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Is there lye in your soap?

Posted on February 18 2016

Is there lye in your soap?

No.... but yes.

In order to make soap you need just three ingredients: water (or other liquid), fat and lye. If you want a bar soap you use sodium hydroxide and if you want to make a liquid soap you use potassium hydroxide. When you mix them together they go through a chemical reaction called saponification. So in the end of the mixing and, in the case of MamaSuds® soap, all the cooking you are left with soap. Real soap. So yes lye was used to make MamaSuds® soaps, but is there any lye in the final product? No. By the very definition, soap is not soap unless lye was used to make it (liquid or bar).

 

 

Now you might be asking- so what’s all the stuff on the shelves of the grocery store? None of those products list anything saponified….. well, essentially none of that is soap. Companies use surfactants [like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)] and add them to water, other chemicals and petroleum by-products so it all lathers rather nicely and what you have in the end is a muddle of cheaply curated ingredients that only imitate soap. Surfactants are typically irritating and drying to the skin and the irritation from it can happen extremely gradually. So if you’ve “suddenly” had a skin reaction and you’ve haven’t changed any of your products in a long time (weeks/months) the culprit could still be surfactants. Unfortunately surfactants are found in everything from laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, dishwasher detergent, hand soap, body wash, etc.

Take a look at MamaSuds® soaps! We use just three ingredients in our liquid castile soap: Olive oil, lye, and water! 

 

 

1 comment

  • Victoria : January 26, 2020

    I had no idea! I always assumed that making soap you could use other things in lue of the lye, I will have to try to make my own. Where do you get your molds? can I use other oils other than olive? like jojoba? Thank you very much!

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