SOAPSTONE is a metamorphic stone or rock composed of one or more minerals; however, in most industrial applications it is almost always a mixture of minerals because the mixture is somewhat harder than single mineral soapstone and mineral mixtures in nature are common, while single mineral purity is much less common.
It commonly has a “soapy” to slippery and soft feel when the surface is unaltered by long use or treated with chemicals or oils.
Hardness: Soapstone used for surfaces is a soft dimension stone. Mohs hardness 1-4, depending on mineral content. The softness is a plus: It can be worked with ordinary tooling, scratches and dings can be eliminated or minimized with ordinary sandpaper, and it is forgiving of china.
Chemical reactivity: Soapstone is very inert. It does not react with strong acids or alkali (basic) solutions.
Heat retention is very high. Soapstone is unaffected by temperatures from well below zero to above ±2,000° F.
Since soapstone is a metamorphic stone formed under high pressure, it is highly compacted and dense; thus absorbency is zero or so close to zero that it is inconsequential, making this stone exceedingly sanitary as a food preparation surface, as well maintained surfaces resist harboring bacterial growth.