Made From Scratch. Handcrafted soaps made from scratch require three ingredients to become soap: oil (animal or vegetable oil, not petroleum-based oil), water and lye. These three ingredients, mixed together in correct proportions, combine and chemically change into soap – a process called "saponification".
Today, soaps are made from fats and oils that react with lye (sodium hydroxide). Solid fats like coconut oil, palm oil, tallow (rendered beef fat), or lard (rendered pork fat), are used to form bars of soap that stay hard and resist dissolving in the water left in the soap dish.
"The cold process method" is the most popular soap making process today. Some soap makers use the hot process, which was much more significant in the past .
Through the ages soap has been used to cleanse, to cure skin sores, to dye hair, and as a salve or skin ointment. But today we generally use soap as a cleanser .
How Soap Is Made Every bar of soap in the world is made with an acid (fat) and an alkali (lye). The fat can be animal fat or plant based such as olive oil.
A look at how soap is made with the science of Chemistry.. Other anionic as well as nonionic surfactants are the main ingredients in today's detergents.