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I've been reading that a saponification reaction typically involves NaOH or KOH. I was wondering - could anything that contains an OH group cause a saponification reaction? For instance, coconut oil + ethanol? If not, why is a "strong base" needed?

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    $\begingroup$ Not everything what has OH is a strong base, the same as not everything what has H is a strong acid.(Otherwise table sugar would be both ). Strong base is needed as OH- is needed to react with the ester group. Alkohols do not produce OH-. $\endgroup$ – Poutnik Apr 8 at 5:40
  • $\begingroup$ Coconut oil + EtOH might produce transesterification but you will not get any free acids from it. $\endgroup$ – Waylander Apr 8 at 7:06

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