Sodium Lactate is a chemical substance that divides soapmakers. Some would never soap without it, and some (like us) don’t really like to add unnecessary substances that may cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritations.
We know it is only dangerous in high doses, but you can soap perfectly without it, and with a well-balanced recipe, there is absolutely no need for it.
If you have very sensitive skin and/or allergies, eczema and dry skin, you should not use it either.
What is Sodium Lactate?
Sodium Lactate is made from the fermentation of sugars naturally occurring in beets and corn, sodium lactate is the sodium salt of lactic acid.
What does Sodium Lactate do in a soap?
It is used as an additive to aid easy removal from the mold, and give a harder bar with shorter curing time.
There are many other ways to affect the hardness of your bar, but Sodium Lactate is very easy.
Makes the skin softer
The batter will trace earlier.
When is Sodium Lactate added to the soap batter?
Blend it in when you mix your lye and oils for cold process soap. All needs to be at room temperature.
How much Sodium Lactate should I use for soapmaking?
Use 1 tsp. of Sodium Lactate per pound of oils in the recipe 1-3% of the total recipe.
Too much will result in a crumbly soap.
Natural alternatives to Sodium Lactate
- Use a recipe with more hard oils like Coconut or Palm Kernel Oils (oils with high levels of Palmitic, Stearic, and Myristic Acids)
- Regular table salt or other types of salt like Himalayan Salt. Use 1 tablespoon per pound of base oils
- Lower the superfat to 1 or 2%
- Stearic Acid (link)
- Soy wax
- Candelilla wax