What is the function of sodium hydroxide in soap making?

April 09,2023

What role does sodium hydroxide play in the production of soap?

In the soap-making process, sodium hydroxide is used to saponify oils and fats. It aids in the formation of lather and foam in soap.

Sodium hydroxide is an inorganic base, which means it lacks carbon atoms like water. When combined with water, it totally dissociates into hydroxyl and sodium ions.


What is saponification?

Saponification is the chemical reaction of fats and oils (triglycerides) with lye in the production of soap. This process converts triglycerides into glycerol and a fatty acid salt known as "soap." This method is used to create many forms of soap for laundry, cleaning, lubricating, and fire extinguishing.

Triglycerides are often composed of animal fats or vegetable oils. A chemical base utilized in this procedure is sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or potassium hydroxide (KOH). NaOH produces hard soap, whereas KOH produces soft soap.

Fatty acids are long-chained lipids that contribute significantly to the composition of soap. Esters are cleaved during the alkaline hydrolysis of fats or oils in a solution of a base such as NaOH to generate alcohol and a carboxylic acid derivative.

These two fatty acids are then combined with a hydroxide, such as sodium or potassium hydroxide, to produce a glycerol-rich soap. Saturated fatty acids are the most common, however unsaturated fatty acids can also be found.

Each oil and fat has its unique SAP value, which is the quantity of KOH or NaOH necessary to saponify one gram of fat under specified conditions. SAP is expressed in milligrams of KOH or NaOH per gram of fat.

Because of their high levels of lauric (C12:0) and myristic (C14:0) fatty acids, some oils, such as sunflower and soybean, have high saponification values. Because of their low molecular weight, these fatty acids can be easily saponified in the presence of an alkali such as KOH or NaOH.

The saponification value is calculated by determining the amount of KOH or naoh necessary in an oil solution under specific conditions. It is measured in milligrams of KOH or KOH per gram of fat and is used to assess the quality of edible oils and fats as well as the average molecular weight of the fatty acids in an oil.

The fatty acids in soap play a significant role on the finished product's appearance, texture, and scent. However, nothing is known about the unsaponified fatty acid content of natural soaps generated from various fats and oils. Furthermore, relatively few research have been conducted to determine how the quantity of free or unsaponified fatty acids influences the quality of natural soaps and whether additives can be added to raise the SV values.


What is glycerin?

Glycerin is a naturally occurring chemical molecule generated from vegetable oils or animal fats. It is a clear, colorless, and odorless liquid with a sweet flavor that is widely used in cosmetics, skin care products, and soaps.

Glycerin, as the name suggests, is a fantastic moisturizer that can help keep your skin healthy and smooth. It is also a light exfoliant, so use it to brush away dead skin cells and improve the appearance of your skin tone.

Glycerin, when combined with other skin-friendly components such as rosewater or coconut oil, can create a wonderfully hydrating lotion. It is also a prominent element in anti-aging treatments due to its ability to minimize blotchiness and sagging skin.

It is a natural humectant, which means it draws moisture from the environment and the insides of your skin to attract and keep moisture in the skin. It also functions as a moderate sunscreen, shielding your skin from the sun's rays and other environmental toxins.

Glycerin can help fight acne in addition to being a good moisturizer. It contains antibacterial characteristics that can aid in the elimination of microorganisms that cause breakouts. It can also be used to help repair scars by increasing the water content of scar tissue and plumping it up.

Finally, glycerin can be used to keep your lips from chapping. It can be diluted and used as a lip balm, especially in the winter when your skin is prone to dryness.

Because it is a natural, non-irritating mixture that is gentler than most chemical-laden lip balms, this component is suitable to use as a lip balm or a facial moisturizer. However, if you have sensitive skin, you should seek the advice of a dermatologist before using a glycerin-based product.

Glycerin is a safe and low-cost component present in nearly every skin care product on the market. As long as it is appropriately diluted, it is safe to use on a daily basis. If you experience any negative effects, such as redness or irritation, discontinue use immediately.

What is lye?

Lye is a sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and potassium hydroxide (KOH) combination (KOH). It's an alkaline material that's employed in a variety of sectors, including soap production.

Using lye to make handcrafted, natural soap, among other things, is a fantastic idea! It is also a significant element in the soapmaking process.

The first thing to remember is that lye is a highly caustic chemical, thus basic safety precautions must be taken when handling it. When dealing with lye, you must wear gloves, safety goggles, and a mask to avoid inhaling in the fumes that it emits.

When you combine water and lye, it will become quite hot and quickly, so operate in a room that is not too hot or has sufficient air flow. This is especially crucial if you have respiratory problems or are concerned that the vapors will cause a chemical burn to your lungs.

If you're going to create soap with lye, it's critical to keep your dry lye in a clean, dry place. Ideally, keep it away from pets and youngsters who might get into it.

It is also critical to correctly combine the lye solution with water before beginning to create soap. This is where you must exercise extreme caution, as a small amount of lye might accidently splash into your eyes or skin, causing severe burns.

After combining lye and water, let the solution to cool before using. You can do this in the freezer or even your garage, but make sure it is not a hazard to people or dogs nearby.

Another safety advice is to never store your lye solution in a glass container, as it can crack if exposed to heat. Instead, use heat-resistant and chemical-resistant plastic containers.

You can also use vinegar to treat a lye burn, but only as a last option and never apply it to your skin or eyes! Vinegar can actually aggravate the symptoms of a chemical burn, so wash your skin or eyes with water as soon as possible.

What is Caustic soda?

If you've ever read a news piece on chlorine or soap production, you've probably come across the term "caustic soda." It's a key component in all of these goods. It's also an incredibly versatile chemical that can be employed in a variety of ways.

Caustic Soda (also known as lye) is an alkali, which is a type of base capable of neutralizing acids and dissolving in water. It is available in flakes, prills, and cast blocks as well as powders, solutions, and pellets.

It's a great tool for creating soap and unclogging drains, but it can be harmful if not used correctly. As a result, it's critical to always wear protective gear when working with caustic soda.

Sodium hydroxide, sometimes known as caustic soda, is an industrial alkali salt that dissolves in water to generate aqueous solutions. It is frequently found in drain and oven cleansers, but it is also used to make soap.

When mixed with other soapmaking ingredients, caustic soda reacts with natural fats or oils to produce sodium fatty acid salt and glycerin, the major components of soap. This is known as saponification.

This is one of the most crucial phases in manufacturing soap, which is why it's critical to utilize high-quality components when making your own handmade soap. This is especially true if you intend to use caustic soda as the principal component of your soap.

It is critical to remember that mixing caustic soda with other chemicals might result in severe burns. Instead, only combine it with compounds that are compatible with each other.

Furthermore, caustic soda should only be used in well-ventilated places. This is due to the fact that it can cause significant respiratory diseases or skin burns.

The easiest approach to use caustic soda is to buy it in bulk from a trustworthy provider and keep it carefully kept away from moisture. This ensures that you get the most out of it while also safeguarding your health and the environment.