Lye Safety First when soapmaking
Ever thought about making your own home made soap? It is such a fun hobby but you need to take it very serious. You are dealing with lye which is sodium hydroxide. Lye is a caustic chemical and must be treated with respect. When I make my soaps, there are no children around, no pets and no distractions. It only takes about an hour or less so keep your phone off. These distractions have caused some really disturbing accidents and must be taken seriously. It hasn’t happened to me personally but you can google lots of incidents. On the other hand, if you learn everything there is to know about lye and have the knowledge of what it can do to you and your home furnishings, then by all means, let’s move forward. These are just a few of the things I do before, during and after making soap.
Where a mask with filters like painters use
If possible mix the lye outside. I’m in Canada so it isn’t always possible
If you can’t go outside, make sure you are in a well ventilated area with an exhaust fan.
Wear protective gloves. Put on full length pants and full sleeves, yes, even in the summer.
Wear protective goggles.
Do not breath in the fumes when the lye gets in contact with the water.
Make sure your lye/water container is able to handle over 200 degrees and doesn’t shatter
You can use plastic but again, it must be a hard plastic. Google the number on the bottom.
Always be sure you are near a sink when mixing the lye/water in case you get it on you.
.Now because you have added the 3 ingredients that make soap, lye, water and oils/fats, what is so fascinating is, by the time the soap is fully cured about 6 weeks or more, there is not one trace of lye left in your recipe. Isn’t that cool? It takes at least these 3 ingredients with the correct measurements to make this happen. Anything less, flopped. Anything more, flopped. You’d have to correct the recipe and then cook it on the stove if you remembered the amounts you put in. That is another lesson.
Now, getting back to lye. It comes in crystals, flakes and liquid. I’ve always used crystals in my recipes. That is my personal preference, you can decide for yourself what is best for you.
Chemistry is 100% the only way to make soap. Depending on what oils you choose you will need a calculator to figure out the amount of lye you need and water.
When you have decided what type of soap you want, then head over to SoapCalc. This is a free website dedicated to soapers to plug in the weights to come up with a specific recipe for themselves.
Learn as you go. You will make mistakes but the key is to learn by your mistakes. Become the soapmaker you want to be. Hobby or Business? Totally up to you. They make amazing gifts for anyone and can be very inexpensive to make depending on the oils and fats you choose.