The New Household Product: Cleaning Up With Restaurant Grease

Photo: Hannah Whitaker/Courtesy of New York Magazine

It’s about the least likely source for luxury hand soap one could imagine: restaurant grease bins. In 2004, Marshall Dostal, an ex–New Yorker who now lives in Pasadena, California, decided that he wanted to use biodiesel in his car. So twice a month, he’d stop by a restaurant called La Grande Orange, pick up its waste grease, and drive it home to his garage, where he’d combine it with potassium hydroxide and methanol, extract the glycerin, and convert the resulting slurry into biofuel for his 1984 Mercedes 300D. Then came the aha moment: He could take the leftover glycerin and use it to make soap.

Dostal’s wife, Megan, a former Vogue event planner, was nonplussed: “It smelled like patchouli. It looked like something you’d buy at a co-op. It was soap, but it wasn’t enjoyable.” Megan encouraged her husband to keep tinkering and brought in a fragrance consultant and a marketing expert who had worked for the Gap. Essential oils of bergamot and olive were added to drown out the faint memory of French fries and calamari. Production moved from the Dostals’ garage to an FDA-certified lab. The result is Further, a surprisingly light, extra-foamy soap with a scent reminiscent of Molton Brown’s Naran Ji. The soap went on sale in December at Fred Segal and The Dostals also sell Further to participating restaurant owners, thus returning the glycerin to the restaurants from which it came.

The New Household Product: Cleaning Up With Resta […]