How To Calculate Lye Concentration?

When I started soap production some years back. I had problem with understanding lye concentration. Not because I had a weak mathematical knowledge, but I was unfortunate to have a poor teacher. So, I know there are lots of you trying to understand lye concentration, which is why I am writing this post.

I understand not all of us are good mathematically; so, I am going to do my best to make this very easy and simple to understand. But before then, I am going to tell you a story; just make sure you enjoy.

When I was in primary school; there was this guy who likes showing himself off, maybe because he was rich or handsome. Less I forget, he came from a rich family; so, he was loved by all; while I came from an average family. So, one day; I arranged with my other friends to start speaking in code; so that he (the rich guy) won’t understand our language. Then we came up with a code to identify each student’s IQ (Intelligent Quotient) in the class.

If I tell you someone is 100% concentrated; it means, he or she is 100% brilliant, and when I say someone is 100% diluted, it means that person’s brain is full of rubbish. For example, I am 100% concentrated, while you are probably 25% concentrated. Lol

You see, in soap making; you need to understand some basic calculations, like how much of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is needed for a given amount of oils. Remember the reaction between Lye Solution and Oil produces bar soaps.

Another thing to also consider is the amount of water needed to make the lye solution; as lye is always in powder form. The water is only there to dissolve the Lye (NaOH). Using more or less of water may affect how the bar soap comes out, but in the end the water evaporates and the finished, cured soap is what’s left. However, a well concentrated lye solution aids the soap drying process. I mean, if your lye solutions are quite concentrated, it helps your bars to get dried-out and hard quickly.

Percentage Strength of Lye Solution

Remember the story I told you in the introduction; when we talk about a solution being, for example, at a 30% concentration, we are saying that it is 30% solute (this is the thing you are making the solution out of – LYE in this case) and 70% diluent (the thing that you are dissolving the solute in – WATER in this case).

So a 30% lye solution is 30% of LYE (NaOH) and 70% of WATER, while the “Per cent” (%) means “per 100”. So the total percentage must always add up to 100; in our case 30 + 70 = 100.

I hope this helps someone today. If you have any question or doubt, please drop it via the comment box bellow.

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