Edible Soap

Aline Ambrecht, Wiebke Rahlf, Katharina Prall

project report

The production of soap requires bases which are dangerous for humans, especially for infants who like to put everything into their mouth. Therefore we set ourselves the goal of inventing edible soap. For this we need to make soap without the base or with a harmless replacement substance. We started by learning about soap, its ingredients and its production.

The first reference to soap is recorded on a clay tablet from 2500 BC. Already during those days soap was made by boiling a mixture of vegetable oils and potash. Certain foamy and cleansing plant extracts were also used. The Germanic peoples and Gauls made simple soaps, while soap was not used in the Roman Empire. For almost two millennia, potash was made by leaching wood ash. It was turned into potassium hydroxide solution using burnt lime and then boiled with salt, water and oils to produce soap. Then, the soap was dried and pressed into a desirable shape. The invention of the Leblanc process and the import of tropical oils (1850) contributed to the development of soap from a luxury good to a consumer product.

We are fascinated by the way soap production has developed and we are determined to take the next step by producing edible soap that is completely harmless.

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