What is Saponification?

Saponification is the name given to the chemical reaction by which an alkali (usually sodium hydroxide aka lye) reacts with fats and oils to make soap. This process generally takes about 24-48 hours from the time the lye is mixed with the base oils and poured into the mold.

I generally like to cover my mold and place it in the fridge during this process, at minimum overnight. This prevents the loaf of soap from cracking. I certainly learned this the hard way! You see, when you mix lye and water it gets extremely hot. Sometimes well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people soap around 120-130 degrees. I like to wait until my lye water mixture is around 80-85 degrees. To me it is easier to handle and like I mentioned above, prevents cracking in the mold. 

Once the soap has saponified, I cut it and place it in a well-ventilated area to cure for about 4 weeks. This allows any excess water to evaporate. The longer you let your soap sit, the longer it will last in the shower and the more fragrant it will be. Soap will never go bad! Like fine wine, the longer it ages the better it will be.