Question: whats soap made out of and have you ever made it?

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  1. The earliest soaps were made by boiling potash (the white ash left after wood has burnt) with animal fats. potash (where potassium gets it name) is very high in potassium oxide, and combines with the fats to make potassium stearate, a common soap. You could make soap (I don’t advise trying without some help from an adult who knows what they are doing) by boiling Draino (mostly sodium hydroxide and quite dangerous) with fat or oil.
    And the final part – no I have never tried it.


  2. Peter gives a good answer for what soap is made of. I did actually try to make it once, in chemistry lab in uni. It did not turn out very soapy, though.

    There’s a reason I’m a physicist and not a chemist.


  3. Hey @berries45,

    @Peter gives a great answer. However, I did try it. I have a wood heater at home so I have a large supply of fresh ash and I’d read how it used to be made. I made it once to see just how easy it was… well the short answer it wasn’t. And I’m a chemist. It was messy and dangerous. I recommend going to the supermarket 🙂

    There are many ways of making soap, and many cultures has come up with their own over thousands of years. One way is to boil lots of fat which produces a nice moisturising soap and…. explosive gylcerine!


  4. Yep! I made it in high school in chemistry once! It didn’t smell very good though!