Soap is a naturally occurring salt of an organic fatty acid used mainly in various lubricating and cleansing products. In a domestic setting, soap is usually sodium hydroxide or sodium lauryl sulfate used for bathing, washing, and similar domestic applications. In industrial settings, soaps used are often as catalysts, ingredients of some deodorants, surfactants, and thickeners. Thus, when used in the domestic or industrial settings soaps become foaming agents and cleansers. At the same time soaps also have lathering properties and therefore act as cleaning Soap.
Originally soap was created from fat and tallow. Lye is the alkaline solution found in fatty acids like tallow or animal fat and oil. To create soap, the fat is treated with an acetic acid to yield the glycerin. The glycerin is then further treated with a process called saponification to yield soap liquid. The soapy water is then added to a carrier or dough in order to form a soap liquid.
Because of the importance of lye as a chemical for soap formation and the cost of creating soap it was not economically feasible for many soap makers to create handmade soap. Commercial soap makers instead started using sodium hydroxide or sodium lauryl sulfate as the main ingredient in their soaps. Sodium hydroxide or sodium lauryl sulfate is derived from fatty acids obtained from different vegetable oils by means of cold expression. This means that by taking off any unwanted materials from the fatty acids the soap can be made. Although this soap has some commercial qualities, it is still considered to be soap since it contains sodium hydroxide as its main ingredient.
Other vegetable oils are sometimes used, but these are unlikely to be used in soap-like formulas. These are the soaps produced in the middle east, in countries such as Iraq and Iran. These countries do not have their own domestic resources to produce this soap-like substance, which explains why they turn to countries outside to obtain it. The result is often a longer chain of fats with more long chains of hydrocarbons than in soap-making countries.
How does this make soap works? Once the oils and lye are combined, they are brought to a boil where they remain until they have cooled down enough so that they begin to solidify. Once the solidifying process is complete, you get soap. The soap works by attracting the dirt to itself through a process called capillary action.
Soap dries by means of greases binding with the surface of the skin, forming soap clumps. Soap clumps are composed of a combination of fats, oils, alkaloids, amino acids and glycerol. Some of the fatty acids are called caprylic acid or citric monolaurin. These are naturally present in most soaps and are usually the reason behind why this type of soaps dry out more quickly than other soaps. The exception is hydrogenated oils, which form soap flakes faster than the other types.
What are some of the ingredients used in soap manufacturing? The major ingredients in soap are Lye (sodium hydroxide), Fatty Acid, Saponic Liquid, Color, Oxide, Shampooing Detergent, Humectants, Fragrance and Odorants. Some of these are described here. Lye is derived from lyear or lye byproducts that can be obtained from cracking or distilling soap. Fatty acids are contained in plant oils, alkyds, lauric acids and waxes. Color can come from copper oxide, ultraviolet, ferricyanide, zinc, sodium chloride and sodium saccharin.
Soap can be made from a combination of these ingredients or from a single mixture. When making soap, lye is mixed with sodium hydroxide. The resulting soap is then cold processed or not processed as per your requirements. You might find cold processed soaps a lot more shiny and manageable, but they don’t have the same benefits as hot-processed soap.