It was only a matter of time before my love of Titanic merged with my new soaping hobby. The first class soap on the RMS Titanic was called Vinolia—Vinolia Otto Toilet Soap. The “otto” being for the type of rose, I presume, as the soap is said to have smelled of lemon and rose.
The ads say the soap “is perfect for sensitive skins and delicate complexions. Its rich, cleansing lather soothes and softens, and for regular Toiler use there is no soap more delightful.” It retailed for 35¢ a bar in 1912. You can still buy it today, but the formula has changed.
The term “toilet” soap referred to the fact that the soap was gentle enough for use on the face. Not in the oils used, but in the amount of lye being appropriate for the amount of oils so there was no leftover lye leftover in the soap to singe an unsuspecting user! In the days before digital scales and Soap Calculators, it was a lot easier to end up with a soap that would burn more than bubble.
Vinolia is now made with coconut oil and cheap petroleum based oils. Though petroleum jelly did exist back in 1912, I have a hard time believing it would have been used in fancy, expensive soap for the first class passengers on the nicest ship in the world.
Tallow and lard would have been common ingredients for soap, though, being readily available and very traditional. This PDF of Antique Soap Recipes mentions “cocoanut oil”, and though I’m not 100% certain, I’m going to assume they’re talking about coconut, not cocoa nut, as coconut oil is very useful in soap making. There’s also mention of castor oil (USA / Canada), olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada), palm oil, linseed (flax) oil, and a wide variety of essential oils. The only mentions of petroleum are reserved for things like dog soap and machine soap—the finer “toilet” soaps are all plant based.
So, I based my recipe on the description of the soap in the ads, my knowledge of what oils were in use at the time, and my moderate soaping experience. I settled on a recipe of olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada), coconut oil, lard (I’m out of beef tallow), castor oil (USA / Canada), and unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada). I have no evidence of unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada) being in use for soap or other body products at the time, but it makes a lovely bar of soap, and I feel like using it is in keeping with the spirit of a beautiful bar of soap. If you want to be extra authentic, replace it with more olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada).
I added some white kaolin clay (USA / Canada) and titanium dioxide to make the bar white (or whiter than it would have been), as it is in the illustrations. I used lemon essential oil, but I will confess I did use frangrance oil for the rose—15mL of Rose Otto essential oil is $272.40, and I would have needed around 25mL for this batch of soap (I made a 700g batch). Ouch!
Vinolia Otto Toilet Soap
40% olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
25% refined coconut oil (USA / Canada)
10% unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
5% castor oil (USA / Canada)
1 tbsp white kaolin clay (USA / Canada) per 500g oils
1 tbsp titanium dioxide (water soluble) per 500g oils
15g essential oil of lemon per 500g oils
15g fragrance oil of rose per 500g oils
Calculate to a 5% superfat (or lye discount)
Follow standard soap making procedures, adding the clay and titanium dioxide at trace. Be sure to blitz the clay and titanium dioxide together in a coffee grinder before adding for easier, smoother integration.
I’m finally getting my hands on some lye! I ordered it from Creations from Eden, which is in Edmonton. Hopefullly picking it up tomorrow. Ordered a soap thermometer from Voyager Soap and Candle in Vancouver. I really like that place. Reasonable prices and a good selection. I will probably go ahead and just use a candy thermometer in the mean time, well you never know, I’m getting it from Voyager via Canada Expedited Post. When I read your about me description you sound like me. Can’t pick a hobby. I sell bath and body on Etsy and recently started selling miniatures on Etsy (I can’t remember if I told you that!) I frequently go to the local art store to buy supplies for mini making and want to take and art class, recently I went to Beadworks to buy beads for mini making and that store was filled with so many pretty things I couldn’t resist asking the clerk if they gave classes! As if I have the time and the money for another hobby! And I love to travel. Have you heard of the Creative Every Day Challenge? I posted about it on my miniatures blog. I’ll leave that url under “website”
Cute soap idea! I think I’ll pin it!
Yay! Finally! Though I wouldn’t recommend using your candy thermometer… in my experience they usually start too high for soap making and you don’t want to cross-contaminate lye with things you want to eat.
I’ve never tried the Creative Every Day Challenge, but I think I’ve heard of it before… maybe. I could be imagining that. Anyhow, it sounds like a great idea! This blog is sort of my own personal Creative-At-Least-4-Times-A-Week challenge, haha! Keeps me doing the things I love so I remember to schedule them in around work, family, and social commitments.
I’ve stopped going to Michaels (so expensive! And I usually come home with a new project… oops. That’s also why I’m not allowed to go to Fabricland anymore lol. Unless it’s for notions. Those are ok, right?), but now the internet is just as bad! Pinterest is probably the worst for giving me new ideas for hobbies (and spending money lol).
Try your local hardware store for lye – I am in Ontario and get it at Home Hardware stores in a large container. Just a thought!
That’s where I often get mine! We don’t have one in Calgary anymore so I often pick up a jug when I’m out of town 🙂
Hi Marie: I made this soap and I thought it turned out perfect. The method I used for both this and the coconut milk soap was to let the lye and oil solutions reach room temp. before combining. My problem is … after about 40 hrs. I am still unable to get the soap out of the molds. Should I just keep waiting for a release or is it just a loss? I am waiting on my molds to make the Maple Syrup Soap. ??? I hope you have a solution for me as I have ruined two bars already by trying to release them. Boo Hoo.
Hey Betty! How odd that they’re still so soft; what water percentage did you use? In any case, try popping your soaps, mould and all, into the freezer for a while to firm up so you can remove them from the mould and leave them to age. It sounds like they make take a while to age (4+ weeks) if they’re still so soft, but I bet they’ll still turn out great 🙂
Thanks Marie for your suggestions re: popping them in the freezer. I will. They seem to be stuck just on the bottom of the plastic mold??? They firmed up quickly and to me don’t appear too soft. I will wait for awhile longer though for them to release. They look and smell fantastic and are pure white, Ooooo, thrilling. I am ecstatic about this recipe and the room temp. method of combining oil and lye solutions.
Oh good, I’m glad they aren’t too soft. I always use silicone moulds or a parchment lined wood mould, neither of which have sticking problems, so when I hear about unmoulding issues I always assume it’s because the soap is far too soft to be moved rather than actually stuck 😛 Hopefully the freezing will do the trick; the soap should shift size a bit as it freezes (water expanding and all), hopefully that slight shift will pop it free of the mould!
What an interesting blog post! What a great idea you had to research the soap of the time of the Titanic’s venture and pass on that bit of history. Love it, thanks, and the soap recipe will be lovely to try. How fun.
I’ve been planning this project for close to a year, I’m really glad I finally got around to trying it! I can’t wait to try the soap out, I just want to let it age for a few more weeks so I can get lots of use out of each bar 🙂 I think I might pull out the first bar for Titanic week!
I love to make my own homemade lye soap. And I love the looks of this soap. I don’t think I’ve seen any whiter soap. It looks beautiful. I don’t have any rose EO, but I do have some Lemon Verbena. But I think I’d like to use some Vanilla Cream FO in it. Or maybe some Cucumber Melon FO. Those are my favorites. And I like the Sandelwood-Vanilla, too.
Thank you so much for posting this. I am going to try it. I just bought some Coconut oil.
Great to have fellow soaper stop by, Deborah! I’m loving the classic, clean look of white soaps these days—it’s all in the water soluble titanium dioxide. I once tried to make a white bar by using lots of white/clear oils, but all that tallow/ cocoa butter/coconut oil gave me a rock hard bar! Much better to make a nicer bar with a bit of titanium dioxide, I’ve found 😉 And I highly recommend the rose/lemon combo! I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I absolutely love it now, it’s so soft and classic! Lemon and vanilla would also be really nice 🙂
I love making soap. It is creative. I usually use Vanilla Cream FO for the one I use. Lavender for my dear MIL (It is so relaxing). And I make a whipped body butter in the same scents. I try to keep quite a few different EOs and FOs on hand. I made my husband’s nephew some body butter for his hands. He is an RN and washes his hands all the time. Do you use a lot of tallow or lard in your soaps? It makes the best kind to me. I also run my soap recipe through one of the online soap calculators. I am trying to get away from all the petroleum products that are in commercial products.
I tend to use about 15–20% lard or tallow in my soaps. I find it’s the best for making the bar nice and hard (without resorting to icky palm oil!). I’m definitely with you on avoiding petroleum products, that’s a huge part of what got me into making all my own soaps and lotions in the first place.
That is why I am learning, too. We try to have a garden every year or two, and I can as much as possible. No preservatives in home canned foods either. The only thing you use is the food item, water or broth, and a little canning salt, and the salt is optional. I have learned to can meats, too. We know what we put on and in our garden and don’t have to worry about pesticides and such.
I bought a 50 lb box of tallow from my area soap supplier and still have quite a bit left. I just bought 3 containers of Coconut oil from the grocery store, too. They only had the 3 left. I like the coconut oil! For soap making and for cooking with. It is also good in some lotions, or you can use it as is.
Take care. I will be gone next week for about 2 weeks so I will see you then.
Wow! I’d love to have a garden one day. Up in Alberta we have a very short growing season, so it seems like by the time I remember I want a garden each year, the season has passed! Having a big, hairy dog that likes to dig holes through to Asia doesn’t help, either 😉 Someday!
50lb! Wow! Who is this supplier? I’d love to get my hands on that much tallow (or maybe half as much.. 50lb is A LOT!). I buy two different types of coconut oil—RBD for soap making (mucho cheap, smells like nothing—$23/5L) and Organic Virgin for all my lotions, bars, and body butters (more expensive but smells incredible—$17/L).
Enjoy your vacation & chat soon!
I use TylerStarville.com to get the tallow. I can’t remember how much I gave for it. TylerStarville is a local shop.
Did you know that you can do a container garden? Amazon has a book on it. But my SIL and her husband did one one year and they got a lot. Enough to eat all summer and to store some, too.
I have also dehydrated some vegetables, too. The key to that is to blanch them for 5 minutes before dehydrating. You can find directions on all of this on the internet. I love doing these things. To store dehydrated items, they need to be vacuum packed. And stored in a cool dry place.
Hmm, I don’t think I’ll be ordering 50lbs of tallow from Texas—the shipping and duty would make it very expensive (if it could even get over the border)! Yipes.
I’m thinking about doing a wall/window garden as Calgary is very sunny—even when it’s -40°, we’re still getting lots of sun! I think it would turn out really well. I’d load it up with herbs and micro greens. Yum!
I should really get a food dehydrator. I’ve made my own sundried tomatoes using a cracked 200°F oven before and they are wonderful! I store the bulk of them in the freezer, and then move a few of them to a jar with garlic and olive oil when I’m ready to eat them. Yum!
You won’t regret getting a dehydrator. Just keep an eye out for one, they are put on sale at times. I don’t know how I made it without mine. =) I made a bunch of jerky around Christmas, and still have some hidden. (That is the only way I can keep any in the house.) I also dehydrated some orange slices and some apple slices. I have them stored in an air tight container.
Mmm, I’m just loving the sound of some homemade dried fruit! And kale chips! A friend made me some in her dehydrator once, and they were incredible. Probably one of the most delicious ways to get your greens in. Omnomnom.
Zucchini chips are out of this world, too. And you can season them however you like. I made some last year, and they were gone quite soon. I lightly salted mine. You can also make potato chips from mashed potatoes, and of course regular ones, too. Also seasoned as you like. I am getting excited about gardening time.
I contacted Tylerstarville for tallow. I noticed it did not mention if the tallow was from 100% grass fed cows or not. I emailed and asked and much to my disappointment, they emailed me back and said, “we have no idea where our tallow comes from.” I really wanted to order from them because their prices are great but if they don’t know what’s in their tallow, I can’t assure my customers their products are healthy. 🙁
Hmm. Perhaps see if you can source a place that sells 100% grass fed beef, and then see if you can get their fat trimmings?
I’m curious. Why grass fed if you’re not going to eat it? Soap is a wash off product. While I render my own from suet I buy on sale I don’t care if it’s has fed or not.
Marie, this is an awesome post. I love how you brought the period history into your recipe. I’m sharing it on my FB page.
Did you know you can get “rose” scent naturally without the expense by using rose geranium e.o. It is a fantastic eo for skin, too, and also a useful healer and bug repellent. For more authentic rose, I make a tea with rose hips and use that for dissolving the lye instead of water. It does colour the soap, slightly. Then add the rose geranium oil and about 1/4 cup of rose petal infused olive oil.
There’s a post on my blog of how to render your own tallow for real authenticity. I’d recommend waiting though, till you are raising your own animals. Lard is a fine substitute — though softer than tallow.
Chris—Thanks for the tip about Rose Geranium EO! I just looked into it, and at $21/15mL I don’t see myself using it for soap anytime soon (maybe if I win the lotto, haha), but it looks like a great ingredient for lotions and body oils. I’ll add some to my ever-growing shopping cart right now… I have a problem, lol.
I’ve also got an entry on rendering tallow for soap making. I’ve got a friend who works as a butcher, and he keeps me supplied in what they usually throw out, so it’s free! Yay!
Great soap recipes, maybe I’ll give them a try. Only ever worked with glycerin based ones.
FYI- Titanic II maiden voyage in 2016. Are you going?
You definitely should! Once you start making your own soap from scratch you’ll have a lot of fun playing with different oils and butters.
I’ve already started up a savings account for the Titanic II, though I have my doubts that any “normal” people will actually be able to afford it—I’ve heard people are offering to pay a million dollars to be on the maiden voyage! Sadly, that definitely rules me out 🙁
It took me years to get up the courage to even attempt to make soap with Lye. Now looking back, I wonder why I was so scared to try it. You just need to be cautious, and alert. I love it. I also love using it. I make my own bath products. I can’t go back to the store bought junk. It dries out my skin bad. I love the way my homemade bath products make my skin feel.
It’s funny how scary lye is before you use it, eh? I remember being absolutely paranoid with my first batch of soap, terrified that I’d spilled some lye somewhere and was going to get a terrible chemical burn or poison myself. Now that I’m over that I’m far more relaxed about it, and I would definitely never go back to store bought! I also laugh when I go to local shops & see homemade soap selling for $8 a bar.
Oh yes! I haven’t seen it that high, yet, but $4 – $6 is what I have seen it for around here. If I use rendered fat, it is so much less expensive, but I haven’t done that yet. I am lucky in that there is a Soap and Candle Supply store close to where I live. In fact we go right by it every time we to to Tyler, TX. That is where our doctor is and where we go to buy all kinds of things that our small town doesn’t carry.
I’ve never really seen $8 outside of tourist towns like Fernie, or craft markets, but I did see some $6 bars in a health food store in Canmore a few weeks ago. It wasn’t even that great of a bar, from what I could tell! It’s not like it was loaded up with expensive oils or essential oils, though.
I need to call up my butcher and get myself another load of scraps for rendering! Thanks for reminding me 😉
I think I just may have to do that at the market at our grocery store. If not there there is a Meat Packing shop in the next town. I would love to find out now to render my own fat to make soap.
The $6 bars of homemade soap were not even scented. Just homemade soap. I like to sent mine. After a while if they aren’t scented, some of mine turn rancid. Yuck!
Oh, and Marie, have you tried to use the soap on a rag to clean up oil or grease? It is awesome!
Rendering your own tallow is super easy—I even wrote a blog entry on it! It’s even easier if it’s fairly chilly where you live so you can just chill it out on your porch 😛
I’ve never had any soap go rancid on me—I’ve got bars that are over 18 months that old that are nothing more than really, really hard. What superfat percentage do you usually use?
Is “soap on a rag” some sort of special thing, or just putting soap on a rag? I’ve definitely used soap and rags to clean before, but now I’m curious as to if there’s a better/easier way to do it 😛
How was your trip?
I just use the soap on a rag like I was going to bathe with it for cleaning. I never super fat over 5%. I’m not sure why this soap smells “off”‘ but it does. It is about 3 years old though.
I’m going to check out how to render fat. I think I may have a how to in one of my soap books.
Hmm, how odd—I also use a 5% superfat. Perhaps it’s your warmer climate? My soap-storing room usually hovers around 12–15°C, which is pretty chilly.
That must be it. It is rater warm here in Texas
I’m jealous! We had a pretty nice spring day here… it was -1°C. Woo!
Don’t be jealous. It will get warm where you are, eventually. =) We did get snow on Christmas day. But our snow never lasts long and we don’t get it every year.
I am a master and old time soap maker and love re creating old fashioned soaps.
My home made “Vinolia” soap consisted of my own specialized recipe that was passed down to me from my Great, Great Grandmother for olive oil castile.
I added extra T Dioxide and a double ( secret mix ) of white kosher kaolin clay along with another whitening agent. I had a boutique last year and still have back orders for my “Titanic” soap in which I might add, that I made my own labels for that picture Jack and Rose on the Titanic in the “flying”scene along with old fashioned brown paper wrapping, with picture of the Titanic and first class state rooms on the narrower sides of my packaging.
Wish you had some way for me to upload the pics of my boutique and soap. It was a hit my town will not forget for years to come.
I’m so thrilled to hear I’m not the only one blending my love of soap and the Titanic 🙂 Yours sounds just wonderful! Did you use real rose essential oil for yours? I’d love to see the photos—you can feel free to e-mail them to me, my address is on the Contact Me page!
I can’t wait to give this recipe a try (as soon as I get the ingredients). I love the Titanic and love that you did this.
Thanks! I’ve been wanting to make this soap for at least a year, but I just had to get to the point where I knew enough about soap that I could re-create it faithfully(ish).
Titanic Originals Soap First Class check it out, ladies !
Hi! You mentioned that you used a fragrance oil in this recipe. I’m new to this stuff so I was wondering if the fragrance oil is the stuff that you use in scented oil burners and is found in stores with the incense or is it something else?
Hi Ashley! So, with soaps, we tend to scent them with either essential oils (which are natural scents derived from botanical things like flowers, spices, and plant bits) or fragrance oils (artificial scents made from chemicals). Essential oils are more expensive and don’t last as long, but are all natural and are better for those who are sensitive to scents. Fragrance oils are very inexpensive and the scent lasts for ages, making them a good choice for things that don’t make essential oils (berries, watermelons, “love”, etc.) or for essential oils that are crazy expensive (rose, in this case). These oils aren’t really oils in the sense of something like olive or coconut oil in that they don’t contain lipids, but they are oil soluble.
So, with that as a preface… I assume the oils you are mentioning likely contain fragrance oils of some kind or another, but it is unlikely that they are 100% fragrance oil. If they’re for burning, there is probably some mineral oil or something else in there for fuel in addition to the scent. Also, since fragrance oils are so strong in the scent department, they would be very overpowering if burnt in their pure form (in my experience at least—I once washed a container that contained fragrance oil in my dishwasher and all my dishes tasted like that fragrance oil for weeks). This is hypothesis, though—I don’t use these products, and since they aren’t body products they aren’t required to list ingredients, so I can’t be sure.
It is also worth noting that not all fragrance oils are suitable for cold process soap making as they can cause a batch to seize. So, when you’re buying fragrance oils for the purpose of making soap, always read the description and reviews and take note of anybody mentioning seized batches of soap.
Hope that helps! Feel free to ask away if you have any other questions 🙂
Thanks! From your description it sounds like the oils used in the warmers are different than fragrance oils. That helps me out a lot. 🙂 I have another question, totally unrelated to fragrance though. In keeping with the mindset of staying away from harsh commercial stuff & making my own products from natural stuff, my question is this; Would your recipes work just as well with homemade lye as the store bought lye?
No worries 🙂 As for your lye question… well, yes, it should work exactly the same, assuming you manage to get your homemade lye to be exactly the same as the 100% pure stuff you buy from the store. Which leads me to wonder why you want to make it yourself—you said you want to stay away from harsh chemicals and make your products from natural stuff. Homemade lye needs to be exactly as harsh as storebought stuff, or it won’t work. And lye is inorganic, derived from ashes, and it doesn’t really get more (or less) natural than that. It’s like salt, basically. If you just want to do it for the sake of doing it yourself I totally get it, lol, but I would recommend starting with storebought stuff so you know how it should work first. That way you can also compare the pH’s of a homemade vs. storebought solution and confirm your homemade stuff is chemically identical 🙂
Thanks! I’ve never used store bought lye for anything but figured it probably had other lab created stuff that I can’t even pronounce, much less know what it’s for, in it like pretty much everything else I you can buy. lol. If it’s the same pretty much though as what you’d make at home I’ll probably just buy it then.
No worries 🙂 The nice thing about lye is that if they say it’s pure lye/sodium hydroxide, the only thing it can be is NaOH, just like salt can only be NaCL. At least we can count on a few things 😛
I read and have made some of the essential oils. They recommend to use oil and what ever fragrance you want. Put the Olive oil get it pan get it only warm put your flower petals in it. Make sure all of the petal are soak with the oil. Put it in a dark container for 24 to 48 hrs. After 48 hours drain the olive oil and the petals and discard the petal. This is called fragrance essential oils. Keep repeating the steps till you get your strength of the fragrance you want. You can use this essential oils for soaps or candle making. Give me feed back thank you. Hope this helps.
I must admit I have my doubts about this method producing an oil fragrant enough to withstand saponification, but I’d be interested to hear your results if you do try it. I use this method to produce infused herbal oils (essential oils are produced through distillation, not infusion, so the result of this process is definitely not an essential oil) for balms and salves and the like.
So I tried this with chamomile, because the EO is pricey and I can grow the flowers myself. Since it was already summer when I started, I bought dried chamomile flowers from a reputable supplier of herbs. They smelled great! I infused them over low heat into both the olive and coconut oils in my recipe. I also used chamomile tea (strong) as my lye water.
I was SHOCKED at how well the chamomile tea made it through dissolving the lye (NaOH, to be clear). After shaping, my entire first floor smelled like chamomile. The first week of cure was very promising. But it faded very quickly. They’ve had about three weeks, and I have to really sniff at them to find the scent. I’m excited to use it after a few more weeks to see if the scent is there under the surface. I’ll likely add a good amount of clay (thank you for the tip) to see if it’ll anchor it next time.
What a fascinating experiment! You may find the scent comes out again when the bars are used with hot water—that’s revived many the muted scent blend for me 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your experience!
I am a first time soap er and just get a book of recipes for now. You do not say how much lye to put in,if I use the lye calculator it ask for the ponds of the finished soap.
Please help. I love this ideal as I as love the Titanic.
Hi Pam—It sounds like you’re super close! You just need to decide how much soap you want to make, and put that number into the soap calculator, and you’re set. That is all up to you. I don’t really recommend doing batches less than 1lb/500g 🙂 Have fun!
This is the most awesome soap post I’ve come across! I’ve always been a huge Titanic buff, and with my new soap making hobby coming to fruition, I am really fascinated by your research! May have to try some of this for myself!
Thanks, Katie! I love merging my love of Titanic with my hobbies like sewing & soaping 😀 Have you seen my Titanic costumes?
I noticed you didnt use lye in this recipe
I definitely did, but I didn’t mention it—a bit of assuming there, sorry. You cannot make soap without lye, and since I provide all my soap recipes in percents, I leave it up to the reader to run the recipes through a soap calculator and get all their final amounts, including amounts of lye and water 🙂
I´m a soaper from Germany and when I red this recipe I immediately started to Soap your Titanic Soap – this was on Sunday – since then I am desperately searching for an adress to order one bar of this vinolia-soap without paying 50 $ for the shipment but there´s no way 🙁 I would like to read the ingridients to see which oils they are using now, I now it is not the same as it was… so do you have an idea of a shop in the UK which is selling this Soap to Germany? I´m sorry for my bad English.
I like your blog very much and your diversity motivates me so much! thank you for that and kind regards from Germany xxx
Hi Anna! I’m not entirely certain what you’re asking 🙁 I don’t sell anything I make, and I’ve never tried to buy a bar of what is currently called “Vinolia” soap, though I have seen it online (usually on eBay, shipping out of the UK). Here’s one. You should try to make your own, though, it’s fun and mucho cheaper! Better ingredients, too 🙂
You are one of my best resources to feed this crazy addiction of “soap making”! I tried accessing the pdf but is not working. Could you tell us if this available somewhere else?
I can’t wait to make this soap! Thank you for your SUPER GENEROUS spirit!!
Thanks for the heads up on that broken link, Leslie—I managed to track down an old copy and upload it here so the link won’t break again 🙂
Thanks so much for reading!
Just a thought, while we know petroleum products are awful now, they were ‘state of the art’ back in 1912. They probably considered them high quality ingredients!
I’m sure you’re right, Ann!
Thank you for the PDF! Sounds silly but I like to print stuff like that out and add it to my soap book – 3 ring binder actually. Makes it even more fun to read.
No worries 🙂 Enjoy it!
I am new. I have not made any of the soap however am going to start. I have to get some recipes together. Can you explain PDF. Any information you can give me I would really appreciate. I have never made any but I have always wanted to. I love the home made soap.s Thank You.
Hi Sissy—If you’re looking into making your own soap I’d recommend reading this, this, and this 🙂
This sounds great! However, what would I use instead of lard? The people I give my soaps to prefer to stay away from animal derived fats and palm oils. Could you help me with a modified version of this soap that doesnt contain lard/tallow/palm?
Hi Michelle! Here’s my post on why I use lard and some non-palm alternatives 🙂
You could sub kokum for the lard, makes a slightly harder bar – but I love lard and would use it in a second 🙂
Kokum and cocoa butter are both good options, but pricey!
Hello, I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for this lovely recipe. I made it about a week ago and absolutely love it so far. The fragrance combination is amazing. I really enjoy your blog very much. Thanks for all of your contributions to the DIY community. 🙂
Hi Jen! Thanks so much, I’m so glad you’re loving this bar 🙂
The lemon and rose sounds like a lovely combination. I’ll have to try that. Nice recipe too. I like it. I can’t imagine any soap using petroleum jelly as it isn’t a fat and not saponifiable. Of course that may be why they would use it to cut the harshness of the soap. It would be a free floating substance along with the glycerin. Who knows. Glad for reliable lye and soap calculators in todays world.
Thanks, Annette! And yes, so glad I don’t have to do any SAP calculations by hand 🙂
Eden Botanicals in Petaluma, CA, has rose otto (Turkey) for $152. per 1/2 oz. They write this about amounts: “Rose Otto is more potent than rose absolutes, so you can use a smaller amount to achieve the same level of odor intensity. According to Steffen Arctander, even trace amounts (fractions of one percent) of Rose Otto in many types of perfume blends can do wonders. In fact, we suggest that care must be taken not to use too much, as it can overpower a formula. Happily, Rose Otto combines well with many other essential oils and is useful for “rounding off” and adding “lift” to blends.” Maybe you could use less?? We are beginners, but making “Vinolia” soap will be high on our list–like you, we’re big Titanic fans.
Hi Dee! If you’d like to conduct this rather expensive experiment and report back I’d love to hear your results 🙂
I am also just starting to make home made soap 🙂 I was wondering if I can get an e-mail or if somebody here can help me. I would like to make a soap with these ingredients but I don’t know how much of each should I put in.
-Essential oil (Citrus and rose)
Thank you so so much for the help…. 🙂
Hello! This is a rather odd list of ingredients for making soap 😛 If you are just getting started I would definitely drop the borax and boric acid, you don’t need them at all. I’d also eliminate beeswax as it is quite tricky to work with and can spoil a batch of soap in an instant. I’d probably just stick to olive oil, coconut oil, and tallow to be honest. You will likely just waste your pricey rose water as I highly doubt the scent will carry through to the final product. I would recommend adding castor oil to your list as it does wonderful things for lather and really cannot be replaced with any other oil. With those four ingredients you can basically just follow this recipe, using more olive oil for the shea butter 🙂
So after reading a TON about soap making (& ordering way too much of the wrong stuff–wish I’d found your short ingredients list first), I finally made my first soap. THIS one. I made a 900 gram batch for a 3-pound mold, and added 1 tsp. sodium lactate because I was concerned about getting a hard enough bar (in the Mediterranean climate and 60% average humidity of Surf City USA).
I agreed with your assessment that Eden’s Damascene Rose Otto was hella expensive for soap and found a lovely rose essential oil blend at $20 for 2 ounces at organic creations.com. I loved it in the bottle, after rejecting their rose absolute, which smelled too sharp & very nearly metallic. And I used a Sicilian lemon EO which by sheer dumb luck seems wonderfully multilayered.
Because I followed your directions about lining the mold with freezer paper shiny side up, there was no problem unmolding them.
I did a CPOP (again, hoping to conquer our marine climate), and that worked great, too. After a week curing in our dining room, the entire first floor smells divine. They do need awhile, though. I can still make an indentation with my thumb.
Even just washing the ‘cured’ soap out of the pot, my hands felt softer. This soap is going to be amazing, thanks to you!
I already feel like that tall, slim duchess…
Wonderful! It sounds like your bars are just divine 😀 Enjoy them!
For daily showering or bathing I have found out that it is better to not use soap, just use water as water will kill bacteria by breaking the bubble a bacteria lives in therefor killing the bacteria. Soap will not do this, in fact soap can harbor bacteria as it thrives on the fat in soap. To prove this smell your wash cloth after you have used it for a few days with soap and then try it out again with another clean wash cloth when you haven’t used soap–just using the wash cloth to remove excess water from your skin before you finally use the towel. Summary, it stinks with the soap and doesn’t stink without the soap.
I served in Vietnam for two years and discovered the Vietnamese prefer to not use soap, just water when bathing and they don’t have body odor.
Richard: I would encourage you to read this study, and in particular review this graph comparing washing hands with water vs. with soap and water. Controlled, scientific studies show washing with soap and water to be consistently far more effective than simply washing with water.
Additionally, if there is so much fat in your soap that it can harbor bacteria, you are doing something wrong in your soap making (far too high of a superfat). Bacteria requires water to thrive, so as long as your bar or soap is able to dry thoroughly, bacterial growth is not a large problem. Soap also has a high pH that prevents bacterial growth. And, at any rate, any bacteria is effectively washed away when the soap is used.
I also mix FO’s with EO’s. What rose FO do you use? I have yet to find one that smells like a true rose. So would love to know which one you use.
I love the post and I too love the Titanic information. Just watched a documentary on the finding of the ship with the underwater small subs.
I’ve been using this one from NDA, it’s quite rose-y, but definitely much stronger than the real thing 🙂
You inspire me! So young and so dedicated!
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
Keep giving to the universe!
I found some REAL Vinolia Soap that was found in someone’s attic that came from the same time period that the Titanic sank. I bought two bars of it, and when I received it, the bars were very nice smelling. They had aged for over a hundred years of course ! Well what happened then is the soaps were wrapped in very nice elaborate blue paper that had a seal on the back. I bought two bars and decided to open one and try it. Upon opening it, it was like finding buried treasure ! Just think ! Real REAL Vinolia Otto Soap -the ORIGINAL stuff ! After I carefully took off the blue wrapping paper, the small oval bar was wrapped in wax paper that had faded over the years, and I could really tell it was VERY old. The soap was a perfect oval shape, and had Vinolia stamped on it with the Queen’s stamp on the front and back. It was a pure olive oil castile bar- no white clay in it whatsoever ! The color of the soap was a very very light green ! So ! It was obviously pure olive oil soap that did not have ANY clay added to it ! I am not sure where you got that real Vinolia soap had white clay added to it, but the real Vinolia does not have white clay in it at all. I washed my hands with it and experienced a truly luxurious washing of my hands with a small bar of soap that had cured for over 100 years. It was nothing short of AMAZING. The soap lathered LOTS with white creamy lather, a truly excellent quality made soap ! I thought everyone out here posting would like to know what the REAL Vinolia Otto soap is really like. Thanks for reading my post. Also I have an Etsy site that you all may enjoy visiting that honors the “Titanic Soap” and mine was on the Internet first. I have noticed that since my Etsy site was up, this and many other sites are now jumping on the band wagon so to speak all wanting to make “Titanic Soap” ! It is all very nostalgic and fun, isn’t it?
Enchantress Janhett T. Windglows
OOh, lucky you! What a great find 🙂
I’m not sure where you got that I thought the original has clay in it—the majority of the pre-amble to the recipe is about how I made educated guesses about what might have been in the bar from of-era recipes and the illustrations of the soap in adverts. The clay was to make it white (in combination with the TD) as shown in the advert. It sounds like their illustrator might have been a touch colour blind if the original was actually green, haha.
I’ve been running a Titanic fan site since 2002, so my love of all things Titanic is pretty well steeped 🙂
Wow the Enchantress Jan is a passive aggressive bitch!
Here is her reciepe for Vinolia Otto soap, in ounces instead of percentages in case anyone wants to try it. It is very easy to make ! I always add more clay to mine because I like it much creamier.
Vinolia Otto Toilet Soap
13.5 ounces of olive oil
8.4 ounces of coconut oil
6.7 ounces of lard
3.3 ounces of shea butter
1.69 ounces of castor oil
1 tbsp kaolin clay per 17.63 ounces of oils
1 tbsp titanium dioxide (water soluble) per 17.63 ounces of oils
half an ounce of essential oil of lemon per 17.63 oz. of oils
half an ounce of fragrance oil of rose per 17.63 oz. of oils
Calculate to a 50 mg. or superfat (or lye discount)
Follow standard soap making procedures, adding the clay and titanium dioxide at trace. Be sure to blitz the clay and titanium dioxide together in a coffee grinder before adding for easier, smoother integration.
How much Lye in oz’s?
You’ll need to run the recipe through a lye calculator to get that number. It’s best practice to always calculate lye for yourself rather than blindly follow recipes so you can always be sure your final product is safe/fully saponified 🙂
Hi, I love your site, so helpfull, thank you so much for your hard work:)
I wanted to chime in here and let you know that when you said this in your post – and I quote;
“This PDF of Antique Soap Recipes mentions “cocoanut oil”, and though I’m not 100% certain, I’m going to assume they’re talking about coconut, not cocoa nut, as coconut oil is very useful in soap making. ”
-it turns out they do indeed mean the real cocoa-nut.
I have downloaded and read the recipes, and wanted to let you know
that in this recipe collection, it is mentioned -cocoa nut oil- AND -coconut oil- as in them being two separate oils. So they actually used both for soaping.
Thought that was really cool, and wanted you to know since cocoa butter/oil is great in soaps, and is an old soaping method from the days of yore
Wish you happy soaping! 🙂
PS! Also I really applaude you for the not throwing away animal fats and use them in soap instead, even though you don`t eat meat yourself, love that!
Very cool, thanks for going to the effort & sharing, Olivia! 🙂
You are so welcome! 🙂
Do you let this soap go through gel phase or not?
I believe I achieved a partial gel through the centre of the loaf, but I wasn’t particularly fussed about it (I rarely am, haha).
I was fascinated to see the interest in Vinolia Soaps. My grandfather Thomas Eggleston Burrows invented the first scented soap which he called Vinolia. He was a doctor but never practised medecine; preferring pharmacy and chemistry. He became very wealthy by the production and sale of Vinolia. I have recently been sorting my elderly Aunt’s posessions and came across the original recipe for Vinolia soap written in my grandfather’s handwriting. It is difficult to read but I will send a photocopy if you email me
Hi William! This is so exciting, thank you so much for finding me 🙂 I have tried to email you twice but I keep getting a bounce back :/ Could you email me? My address is me [at] humblebeeandme.com 🙂
This is fascinating, I hope William will give you permission to share it with us.
I hope your followers will get to see the photo of the recipe too. I would love to see how they made it back then.
Me too! Here’s hoping I hear back! 😀
Dear Mr Burrows,
I can’t believe I’m reading your post but I am David Hartridge and my Great Grandfather, James Hills-Hartridge formed the Company Blondeau & Cie in 1885 with your Grandfather. My GGF was an industrial chemist and he provided the chemical formulae. It was my GGF who had a friend, William Lever, and in 1906 his Company, Lever Brothers, as it was then because it is now Unilever, took over the Company and moved manufacturing to Port Sunlight. I have been to the archives there and have carried out much research on the subject. Should you read this I would be pleased to talk further with you. I hope to hear from you….!
Wow—what an amazing connection! I’ve forwarded your contact information on William 🙂
Have you received my email, Marie, with photos? David
I did—watch for a reply in the next few days 🙂
Marie, have you heard from anyone who has been able to decipher the recipe from the pictures you posted of the original recipe? I can only make out a few words. If you receive the deciphered recipe would you please post it. Love this thread!
Hey Nancy! I updated the post about a month ago with some translations from readers, scroll up 🙂
I might have a recipient you haven’t seen! David
Oooh, how exciting! I’d love to see it if you’d like to share 🙂
I DON’T KNOW HOW TO ATTACH FILES TO THIS SITE.
You can’t attach files here, but you can to the Facebook page or just email me (which I know you did, but for future reference 😉 ).
It’s a nice recipe!
Why so much essential and fragrant oil? I usually put 40g of EOs for 1kg of base oils and here it would be 60g. Does it supposed to be very fragrant? Or is it because of a fragrant oil used?
The rule of thumb for soap is 30g for 500g oils—sounds like you’re doing about half of what most people do 🙂
I made Vinolia yesterday and I love it. Is the recipe above the one that William Burrows sent you, handwritten by his grandfather? If not, were there any significant differences?
Thank you, and I enjoy your blog and emails.
The recipe William sent didn’t end up being a soap recipe at all once my readers deciphered it—go check out the comments section for those developments 🙂 Enjoy the soap!
Hi Marie! I just finished my Vinolia inspired bar soap. I did a lot of research and your’s came in very handy. I decided not to make one exactly like it because I don’t use tallow, but my variation uses goat milk. I just wanted to thank you for your inspiration and sound advice.
How fun! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Hello, thank you for the great article and the recipe! I was wondering if I can just buy lard at the grocery store for soap making? I order some oils online but the more I can buy locally the better.
You definitely can! I do it all the time 🙂 Just make sure it’s true lard and not fake lard—not that you can’t use veg shortening in your soap if you want, but the SAP values will be different so you’ll want to be sure you’re calculating properly.
Just wanted to share this. My fellow soap making friend made the Vinolio soap two years ago. She recently came across a bar she had saved. It was great then but it is divine now! The lather is so light & fluffy and feels so nice! We both said we should make some more and put it away. 🙂
YAY! I love how soap continues to improve and transform as it ages, it’s like cheese (or wine!) 🙂
I look at the information that was giving me for this recipe and this is what i got from the information.
20% coconut oil
10% cocoa butter ( cacao butter)
5% castor oil
I would love this soap but I’m vegan. Is there a way for you to produce a batch without lard?
I discuss alternatives in this post 🙂 Happy making!