Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: #4 Privet Drive
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All right. Here's your chemistry lesson for today, since it seems that some of you are a little hazy about how soapmaking works.
In order to make soap, you need a fatty acid (think oil) and a base (think lye, or sodium hydroxide). What happens is, when you combine the oil with the base, the hydroxide part of the base removes a proton from the fatty acid, turning the mixture into a salt (sodium salt) of your fatty acid (which is the soap) and water. So, you end up with a negatively charged oil that is attached to a positively charged sodium ion -- this combination readily dissolves in water to make your soap. The reason why soap works at dissolving things so well is that it has an oily end (to mix with greases/oils) and a charged end to mix with water. Make sense? Ask me more questions if you don't understand -- it sounds like there's some general confusion in the crowd.
Anyway, in theory, you can use ANY base to make soap, as long as it is strong enough to pull the proton off of the oil you are using. So, it's very possible to use another base other than lye to make soap. It's just a different base.
Don't be fooled! EVERYTHING IS A CHEMICAL!!!