How Does The FDA Define Soap?

by Jenna Jones July 24, 2018

How Does The FDA Define Soap?

Imagine yourself walking up and down the soap aisles, navigating your way through the endless options of types, aromas, and brands. Every time you pick up what appears to be a bar of soap, the question of its identity as soap may not even come in to question. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it should. In fact, the FDA has rules and regulations in place that determine whether or not a product can even be called “soap” at all. So what is real soap after all?

What Is The Real Definition Of "Soap"?

According to the FDA a true soap is:

  1. Composed mainly of "alkali salts of fatty acids". In other words, combining vegetable oils or animal fats with sodium hydroxide (lye).
  2. Those alkali salts of fatty acids must be the only material that results in the product's cleaning action.

Edens Garden Natural Bar Soap is considered a true soap. It is made through cold-process saponification that combines an alkali (salt) with a fatty acid (like olive oil), and forms moisturizing glycerin. The mixture is left to cure for 4-6 weeks, allowing the lye to break down and the water to evaporate. True soap cleans via the fatty acid chains that are produced from this process. One end of the chain grabs onto dirt, while the other end is attracted to water and allows the soap to be washed away with all the grime in tow.

Back to the Soap Aisle

You are back in the soap aisle again. When you look closely at the labels of these seemingly simple bars, you may notice a complete absence of the word “soap” on the label. Instead, you may find variations of "cleansing bar", "facial bar", "body bar" "beauty bar", and "bath bar". This is a giveaway that the bar in your hand is not a soap, but a detergent. Detergents utilize stripping and degreasing action to clean your hands and body, rather than the gentle cleansing action formed from the saponification process of true soap.

Given the option between the two, we at Edens Garden went the traditional, natural route. Soap is soap, and we want to keep it that way. As a bonus, we also added essential oils to our soaps so you can clean your body while enjoying the aromatherapeutic benefits within.

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