How Soap Works


Soap making results from the saponification chemical reaction which occurs when caustic alkali (lye water mixture) – either sodium hydroxide, NaOH (also known as caustic soda) or potassium hydroxide, KOH (also known as potash) – is mixed with animal or vegetable oils or fats. From the reaction between these soap ingredients a new matter is created, SOAP, in which there is no more alkali or oil, but which is made of carboxylate salts (R-CO2-Na), water and glycerin. Glycerin is a by-product of saponification that can be taken away. However it is recommended to keep it in the soap mixture as it brings its moisturising property to soap. To find out the details on how to make soap, follow this link to Soap Making Technique.

Soap is a surface-active product. Carboxylate salts molecules are amphiphilic: they are made of a long chain of atoms, one end of which, negatively polarised, is hydrophilic – attracted by water – while the other end is lipophilic – attracted by fats.

Here is the miracle of soap: the lipophilic end of soap molecule catches fats and pull them from their support, thus cleaning the skin (or any other object to be washed), while the other end is attracted to water. As a result fats caught by the soap molecules are taken away by the rinsing water.

During washing, soap removes fat constituting the hydrolipidic film that covers the skin, protects it and retains its water. Fat is taken away by water along with the dirt contained in it. Therefore washing dries your skin until the hydrolipidic film is restored after several hours. The removal of the protective film by a stripper washing such as the one of commercially produced soaps weakens skin, which, without it protection, is highly exposed to external factors.

A superfatted soap is a soap enriched in fats, such as vegetable oils. The presence of these oils limits the drying up of your skin due to the removal of the natural hydrolipidic film.


Homemade Soap Making


Soap making is easy

Soap ingredients

How is soap made? It comes from the chemical reaction between the 2 basic soap ingredients which are animal or vegetable oils or fats (fatty acids) on the one hand, and caustic alkali (lye) that has been dissolved in water on the other hand. Caustic alkali refers to either sodium hydroxide (also known as caustic soda) or to potassium hydroxide (also known as potash).

Mixing soap ingredients

There are several processes for soap making, the most common being the cold process. To find out the details on how to make soap through the cold process, follow this link to Soap Making Technique.

The fatty acids can be almost any oils coming from vegetable source (olive, coconut,…) or animal source (beef tallow, …).

Preparing the lye is the most delicate operation in the process. It requires a good organisation, the use of safety equipment such as goggles, gloves, long sleeves shirt, and operating in a well-ventilated area. Indeed, mixing sodium hydroxide with water generates vapours which are quite noxious. However, the highest precaution is to never pour water onto the lye, as it would create projections of the mixture. Instead, always slowly pour lye into water, and use glass or stainless steel containers that can stand the heat.

Natural handmade soap fashioning

Different ingredients can be added for various purposes such as soap hardness or fragrance, which will give your homemade soap its absolute personal character. The liquid matter resulting from that chemical reaction between the 2 main soap ingredients is then poured in a soap mold which is conveniently made of flexible plastic. Soap molds can be of an infinite array of forms to suit your imagination. After 24 to 48 hours, during which it still emits noxious vapors and therefore must be stored in a well-ventilated area, soap is removed from the mold, possibly cut up in cakes. At that stage this handmade soap is still soft and is not yet suitable for use. It must be stored for around 1 month to get the required hardness before use.

This introductory articles just tells you how easy handmade soap making is. To find out the details on how to make soap, follow this link to Soap Making Technique.


Natural Homemade Soap


Personal soap making

Natural homemadesoap

What a better care you can give your skin than an absolutely natural homemade soap you’ve made yourself? You’ve made it, so you know it’s good for your skin. Whereas soaps from soap manufacturers are made up of chemical and industrial products, you know for certain that the soap ingredients you have carefully selected for your own natural handmade soap are good and safe for you and your family.

To get relevant information, follow this link to the Risks With Commercially-Produced Soaps.

Soap bubbles

There is a belief that the more the soap bubbles or foams, the cleaner the result is. Building on this belief, industrial soap manufacturers add ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfates or SLS, which are there only to make bubbles without being effective at all in cleaning function. However, research has proven that those chemical ingredients can penetrate the blood through the skin, and be very toxic at certain levels, especially with young children.

Homemade soaps might not make as much lather as those soaps you buy out there (actually it depends on the mix of oils you use), but they do absolutely the same job, more safely and efficiently.

Make your own soap

So why wait? Make a positive and smart decision on how you treat your body and your family. Make your own soap. Start today creating all sorts of fantastic natural fragrant homemade soaps for all your family, and even for your friends. Look into this website pages, find and try different soap recipes. When you get a little more used to make you own soap, knock yourself out and let your taste and imagination experiment your personal soap recipes! To find out the details on how to make soap, follow this link to Soap Making Technique.