Soap Making Ingredients – Palm Oil Alternatives for Soap Making

soap making school palm oil free soap making

The other day I was in a cellular phone store waiting for a sales person to help me.

It took about 15 minutes so I watched a program on their store screen.

I thought at first it was a video on Nature in the Rainforest.
A few minutes later it turned into a show on Poachers and the illegal wildlife trade.

When a mother and baby orang-utan are spotted, the poachers first kill the mother with a machete.  This allows easy capture of the baby because it is totally dependent on its mother for safety.

One of the major comments that hit home was a native who mentioned
how easy it is for the poachers to capture Orangutans
because there is less and less rainforest for these animals to live in and hide.

The reason why the Rain Forest is being destroyed is simple.

Palm Oil Plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia are continually being created.

There are several reasons why this is a problem.

Here are just a few things that are happening with the Palm Oil Industry:

Millions of hectares of forest are being destroyed and the Orangutans along with other unique species
have nowhere to live.  The Rainforest is the world’s most species rich habitat,
but many of these animals are nearly extinct.

Most of the land that is taken for Palm Tree Plantations is areas where communities grow food
to sustain the families living in the area.
These areas are known as Traditional land.
There is hardly ever paperwork proving ownership of this land
because it has always been part of the community.
The bulldozers arrive to clear this area for Palm Tree growth
and there is almost always violence and death.

The Rain Forest also provided an economic source for the locals.
Thing like seeds, rubber and medicinal plants are becoming less available
with more of the forest being destroyed.  These people are forced to work
on the Palm Oil plantations to support their families.

The pesticides and herbicides that leak into the water from the plantations
make the water undrinkable.
A highly toxic herbicide that has been banned in 13 countries is being used on the palm trees.
The workers are not properly protected from these toxins.

There are so many more problems that are going on because of the Palm Oil Industry.

So what does this have to do with us?
How can we change things?
We are just soap makers and natural soap enthusiast,
there are around 7 billion people on this earth, what can we do?

Here is what the author Margaret Mead had to say:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

What does Palm Oil offer for soap making?

#1 – Makes a hard bar of soap (so does natural wax)

#2 – Makes nice, big, thick, cleansing bubbles (so does coconut oil)

As a group, can we come up with some alternatives? YES WE CAN.

Whether you are into Soap Making, cosmetic making, candle making, chocolate making, baking, etc.

I would like to hear your thoughts, recipes, ideas or whatever you have to say on this topic.

There are over 500 visits to this blog every day.  If you would like to offer anything to this post,
please also leave a contact email, a website address and if you want to send me a logo that I can post too,
then please email me at:

These links will be valuable because they link right back to your site.

Now that we are informed and know there are alternatives to palm oil in soap making,
let’s do something about it.

After all, natural soap making is all about getting back to nature.
Why don’t we try to protect it while we are at it?

Here is my contribution, sorry about the name.  Hope you can do better than this:

Orange – utan  Soap

This makes a 2 lb soap batch; you can make it whatever size you like by doubling it or tripling it.

10 oz Olive Oil
7 oz Soy Bean Oil
7 oz Coconut Oil
1 oz Candelilla Wax (melt into the oils above)
8.4 oz Water(distilled, sea water, or filtered rain water)
3.6 oz Sodium Hydroxide
2 teaspoons dried powdered orange peel or dried powdered carrot
2 tablespoons glycerine or castor oil
½ oz Orange Essential Oil (optional)

Please follow all safety procedures when you are making soap.  Eye protective glasses, gloves and a handy spray bottle of vinegar to neutralize the sodium hydroxide.

The soap making technique I would use is hot process soap making method for this recipe
because citrus essential oil doesn’t always survive the cold process.

I do not recommend using artificial fragrance oils
because they can contain several different chemicals that can be very harmful.

For hot process, mix the glycerine or castor oil with the orange peel or carrot
and swirl it into the batch after the soap has cooked and after you mix in the orange essential oil.

You can then put it in your mold.

For cold process, swirl this either in the mold or right before you pour it in.

These are not the full instructions for soap making, only a recipe.

To learn several methods of soap making, you can either consult the internet for information or check out

Happy soaping everyone!

More to explorer


  1. Great post, Rene. This year I did quite a bit of research on palm oil and the devastation the industry has created in Indonesia and southeast Asia – from deforestation to endangering the orangutans. I’ve pledged to give up palm oil in 2012.

  2. What’s the point of replacing palm oil with coconut oil? Both come from palm trees.

    I’m trying to find a “hard” oil that is both vegan and ecologically safe. I haven’t found one yet. Perhaps a “green” palm oil is my only option, but I am dubious about claims of sustainability.

  3. Palm oil is not the same as Coconut oil. These are 2 different trees. There are no social or ecological issues attached to coconut oil.

    Choosing “green”palm is like boycotting Disneyland but still going to Disneyworld.

    Who do you think grows these “green”palms? The money goes into the same pocket
    as the ungreen Palm.

    People seem to think just because it is grown in Columbia, it is different. Do people actually think the Coffee growers decided to start growing Palm?

  4. Glad to find this post. I just made my first palm-free batch a few weeks ago and I absolutely love it and will never use palm again! It’s a personal choice I made and I’m so glad I did!

  5. Definitely want to make palm-free soap, but not sure where to get candelilla wax. Can I substiture beeswax for this (we have honeybees and so lots of beeswax). Thank you for informing us about this! Many thanks.

  6. Using palm oil and palm kernel oil (both are made form the fruit of the same plant. Though are different oils) from Brazil is completely ok. The farms are in a area away from the forest and there are no orangutans anyways. Large communities live of the extraction of these and many other oils. Some are certified organic. Maybe checking if the product comes from Brazil is a good option.

  7. This would be fine if you were going to these palm oil plantations in Brazil and purchasing the oil yourself. What happens to the oil? It is sold to the same unethical companies that are buying and distributing the Palm oil that is destroying the rain forest.
    It’s like choosing diet cola over regular cola. The money is going into the same pockets that the regular cola is going into. Do you think these farmers woke up one day and decided to grow palm oil? Please dig a little deeper.

  8. My heart breaks to know that so many people and animals are suffering for vanity reasons. I will not use palm oil in my products anymore. I purchase ingredients and products that are phthalate, SLS, and paraben, and petroleum free. I’ll be adding palm free and YES it’s totally doable. It’s all chemistry. SOAPCALC will tell you the hardness, moisture level etc of Palm oil so I will keep mixing variations of hard oils and quick absorbing oils until I get the mixture right. I believe we all can make a difference. It’s what got me in this business. Thank you for this post!

  9. Well website is under major construction and a mess but so is this issue, I am kinda new to the Soap making business and I have only made a few batches of soap with Palm, I am going to look into this more and see what I can come up with because looking at that picture and what Rene said just broke my heart. I would rather not make soap if that was my only choice , I know its not ….so I will do my best to find substitutes. Thank You Rene for informing me of this horrible issue that is going on, to me its anything to make a buck. Well I would rather be poor then make a buck that way.


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