Can we talk about clean-up/dishes?

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So, I am the luckiest woman in the world. Not only is Mr. E tall, blonde and handsome, but he's a plumber! (which means he's dirty dirty dirty and needs lots and lots of SOAP! : )

Because I eschew single-use plastic, I have a set of pyrex & mixing tools exclusively for soap. My windows of opportunity for soaping are few and far between, so when one opens, I make the most of it and usually make a half dozen batches in the span of a few days. Sometimes 2-3 in a day. So, this is a lot of cleaning in a short period of time. Betrothal to a plumber has a host of benefits, one of which is learning to be hyper-aware of everything that goes down the drain. Soap making is a greasy oily game.

I've googled mildly and found very little published on clean-up. One method involves leaving the dishes overnight until they turn into soap. I don't have that luxury (and I'm too type-A to leave anything in the sink for any duration of time : )

So, I treat each dirtied tool as if it were covered in bacon grease. I wipe it down with paper towels until all the oily sheen is gone. Then everything goes into a hot water and Dawn bath and is properly cleaned by hand. I rarely use the dishwasher (but did this week several times). So far, Mr. E is cautiously approving of my method.

Does anyone have any cleanup tips, wisdom, or advice to share?

Thank you!
 
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Mr. E. sounds like me! Except for the plumber part. And the blonde part. And the handsome part.

I know you are limited on time and items but I'll share what works for me. Especially in the fall getting ready for Christmas, I make many batches, sometimes daily. I have bought -- from thrift stores and dollar stores -- several sets of measuring spoons, spatulas, chop sticks, bowls, cups, etc.

After soaping, I use newspapers to wipe everything thoroughly. Then I leave things for 24 hours. Initially it was hard for me to leave the mess for another day -- BUT I'd much rather have soap go down the drain then unsaponified oils. It may be overkill, but I use the heavy option on my dishwasher.

[ For you younguns, a "newspaper" is kinda like CNN.com except it's on paper and the stories were written hours earlier. ]
 

MrsZ

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Your method is exactly what I do. Wipe everything down, soak in a hot water bath with lots of dawn. Then I put it through my dishwasher. Maybe overkill, but it works well for me. I haven't had any plumbing issues so far. I don't have space to leave my soap dishes overnight, and if I did, I'd probably forget them until I wanted to make soap next anyway.
 

TheGecko

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I've been soaping for other three years and have tried a whole host of things. From paper towels to leaving the dishes for 24 to 48 hours. I don't like wasting all those paper towels and dried soap can be a PITA to clean.

I clean as I go so I don't end up with a bunch of dirty dishes that I have to wash up when I'm done and tired. I keep a sink of hot soapy water going and wash everything up after every batch. Since I'm just making more soap, nothing has to be 'squeaky clean'. I also use microfiber towels to wipe everything down and wash with. The microfiber really grabs on to all the oils and butters and most of the time it's good enough that I don't have to actually 'wash' anything in between (except for my stick blender wand). And the towels rinse really clean with soap and water and be reused over and over and over again.

I don't make a lot of fancy soaps to begin with and I Master Batch*** my Oils/Butters and Lye Solution so I don't dirty a lot of dishes...mostly I make single-color or a two-color Drop/Chopstick Swirl. Minimum is one mixing bowl, one measuring cup, two spatulas and the little silicone thing that I mix my FO/Kaolin Clay with a frother. For two colors...I had another measuring cup and spatula. I do have one three-color soap, but I only make that one about once a month and I tend to do that one first so I can get rid of the extra cup/spatula asap. And since I am only using the one measuring cup/spatula for my Lye Solution, there is no reason to clean it between batches.

But when I'm done for the day, I spray a little white vinegar into my cup/spatula that had the Lye Solution in to neutralize the Lye and I do this because I don't wear gloves. I also spray my work surface with the vinegar for the same reason. I then spray my stick blender wand, bowls, spatula and work surface with an "'orange" cleaner from the Dollar Store before I stick them in the sink. This is because Dawn isn't as good as it once used to be and the oils/butters can often remain on dishes regardless of how much you use or how hot the water is. Then I stick them in the dishwasher for a final cleaning.

*** - Master Batching is pre-mixing xx amount of your oils and butters and your lye solution. I usually do about 40lbs of Oils/Butter and about a gallon and a half of Ready-to-Use Lye Solution. Takes me about an hour and cuts my soaping time by about 2/3s. It is NOT something that I recommend for new soap makers...give yourself a good year to really know your recipe and then start with smaller Master Batches.
 

TheGecko

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[ For you younguns, a "newspaper" is kinda like CNN.com except it's on paper and the stories were written hours earlier. ]
And for YOU younguns...those stories would have been at least the day before if not days before. Even with the event of computers instead of manual typesetting, the headlines and stories get printed out on sheets, the sheets get cut and laid out on masters, the masters are then photograph onto to negatives, the negatives then get reviewed get exposed onto metal plates, the metal plates then get bent and placed on drums and then the paper is printed.

Sorry...ex was a third generation strippers/printers...they all worked for local newspapers and regular shops. I even worked one year as a [computerized] typesetter.
 
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Wow! you guys are amazing, thank you!!! My soaping window is closed for the next few weeks (have to go back to my real home, and focus on client work) but I'm going to reference this thread when I get my next chance.

And @TheGecko I too clean as I go. And I'm old enough to have been a new-fangled computerized typesetter myself and did paste-up mechanicals for years, overlays, cutting rubies, the whole shebang. Mr. E was a web printer. : ) Sometimes I get a whiff of a press room, like opening a new magazine and miss the olden days. What good company this board is!

@Zing I bet you're awfully handsome 😚
 

Zany_in_CO

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Does anyone have any cleanup tips, wisdom, or advice to share?
Make "Plain Jane" soaps like I do. All my pyrex & mixing tools fit into my batch bucket and sit in the laundry room for 1, 2, 3 days or whenever I get around to washing up.
It's a great way to test drive the lather, scent and cleansing factors. :washingdishes:
 

user 56151

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I wipe everything down with rags that I can then bin. I leave jugs etc in the laundry tub for a few days before I wash them. I put utensils and smaller containers in the dishwasher. The things I wash by hand still have an oily coating regardless of how hot my washing up water is. I occasionally put these in the dishwasher to get rid of the oil slick.
 

Michelle0803

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I wipe tools off as I am done using them then put everything in a bucket. Once I am done soaping for the day, all spatulas, spoons, etc gets sprayed with Dawn Powerwash, rinsed in hot water and loaded into the dishwasher (I have a dishwasher in the basement that is only used for soapy things.) Anything that has soap in it sits for at least 24 hours in the bucket, then gets washed out with hot water and added to the dishwasher. Our home and drains are old so I try to eliminate as much oil and grease as possible.
 

mobe_45

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I leave one day before washing. At that point I scrape the hard soap off into my scraps container, then wash.
 
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I do as recommended by Lisa from “I Dream in Soap.” I use cloths (old washclothes, diapers, etc.) to thoroughly wipe down all of my utensile and containers. I put those in a plastic bucket that I keep next to my washer. I then wash all the utensils, etc. in hot soapy water, rinse, spray with vinegar, rinse again and dry. A couple of days later I run my laundry as normal and add the now soapy cloths into the load. I use about 1/2 the amount of laundry detergent I normally use. This works beautifully for me. I used to leave my utensils and bowls until the next day but grew weary of having to clean up before I could begin soaping. This is so much easier and I love doing it this way. We do have a septic system and have experienced no negative results from using this clean-up method.
 
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Good tip!!! I also like your advice about using cloths to wipe all the soap off everything. I cringe whenever I read that someone is using paper towels to do that. :rolleyes:
@Zany_in_CO Yep [hangs head] I've been using a staggering amount of paper towels. I love the cloth idea too and , what a great idea to wash them in the laundry after they've saponified!
 

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