What Causes Orange Spots in Handmade Soap?

May 23, 2022

nefertem soap with orange spot

Unlike spots on an old avocado, orange spots on handmade soap should not alarm you.

In fact, it should be quite reassuring that they are no more than a natural result of having a mineral-rich bar of soap that has not been treated with artificial preservatives or colorants.

Very Common, Totally Unavoidable

Orange spots are extremely common in handmade bar soap and incredibly hard to prevent...I know, I've tried.

After many years of research, frustration, and experimentation, I discovered orange spots were something I would simply have to learn to appreciate (especially if I were to continue to use tallow in our soaps).

They are representative of the fact that all things in nature become what they are intended to be, not what we want them to be. 

How Do Orange Spots Form?

Orange spots can form in handmade soaps for a variety of reasons. Please note that orange spots would also develop in store-bought, commercially made soaps if synthetic ingredients like colorants and preservatives were not added to cover them up. All soap is subject to developing orange spots. Here's why...

nefertem bar of soap with orange spot

Reason 1 - Superfatting the Soap Recipe

Many handmade soap artisans superfat their recipes to produce a more moisturizing bar of soap.

Superfatting is an industry term for adding more oils to the soap than is necessary to create the soap.

This leaves free floating oils in the soap that can eventually age faster than the soap itself, causing orange spots. 

Reason 2 - Minerals in the Ingredients

Spots can also form due to a natural reaction between the minerals in the ingredients and the sodium hydroxide or lye (a required alkali catalyst used to produce soap).

Minerals are found in the water, oils, clays, herbs, and fats used to make soap. When exposed to the sodium hydroxide, a chemical reaction occurs causing the minerals to change color.

Kind of like how copper turns green after prolonged exposure to air. Oddly enough, the spots can rear their head right away, over time as the soap ages or never at all. It's a toss up. 

bowl of sodium hydroxide

Grass Fed Tallow Was Our Culprit

We learned to accept that the occasional orange spot on our handmade soap was simply something we’d have to be ok with.

Turns out the same mineral-rich ingredient we pride ourselves on using is the same ingredient causing those pesky little orange spots from time to time. 

We determined that real, quality ingredients are always a higher priority than superficial appearance.

Orange spots or not, our handmade soaps are pure, all-natural and the best darn bar of soap you’ll ever try or your money back, guaranteed

Try Nefertem Handmade Soaps today and see for yourself!

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