03-06-2017, 10:10 AM
#1
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Is there a difference in the functionality or the feel or the performance of the soap if Sodium Hydroxide is used as opposed to Potassium Hydroxide?
thanks

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 03-06-2017, 10:14 AM
#2
  • Mr_Smartepants
  • Senior Member
  • Cambridgeshire, UK (CONUS post address)
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NaOH = Hard soap
KOH = Soft soap

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 03-06-2017, 10:23 AM
#3
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(03-06-2017, 10:14 AM)Mr_Smartepants Wrote: NaOH = Hard soap
KOH = Soft soap

Ah ha! like puck vs croap?

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 03-06-2017, 10:45 AM
#4
  • Mr_Smartepants
  • Senior Member
  • Cambridgeshire, UK (CONUS post address)
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(03-06-2017, 10:23 AM)DBart. Wrote:
(03-06-2017, 10:14 AM)Mr_Smartepants Wrote: NaOH = Hard soap
KOH = Soft soap

Ah ha! like puck vs croap?


Yup.  Artisans blend the two versions of lye and alter the percentages to get the consistency they want.

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 03-07-2017, 08:46 PM
#5
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Potassium hydroxide will also add to the quality of a shaving soap's lather. So a shaving soap made only with sodium hydroxide won't just be hard, it will be harder to lather.

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 03-08-2017, 03:53 AM
#6
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(03-07-2017, 08:46 PM)scritchnscrub Wrote: Potassium hydroxide will also add to the quality of a shaving soap's lather. So a shaving soap made only with sodium hydroxide won't just be hard, it will be harder to lather.

Thank you for adding your expertise Peter.

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 03-08-2017, 04:03 AM
#7
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Cool.

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 03-08-2017, 05:47 AM
#8
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All else being equal in a soap recipe:

Lye (NaOH) makes solid bar soap.
Causic Potash (KOH) makes liquid soap. 

That is the difference.  The oil ingredients (cocoa, shea, coconut) make the soap lather differently, not the lye.  KOH makes the solid soap softer making the lather creamier, but that is it.  There are some high end shaving soaps with just NaOH.  

Shaving soap (pucks) usually contains a 50/50 ratio, but 60/40 either direction is not unheard of.  
Croaps (cream soaps) usually contain 30/70 ratio Na/KOH.
Creams are usually 10/90 Na/KOH or more.

My shaving soaps are a 50/50 ratio.  My cream is actually entirely KOH, but thickens up nicely with glycerin, castor oil, and not much water.

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 03-08-2017, 03:14 PM
#9
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(03-08-2017, 05:47 AM)asiliski Wrote: All else being equal in a soap recipe:

Lye (NaOH) makes solid bar soap.
Causic Potash (KOH) makes liquid soap. 

That is the difference.  The oil ingredients (cocoa, shea, coconut) make the soap lather differently, not the lye.  KOH makes the solid soap softer making the lather creamier, but that is it.  There are some high end shaving soaps with just NaOH.  

Shaving soap (pucks) usually contains a 50/50 ratio, but 60/40 either direction is not unheard of.  
Croaps (cream soaps) usually contain 30/70 ratio Na/KOH.
Creams are usually 10/90 Na/KOH or more.

My shaving soaps are a 50/50 ratio.  My cream is actually entirely KOH, but thickens up nicely with glycerin, castor oil, and not much water.

Huh, I haven't found this to be the case in the past.  What high end soaps are you thinking of that use NaOH only?  I do a lot of soap-making in my spare time and would love to find a shave soap that pulled this off.  KOH is a bit more a pain to obtain.

The soaps I've tried that are even near the 50/50 ratio were extremely "foamy", and the NaOH ones I've tried had no density at all.

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 03-11-2017, 07:40 AM
#10
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(03-08-2017, 03:53 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote:
(03-07-2017, 08:46 PM)scritchnscrub Wrote: Potassium hydroxide will also add to the quality of a shaving soap's lather. So a shaving soap made only with sodium hydroxide won't just be hard, it will be harder to lather.

Thank you for adding your expertise Peter.

My pleasure Ricardo. Thanks for a great forum.

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 03-13-2017, 01:23 PM
#11
  • Viking
  • Artisan - Soap & Cosmetics
  • Ames, Iowa
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In the world of liquid soaps (not that many true liquid soaps out there anymore with the advent of synthetic detergents), KOH makes a paste that can be diluted into liquid soap, like Dr. Bronners Liquid Castile Soap. It's a pretty arduous process to make at home. Takes a long time to cook the KOH soap and even longer to get it to dissolve into water to create the 'liquid' soap. 

KOH can be found pretty easily these days I'd say. Lots easier than 10 years ago. If anyone is having trouble finding it, please send me a PM and I can offer a few options for you.

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