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Homemade Soap

Homemade soap is a cleansing agent that is made up of sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids. Homemade soap differs from industrial soap in two ways. Firstly, an excess of fat is used to consume alkali, and secondly, glycerin, a by-product of the reaction between fat and alkali, is not removed. Thus, homemade soap, also called superfatted soap due to the presence of excess fat, is more skin-friendly than industrial soap.

Generally, saponification, commonly known as the cold process, is used for preparing homemade soap. In this case, lye, which is the common name for sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, is mixed with appropriate amount of fat. The mixture is stirred until it thickens. Essential oils, fragrances, and dried herbs and flowers can be added before the mixture thickens.

The thick mixture is poured into moulds and allowed to dry for 48 hours. Thereafter, the homemade soap is cured for a few weeks to allow all the excess moisture to evaporate. Contrary to the popular belief, homemade soap is absolutely safe to use before curing.

To make sure that homemade soap doesn’t produce any harmful effects, two things that should be kept in mind:

  1. The exact amount of lye to be used should be measured.
  2. The saponification value of oil or fat should be determined.

While excess of unreacted lye will burn the skin, its shortage will engender a greasy feeling. In nutshell, easy-to-make homemade soap not only cleanses the body, but also nourishes the skin.