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Why do I want to make soap today? Chemistry Fun!

There are so many reasons for wanting to make handmade soap.  So each time I start to make soap, it is fun to pick a reason why I want to make soap today.  Today, I am choosing the Chemistry Fun aspect.

Chemistry?  Ewwwww….. I hated Chemistry in school.  It was soooooo hard!

Ok, whining over with.  This is fun!  We are taking two unrelated substances, and combining them to make a third unrelated substance.  How cool is that?!  Almost like magic.

Of course, I am talking about adding Sodium Hydroxide, commonly known as Lye, to any fats.  The act of combining Sodium Hydroxide molecules with fat molecules starts a chemical reaction called Saponification.  The end result of this magical chemical reaction is a soap molecule!

Now there is some research involved in this process.   We have to choose which fats to use.  And there are many fats to choose from.  And they all have different properties they bring to the finished soap product.  I don’t know about you, but I have always loved the research process involved in learning new things.  Hobbies especially, because I can decide what to research.  When making handmade soap, there are many fats to choose from, typically broken into two categories:  Hard fats, known as butters, and soft oils that stay liquid.  The general rule of thumb is to have a relatively balanced mix of hard fats and soft oils to make a good bar of soap.   So how do you choose?  Come with me on this journey and we will explore these questions, and many more about making handmade soap.

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