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Where and how can I obtain fat for soap-making?

Tue, Jan 20, 2009

Assorted Batch

I am trying to get into the whole soap making thing, and I don’t know where to get fat. A butchers? A restaurant? I have all the other ingredients (Perfume, Lye, Glycerin, Coloring).

It depends on what kind of soap you are making. I have in the past made some Olive Oil soap that has been very nice and the main fat in that soap has been Olive Oil.

If you want to make a more traditional soap using Tallow (an animal product) then you need to obtain Suet. Suet is obtained fairly cheaply (I got it) from a local slaughter house, it is fat. Then you have to render the suet into tallow by grinding it into small bits and boiling it. This process is EXTREMELY stinky so be forewarned. Once you get the oil to a liquid state you are going to strain it from the solids and then chill it to let it set up. What you are left with is fat on the top which is now called tallow and there maybe some liquid on bottom which, is tossed out. I have made this type of soap but, did not like it as much.

There are a whole host of other fats you can use, that are different oils which are great. Just make sure that you have a good recipe that gives you the right proportions of oil to lye, so, if you are making tallow soap then make sure your recipe calls for tallow. If you are making olive oil soap make sure that is what your recipe calls for.

**Edit – also keep in mind that often times the perfume is added after the basic soap is made with a process called French Milling. French milling makes a finer soap and also makes sure that there is no free lye left in your soap. Be very careful about the lye as it can cause bad burns if any is left in your soap.

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