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frustrated... bf says soap making is too dangerous

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MaRanda

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I read the story of a woman whose husband was so concerned about her first batch of soap that he made her hang biohazard signs outside of the garage. I thought... "that would never be me".

It is me.

My boyfriend, upon learning the details of soapmaking immediately became panicked. He thinks that I need a biohazard suit and insists that it cannot be done in the kitchen. Now he's flat out forbid me from doing it unless I rent a laboratory space or something. This is out of hand.

I know that some of you have spouses and some of those spouses must have over-reacted. How did you squelch that worry so that you could get your first batch under your belt? I'm considering making my first batch while he is out of town on a business trip this week (underhanded, I know), but I feel as though having a finished product and a kitchen that isn't blown up would help my case... or make him mad, that's a possibility.
 

CiCi

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It wasn't my spouse...because I don't have one :p :D, but it was me. I bought a respirator, goggles, numerous pairs of gloves, apron...yada, yada. I had plans to wear heavy shoes, long pants, long, heavy shirts...you name it. I was so afraid of the lye that even when I had all of my stuff, I had to make myself soap. I kept finding reasons why I should read more this and that. Anyway, I was really nervous my first session and it was all for naught. Soaping sounds scary and you really have to be respectful of the lye, which I am...but it is not dangerous like you think it is. Just be sure to wear eye safety and if you need to wear gloves, then wear them. I'm too clumsy with gloves. I'm a hazard to myself with them on, so I soap without them and that is my choice. I get raw soap on me all of the time. I keep a bucket of hot soapy vinegar water next to me and when I feel the burn, I just rinse off in the bucket and it's instantly okay. I respect lye, but I don't panic about it anymore. I soap in my kitchen. What I WOULD worry about is if I had small children or pets. You can sometimes lose a few and I do mean just a few (if you are very careful) lye crystals. If one fell on the floor and the pup, cat or child came along and stepped on it, they would get a small burn. I soap on my kitchen counter and when I am done, I take a paper towel, wet with vinegar and wipe the counter down to neutralize anything that may have gotten away from me, which would be very rare for me. I'm so careful that I barely lose even a drop of anything. A few here and there. It really is not as dangerous as your bf thinks it is. He would love it, I'm sure.
 

fladais

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MaRanda said:
Now he's flat out forbid me from doing it unless I rent a laboratory space or something. This is out of hand.
that's just crazy. i'm married, i pay bills too and if i want to spend the money that i earn on a hobby, i do. my husband doesn't tell me what i can and cannot do with my own money or anything else for that matter.

when i make soap, i always measure my lye outside on my back porch and when i add it to water, i stir it a bit outside and then bring it in and put it in my kitchen sink until i'm ready to use it. you just have to be careful with it the way you use caution with a hot stove or driving to the market. hope that makes sense.

i have 4 dogs and i use baby gates to block off my kitchen while i make soap. i don't allow my daughter [she's 16] or my husband in the kitchen until i'm all finished and everything is clean...only because i don't want them asking a 1000 questions and getting in my way. :lol:

i hope you can work things out and make a batch or two [or 456] of soap soon. :)

good luck!!

paula
 

Martin

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If both of you are that scared of lye you might just try M&P.

Sonja
 

lsg

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I was very apprehensive also with my first two batches. I make my lye solution in the kitchen sink next to an open window. I also run the range vent while I am working with soap. Wearing goggles, long sleeved shirt, long pants and rubber gloves helps protect the body from spills. Never work with lye without first putting on those goggles.
Soapmaking is such an enjoyable hobby, that I hate for you to miss out. I can bet after the first couple of batches, you won't be nearly as nervous and will be hooked on soapmaking.
Have your boyfriend read our replies. Maybe he will convinced that it is not the bio-hazard he thinks it is.
 
G

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MaRanda said:
My boyfriend, upon learning the details of soapmaking immediately became panicked. He thinks that I need a biohazard suit and insists that it cannot be done in the kitchen. Now he's flat out forbid me from doing it unless I rent a laboratory space or something. This is out of hand.
Dealing with lye is no more dangerous than other household activities, such as deep frying where you have a large amount of very hot oil to be careful with. Assuming you read all the instructional material on how to safely work with lye and bought all the necessary respirator, gloves, goggles, you should be able to mix lye with no problems. Anybody who has a high school education should be able to tinker recipes with a soap calculator and get the correct amount of lye in recipes.

Mixing it outside will avoid the crystals getting away from you. A few stray flakes outside is no problem.

The real problem I see is that you shouldn't let BF dictate your activities, or even accept that from your spouse if you get married. If you decide you want to make soap just go ahead and take all proper precautions and make a batch of soap. If BF doesn't like it then he should just STFU or tell him to hit the road. There's no sense in getting involved in a relationship where one person orders the other person what to do. Even worse, he may be showing a lack of faith or trust in your abilities and competence.

fladais said:
that's just crazy. i'm married, i pay bills too and if i want to spend the money that i earn on a hobby, i do. my husband doesn't tell me what i can and cannot do with my own money or anything else for that matter....
good luck!!

paula
Right on Paula! Marriage isn't a master-slave thing. Each spouse should allow their partner the freedom to do what they want to do. Her soapmaking shouldn't be affected by his lack of trust in her abilities. He can just not use the soap if he doesn't like it.
 
G

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lsg said:
I was very apprehensive also with my first two batches. I make my lye solution in the kitchen sink next to an open window. I also run the range vent while I am working with soap. Wearing goggles, long sleeved shirt, long pants and rubber gloves helps protect the body from spills. Never work with lye without first putting on those goggles.
I had a similar experience at the beginning, handling lye with extreme caution almost to a degree of timidity. After several batches I've dispensed with the heavy duty hazmat gloves at least on small batches, using disposable latex gloves instead. I still use the respirator while I'm handling lye flakes or mixing the lye, but do without after the lye is in the fat. I sometimes lose the goggles then too because I wear reading glasses anyway so they give a partial degree of protection from splatters of soap batter. Also learned how to stir it without splattering. All lye needs is a proper regard for its dangerous properties and the proper equipment and procedures to handle it safely.

Another comparison: A container of hot lye is not any more dangerous than driving your car at 70 mph on the freeway. In fact the car is probably the more dangerous of the two.
 

Sholdy

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Lovehound said:
MaRanda said:
If you decide you want to make soap just go ahead and take all proper precautions and make a batch of soap. If BF doesn't like it then he should just STFU or tell him to hit the road. There's no sense in getting involved in a relationship where one person orders the other person what to do. Even worse, he may be showing a lack of faith or trust in your abilities and competence.

fladais said:
that's just crazy. i'm married, i pay bills too and if i want to spend the money that i earn on a hobby, i do. my husband doesn't tell me what i can and cannot do with my own money or anything else for that matter....
good luck!!
paula
Right on Paula! Marriage isn't a master-slave thing. Each spouse should allow their partner the freedom to do what they want to do. Her soapmaking shouldn't be affected by his lack of trust in her abilities. He can just not use the soap if he doesn't like it.
my bold

Good posts, guys.

It's the attitude where one partner can 'forbid the other from doing something they want to do that's the bigger issue here than whether or not you make soap....

Try education him - lye is simply a strong base. It's just that simple. What you're adding to it isn't going to cause an explosion, the only danger is that you might get burned.

I make soap in my kitchen. I mix the lye and water in the sink by an open window. (I don't trust my coordination enough to carry the mixture in from the backyard! lol) Once I did spill about 2 cups of water/lye mixture - it splashed across the kitchen and into the dining room. Never was anything cleaned up so fast before in my lifetime! But nothing melted or was marred or damaged from the spill, except my pride. :?
 

dragonfly princess

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Um.................hmmm.............the spouse needs to take a chill pill! I can understand some concern over the lye, I was so freakin nervous the first time I did it. I do mix my lye in the sink next to an open window. You just need to remember to respect that you are working with a caustic substance, and move on from there!
 

cdwinsby

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Educate him!!! Tell him that is important to you and provide him with information about the soapmaking process.

It sounds like he would appreciate something like a "game plan" for how you intend to go about the process and what precautions you will be taking to ensure it all runs smoothly.

Some men need to be finessed rather than battled.....help him along to your way of thinking in terms he is willing to listen to. :D
 
G

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Sholdy said:
It's the attitude where one partner can 'forbid the other from doing something they want to do that's the bigger issue here than whether or not you make soap....
That's it exactly. Nobody should order their partner around, nor be expected to accept orders. Henpecked husbands are the other side of the issue. It's wrong no matter which partner does it.

I usually mix my lye in the sink. Then I rinse out the lye weighing container in the lye to catch any remaining flakes, pour it back into the mixing container. Lye is not dangerous as long as you treat it with respect.

You should also understand what the correct amount of lye is with any given recipe. For me it isn't good enough to trust any recipe given me or found on the Internet. I run them all through SoapCalc to get the correct amount for my degree of superfatting (5%).
 

Tabitha

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I would just make it when he wasn't home & make sure it's all cleaned up before he gets back.

By him a weekend in Vegas for his birthday & soap away while he is gone :wink: -LOL!
 

IanT

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Tabitha said:
I would just make it when he wasn't home & make sure it's all cleaned up before he gets back.

By him a weekend in Vegas for his birthday & soap away while he is gone-LOL!
Or tell him to take the stick out of his @rse and release you from the leash....dont let anyone control you, like above...I totally agree, youre your own person...shine bright and let no one cloud over you!!

(So (to play off the stereotype I feel like your guy might be under...not to point fingers or pass judgment or anything...) does your husband have the same sort of hangup about you doing the laundry and bleaching the whites??? Or does he take on that job!??? Lye is just as dangerous as bleach is pretty much...if you can use one you can use the other..)

Sit him down. Look him into the eye...And tell him this:

"I know your worried and I appreciate that you care enough to be worried, but I am a full grown woman and I dont need you to act like a Dad and tell me what I can and cant do, we BOTH pay bills here (assuming) BOTH take on duties here...and therefore are BOTH entitled to do whatever we want regarding this house, so if I want to make soap...then **** right...Im making soap and if you dont like that, I heard they had a special at home depot on Igloo dog houses...$79.99...not sure if you can fit your TV in there or the couch, but like the song said "You cant always get what you wahaaaaaant" "
 

cdwinsby

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MaRanda,

I am sorry for your dilema, however I must thank you for this thread as I haven't had such a good giggle in a long time. :lol: Reading your story and everyones responses has been very entertaining to say the least.

It's probably a good thing our forum group here doesn't know where you live as your bf would most likely have a mob of outraged soapers on his hands!

Does he have a hobby or whatever that has any dangerous aspects you might be able to use against him? :twisted: Just a thought.

Good luck and don't give in!
 

ghengis151

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MaRanda said:
I read the story of a woman whose husband was so concerned about her first batch of soap that he made her hang biohazard signs outside of the garage. I thought... "that would never be me".

It is me.

My boyfriend, upon learning the details of soapmaking immediately became panicked. He thinks that I need a biohazard suit and insists that it cannot be done in the kitchen. Now he's flat out forbid me from doing it unless I rent a laboratory space or something. This is out of hand.

I know that some of you have spouses and some of those spouses must have over-reacted. How did you squelch that worry so that you could get your first batch under your belt? I'm considering making my first batch while he is out of town on a business trip this week (underhanded, I know), but I feel as though having a finished product and a kitchen that isn't blown up would help my case... or make him mad, that's a possibility.
Your bf is definitely over-reacting. As a chemistry major, I'm in the lab frequently working with far worse chemicals. Just practice some rules of safety.
1. Wear latex gloves
2. wear eye protection
3. have proper ventilation
4. any utensils/equipment that comes in contact with the lye or raw soap should not be used for food prep.
5. Mixing lye with water produces alot of heat so make sure to use a pyrex container or something that won't melt when mixing the lye solution.
6. Aluminum reacts with lye. Try to aviod using metal when working with lye. Stainless steel is ok, but the lye with eventually eat away the protective coating in the long run.
7. pyrex, plastic and rubber is safe to use with lye and raw soap.
8. have vinegar at hand to neutralize any lye that comes in contact with your skin.
9. avoid wearing open toe sandals in case of a spill.

I agree with your plan. Make a batch while he is away. When he see's your beautiful soap with no accidents or emergency room visits, I think he will definitely chill out. Another possibility is to show/explain to him the procedure of soap-making to quell his worries. He is probably worried because he is unfamiliar with the procedure. If there are no kids in the house, working with lye poses minimal risk if you practice safety first. If he is concerned with you blowing up the house or something, that won't happen. You should be worried about avoiding chemical burns when working with lye. As the others have posted above, working with lye is as dangerous as working with bleach or hot oil. If you have a septic tank, pouring lye down the drain is a no no. It will kill the good bacteria that degrades the waste. Good luck and happy soaping!!
-Rick
 

Jean

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I probably should not admit this, but I don't wear goggles, gloves, apron, I just go at it like I was making a cake. I do agree that you need to be careful when handling lye, but if you accidentally do get some on you, you won't do it again. Just keep the vinegar handy. Some people are "weiners" and are afraid of their own shadow. Do handle it with respect and you should do just fine.
Jean
 

PrincessMommy

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I think the suggestions about education and perhaps coming to a workable compromise are good. My only idea is: do you have a friend or family member who might also be interested in doing this? Perhaps you can do it together at his/her house first and then show your bf the fruit of your labors.

I, however, take a slightly different view about respecting your bf's wishes. In situations like this I try to turn the tables and think of how *I* would feel if I had a strong opinion about something and my SO just railroaded me and did it anyway (or went behind my back). I'd be pretty steamed. Tread carefully with that one and try to work something out together.
 

IanT

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I soap barefoot in a T shirt and shorts (shh I didnt say that ;) )

It's probably a good thing our forum group here doesn't know where you live as your bf would most likely have a mob of outraged soapers on his hands!
Read: armed with super-soakers of lye solution muahahahha :twisted:
 

PrincessMommy

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Jean said:
I probably should not admit this, but I don't wear goggles, gloves, apron, I just go at it like I was making a cake. I do agree that you need to be careful when handling lye, but if you accidentally do get some on you, you won't do it again. Just keep the vinegar handy. Some people are "weiners" and are afraid of their own shadow. Do handle it with respect and you should do just fine.
Jean
I don't either. I sometimes wear gloves when I'm mixing the water/lye together, but usually forget to do it later on. Last time I did wear an apron because I ruined one of my fav. shirts the batch before this one.
 
G

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I agree with the others regarding making soap while BF is away, but one more thing. You should make a point of telling BF upon his return that you have successfully completed your soapmaking. It's not a good idea to start doing things behind his back. Do it right in front of him, well maybe after the fact, and then inform him that you are an adult and make your own decisions. Might as right find out right now if he can handle that. If not then you have some serious thinking ahead.

But don't do it behind his back, beyond doing it anyway when he's gone and then telling him you did it when he returns. It's a good time to have it out if necessary.

Pretty serious topic for this normally placid forum. :)
 
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