FAQ Regarding Soap Additives

FAQ Regarding Soap Additives

Hello everyone, thought I would put together a little something as I get asked these questions a lot and I will use this blog post as a point of reference in future. They are regarding certain ratio's of additives and will list them here


Ratio's are based on Percentage of Total Oil weight in your soap recipe


 Sugar - Lather & Conditioning Booster

Max 3%. Dissolve in water before adding the lye

Salt - Hardness Max 3%. Dissolve in Water before adding the lye. I find 2% adequate when not using with Sodium Lactate. 
Sodium Lactate - Hardness, lather & conditioning booster + Easier unmoulding Max 5%. Start with 1-2% first. I find 2% is the sweet spot if not using with salt. Adding more may result in a crumbly bar. Add to your cooled lye water below 50C / 122F
Salt + Sodium Lactate (My go-to Combo) Adding 1.2% of each is the sweet spot if using both
Clays Max 3%. If you're using one clay color, can add either before adding the lye, mix in well with oils. You can also add after emulsion or light trace and whisk them in, then give them a good wiz with the stick blender. Multiple colours you split the emulsified batch and colour the same way. Clays also add conditioning benefits and a smooth, slip and glide feel when using your bar
Fragrance Oils Max 5%. Always check usage limits with your supplier for soap / wash off products, every fragrance oil has a different usage rate
Essential Oils Max 5%. Always check dermal limits and dermal maximums with essential oils. That includes using multiple essential oils in a blend
Natural Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Antioxidant 0.5-2%. I add 0.7% to my essential oil blend and add after emulsion or thin trace. If your recipe is fragrance free add at light trace. Vitamin E oil is not the same as Mixed Tocopherols 50-100%. It will not function as an antioxidant in soap and extend shelf life or minimise DOS. This oil soluble antioxidant is best suited for hair, face and body soaps
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) Antioxidant

A strong water soluble anti-oxidant like Natural Vitamin E. Extends shelf life of your bar, slows down rancidity and minimises DOS. Add 0.25% to thin trace and work quickly as it can speed things up a little. Best suited in bar & liquid soaps designed for cleaning as it is water soluble and won't add to Superfat percentage

Citric Acid - Prevents soap scum & minimises DOS

Acts as a chelating agent to reduce or eliminate soap scum. Dissolve into your distilled water before adding the Lye. Works for both sodium and potassium hydroxide. Be sure to check your lye calculator as to how much to add and the extra lye needed as the citric acid will consume some of the lye to create sodium Citrate


It is also believed adding citric acid acts as an antioxidant, reduces DOS and extends the life of your soaps


Easy to use percentage calculator - https://percentagecalculator.net


My go to Lye calculator as you can adjust Lye purity, and displays easy to read information especially with Citric Acid ratio's - https://www.lyecalc.com 


Some soapy tech tutorial videos on my YouTube Channel that you might find useful, head on over to https://www.youtube.com/c/dawnorganics?sub_confirmation=1 to view the playlist


Be sure as with any additives, there are no funky ingredients. Avoid anti-caking agents in your salt. I hope you find the information useful. Feel free to comment on any additives below that might be useful for others 🙏

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Hi George,
I would like to thank you for your incredible website and you tube channel.
I found you through Elly’s Everyday Soaping – and the two of you have been so encouraging and helpful.
I live in South Africa, and find myself obsessed with soap-making – I’ve only just started and it’s such fun; I can see this going somewhere but I’m sure how yet. Thank you for your informative videos, they give me courage. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and have quite a few batches that will need to go into the crock pot, but making soap is so creative and satisfying that I really don’t mind if the batches flop because I’m learning so much. I can’t seem to stop making soap!
Anyway, thanks again and I appreciate you.
Kind regards, Jo

Joanne Colquhoun

Thank you so much for sharing clear cut, precise information that other soapers keep to themselves. You have a kind caring soul!


Ditto on the first remark. This is so helpful and informative, George. I hear you repeat a lot of good advice, do’s and dont’s, herding us along on your many soapmaking adventures. Hope to someday dance like you and Elly. Thank you for taking your time share, George.

Kathy a

Thanks a ton! This is valuable information. Thank you so much for sharing.

Seema yogesh pawar

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