Making soap isn't too scary

When I have taught classes in soap making, one of the comments I get often is that it helps for the students to see me make the soap and know that it isn't as scary as they thought. Any soap making book can scare prospective soap makers with the cautious talk of the lye, and the safety gear in handling it.

When I first made soap, I didn't have all that safety gear. I didn't want to spend any more money than I should. So I made soap without the gloves and eye protection. But I was certainly careful. Over the years, I have been very lucky to not have splashed the soap base in my eyes, although I have splashed it on my skin.

Later, when I knew I would be making soap forever, I felt I was knowledgeable enough to not get seriously hurt, and so far, this is the case. BUT, I am a careful person, and I set up my soap making store and at-home stations carefully, in order to reduce the chance of lye burns.

Having said that, I have had lye crystals get under my finger nails and burn. When those crystals get under there, you cannot get them out. Also, when I would wash the soap making pots after, the still caustic soap base causes anything from red skin, to a serious hot itchy skin where a rash-like irritation later occurs.

So you know yourself, and don't trust the kids and pets to stay out of your way, because they won't. Think worse-case scenario and plan your soap-making. To help you get started, here's things I learned:

- don't lift the stick blender out of the pot until it has stopped turning;
- rinsing all the pots and utensils with hot water first lowers the amount of caustic soap base;
- stick blenders are top-heavy and may fall over;
- lye is staticy, and likes to fly around just a little bit;
- wear gloves when you wash the equipment;
- the skin on the inside of your wrist burns alot easier;
- the soap base is often the same temperature as you and you won't feel the initial contact.

Just be careful and use common sense, I've seen other soapmakers with burn rashes up their arms. So for the amount of money for the goggles and gloves, get some and be careful.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I have a tendency to wash my utensils with bare hands. Today I did 4 small batches but the back of my hands are dried totally out. Had to use coconut oil to relieve them.