What's the "saponification value" of honey?

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Aug 16, 2008
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Tampere, Finland
I've made a few batches of soap with honey as an additive (60 grams per kilo of oil). I noticed the soap is a bit slow to set, and the soap residue in my equipment was a bit oilier than usual. So, I got to thinking, honey is acidic so it probably reacts with lye. I tried removing the honey as an ingredient in Soapmaking friend and it seems the lye amount remained the same, so I have actually used slightly less lye than I needed.

So, does anyone know what saponification value to use for honey when calculating the lye amount? Or, how much sodium hydroxide does a gram of honey neutralize?
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Hi @Hertzyscowicz

Honey is not an oil, so it does not saponify, i.e., it does not turn into soap. Rather, the sugar in the honey acts as a solvent that makes the soap bubble more easily. The other way that you asked the question, regarding the amount of lye neutralized, is the correct way to frame the issue. :)

The pH of honey varies from about 3.5 to 6, depending on the bees' source for crating the honey. Therefore, the amount of NaOH that a gram of honey might neutralize is going to vary greatly depending on the honey used.

Honestly, you use so little honey in comparison to the overall amount of NaOH that I don't think you need to worry about it. I've never seen any difference in soap being softer when using honey, as opposed to any other sugar. I've also not heard anyone else mentioning that they adjust their lye based on using honey.

Perhaps our resident chemist, @DeeAnna can shed further light on the subject.