The Chemistry of Soap

by | Wednesday, August 28, 2019 | 0 comment(s)
This is my wonderful husband Timothy Minor

The process of making soap is called saponificationI'll be the first one to admit that I was very bored in my high school chemistry class. At that time over, 30 years ago, I didn't see how it apply to everyday life. Of course there were experiments and projects that we conducted, but quite frankly, I was just not interested! Fast forward to today; and now I can't get enough of the chemistry as it relates to making soap. Now, I long for my old high school chemistry class! The process of making soap is in fact a chemistry project that we perform over and over again.

Soap making gear

Why we make soap? There are so many reason why we make soap or any of the products we produce. For me making soap is very relaxing. In the beginning we made soap because it was much better than the glycerin soap base that we used in the past. Today, we make soap for a number of reasons. Here are just a few reasons; 1. We are in control of the ingredients that we use. 2. It is so much better for you skin. Our Gourmet Luxury Soap is very moisturizing and does not leave you with that dry feeling that you get when you use a commercial produced bar of soap. And 3. we were very disappointed with commercial detergent bars/beauty bars that are watered down and lack quality ingredients! Like most people my husband and I bought commercial produced soap with animal fats and the glycerin taken out. It is essentially a detergent bar and not soap!

Peppermint Swirl Soap

What is Soap? "In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.[1] Soaps are mainly used for washing, bathing, and cleaning. Soaps for cleansing are obtained by treating vegetable or animal oils and fats with a strongly alkaline solution. Fats and oils are composed of triglycerides; three molecules of fatty acids are attached to a single molecule of glycerol.[2] The alkaline solution, which is often called lye (although the term "lye soap" refers almost exclusively to soaps made with sodium hydroxide), brings about a chemical reaction known as saponification. In this reaction, the triglyceride fats are first hydrolyzed into free fatty acids, and then these combine with the alkali to form crude soap, an amalgam of various soap salts, excess fat or alkali, water, and liberated glycerol (glycerin). The glycerin is a useful by-product, which can be left in the soap product as a softening agent, or isolated for other uses. Soap. (n.d.) . In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 1, 2014 from

This is me pouring soap into the mold

Is your soap made with lye? Often times we get asked the question "is your soap made with LYE?" Most people have memories of their grandmothers making soap and the result would be a very harsh bar of soap that more often than not, irritated the skin. The difference between handmade soap made today verses the soap that was made many years ago is the saponification chart that we use today. The Saponification chart is a table with Sap Values for oils and butters (fatty acids) that are used in soapmaking. When you multiply the sap value of each fatty acid being used by the weight of that fatty acid the result is the amount of lye that should be used to turn the fatty acids into soap. When we make soap we discount our water and lye which leaves left over unsaponified oils and fats. Its these left over oils and fats that contribute our Gourmet Luxury Soap being so very moisturizing! The word lye is the common name of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) which is used for bar soap and potassium hydroxide (KOH) is used for liquid soap. There is no other way to make REAL soap without the use of fatty acids and lye. Our soap is made with 100% natural Shea Butter, Olive Oil and Coconut Oil. We also use other skin loving ingredients such as oatmeal, milk, honey, plantains, calendula, peppermint, etc. to make up the various varieties that we produce. So the answer to the question is YES, our soap is made with lye!

Please feel free to comment or post any questions you may have.

This article was originally written on 3-15-14. And at that time I thought it was not the right time to publish it. However, over the years people have become more and more informed about the ingredients that are in the products they use.

Remember to follow us!

Our Mailing List
Private Facebook Group

This entry was posted in no categories.

You must be logged in to post comments.