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How To Scent Your Cooking Oil Before Making Handmade Soap

Updated on December 29, 2012

Every house disposes of loads of waste cooking oil by throwing it in the drain. The amounts are enough to generate environment pollution at a significant degree, and that is why there are certain places where used cooking oil can be given for a recycling purpose. Typical examples of how waste cooking oil can be re-used is through conversion to bio-diesel or on soap making. The former is not easy to do at home; the latter can be achieved through a relatively easy process in a way which can produce real handmade soap for all your cleaning purposes. You can find the basic soap making recipe and instructions here.

Assuming you are knowledgeable of the process, you have collected some used cooking oil and want to move on with your own made soaps, it is advised that you find a way to scent the oil prior to using it.
In general, the cold process method for soap making does not "carry" the oil odors onto the final result (the soap itself). That is because the lye used (NaOH) saponifies the oil and destroys most of the pre-existing smells. However, I would personally feel safer and more sure on the soap I am making, when I use some way to scent the oil and get rid of foul odors.
I will mention some scenting techniques which can work like a charm. The best thing about these techniques is that you can feel more satisfied with your work and you will have some slight scent passing on to the soap.

Rosemary is a herb which can be used to scent your used cooking oil.
Rosemary is a herb which can be used to scent your used cooking oil.

Removing The Food Particles

To start with scenting your cooking oils, you first need to make sure the oils are clean and without any food particles. Those particles tend to accumulate as sediment at the bottom of your container, and in general it is advised that you do not even try to strain the last drips of your oil, because all that debris will not be easy to strain.
In short; what you need to do to be sure your oil is as clean as possible are the following steps:

- Let the oil cool. Do not rush without reason and use your oil at once after frying. It is dangerous.
- Strain the oil with specialized oil strainer, in which you have added some very thin cheesecloth; if you do not have access to it, then use a thin cloth.
- Remove any particles which gather on the strainer and cloth often, to allow for better straining of the oil.
- Place the clean, strained oil in a clean container.
- If the oil seems to still carry food particles, strain again with even thinner cloth. If the particles are barely visible, then you do not need to bother more with it.

Rose petals or other flower petals can be used as another method of scenting your oils before soap making.
Rose petals or other flower petals can be used as another method of scenting your oils before soap making.

Scenting The Oils

By this time you will have a container with cooking oil with no food leftovers in it.
Thing is, your oil at the moment probably doesn't smell very good, especially if it was used many times or if it had been used on fish etc. That is why we will go through a scenting process now.

Various items from the nature or your garden can be used to scent your oil. Some examples are the following ones:

- Herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, spearmint. Prefer to use fresh herbs, not the dried ones that are commonly used in cooking. Use large "twigs" of the herb, which you will place in a jar or glass bottle. Add the clean, strained oil in the bottle.
- Flower petals, for example carnation, rose or others; they will remove odors from the oil and will add a "soft" flower scent on it.
- Chamomile, tea
- Cinnamon sticks, vanilla sticks or such. They will manage to eradicate any pre-existing scent form the oil and offer a subtle scent of their own.
- Slices of fruit or zest; ideal choices are tangerine and other citrus-based fruit (lemon, orange etc). Better not to choose a juicy fruit, because its liquids will affect the oil and change its weight.

All scenting methods are to be followed with a similar way. The petals or herbs should be placed in a large, preferably tall and glass jar. The oil will then be poured in the jar and should cover all, but there should be some space left (do not overfill the jar/bottle). Occasionally you might want to shake the bottle so that the oil moves around the herbs.
Additionally, in order to manage a complete eradication of the odors, you would need at least a couple of days of scenting. Do not rush this process, but prepare beforehand; the more the oil stays in the glass jar, the better it will smell.

You can check how the scenting process goes by smelling the oil occasionally. Citrus zest will always give a strong scent of their own and the difference can be felt at once.
When you are satisfied with the final result, you are ready to move into the soap making process.

How To Make Handmade Soap Using Cooking Oils Or Fats


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