The natural soap making method we use is called “cold process”, which involves heat but is produced by a chemical reaction called “saponification”. It occurs by mixing an alkaline solution with natural oils and the result is soap. The cold process method we use retains all of the naturally occurring glycerin that moisturizes your skin and does not leave you feeling dry and itchy as commercial soaps do.
The commercial soaps you are used to buying in the supermarket are milled, cooked and melted before extruded into molds. These soaps often contain artificial dyes, preservatives, additives and perfumes, as well as alcohol and detergents which make them produce suds. The glycerin that is naturally produced in soap is usually removed from commercial soaps and sold for other purposes such as cosmetic production.
We believe that the “cold process” method is the best method for producing natural handmade soap. Many people find the “melt and pour” and glycerin soaps to be very drying to the skin. They often contain alcohol or propolyne glycol. The “melt and pour” soap bases are made in a factory, purchased in a block, melted and poured into molds. They are so called “handmade” soaps but it is simply not the same as making them all natural “from scratch” as we do!
Bursting the Bubble (Antibacterial Soaps)
Better Homes & Gardens, May, 2003, by Eric Metcalf
Do you squirt dollops of antibacterial soap into your hands hoping to exterminate hordes of disease-causing germs? Don't bother.
In a study for the Journal of Community Health, 238 households washed their hands with either regular soap or antibacterial soap. For a year, researchers regularly took a head count of the number of microscopic bugs on each person's hands.
"There wasn't any difference in the bacterial counts on the hands between those who used the antibacterial or the plain soap," says Elaine Larson, R.N., Ph.D., a professor at Columbia University's School of Nursing in New York City and the study's lead author.
Why? Most people wash their hands for mere seconds--not enough time for antibacterial soaps to work, says Dr. Stuart Levy, a professor at Tufts University in Boston and author of The Antibiotic Paradox.
But the soaps' antibacterial agent--usually triclosan--does kill off bacteria elsewhere in your surroundings and that can pose a different sort of health problem. Levy says the antibiotic residue of these soaps lingers on household surfaces and exterminates large numbers of the harmless germs that normally live among us. Young children need to interact with such germs to "train" their immune systems. Failure to do so could make them more likely to develop asthma or other immune-system diseases. The take-home message? About half of the hand soaps out there are antibacterial. That means half aren't. Choose the latter.
One exception: If you have a household member at high risk from infection--such as someone undergoing chemotherapy--then you should use a fast-acting alcohol-based hand sanitizer that you can buy at any drugstore.