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Admin
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Old-time soap making

Hello,

Here's a question for you.

What are the advantages of making soap as our grandfathers used to do - that is, using lye solutions of increasing strength and removing the excess lye from the reacted mass as you go on, after causing it to separate by adding a sodium chloride solution?

I know that by this process also the glycerine is removed from the soap along with the spent lyes, but, when making toilet soap, it was subsequently recovered and incorporated to the finished product.

Posted by paola
(Carried forward from summerbeemeadow.com for continuity)

Admin
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Thank you very much

Thank you very much for your reply. 

The doubt that I had was that perhaps by the old process you obtained a more refined kind of soap that was able to keep longer.

Posted by paola
(Carried forward from summerbeemeadow.com for continuity)

Admin
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Frankly, I don't see any advantage

Frankly, I don't see any advantage to making solid soaps  "the way our grandfathers did".

The old process used a hot lye solution prepared with potassium carbonate (potash) as that is what was available. after the soap was saponified in solution after much stirring, salt (sodium chloride) was added to the lye solution and stirred until the potassium ions in the soap solution were replaced (mostly) with sodium ions from the added salt. Solid soap was thereby created, forming clumps that were scooped out and rinsed.

All that work was because sodium carbonate or sodium hydroxide was not available back then. Had it been available to them, they would gladly have used a more modern method of making soap.

A hot sodium carbonate solution will also saponify oils into soap, albeit with a lot of time and stirring. A sodium hydroxide solution, as we use today, makes soap with a whole lot less time and effort.

Posted by Admin
(Carried forward from summerbeemeadow.com for continuity)

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