What is Soap ? – We have all used it at some point in our lives. When we think of soap, we imagine those little square bars we buy at the store that we use to clean ourselves with. Usually we can pick up six bars of soap for about three or four dollars. There are a lot of different kinds of soaps to choose from. There are many different brand names and formulas from moisturizing to aloe vera. But, exactly what is soap? If we were to define soap for what it actually is; in chemical terms soap is actually a salt of alkali metal such as sodium potassium (lye) and some type of fat called a fatty carboxylic acid. Saponification is the term for the chemical reaction that occurs between an acid and base to form what we know as soap.
You can also choose between the acid and base you want to use depending on your preference for the kind you want to make. Generally there is a rule that applies to the chemical process for soap making to happen. In order to make soap there has to be at least one ion of hydroxide. If you do not have one ion of hydroxide you do not have soap. It is for this reason that many people use lye. Lye is made of one ion of sodium and one ion of hydroxide.
People also use potassium hydroxide for this purpose which is a lye variant. It’s also interesting to point out that the sodium ion is not part of the saponification process. Potassium hydroxide is the popular choice for those who make liquid soaps. Lye and potassium hydroxide are called the base in the soap process. The acid in the soap making process is the fat used. Fats can range from vegetable to animal fat in the soap making process.
The history of soap our forefathers used bares little to any resemblance to the soap we use today. Legend has it that the first soap was discovered by women who used to wash their clothes along the Tiber river at the foot of the Sapo hill. The legend includes the fact that the women at that time found that washing their clothes there rendered their clothes cleaner with less effort. The reason is the ashes and the grease from the animals sacrificed in fires from the Sapo temples mixed with rain water making soap that ran from the top of the river at the top of the hill down to its base. It’s also interesting to note that the word Sapo is the predecessor of today’s word Saponification which is the chemical process used today in soap making.
History of Soap
Since the beginning of time, man used plants literally to keep himself clean. He would do things like break off leaves or use plant seeds to scrub his body with. The earliest man al- ways lived near a water source as water is the source of life. It is a fact that people in early times …
How Soap Works
Wondering how soap works? You need to learn a bit of molecular chemistry first. Here is a short version of the how soap works process. Molecules are groups of two or more similar atoms that are electrically bonded together. It was once thought that molecules were…
How to Make Soap
To the beginning soap maker, there may be only a few reasons they are interested in how to make soap, however, lets discuss some reasons you may not be aware of. The most obvious of all reasons is that making soap is a very simple and creative hobby to It just basically involves mixing the …
Soap Making Course
Imagine the look on the faces of your friends and family if you could present them with a fabulous looking, eye catching, great smelling, bar of soap!! How would you feel if you could make a bar of soap that looked good enough to sell in a shop. Imagine what your friends would say!