Sorry, I am all about lye safety when working with it, but I must disagree with the above.
First, we aren't talking about lye "molecules" - lye is usually in the form of grains, beads, or flakes.
Lye isn't poisonous. A fair number of foods are prepared in lye solutions: olives, bagels, and pretzels, for instance.
Lye solutions are also used to adjust pH for many body-care products that we apply to our skin and hair.
Most importantly, "raw" lye doesn't remain active after exposure to air. It actually absorbs moisture from the air, and ends up as harmless sodium bicarbonate (like the soda ash you see on soap). So, if a grain of undissolved lye somehow manages to attach itself to your stick-blender (despite having been mixed in water, blended into the soap batter, and then thoroughly washed up after), by the time you use the SB to make mayo or blend your butternut squash soup, that bead of lye is no longer caustic or dangerous in any way.
Same with any lye solution that somehow escapes being incorporated into the soap. If it soaks into crevices on your crockpot, as it dries, it will become harmless soda ash.
ETA: If you were to take the "no sharing utensils" rule to its logical conclusion, you should also not soap in your kitchen or in any area used for anything but soapmaking. After all, lye beads are probably more prone to scatter on countertops than to get stuck in the blade of your stickblender. But again, those lye beads on your floor or counters will become soda ash given enough time and humidity.
Interesting info, but my understanding is lye is hygroscopic (attracts water from the atmosphere), and that it's actually the water (H20) in the air that is reacting with the NaOH - not the CO2. But I supposed it could be both? Perhaps @DeeAnna could weigh in here.I started wondering about lye turning to soda ash. I found a figure 1800 mg/m3 for CO2 concentration of room air. A single molecule of CO2 will react with two NaOH molecules, the molecular weights are 44g/mol for CO2 and 40g/mol for NaOH, so to turn a gram of lye into soda ash would take about half a gram of CO2, which would be the equivalent of about 300 liters of air working its way into the lye. Then again, lye grains are way less than a gram so it would be like three liters of air, which is still a lot of air to penetrate into a solid object.
But that's beside the point, as you say we'd be realistically looking at homeopathic dilutions of sodium hydroxide by the time you get to cooking.
I would not recommend this, but instead reiterate the importance of using a reliable soap calculator.Lye is a caustic, and should be handled with care. Safety googles and protective clothing should be used throughout the process. Also, lye mixed in water gets HOT fast. So always mix cold water or whatever liquid your using with the lye-never use hot or warm liquids. In general, you will use about 2 times the amount of water as lye, but can err on the side of caution with a 2.5:1 ratio- that is, use 2.5 times as much water, by weight, as lye.
If you were to add this, perhaps creating a section for extras or bonus information. Something for the individual who can handle the math.If it was me I might even include a quick blurb that you can double check your recipes by hand with some simple math and a SAP chart, but this isn't necessarily the norm nor is it necessarily best practice for brand new soap makers without understanding the math and science behind it.
(I mean, I do all of my calculations by hand but that's because that's how I learned and it was outlined in the first soap-making book I was given. There was a whole chapter dedicated to it and math problems to solve. Because you know, grade 10 math wasn't traumatizing enough.)
Lol. Keep the tiny humans safe and loved.K. I'm being beckoned now by my small humans ...
Perhaps you could mention having vinegar on hand in case some lye water spills on your skin.Lye is a caustic, and should be handled with care. Safety googles and protective clothing should be used throughout the process.
Warnings and Suggestions for the Safe Use of PYREX® and PYREXPLUS®
Glass will be chemically attacked by hydrofluoric acid, hot
phosphoric acid, and strong hot alkalis, so it should never be
used to contain or to process these materials.
The CDC (ATSDR) state that neutralizing substances should not be used (for Skin Exposure).
(quoted from the CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry)
Skin burns from sodium hydroxide should be irrigated frequently with normal saline for 24 hours. Consider early (within 1 hour of exposure) institution of continuous hydrotherapy. Neutralizing substances should not be used. Fluid resuscitation should be provided as for comparable thermal burns; keeping in mind that the full extent of the sodium hydroxide burn may not be accurately assessed for 24 to 48 hours and may be underestimated initially.
I agree with @Marsi - never use vinegar to neutralize lye on skin. It makes the burn worse! Following the manufacturer's safety recommendation, which is to flush with cool running water, and to seek medical attention if it is a significant burn, or if it involves contact with mucous membranes.
Do you rinse the lye off your skin with water first?I've learned the best thing for lye burns is lavender oil. Soothes burns immediately and heals without scarring. I keep a small bottle of 5% lavender in jojoba oil handy in my soap box with all my other stuff. Ready to go when I am.
Thanks for clarifying. Would it be correct to say that the first or fastest reaction is for the lye grain to draw water to itself and become wet/diluted? and from there, it would mix with the CO2 to gradually produce sodium carbonate (soda ash) and thus no longer be the caustic NaOH of which the previous poster was so terrified?
Prysm's instructions here under 'Safety' is good and does not contradict how a calculator can be used. She already mentions using a calculator at least twice at the top part of the document.
That goes along with what I said above. I do believe knowing how to do this without the aid of internet access or even free-standing lye calculators is wise.If you were to add this, perhaps creating a section for extras or bonus information. Something for the individual who can handle the math.
NO. Vinegar will only increase the exothermic reaction of lye upon contact. Dilution with (cool) water is what is recommended by the medical community and by a huge number of well-versed soapmakers.Lol. Keep the tiny humans safe and loved.
Perhaps you could mention having vinegar on hand in case some lye water spills on your skin.
This has already been beaten to death, but I agree that this is an unnecessary hurdle to put in front of new soapers! Wiser to focus on the most necessary, agreed-on practices so we don't overcomplicate things for noobs. (Personally, I just don't have enough room for duplicate equipment.)As for keeping the implements separate, sodium hydroxide is a component in dishwasher detergent, soap can also be used for washing dishes, and oils can be cleaned off containers and implements with either. I don't think a starting soapmaker needs to shell out for a spare stick blender or extra pots and pans. I occasionally use lye to wash particularly greasy dishes.
This is definitely going in my shopping cart; thank you!You can imagine my delight when I recently learned that Amazon is now offering Borosilicate Glass Measuring Cups for "Commercial Use."
Durable borosilicate glass can be heated from 32°f (0 °C) to 450° F (232 °C).
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