Glossary for the Modern Soap Maker

Soap makers glossary of terms, definitions and acronyms.

A collection of terms, definitions and acronyms related to the art of soap making.


Complete List

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SAP Value
Saponification value. The amount of potassium hydroxide in milligrams required to saponify 1 gram of oil.

Exhibits the characteristics of, or having the qualities of soap.

The process or reaction of combining a base (fat) with an alkali (sodium hydroxide) to produce a salt (soap) and a free alcohol (glycerin).

Sea Salt
Salt produced by evaporation of sea water either by solar or kiln drying.

The unexpected thickening and uneven hardening of the soap mixture during processing. Usually caused when adding synthetic fragrance oils to the mixture.

Shea Butter
Used as a base ingredient or as an emollient in handmade soaps and skin preparations. Has a high content of unsaponifiables which contribute to its moisturizing properties.

A simple cleansing agent, the sodium salt resulting from the combination of oils and fats with an alkali.

Soap Casting
The art of creating handcrafted soaps using melt and pour soap base.

Sodium Bicarbonate
Baking soda. White crystalline powder, used in bath preparations as a water softener.

Sodium Cocoate
Saponified coconut oil, the sodium salt of coconut oil.

Sodium Hydroxide
A strong alkaline compound, NaOH, used to produce hard or bar soaps.

Sodium Palmate
Saponified palm oil, the sodium salt of palm oil.

Sodium Stearate
Saponified stearic acid, the sodium salt of stearic acid.

Sodium Tallowate
Saponified tallow, the sodium salt of tallow.

Solar Sea Salts
Sun evaporated sea salts from sea water, not mined or mechanically processed. This method preserves the natural mineral content.

Dissolvable in a liquid, as in alcohol or water soluble.

Solvent Extraction
A method of separating oils from their base using a liquid in which the oil is soluble. The oil is then distilled and the solvent is evaporated leaving the oil.

Soybean Oil
Obtained from soybeans, this is the primary ingredient in vegetable shortening.

Specific Gravity
The ratio of weight of a given volume of a substance relative to the weight of the identical volume of water.

Steam Distillation
A process in which essential oils are extracted from plant materials using steam and pressure. The volatile oils are separated from the hydrosol after condensation.

Stearic Acid
Obtained from animal and vegetable fats. Used in soaps, candles and other products.

Sunflower Seed Oil
Obtained from the seeds, sunflower oil contains vitamin E and is used as an emollient.

The addition of extra oils or butters that remain unsaponified within the finished soap. These excess oils and butters contribute to the moisturizing properties of the soap.

Surface-active agent. A substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved, such as a detergent.

Artificially produced, not of natural origin.

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This page last updated on April 3, 2006
Copyright ę2003 ~ Coconut Coast Handmade Soap Co.