Sodium Lactate In Soap? What It Is And Why It’s Used?

by | Soap Making

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Sodium Lactate In Soap:

Sodium lactate is a staple and regularly used ingredient within the homemade soap making world. Why? What does it do? How do you use sodium lactate in soap?

Description: Clear Liquid (also available in powder form)

Solubility: Soluble in water

Storage: Room temperature, in an air tight container

Shelf life: May depend on manufacturer, usually around 1-year

Recommended usage rate in CP soap: 1 tsp per pound of oils.

How to use: add the sodium lactate to your cooled lye solution

What is Sodium Lactate?

Sodium Lactate is a natural ingredient that is derived from purified lactic acid and carbohydrate sugars, used oftentimes as a preservative. It has some moisturizing properties that makes it useful in cleaners and body wash. 

It is actually made from a fermentation process of sugar, most often from corn or beets. 
Sodium lactate is a natural humectant, helps to retain moisture, and has superior water holding capacity. Sodium lactate also helps balance out Ph in the skin. This is crucial for skin health. Ph needs to be maintained to a certain level. Thus, helping your skin stay healthy and protected from contaminants, environmental toxins, and pollutants.  

So why in the world is it talked about so often in soap making?

What is Sodium Lactate in Cold Process Soap and Other Bath and Beauty Products?

Why exactly is sodium lactate used in soaps and other types of bath and beauty products? Mainly, this is a result of sodium lactate’s ability to hold moisture. 

Sodium lactate should be a mainstay if you’re a soap maker. When we first started soaping, one of the hardest parts of the process was waiting. You spend all this time coming up with a recipe or following a recipe you found online. You feel like you did a spot on job and now you have to wait. Wait to unmold, then wait to cut, then wait to use!

Related Articles: How to Store Cold Process Soaps, Cutting and Curing: Let’s Chat About it

Well, with sodium lactate your wait is much shorter, as sodium lactate adds to the firmness of soap. Many soapers know that “salt” soaps harden much quicker then making cold process soap without it. Well, sodium lactate is basically a liquid salt.

Not only can you unmold a bar of soap much faster, but it will provide you with a harder, longer lasting bar of soap. 

Related Article: Let’s Talk Soaping Molds. Is There a “Best” Soap Mold?

Recommendations for Cold Process Soap

When/How to Add:

It’s recommended to add sodium lactate to your “cooled lye solution.” We soap around 80-90 degrees F. However, we usually add our sodium lactate to our lye around 115 degrees F. 

Whether or not you add the sodium lactate at a higher temperature is up to you. However, we like to wait until the lye has cooled significantly, being that it can heat up to upwards of 200F. 

When added correctly and if you also force your soap through gel, oftentimes you can unmold in 24 hours, although we always suggest given it at least 36-48 hours, if not a salt soap. 

Suggested Usage Rate:

Fairly easy to remember, but you should add sodium lactate at 1tsp. per pound of oils.
Use you measuring spoon to measure out the sodium lactate. Then, add to your cooled lye solution before adding the lye into your soap batter/oils. 

What if you add to much?

Measuring is so important in soap making. Once you place your additives in your lye solution and/or your soap batter, there is little you can do if you over-measured. Most likely if it was just a few drops (sodium lactate), you won’t notice, but if you add to much, it could lead to a crumbly bar of soap!

Tip: If using a high amount or particular high percentage of softer oils in your soap, (like sweet almond oilolive oils, rice bran oil, or a palm-free soap recipe) it may also be useful in unmolding. 

Final Thoughts!

Whether you are or want to make your own soap(s), you must give sodium lactate a try. It will integrate seamlessly in your recipes and not only cut down on your wait time, but also make unmolding easier without changing the final look and feel to you soap (unless you add too much of course)

As always, share your thoughts and experiences with using sodium lactate in your soaps on our blog!


Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you use them to purchase items, then we may earn a small commission. Hope you find something that you like!
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