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Summary:  Olive oil is saponified using a sodium hydroxide saturated methanol solution.  The formation of suds in water is demonstrated with the resulting soap.


The solution of NaOH in methanol is caustic.

Chemicals and Solutions: 

30 mL of saturated NaOH in methanol (20g NaOH/30 mL MeOH)

Olive Oil


Stir rod

Beaker, 150mL

10 mL graduated cylinder

Stoppered test tube with water


Put 6 mL of olive oil and 30 mL of saturated sodium hydroxide in methanol in a beaker

Add a stirring bar and stir . Soap forms.

Shake some of the homemade soap with water and suds will form.



Saponification is the alkaline hydrolysis of glyceryl trialkanoates to form glycerol and a mixture of salts of long chain carboxylic acids.  These salts of long chain carboxylic acids are soaps.



To schedule a demonstration, please send an email to the demonstration lab.



Eric Camp

Lecture Demonstration Technician

Bagley Hall 171

(206) 543-1606


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