Q : What is Soap?

Soap is an anionic surfactant used in conjunction with water for washing and cleaning, which historically comes either in solid bars or in the form of a viscous liquid.

Q : Over View of Soap?

Soaps are useful for cleaning because soap molecules have both a hydrophilic end, which dissolves in water, as well as a hydrophobic end, which is able to dissolve nonpolar grease molecules. Although grease will normally adhere to skin or clothing, the soap molecules can form micelles which surround the grease particles and allow them to be dissolved in water. Applied to a soiled surface, soapy water effectively holds particles in colloidal suspension so it can be rinsed off with clean water.

The hydrophobic portion (made up of a long hydrocarbon chain) dissolves dirt and oils, while the ionic end dissolves in water. Therefore, it allows water to remove normally-insoluble matter by emulsification. In other words, while normally oil and water do not mix, the addition of soap allows oils to dissolve in water, allowing them to be rinsed away.

Q : How to make Soap?

The most popular soapmaking process today is the cold process method, where fats such as olive oil react with lye, while some soapers use the historical hot process.

Handmade soap differs from industrial soap in that, usually, an excess of fat is used to consume the alkali (superfatting), and in that the glycerin is not removed, leaving a naturally moisturizing soap and not pure soap. Superfatted soap, soap which contains excess fat, is more skin-friendly than industrial soap, though if too much fat is added, it can leave users with a "greasy" feel to their skin. Sometimes an emollients such as jojoba oil or shea butter is added "at trace" (the point at which the saponification process is sufficiently advanced that the soap has begun to thicken) in the belief that it will escape the saponification and remain intact, or in the case of hot process soap - after most of the oils have saponified so that they remain unreacted in the finished soap. Superfatting can also be accomplished through a process called a lye discount, where, instead of putting in extra fats, the soap maker puts in less lye.






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