If you’ve ever wanted to know how soap is made, then you’ve probably come across the cold processed vs. hot processed soap debate. At CleanO2, we make soap using cold processing, but we appreciate there are two sides to this debate. Rather than working yourself into a lather (pun intended, sorry!), let us explain the difference. It may seem subtle, but the difference is important, especially if you’re concerned about the environment.
What is Cold Processed Soap?
When you see soap for sale, it’s often just advertised as, well, soap. There may not be a mention of cold processed vs. hot processed soap on the label. So, what is cold processed soap?
Simply put, it’s a soap that is made by combining oils with sodium hydroxide (lye) and water, which leads to a chemical reaction called saponification. It’s referred to as cold because there is no need to add heat to the mixture in this process. In fact, this is an exothermic reaction, which means heat is generated by the reaction.
Explaining Cold Process vs. Hot Process Soap
When comparing cold process and hot process soap, the main difference is that hot process soap involves using an external heat source to raise the temperature of the soap mixture until the water is cooked out and it turns into a gel that can be poured into a mold.
Cold process soap making is slower – the only heat used is that generated by the reaction itself. The curing process takes several weeks as it dries out naturally. Because there’s no need to heat cold process soap, it produces less carbon emissions.
Why Do We Make Cold Processed Soap?
There are a few important considerations in choosing to make — and buy — a cold processed soap. Here are the top three reasons to choose cold processed vs. hot processed soap:
Cold processed soap making gives us more control over quality
Cold process soap making allows us to produce a soap with both exceptional scents and high performance. The longer period required for the soap to dry out allows the pH to slowly decrease as it hardens and as soap crystals form. The slow aging process yields a lovely lather and longer-lasting bar.
Cold process soap is better for the environment
This is how to make soap that is minimally processed, meaning there is no need to crank up the temperature to cook out water and release unnecessary carbon dioxide. Cold process soap making aligns with CleanO2’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
Cold process soap includes glycerin without waste heat
The exothermic reaction that occurs when lye, oils, and water are mixed produces glycerin, which adds an important moisturizing quality to the soap. Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture from the air and helps retain it in the skin. As a cold process soapmaker, we don't add extra heat energy to make the glycerin-producing process go faster.
How CleanO2 Makes Cold Process Soaps
We do things a little differently around here to create a soap that is good for the planet and delightful to use. Here’s how to make cold process soap the CleanO2 way.
Our cold process soaps are made using forever sequestered carbon. We add potassium carbonate (pearl ash) produced from captured carbon to our cold press soap. This makes it environmentally friendly and gives it a silky quality and lovely lather.
We leave the naturally produced glycerin in the soap. Many commercial soap companies remove the glycerin generated in the exothermic reaction and sell it to industries for use as a thickening agent. We recognize the moisturizing properties of this naturally produced humectant and leave it in the soap for your benefit.
We choose the best natural oils and scents to produce fragrant and functional soap. We strive to use as many natural ingredients as possible to ensure our cold press soap bars perform well and smell exceptional.
Now you know how to make cold process soap—or at least how CleanO2 does!
Easy Picks for the Artisanal Cold Process Soap Aficionado
Since all our soaps are cold process soaps, you can’t go wrong no matter which of our great soap bars you choose-it depends on your scent and color preference.
If you can’t pick just one (because let’s face it, they all look and smell incredible) you can go for a curated pack that will let you experience an assortment of refreshing cold press soaps.