Basic Soap Equation



French Green Clay Soap

About a week ago, a friend of Fernando’s posted some questions on his Facebook page about my soap. His question about the soap was: “She doesn’t use lye to make soap does she? I’m asking because lye is caustic acid/poison.”

This got me to thinking about how best to educate people in general about natural soap and how it’s created. While the person who posed the question was correct in stating that lye is caustic, he was incorrect in his assumption that lye in soap is bad. Lye is one of the three essential ingredients needed to make soap. The most basic equation for soap is:

Water + Lye + Fat (animal or vegetable) —> Saponification (chemical reaction) —> Soap (by product of the chemical reaction)

My general response to the question was: “When you mix water, lye and some sort of fat (vegetable or animal), it goes through a chemical process called saponification. Within about a week, the water and lye are “cured out” but you are left with a by product of the chemical reaction, which is soap. So, lye goes in, but does not come out.”

So for those of you out there wondering how the heck soap is made (even with a caustic ingredient), there is your quick and simple answer.

Funny enough, the guy never responded to my response. Hmph.




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