice characteristics like lathering and moisturinzing qualities.

Q. Why doesn’t Mount of Olives use fancy molds, or make clear or swirled soaps? [top]

A: We do not make soap for decortation. Cold Process soap does not tend to work well with molds. It sets up slowly, takes days to dry, and tends to stick to molds in little corners. We could add many hardeners but would sacrifice other characteristics in doing so. We do not use other decorating techniques either. We don’t make swirls because very seldom do the swirls in swirled soaps contain ingredients that benefit skin, they are just for decoration. We don’t make clear soap because the method for making clear soap is to boil the soap with alcohol and sugar. I don’t see how that would benefit skin either. Our soaps are hand cut, a little rough looking, and not all the same size. We don’t trim anything off unless it’s a little ash which is a by product of homemade soap that is harsh to skin. Usually there is only a little in the corners of bars from the edge of the mold. Our soap is sold by weigh not size so it doesn’t effect the price if the soap is trimmed a little.

Q. Can Mount of Olives soap be used as on hair or even pets? [top]

A: All of our soaps are safe for hair but some have additional oils that help condition hair. We all occasionally use our soaps for shampoo to get our hair really clean and make our hair lighter. Some of my family members use the soap almost all the time on their hair. My husband is a walking advertisement around here. I just tell people to feel his hair. He naturally has dry brittle hair but our soap makes his hair extremely soft. You can use all or our soaps on pets too because they are all gentle. We have one dog (outside) who has sensitive skin and his skin turns bright pink if we use dog shampoo on him. We will probably be using the pine tar on him this year.

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