Why Is Your Soap Only 85% Organic?

sunflower-151x151If it weren’t for the chemistry of soap and the nature of organic regulations, we could put the USDA logo on our soap.

Lye makes up 12-15%, by weight, of the original ingredients for bar soap. It doesn’t exist in the final soap product, but organic regulations require that ingredients be traced back to the beginning, to the product’s origins, and then be accounted for in organic percentages.

Quality and Transparency
As it is, we make every one of our soap bars with a minimum of 85% organic ingredients, a fairly common number for organic soap. It’s not carved in stone, but 85% is a good Two Bars of Organic Aleppo Soap (Syrian Laurel Soap)point of reference, especially for consumers. It identifies a particular level of soap quality. And, when it’s used by the soapmaker to describe their own product, it also shows a commitment to honesty and transparency.

Liquid soap tends to be slightly less organic than bar soap in percentage, more in the 83% range. The reason might be obvious. Liquid soap has more water than bar soap. Water doesn’t count against you in organic percentages, but it can’t count for
you, either. When water makes up a bigger portion of overall ingredients, the portion that can count toward organic percentage is reduced.

Lots of Rules
Dry tea with green leaves in wooden utensil, close up
Playing by the organic rules means there are a lot of rules. We’ve always thought the process is worth it, though, especially being able to prove the quality of our product to customers, rather than just telling them and asking them to trust us.

Not that we wouldn’t love to reach the 95% level and wear the logo. We know it means something. Especially now, with so much in factory skincare turning out to be bad for us, the organic seal is something to trust.

3 8oz No TextOrganic Is More
It’s not just numbers behind the trust. It’s the spirit of committing to the most natural product possible, throughout the supply chain. In the case of soap, that means no synthetics or toxins to irritate the skin and cause long-term problems over time. It means no toxins washed down the drain and passed on to others. Organic means safe, high-quality products you can feel good about using, and it means an industry you can feel can good about supporting when you shop.

4 thoughts on “Why Is Your Soap Only 85% Organic?

  1. Can I ask why I you have certified organic soap, if it can’t truly be organic at 85% (made with organic ingredients)? Did the entire bar become organic somehow, or is this counting after it’s turned into soap from the lye and water? Sorry for questioning, I am confused! lol

    • Paul – Thanks for your comment. The third level of organic certification, where our soap and all true soap falls, is called Made With Organic Ingredients. It’s one of the four official certification levels. The Made With category requires 70% organic ingredients, but more importantly prohibits artificial scents and colorants, synthetic preservatives, and genetically altered ingredients. The lye we use isn’t organic, but it is an approved product, included in the original rules by the National Organic Program. There are lots of regulations and numbers associated with organic certification, but there’s also an overall intent to produce more responsible products, from the farm where ingredients are grown to the sinks we wash our soap down. Not every certified organic product is 100% organic, but they all have to abide by the overall intent.

  2. If I use organic oil, and or natural oils and add a fragrance oil, that would not be
    considered organic or natural, is that right? What about adding colors to the soap
    would that disqualify it as organic or natural soap? How do I get 85% organic/natural oils?

    • Evie – Fragrance oils are almost always synthetic, which is why we can’t use them. We use essential oils. Not all essential oils soapmakers use are organic. The ones we use are as high grade as is sensible for soap. Most are steam distilled. Some – citrus ones, especially – are extracted through pressure. You can look on our website under Soapmaking Supplies for essential oils and soapmaking herbs. We color soap mostly this way. Scent is usually essential oils, though some essentials add color as well. Hope that helps a bit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.