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How Can Caustic Soda Use In Manufacturing Of Soap?

   December 15, 2020
   Krushit Joshi - Associate Manager, ACE

Sodium hydroxide is also proclaimed as caustic soda or lye and used as a popular ingredient for making soap. While potassium hydroxide is more popular in liquid soap making, liquid soap can be made using caustic soda.

One of the most widely used chemicals by manufacturers is caustic soda which is a solid base with a wide variety of possible applications. Caustic soda is a water-soluble compound that is formed in pellets, granules, flakes or powders. Caustic soda is formed by electrolysis of sodium chloride and is a strong alkali. When applied to water, caustic soda raises the pH of the product, making it a valuable pH adjuster for acidic formulations.

An inorganic base, caustic soda, contain no carbon atoms. When combined with water, it dissociates entirely as hydroxyl and sodium ions. The hydroxyl ions are negatively charged, and the sodium ions are positive. This flow of ions leads to a strong exothermic reaction, which helps in manufacturing of soaps by hydrolyzing the fats in the saponification process.

Caustic soda is a reagent or material used as an intermediate to manufacture other compounds in a chemical reaction. Caustic soda induces saponification and is an important ingredient in soap production. When flakes or beads of sodium hydroxide are applied to a liquid, a lye solution is formed. This solution, when combined with oils or fats, results in a chemical reaction called saponification.

Caustic soda manufacturers first split natural fats into fatty acids and glycerine, usually through a tall vertical steel column called a hydrolyser that uses high temperatures to divide the fat into its two components. When isolated, the fatty acids are distilled for further purification.

Next, the purified fatty acids are combined with a precisely determined volume of caustic soda. Subsequent saponification provides soap. Other chemicals can be added from caustic soda suppliers at this point to improve shelf-life, color,  cleaning power or marketability. In small batches, you can also produce liquid soap with caustic soda. There are several different recipes for producing small batches of  liquid soap, but the basic method remains the same.

Four Steps to Make Liquid Soap

1. You must have a type of fat—the most widely used fats extracted from plants, such as palm kernel oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. You can use one form of oil or a mixture of two or three.

2. Make caustic soda water. Mix the caustic soda and the water before it dissolves. The reaction of sodium hydroxide and water is exothermic and produces heat, so be careful during this stage of the process.

3. Combine the oils with the caustic soda water. Enable the soap to rest for up to 24 hours once combined.

4. After the soap has been set, slowly add heat and water until the soap is clean and smooth to Liquid quality.

Keep in mind that it is important to weigh your ingredients instead of weighing the final liquid soap product. Liquid soap price is dependent on caustic soda price and the weight of the oil, not the amount of the liquid ounce. Different oils have different densities—one cup of olive oil does not weigh the same as one cup of coconut oil. To ensure that you have the correct ratio, weigh your ingredients before mixing.


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