Soap Making Precautions
Soap making can be a unique and rewarding hobby as long as we follow the proper safety precautions. One of the most significant aspects of this means learning about lye, and other safety procedures, and we should do this before even bothering to research how the soap-making process works. Sometimes even experienced soap makers need to be reminded. Don’t let this all scare you going to make soap can be as safe of a craft as any other.
Here are some soap making precautions quick tips:
We cannot make soap without lye. There’s no way around it, and if someone told you, they did. Even liquid soap, bath gels, and shampoos contain potassium hydroxide. However, lye on its own is a highly hazardous substance. If you use it properly, everything will be fine. Try not to develop fear and instead focus on handling it properly.
Wear goggles or safety glasses
Lye water can cause blindness if it gets into your eyes. It doesn’t take much.
Wear your gloves, clothes
If it can do that to your eyes, exposed skin isn’t safer either. Lye can eat through the skin. It can cause chemical burns that are painful and irritating, even in small amounts. It’s a good idea to keep a bottle of vinegar on hand in case of spills or splashes. If this happens, a vinegar rinse will help to neutralize the lye.
Even finished soap bars can irritate until soap has its curing time- usually a minimum of four weeks. When making soap, it’s intelligent to make sure you’re wearing clothes that will protect your skin. Long sleeves and pants, rather than shorts or dresses, are ideal. Remember your shoes and don’t forget about your feet.
Label your lye water
If lye is consumed internally, it is highly likely to be fatal. If you walked away even for less than a minute and someone walked into your kitchen with a bowl of lye water in a glass bowl or pitcher, the results could be deadly. Also, to be safe, mark your bowl or pitcher with a large adhesive label or, even better yet, a permanent marker.
Keep children and pets away while soap making
It doesn’t take much for lye to be harmful to anyone- it takes even less to bring harm to small children or pets. If you have little ones running around, it’s best to do your soap-making in a closed area they don’t have access to or wait until you have alone timed.
Work in a well-ventilated area
The fumes that arise when lye is mixed with water during the first few seconds can irritate the lungs. Although some people are more sensitive to it than others, everyone should be in a well-ventilated area. They usually give larger batches of soap off more potent fumes than smaller ones.
Use pure lye only
Never attempt to use drain or any other products that contain lye. These products contain other chemical ingredients that may interfere with the soap-making process. The results could range from winding up with a soap irritant to the skin to a lethal concoction you would not even want to be in the same room.
Use an accurate scale
Never measure your ingredients by volume because it can lead to inaccuracies, leaving you with irritating lye-heavy soap. Instead, make sure you weigh your ingredients on an accurate scale, preferably one that measures in tenths of an ounce increments. A good scale will suffice. It’s also a good idea to buy calibration weights for your scale so you can test its accuracy regularly.
Use distilled water instead of tap water
Some people say that it’s okay for soap making with regular tap water. In most cases, it probably is fine. However, tap water can contain various minerals and metals that may interact with your lye, giving some unexpected results in your finished soaps.
Use the right equipment
Choose your pitchers, bowls, spoons, or anything else that will come into contact with your raw soap with care. Ideally, you want to make sure your supplies will not be used, yet again for cooking, for example. You should also be aware that certain metals, such as copper or aluminum, can react chemically with lye unfavorably. Stainless steel and heavy-duty dishwasher-safe plastics are the best materials to use.
Mind your pour
Always make sure to lock the container of lye tightly when you are done. Any moisture that gets to contact the lye granules will form clumps, which may raise the chance of spills while pouring the next time you use it. If enough gets in there, it may even affect your soap by giving you incorrect weighing of your ingredients at the end.
Pouring gradually, so you get it right the first shot, and not have to put any back is also wise. Another thing that can be irritating sometimes when pouring to weigh your lye is static. Lye occasionally gets a charge, and granules here and there seem to have a mind of their own when poured. A quick wiping of the container you will weigh with a dryer sheet first helps with a smoother pour.
Always use a lye calculator
Never assume that a recipe given to you, found online, or found in a book is safe. Even if you get a recipe from the world’s most reliable source, it is always safer to run the recipe through a lye calculator first and then make sure you use the correct amount of your ingredients. Many free and easy-to-use lye calculators can be used online or downloaded to your computer.
It’s best not to do your soap making on any painted surfaces. Lye is a powerful chemical that can easily remove paint and damage surfaces. Even on kitchen counters made with tough surface material, it’s a good idea to lay down some plastic paper to protect the area you’re working. Remember to keep vinegar handy.