Soap Qualities

Natural Soaps

With over 60 years of liquid soap making experience, Sanitek Products, Inc. proudly creates numerous castile soap formulations from industrial to personal-care applications. With literally over 50 million pounds of castile soap production under our belt, we have the experience you can count on for consistent, reliable products and the expertise to create precise custom soap blends. All our soaps are 100% vegetable based and some are, or can be made under the USDA National Organic Program. Custom batch sizes range from 110 to 3200 gallons.

How We Make Soap:

The fundamental process of alkaline hydrolysis takes place when, after the addition of lye, triglycerides (the main constituents of fats and oils) are split apart, then in the presence of water, reformed to create soap: the saponification process. In our refined process, operating under high temperature and pressure, whole oils are fully reacted in a very efficient manner to create newly formed soap and free glycerin, a natural humectant.

If no excess of either lye or fatty acids exists after saponification, the soap is said to be neutral. Skin-friendly "super-fatted" soap has excess fatty acids, while excess caustic can result in an overly skin-drying product. Through our laboratory titration process, we precisely calculate these levels and adjust as necessary to ensure each batch of soap is properly pH-balanced and always finished on the fatty acid side, batch after batch.

The Vegetable Oils:

It is fairly well known that Castile Soap has historical ties to soaps produced from olive oil derived from Spain’s Castile Region. Today, Castile Soap commonly refers to soaps made from a wide range of vegetable oils.

Since vegetable oils are comprised of a variety of fatty acids (as well as other ingredients), each resulting soap has its own unique qualities; and the reason why we produce more than one type. Below you will find a number of liquid castile soap bases that can be used alone or blended with other soaps to create your perfectly-balanced soap base.

Coconut Oil Soap, (potassium cocoate):

Industry-wide, this is the workhorse oil in soap making, liquid or bar. Its unique high-lauric fatty acid profile results in one of the highest achievable liquid soap concentrations available, provides exceptional foaming and cleaning qualities, and is usually priced favorably compared to other oils. Unfortunately, improved cleaning also strips natural oil from skin leaving skin clean, but feeling tight and dry. Further, coconut oil soap is resistant to viscosity building, often easily achieved in other soaps. It is customary to blend other oils with coconut prior to saponification to achieve cleaning, foaming, and moisturizing balance. Extremely stable & resistant to oxidation and rancidity. By itself, Coconut Oil Soap requires no preservatives.

Soap properties:

    • Best foaming and cleaning of all soaps.
    • Cleans too well; can dry out skin.
    • Resistant to viscosity building.
    • Crystal clear
    • Good base soap, both functionally & financially.
    • Collective opinion; if using greater than 30% of coconut soap, add moisturizers to limit drying effect.


Sunflower Soap, (potassium sunflowerate):

We use high oleic Sunflower oil to create a nearly clear, translucent, good body formula which offers very similar qualities to that of Olive Oil Soap, but at a much lower cost. Rich in vitamin E, sunflower soap provides excellent emolliency to soap recipes and is said to deposit a protective layer that holds in moisture. However, Sunflower Soap has limited foaming ability; developed foam is comprised of small bubbles resembling a loose lotion.

Soap properties:

    • Works synergistically with coconut and palm kernel oil to give a nice, rich, creamy lather that's very moisturizing. Use 5-20% to add moisturizing properties.
    • Offers excellent lubricity; a great base for shave products. This is one of our favorite application for this soap!
    • Excellent thickening response to essential oils and sodium chloride.
    • Limited Foaming


Rice Bran Oil Soap, (potassium rice branate):

Often used a replacement for Olive Oil by bar soap makers, Rice Bran Oil (RBO) more closely represents the fatty acid profile of peanut oil. RBO develops better foam than Sunflower soap and also has good conditioning and mildness properties that limit skin drying. RBO contains approximately 4% unsaponifiable matter of neutraceutical value according to many, which results in an opaque liquid soap. RBO contains relatively high fractions of vitamin E and is also rich in other phytosterols. It contains the highest amount of y-oryzanol, an ingredient associated with research regarding menopause and cholesterol.

Soap properties:

    • Rice Bran oil soap is opaque due to unsaponifiable matter, but over time this material will rise to the surface resulting in a translucent soap which is nearly clear in lower layer. The top lipid layer may be removed or left in place.
    • Good thickening response to essential oils and sodium chloride.
    • Natural opacifier. Sufficient thickening can result in a stable opaque product with a decrease in amount of lipids floating in top layer.


Avocado Oil Soap, (potassium avocadoate):

Avocado oil is a heavy, green, rich, moisturizing oil that has a high percentage of unsaponifiable ingredients which results in an opaque soap. Relatively high in vitamins A, D & E as well as amino acids, this oil also produces gentle, moderate foam that is ideal in face and body washes. Chlorophyll is responsible for its green color and freshly made soap has a characteristic look of guacamole. Unsaponifiable materials will float to surface and can be removed or partially incorporated by building viscosity. But being light sensitive, the green color will fade; protect from light to retard discoloration.

Soap properties:

    • Great viscosity control via essential oils and sodium chloride.
    • Opaque soap when mixed, unsaponifiable float can be incorporated.
    • Great vitamin qualities with reasonable foaming; good for sensitive skin cleansing.
    • Natural opacifier.
    • Unusual green color; light-sensitive.


Soybean Oil Soap, (potassium soybeanate):

While its name may not have an exotic ring to it, soybean oil makes a good soap, ideal for bases. The fatty acid profile most closely resembles that of Rice Bran Oil, but provides for a crystal-clear, light golden-yellow colored soap. In its concentrate form, Soybean Soap produces low, creamy lather, but when diluted with water, foam generation begins to shine with increased volume and bubble size. Primary fatty acids are linoleic and oleic, both known for their emolliency.

Soap properties:

    • Best bang-for-buck conditioning soap for bringing mildness to coconut oil soaps.
    • Excellent clarity.
    • Good secondary base soap.
    • Viscosity building response to essential oils & sodium chloride; affects cloud point.


Palm Oil Soap, (potassium palmate):

Often called "veggie tallow" in that it gives many of the same qualities that beef tallow does; a rich creamy lather. Unfortunately, we can not verify this as we do not use animal fat. This soap, in its neat form, is translucent with slightly turbidity* and has a rich golden-reddish color. It has the highest palmitic fatty acid content of all the vegetable oils and offers perhaps the best thickening ability of the soaps listed here. With almost 40% oleic fatty acid content, it also provides good emolliency.

Sanitek encourages the use of sustainable palm oil and uses only RSPO-certified oil in our soaps.

Click here for more information about sustainable palm oil.

Soap properties to consider:

    • Some retailers will not purchase soap with palm oil.
    • Thickens exceptionally well with essential oils.
    • 20% water + 2.0% essential oils can turn base into paste!
    • *Clear soap achieved when co-reacted with 10% coconut oil; also responds well to thickening. Post addition of coconut soap will NOT clear.


Olive Oil Soap, (potassium olivate):

Olive oil, when sourced form Castile region of Spain, surely forms true Castile Soap. Modern times finds most manufacturers and marketers labeling soap made from non-animal sources referenced as Castile. Similar in quality to that of Sunflower Oil Soap, both have very high levels of oleic acid, an outstanding skin moisturizer with good lubricity and is said to help retain the natural moisture in skin. While a great conditioner additive, olive oil soap is lack luster in the foaming department as it develops small bubbles. 100% neat olive oil soap is translucent with a slight turbidity. It responds well to viscosity enhancement via essential oil and sodium chloride. Most soap makers combine olive oil with other oils to improve the lather.

Soap properties:

    • Great moisturizing properties.
    • 100% olive oil soap is prohibitively expensive.
    • Low to moderate foaming.
    • Available in 80/20 ratio (coconut/olive); a clear soap.

Disclaimer (potassium caveat emptor ate):

The information provided is based on a combination of hands-on testing, laboratory analysis and generally accepted industry knowledge. These products are not designated as having USP, NF, or FDA cosmetic, pharmaceutical, or food grade status. Our analysis of soaps is not to be construed as a warranty, expressed or implied. The preceeding data is provided at the request of and for the convenience of the customer and does not relieve the customer of its responsibility to verify data provided in this review and to perform any other analysis necessary to determine suitability of the products described for the use intended by the customer. As with all natural ingredients, there are variations in quality, color, and consistency.

In other words, we do our best to represent our soaps to you, but many factors are outside of our control; always test ingredients to determine suitability.

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