General Question

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jvgr's avatar

Soap is the result of mixing triglycerides (most fats and fixed oils) with a mixture of sodium or potassium hydroxide in water. The hydroxide chemically reacts with the triglycerides and splits the triglycerides into fatty acid molecules and glycerin molecules (process known as saponification). The heat from the chemical reaction drives the excess moisture from the mixture allowing it to harden into a solid.

The amount of hydroxide is dependent on the specific types and amounts of fatty acids in the oil. Longer chain fatty acids like oleic acid (olive oil) create softer, less foamy soaps and short chain fatty acids like lauric acid (coconut oil) create a fast foaming harder soap.

Potassium hydroxide is usually used in soft soaps and sodium hydroxide is used in harder soaps.

Most handcrafted soaps use a blend of different oils.

SoapChef's avatar

What he said. :0)

LouisianaGirl's avatar

ummm….. tha stuff u bathe with that makes u smell gud

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Hmm, I believe soap is to little boys what Kryptoinite is to Superman.

borderline_blonde's avatar

Awesome fun bubbly good-smelly stuff that always seems to mysteriously disappear in the shower :|

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