Just finished making my first batch of soap!

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

Bamagirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
230
Reaction score
204
Location
Alabama
I just finished making my first batch of soap! Everything went as I was thinking it should based on my reading here and watching youtube videos. I think I achieved trace. It is now sitting in the mold waiting for tomorrow to get here. My recipe was 50% lard, 30% olive oil, 15% coconut oil, and 5% castor oil. I made a 1.5 lb batch. Worst part was being scared of the lye. I mixed it outside and of course you know that the wind hasn't blown this entire week or all day, but the minute I went to measure out the lye, it did. I don't have much ventilation in my kitchen, so I was scared to do it there. Then cleanup, that was fun. How do you manage to wipe everything down without getting the batter everywhere? Will the batter burn through my gloves? (they are just gloves used for cooking, not the heavy duty, just the thing plastic type ones) I used papertowels, but I read somewhere that I could have used rags and then washed them after a couple of days? Does anyone else do that?

Now, for my serious question, how scared of lye should I be? I mean, I am holding the lye container like it's a nuclear weapon that is going to explode on me :mrgreen:. I mixed this outside, but was afraid that I was going to drop some on the ground and cause all kinds of problems. I am assuming most people are afraid their first couple of times? (Please tell me I am not the only one and that I will get over this and be able to enjoy making soap)

Anyway, my sweet darling husband made me a wood mold to hold the silicone mold so that hopefully the bars come out nicely shaped. When I unmold, I will post pics of the soap (hopefully) and the wooden case he made me.

Thanks for everyone's help!
 

Seawolfe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2014
Messages
3,272
Reaction score
2,998
Location
So Cal
Congrats on your first batch!

Lots of people are scared of lye, but lye is no worse than lots of other hazmats we use and store everyday - kerosene, gasoline, ammonia, bleach, rat poison, fireworks, gun powder...

Just be careful and deliberate, and rinse off any splashes well. It won't burn through your regular kitchen dishwashing gloves, but don't get it on your potholders :) I wipe my batter covered utensils out with paper towels, but rags would work too if you left them to saponify. I just rinse the lye jug and utensils well in running water - its good for the drains.

I mix my lye in my sink or under my stove's fan. If not in the sink I always have something underneath to catch drips - a plastic tray works nicely. I do anything I can that keeps me from walking about with a pitcher of lye water more than a step or two, and I just don't inhale while Im mixing :)
 

lsg

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
Messages
14,570
Reaction score
5,963
I like to mix the lye and water in the sink also, in case of a spill. I was scared when I made my first couple of batches. Just be sure to wear protective goggles & dishwashing gloves. Long sleeves are a good option, too.
 

Bamagirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
230
Reaction score
204
Location
Alabama
Congrats on your first batch!

Lots of people are scared of lye, but lye is no worse than lots of other hazmats we use and store everyday - kerosene, gasoline, ammonia, bleach, rat poison, fireworks, gun powder...

Just be careful and deliberate, and rinse off any splashes well. It won't burn through your regular kitchen dishwashing gloves, but don't get it on your potholders :) I wipe my batter covered utensils out with paper towels, but rags would work too if you left them to saponify. I just rinse the lye jug and utensils well in running water - its good for the drains.

I mix my lye in my sink or under my stove's fan. If not in the sink I always have something underneath to catch drips - a plastic tray works nicely. I do anything I can that keeps me from walking about with a pitcher of lye water more than a step or two, and I just don't inhale while Im mixing :)
I had read that I could wipe off everything, and then wait until the next day and they would be easier to wash, so I was planning to wash with warm soapy water tomorrow.

I will actually probably mix up the next batch in the kitchen, I had just read about there could be some fumes and didn't know what to expect so I decided to do it outside this time.
I like to mix the lye and water in the sink also, in case of a spill. I was scared when I made my first couple of batches. Just be sure to wear protective goggles & dishwashing gloves. Long sleeves are a good option, too.
I made sure to do all of those, and am glad I did. I noticed when I took off my gloves that some of the batter had gotten on my shirt sleeve, so I am assuming that would have been on my arm if I hadn't had on long sleeves.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

LoveOscar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2014
Messages
127
Reaction score
65
Location
Tennessee
Congratulations!

I use a silicon spatula to get everything out of my mixing bowl and into the mold, and I have very little to wipe down after that. I just use paper towels and wipe it into the trash and put the bowl under running water for a couple minutes. I don't know about the rags, possible as by then it would have settled and wouldn't be considered raw after a couple days.

My lye is in a powder form so I weigh it in the kitchen, my lye in a measuring cup, and weigh my water in a separate measuring container. Then I take them both outside and sit on my porch and slowly pour (or spoon) the lye into the water. I have a concrete porch, so I'm not super worried about the lye spilling. And while I'm outside, if I do spill, I can just grab the hose and douse it with water.

I don't fear lye, but it deserves a healthy respect. It's no worse than handling any other caustic chemical. I used to work in auto parts, so to me, it's no worse than getting battery acid on your skin. It starts to burn and itch, you run it under cold water, and you end up with an itchy red spot for a couple days. I'd say the worst part about lye is the fumes it gives off when mixing. You want to be outside if your kitchen isn't well ventilated, because they'll make you choke.

I've completed 3 batches of soap now, and I'm not uncomfortable handling lye. Some might be more careful for longer. I'm used to working with chemicals because of a previous work environment.

Sometimes I'm not careful enough though apparently. My husband came rushing into the kitchen the other day because he heard the hand mixer. My cousin called in the middle of all my measurements, and he thought I had started mixing the lye water with the oils while still on the phone. :roll: Silly hubby. Wifey not THAT careless. :silent:
 

JayJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
421
Reaction score
221
I had read that I could wipe off everything, and then wait until the next day and they would be easier to wash, so I was planning to wash with warm soapy water tomorrow.

I will actually probably mix up the next batch in the kitchen, I had just read about there could be some fumes and didn't know what to expect so I decided to do it outside this time.
Congratulations on your first batch! Doesn't it feel awesome!

Anything with soap batter on it will be easier the wash the next day. But I always rinse out the lye water container and the container that I used to weigh the lye immediately after soaping. Then I put it with the pile of batter dishes for the next day.
 

Bamagirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
230
Reaction score
204
Location
Alabama
Congratulations on your first batch! Doesn't it feel awesome!
Absolutely! In fact, if things look ok tomorrow when I unmold, I will probably do another batch as I had three recipes that I wanted to try (there is only slight variations to each though, so not totally different recipes). I want to find a recipe I really love and then once I've got it down pat, maybe try to add some scents.
 

JayJay

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
421
Reaction score
221
Absolutely! In fact, if things look ok tomorrow when I unmold, I will probably do another batch as I had three recipes that I wanted to try (there is only slight variations to each though, so not totally different recipes). I want to find a recipe I really love and then once I've got it down pat, maybe try to add some scents.
...and THIS is the beginning of the addiction! :) Muuuuuaaaahahahahaaaaaa.
 

lenarenee

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2014
Messages
3,703
Reaction score
3,314
I just finished making my first batch of soap! Everything went as I was thinking it should based on my reading here and watching youtube videos. I think I achieved trace. It is now sitting in the mold waiting for tomorrow to get here. My recipe was 50% lard, 30% olive oil, 15% coconut oil, and 5% castor oil. I made a 1.5 lb batch. Worst part was being scared of the lye. I mixed it outside and of course you know that the wind hasn't blown this entire week or all day, but the minute I went to measure out the lye, it did. I don't have much ventilation in my kitchen, so I was scared to do it there. Then cleanup, that was fun. How do you manage to wipe everything down without getting the batter everywhere? Will the batter burn through my gloves? (they are just gloves used for cooking, not the heavy duty, just the thing plastic type ones) I used papertowels, but I read somewhere that I could have used rags and then washed them after a couple of days? Does anyone else do that?

Now, for my serious question, how scared of lye should I be? I mean, I am holding the lye container like it's a nuclear weapon that is going to explode on me :mrgreen:. I mixed this outside, but was afraid that I was going to drop some on the ground and cause all kinds of problems. I am assuming most people are afraid their first couple of times? (Please tell me I am not the only one and that I will get over this and be able to enjoy making soap)

Anyway, my sweet darling husband made me a wood mold to hold the silicone mold so that hopefully the bars come out nicely shaped. When I unmold, I will post pics of the soap (hopefully) and the wooden case he made me.

Thanks for everyone's help!

Yeah you'll get a little more comfortable as you go along. The key is to not get TOO comfortable/casual with the lye.

I suggest investing in a heavy, sturdy container (tip resistant) like stainless steel if you can. Figure out the safest arrangement in your soaping area to always keep your lye solution while you're working - that way you won't accidently grab the container thinking it's something else. Having one dedicated container for your lye, and one dedicated spot to let it sit and cool will help you establish a good habit that helps keep soaping safe.

Dumbest thing I ever did was get a new fangled automatic faucet in the kitchen sink. It's a large and deep sink so it *was* a great place for my lye to cool. But this stupid high tech faucet not only turns on with a wave of your hand, but with a passing shadow, bug or thought! Imagine going to the bathroom during the dark of night and hearing water splashing full force downstairs! :evil:
 

Bamagirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
230
Reaction score
204
Location
Alabama
Dumbest thing I ever did was get a new fangled automatic faucet in the kitchen sink. It's a large and deep sink so it *was* a great place for my lye to cool. But this stupid high tech faucet not only turns on with a wave of your hand, but with a passing shadow, bug or thought! Imagine going to the bathroom during the dark of night and hearing water splashing full force downstairs! :evil:
Oh no, that sounds pretty frustrating!
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,282
Reaction score
11,089
Location
Right here, silly!
Please tell me I am not the only one and that I will get over this and be able to enjoy making soap.
With pleasure! You are not the only one. You will get over it and be able to enjoy making soap! I promise! :)

The first time I ever soaped, I was so scared of the lye that I had completely covered myself from head to toe, with only my eyes visible (peeping out from underneath my goggles). I looked like some kind of soaping ninja. lol By about the 4th or 5th time or so, though, I was able to shake off all my trepidation and about half of my makeshift hazmat gear, and soap with joy.

I've never lost my healthy respect for the lye, though. I still always wear goggles and gloves, and I always protect myself from breathing in the lye fumes while mixing it, but I'm no longer petrified of it. I just treat it with the healthy respect it deserves, and then carry on from there with confidence.


IrishLass :)
 

Steve85569

Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2015
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
2,113
Location
North East Oregon, USA
Lye respects no one. Drain cleaner it is. That's because it eats hair. And skin. Turns fats in to ..... SOAP! YAY!!

Wear protective gear when handling lye and keep it on while dealing with raw batter. I glove up when cutting too. don't be scared of it. It will burn you but it burns slow enough that you can wash off any that does get where you don't suspect it could before it gets too serious. A long time ago I got to use commercial quantities of lye to sterilize food equipment. Oh yea, do NOT use aluminum for anything. Lye does not like it. smoke and fumes and everything.
It was a bad day at work...
 

doriettefarm

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
1,342
Reaction score
1,123
Location
Alabama
Yay, I was wondering when we would hear about your first batch of CP! I was initially worried about the lye but quickly learned not to be afraid . . . just take certain precautions and give it the respect it deserves (gloves & eye protection). I always mix my lye water in the kitchen sink so if anything goes wrong I can just send it down the drain. I also like to mix mine in a container that can be covered just in case I need to turn my back for a minute and not worry about the kitties getting into it.

After making a batch, I usually just put the dirty dishes in the laundry room for a few days and let the batter turn into soap. Seems like it's better for the plumbing than putting unsaponified batter down the drain. I'm dying to see pics so please post when you unmold and cut tomorrow!
 

Dana89

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2014
Messages
289
Reaction score
245
Congrats! I can see your future now, from now on everything you see will be a potential soap mold, soap tool, soap ingredients. You will stand way too long in the oil isle salivating when you go to the grocery store. Spare money? Bwahahaha, it all goes to the soaping addiction. Welcome!
 

navigator9

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
2,713
Reaction score
3,092
Location
New England
Congratulations on your first batch! Sounds like everything went well. You got lots of good advice here, and I'm sure you're anxious to be on your way to the next batch. One thing...if your soap doesn't gel, it won't be ready to unmold the following day. It will still be going through the saponification process, and it will be soft and "zappy." Ungelled soap usually takes several days to be able to unmold. Be sure to post pics when you do.
 

dibbles

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
6,906
Reaction score
7,684
Location
Minnesota
Congratulations on your first soap! As others have said, you will get more comfortable with the lye. I think that is most beginning soaper's biggest hurdle. I always still wear long sleeves, gloves and goggles while I'm soaping and cleaning up. I have a stainless steel pitcher which I weigh my liquid in, and use clean yogurt containers to weigh my lye. (I have yogurt most mornings, so I have an endless supply, and just toss them out after adding the lye to the liquid.) For clean up, I get as much of the batter out of the bowl as I can, then wipe with paper towels. Usually wash up the next day...or the day after that.

Now the waiting. The very hardest part of all.
 

Bamagirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
230
Reaction score
204
Location
Alabama
Congratulations on your first batch! Sounds like everything went well. You got lots of good advice here, and I'm sure you're anxious to be on your way to the next batch. One thing...if your soap doesn't gel, it won't be ready to unmold the following day. It will still be going through the saponification process, and it will be soft and "zappy." Ungelled soap usually takes several days to be able to unmold. Be sure to post pics when you do.
How do I know when its ready to unmold?
I think I unmolded too early, but patience is something I will have to work on I guess :):) Here's the pics of soap and the mold holder that my husband made me.

IMG_20151230_155841639[1].jpg


IMG_20151230_155901813[1].jpg


IMG_20151230_155821913[1].jpg


IMG_20151230_160316510[1].jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,713
Reaction score
9,214
Location
Texas
I gently push on one corner of the soap. If I can't dent it, it is ready to unmold and cut. Generally 18-24 hours for my recipes.
 

Bamagirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
230
Reaction score
204
Location
Alabama
I gently push on one corner of the soap. If I can't dent it, it is ready to unmold and cut. Generally 18-24 hours for my recipes.

I gently pressed in the middle and it didn't indent, but I didn't press very hard. A couple of spots on the sides had turned loose, but not all the way around, so I pulled it loose. Then turned it upside down and peeled the mold off. It seems to be pretty hard, but since this is my first batch I really don't have a point of reference. It was right at the 24 hour mark.
 

Susie

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
9,713
Reaction score
9,214
Location
Texas
I would have unmolded then, also. But you may use a softer recipe than I do. If you see that the next batch does the same thing, you can pop the mold in the freezer for an hour or so to harden it up for neater unmolding.
 

Latest posts

Top