I had researched some time ago with regard to the saponfication process so that I could understand it with regard to flushing. As I've researched at least 2 dozen soap making sites, and even science sites, I've discovered one very important thing. Lye must be present in order for any kind oil to harden. Since none of us are drinking draino with our olive oil, I don't understand the insistance that these are "soap stones". Here is what one site on soapmaking said:
How is soap made?
Soap is made through a process called saponfication. Without saponfication you can not have soap. All soaps are made using oils and sodium hydroxide (also called lye). *It is false to think soap can be made without it. During the saponfication process this combination of acids (oils) and alkali (lye) is chemically changed into soap. There is no lye present in the finished bars of soap.*
Oils, butters, or fats are mixed with a carefully measured amount of sodium hydroxide dissolved in water. This mixture is then blended to produce the chemical reaction needed to result in the beginning stages of soap. As saponfication takes place the mixture heats up, thickens and is poured into molds. The molds are then insulated for 24 hours for to complete the process. Once saponfication is complete the soap is unmolded, cut into bars and set out to dry on racks. After a 4 week air-cure time, allowing them to harden, each is tested for the correct pH to ensure consistency.
There are many variations of this process but each results in a mild bar of soap which still contains the moisture loving glycerin produced during the saponfication process. Glycerin is a natural humectant which aids in moisturizing skin by drawing moisture from the air.
Does your soap have lye in it?
In one word....No!
Many people are under the impression that all handmade soaps are the same as the harsh "lye soap" grandma used to make. *The fact is soap can not be made without the use of lye in the initial process.* Even commercial soaps begin with this same basic process. Though the process is still the same, the end result is quite different. The harsh soap remembered from the old days more than likely contained excess amounts of lye from imprecise chemistry and lack of proper measurement. Modern soapmaking has become a very precise science. During saponfication the combination of acid (oils, fats, or combination of) and alkali (lye) chemically change into soap. There is no lye left at the end of the process; it is used up completely. What is left is the purest form of soap and natural skin loving glycerin that in no way resembles the lye soap of old.
Intrahepatic stones or oil stones?
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