Potassium Carbonate is Vital to Soap Making
Potassium Carbonate is a key ingredient in making liquid soap, specifically it is used as an additive that makes the soap easier to stir in the cooking phase. Because it is chemically similar to lye (Potassium Hydroxide), Potassium Carbonate should be handled with extreme care. Like any strong base, it can burn your skin, eyes and throat on contact, and is reactive with anything acidic.
In days when most soap was made at home, Potassium Carbonate, or Pearl Ash, derived from hardwood ashes, was the key to saponification, or separation of soap and glycerine, in the soap making process. While today people use refined chemical products rather than wood ashes, the underlying chemistry in soap production remains the same as it has for centuries.
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