Preamble to my question:

I was told by someone at Star-K that since soap is not food, it really doesn't even need a hechsher. For example, he told me that even though Brillo pads are not kosher, it doesn't matter, even if Brillo uses a beef tallow as the soap stablizer. From the FAQ page of brillo.com:

Q. Do Brillo Steel Wool Soap Pads contain animal products?
A. Yes, the soap in Brillo Steel Wool Soap Pads is made from natural beef tallow.

With that preamble, my question is: could I, l'chat'chilah, use my crock pot for a soap making project with my kids.

I would take leftover bars of soap and melt them down using the slow heat of the crock pot and then set them in molds to make new bars of soap.

(I haven't done anything yet. I'm too afraid in case the answer is no. I don't want to treif anything up.)

  • 1
    I'm uncertain if your assumption is correct, here. Soap, in itself, is, indeed non-food. However, In a conversation I had with a mashgiach a while ago, he said that any item that touches food does need to be kosher. This explains why dishwashing soap and aluminum foil requires a hechsher. (Some said plastic-ware and paper plates, as well.) I'll see if I can locate an article about this.
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 2:52
  • DanF, thanks for getting back. As I mentioned, someone on the Star-K consumer line told me that soap doesn't really need a hechsher. I was stunned. I had been asking him about Brillo pads and as mentioned in the post, Brillo Pad openly state on their site that they have beef tallow.
    – verbatim
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 2:56
  • 2
    Is this a CYOR question?
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 3:52
  • @DanF, I had to VTC, as it does seem as if he is asking for a practical p'sak Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 10:58
  • 1
    Thank you everyone for quotes and sources. Sigh, even though it seems there are some room to be meikel, there seems to be enough concern not to do it. I guess I will have to find another way to do this soap making project. Thank you again, everyone. PS: how could this question be off topic? I am trying to find out the practical halachic effects of putting probably not-kosher bar/bath soap into a cholent pot.
    – verbatim
    Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


This is from the OU regarding dishwashing soap.

Do dishwashing detergents require kosher supervision?

It is generally assumed that dishwashing detergents are not edible entities, and halachically they do not have a non-kosher status, even if they contain non-kosher ingredients, as is often the case. Nonetheless, some Poskim maintain that it has been the established minhag Yisroel (Jewish custom) to use kosher detergents on plates, pots and utensils that come in contact with food. An OU on a detergent insures the kosher status of that product. That said, if one used non-certified dishwashing detergent, Bidieved (after the fact), the kosher status of the utensils would not be compromised.

OTOH, in this COR video, the rabbi concurs that it is preferable to use kosher soap, however, COR's policy is that this is unnecessary, because, the concern of non-kosher iteme applies with reference to its taste, and since soap is non-food, there is no concern regarding any non-kosher ingredients.

FWIW, when I was young, if I spoke meanly, my mom and grandma would occasionally wash out my mouth with soap. Soap was commonly made from tallow years ago. I doubt, though, that they were feeding me non-kosher "food" (Soap tastes a lot worse than the foul comment I made about my mom's food :-)

In short, the common custom is to use kosher soap, but it's unclear about what happens if you intentionally don't follow the common custom.

I recommend CYOR, and either way, good luck with your sudsy experiment :-)

  • 1
    Based on the OU's analysis, you would be making that pot non-kosher ≠ That said, if one used non-certified dishwashing detergent, Bidieved (after the fact), the kosher status of the utensils would not be compromised.
    – user6591
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 12:33
  • I'm confused. How would that make the pot non-kosher based on the OU's analysis? Are you somehow arguing that the kosher status of your utensils depends on your intentions when you did a particular action? Your quote from the OU says l'chatchila you shouldn't use un-hechshered soap. How do you get from that to "if you use un-hechshered soap l'chatchila, your pots are no longer kosher"?
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 12:43
  • @Daniel What did you misunderstand, or have I missed? OU says that lechatchila, you should not use non-kosher soap. So, yes, it IS based on your intention, as I understand it. If you intentionally put non-kosher soap in your pot as OP suggests, you would be making your pot non-kosher. If, you put in the soap and later discovered that the soap was non-kosher, then the pot is still kosher. That's my understanding of what OU states. Did I miss it?
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 16:42
  • I don't see the OU saying anything about soap ever making something non-kosher. As @user6591 mentioned, shouldn't do it ≠ treifs up your pot. In fact, the OU doesn't even really go all the way to saying that you shouldn't do it l'chatchila (although they admittedly come pretty close to saying that)
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 16:43
  • @Daniel Ah! You are more analytical than I, here. I re-read it more carefully, and you are correct. They make a recommendation, but don't seem to take a stance either way, themselves. I will edit my answer.
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 16:47

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