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The Challenge: Make Soap

Making Soap on Capraia

electrolysis electrolysis

In our first attempt at making soap on Capraia, we tried to produce sodium hydroxide from seawater using electrolysis. This was scuppered when the windmill electricity generator was blown down in high winds.

We then resorted to dissolving wood ashes in water to give a dilute potassium hydroxide solution, which we boiled with olive oil, but this too was unsuccessful.

wood ashes
using wood ashes solution produced

By purifying our starting materials, and paying closer attention to every step in the process, our third attempt (again with potassium hydroxide) eventually produced a liquid soap.

making soap making soap