Lye is the one ingredient in soap making we don’t want to play around with. It is a caustic soda which means it has a high pH of 12 and can burn certain materials when in contact; especially our skin. When handling lye to create awesome soap there are a few things to keep in mind. If these things are followed your soap making experience should be a safe one.
Use of proper soap making equipment
The only metal that lye will not react to is stainless steel. You can use plastic or silicone equipment but when it comes to metal stainless steel only. This would can include your soap pot, slotted spoon and stick blender shaft.
Mixing the lye with water properly
The golden rule of making your lye water is pour your lye into your water and never water into lye. Lye loves water. It even loves the water in the air.
Using the proper protective gear
There are a few things you can wear that will help protect you from any contact with the lye. Be sure to cover your hands since this will have the most exposure to the lye. You want to have on gloves that go past your wrists if at all possible.
Wear a long sleeve shirt. This helps with protecting the wrists and forearm.
Wear a mask. Some wear the dust mask and others get the heavy duty makes that handle fumes. Choosing to wear the heavy duty mask may be because you want to go all out for safety and you should. But you also may choose it because you know you are going to be doing some serious soap making which would make you more exposed to the lye. If you are making soap once a quarter the dust mask will mostly be fine.
You can also wear a face guard. This would be good in case of splashes while mixing the lye solution and also while mixing the lye solution with the oils.
Make sure your work-space has proper air flow. You can open a window so some fresh air is flowing, you can have fans blowing to make sure the lye fumes don’t bother you, turn on the exhaust fan over the stove or you may go outside to mix your lye solution.
Don’t stand directly over the lye water
When you start mixing the lye in the water the water is going to heat to approximately 200 degrees. With 200 degree water comes steam. As you are mixing the lye water make sure you are able to comfortably able to stir but at the same not standing over the container inhaling the caustic fumes. Over time if you are directly breathing in the lye it can do harm to your respiratory system.
The objective here is to get in the practice of making soap safely. Are there any tips for soap making safety that you utilize that is not shared in this post. Please share below. I would love to hear you safety practices for making soap.