Sodium Cocoate – like that’s a real ingredient!

I know, sounds funny, doesn’t it. Sodium Cocoate – doesn’t seem real. Well, that’s what happens when you use coconut oil to make soap. Then end result after the lye has reacted with the oil is a salt. Each oil/fat is listed as a sodium and then the name of the oil with “ate” at the end.

So why do I list my ingredients on my handmade soaps this way? I actually have 2 choices when it comes to listing ingredients. You can list all the raw ingredients that you start off with, but I have found that people often are turned off when you list sodium hydroxide, which is the chemical name for lye. I have chosen the 2nd option which is to list the oils/fats as what they have turned into after the lye has reacted with them.

Both ways are correct, it’s really a matter of personal preference as to which way companies choose to list their ingredients.

Update 7/19/09: – At the request for more detail about the 2nd paragraph here goes: When you list ingredients for soap you can list what you start with (i.e. Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, water, sodium hydroxide), but since what you end up with is not all of these ingredients in the final soap the government give you a second way to label your ingredients. The second way is the one that I have chosen that lists ingredients (i.e. Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Soybeanate, Sodium Palmate, Sodium Olivate) – notice no listing of water or of sodium hydroxide.

Why? Because they get used up during the saponification process to turn Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil into Sodium Cocoate. The water (which is mainly used to disolve and distribut the sodium hydroxide to the oils) gets mostly used up and some of it gets evaporated off during the curing process. This is why you don’t have to list water. The sodium hydroxide doesn’t get listed because it also gets used up during the saponification process, so that a well made bar of soap SHOULD NEVER have any sodium hydroxide left – it should all have been used to make the soap.

Please let me know if I need to explain it further.

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One Response to “Sodium Cocoate – like that’s a real ingredient!”

  1. Coconut Oil Says:

    Interesting article, thanks. Could you explain the second paragraph in more detail please?,

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