How to Perform a Quick Saponification of Methyl Salicylate Reaction

Scented soap made by hand
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Making your own soap can be a time-consuming process, but you can demonstrate the saponification reaction quickly and easily by reacting oil of wintergreen and sodium hydroxide to make sodium salicylate. This takes mere minutes.


How to Perform a Quick Saponification of Methyl Salicylate Reaction

  1. This demonstration is about as easy as it gets! First, get your materials together.
  2. Pour 2M sodium hydroxide into the oil of wintergreen, while stirring.
  3. Sodium salicylate will be formed by the saponification reaction. It will appear as a thick white solid.
  4. Here is the reaction: HOC6H4COOCH3 + NaOH → HOC6H4COO-Na+ + CH3OH

Tips for Success

  1. Oil of wintergreen is methyl salicylate. If you have difficulty finding it under one name, then try the other.
  2. This demonstration is intended to be performed by persons with training in the handling and use of chemicals. Proper safety precautions must be used, particularly when handling NaOH.