“In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid. Consumers mainly use soaps as surfactants for washing, bathing, and cleaning, but they are also used in textile spinning and are important components of lubricants.
Soaps for cleansing are obtained by treating vegetable or animal oils and fats with a strongly alkaline solution. Fats and oils are composed of triglycerides; three molecules of fatty acids attach to a single molecule of glycerol. The alkaline solution, which is often called lye (although the term “lye soap” refers almost exclusively to soaps made with sodium hydroxide), brings about a chemical reaction known as saponification.”