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LyeSoap

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In order to get started with my soap making I had to purchase lye in bulk. I have it sitting in its original container within a rubber-maid bin. Everything is properly labeled and tucked away. I have explained the hazards learned from the msds to everyone in the house and they know the procedures to take should anything go wrong.

What precautions do you take other then the ones I have listed when storing a big pail of the stuff in your house? From what I have read most people do not use a full rubber suit with face shield to handle the material so what precautions do you take while measuring, mixing with water and creating cold process soap? Will the large pail go bad if too much moisture from the air gets at it?

The reason I am asking is I spent the last two days in training for high voltage electrical work, and the suit you have to wear for that is pretty intense. Before I go pick up the equipment for handling listed on the msds, I wanted to see what everyone else has, and uses.
 

kwahlne

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Hello! I'm a 5-batch newbie. I use rubber gloves and chemical goggles. I've read where you should wear long sleeves and long pants but I don't do that.

The container my lye comes in is air tight so it shouldn't absorb any water if sealed shut.
 
G

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I'm a 7 batch veteran (;) ;) ;)) and I use safety goggles sold at Home Depot saying they are good for chemical protection (about $5), a nose and mouth mask (respirator) designed to prevent inhalation of particulates (about $5) and heavy duty neoprene coated latex gloves (again about $5).

Wear shoes and long pants. Some advise long sleeved shirts too but I'm too layed back for that! ;)

Put your stuff on before you weigh the lye. Keep it on until after your lye is in the fat, at which point most probably take off the mask but keep the gloves and goggles.

Mix your lye near where you are working (don't carry it a long distance, and particularly not up/down stairs) and keep one hand on the handle of the container and the other hand UNDER the container. (I put my lye container in the kitchen sink and mix it there. Handy for spills.) Exercise due caution!

Keep a bottle of ordinary vinegar on hand in case you splash it on your skin. The mild acid of the vinegar will help neutralize the strong base of the lye.

I purchase my lye in 2 pound containers. Yes, avoid letting moisture in. Open it only when you need some and keep it tightly closed when not in use.
 

Deda

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Lovehound said:
Keep a bottle of ordinary vinegar on hand in case you splash it on your skin. The mild acid of the vinegar will help neutralize the strong base of the lye.
Vinegar! Saved me so so so many times :roll:

I wish I could say I observed all the safety precautions. Mostly, but not always. I do wear rubber gloves and goggles (mostly). Bad example. :oops:

I mix my lye for the week all at once, then dispense it as I need it. I keep it under the sink in a large fabric softener bottle with a dispenser spout. Tightly capped.
 

reallyrita

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Keep as much of your skin covered as you possibly can while measuring out the lye and while stirring it into the liquid. I wear goggles and a respirator and neoprene gloves. I mix the lye into the water in a sink with an open window nearby. Whey I come back to the lye mixture in order to mix it into the oils, I wear the goggles and gloves. Never bare feet. Keep a cup of vinegar nearby just in case,but best to rinse in water first, then vinegar. This is not nuclear material here, folks. just take some simple normal precautions and you will get used to handling the lye...just don't get lazy about the safety precautions. Don't walk around carrying that lye solution. Stay close to your sink or soaping area and you will be ok...keep family members (including the furry ones) out of the way until the lye is in the oils. If you have to leave the lye solution sitting around waiting for that soaping moment, keep a top on it and maybe even a post-it note if you are not alone in the house. The fear factor kept me from soaping for 5 months...now I feel silly about that fear.
 

IanT

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where is lye-eye!!?!?!?! lol ... I use a painters respirator (the one that makes you look like Darth Vader with the refillable inserts), goggles, and heavy duty gloves....also make sure youve got adequate ventilation so the vapors dont stay trapped in the room...


other than that I know your supposed to wear shoes and such and lots of skin covered up and all.... I totally advocate that, but sometimes I cheat and soap barefoot in a T and shorts...but Ive always got a bottle of vinegar and a water/vinegar bath ready should any accidents occur :)
 

7053joanne

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I'm the worst. :oops: ...I wear gloves and have vinegar near at hand....that's really all i do. I do mix it outside because I have pets and worry about them inhaling the fumes.


Joanne
 

LyeSoap

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Thanks for the input everyone; there are lots of good ideas brought forward. Thanks for the vinegar reminder, I need to go and pick some up before the weekend. I think I may end up getting a few safety items this week as well. Probably going to get face shield, goggles and a respirator and some decent gloves. It couldn't hurt :D, thanks again guys.
 
G

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LyeSoap said:
I think I may end up getting a few safety items this week as well.
Just a suggestion, visit Home Depot or another hardware & home improvement store first and you can get all the equipment in one stop, and get change back out of a $20 bill.

Get the flexible goggles that say "for impact & chemical splash." Get the disposable respirator mask designed to protect from particulates (i.e. lye powder), and get the neoprene covered heavy duty latex gloves (not disposable). You could get more expensive, more professional equipment but what I describes meets or exceeds what most people are using. I think the total cost should be about $15 including sales tax.

If you're lucky you can get your lye at the same place unless you have a bulk source with better prices. Roebic's lye goes for $7.66 (2 lbs.) at Lowe's and they should probably have all the same equipment as HD. HD doesn't carry pure NaOH lye, at least not in California.
 

chrisinflorida

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Sorry Joanne, I have you beat at being the worst. :oops:

I wear a T-shirt and shorts, go bare-foot, and don't wear any goggles or gloves. The first time I made CP soap I tried doing the goggle/glove thing, but it was more of a hindrance to me so I said forget it. For me, I think they would have caused more accidents than prevented them. I have a degree in Biology and have had many chemistry labs so I have worked with chemicals before and feel fairly comfortable with the lye.

The only precaution I do take is to mix the lye and water outside and to keep my animals away from the kitchen when I'm soaping. I've made 17 batches so far without incident. Oh, I almost forgot...I keep my husband out of the kitchen when I'm soaping too. :D

Chris
 

7053joanne

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LOL :twisted: Yeah I am a science geek. I work as a geologist and am playing with chemicals all the time (actually much worse chemicals than lye). I prefer to have my arms exposed so i KNOW when I get something on myself....then I can act immediately. Yes I have gotten lye on myself before but only got mild irritation from it.

joanne
 

Deda

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chrisinflorida said:
Oh, I almost forgot...I keep my husband out of the kitchen when I'm soaping too. :D

Chris
Yep, that's the most important part. He sees me in the kitchen, he thinks I'm going to cook, HA HA HA. He should know better by now. (J/K) :roll:
 
G

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7053joanne said:
I prefer to have my arms exposed so i KNOW when I get something on myself....then I can act immediately.
That reminds me of my freshman chemistry lab. I was doing some exercise involving sulphuric acid and was busy pouring reagants into test tubes or something when my stomach began to itch. I reached down to scratch and touched not my shirt but my bare stomach! It turned out that I was leaning against the lab bench and had spilled H2SO4 and it dribbled over the edge and started eating up my shirt. I ran to the emergency shower and dashed some water on my stomach, bid a quick goodbye to my lab partner and beat a hasty retreat home to change my shirt. :)

Some time I'll tell you about when I accidentally made cyanide gas in chem lab. :shock: :shock: :shock:
 

perfectsoap

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My two cents!
I do RTCP, so I mix my lye with water (aloe juice) and store it in bleach containers.
I mainly focus on eye protection and avoiding fumes. I think it would be hard to make soap without my sight and I inhaled once (guess I wont ever be president!) once and that was enough!
I tried something different last time I mixed! I wore a pair of thin latex gloves under my big heavy blue chemical gloves! It worked out awesome! I was able to take off a heavy bulky glove to hold my funnel or screw the cap on the bleach bottle and still have a little protection, then put the heavy glove back on if I wanted. I was also able to wash my stuff still gloved!
Boy the fumes are bad! I make my mix outside (hope a bird doesn't ever fly overhead and cause a splash in my mix! guess that is another good reason for eye protection!) or if cold in the garage! (downwind)
what else... I guess I treat it like anything else that is dangerous like a chainsaw! I treat it with respect, take safety measures and hope for the best!
I keep my lye locked up mixed or unmixed! I have kids and it just isn't worth the risk!
Jeff
 
G

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I often find it convenient to take off the heavy duty gloves after I pour the lye into the oils/fats, then put on light weight disposable latex gloves. Much better for fiddling with additives, colorants, scents, etc.
 

Natalie

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I'm a 6 batch newbie. None of my batches were completely sucessful (at least 1 thing has gone wrong with each) but I keep trying.

I store my small container of lye away from everything in the corner of the kitchen, it's just me and hubby so no worries of anyone getting into it.

I've been around lots of chemicals (photo, silkscreen, printmaking, ect) so I'm not afraid of them, just cautious. I'm not too hip on wearing masks and gloves, but for this I do. When I make soap I wear a tank top, pants and my slippers. I use a hospital mask and surgical gloves which stay on until the lye has been in the oils for a bit. For eye protection I wear sunglasses(!!) and those stay on until the soap is in the molds. My sunglasses are not dark ones. Actually, this is the most protective gear I've ever used.

Using lye was a bit frightening at first, I read up a lot on it and heard stories of it spilling and eating away counters, floors and burning skin. The more I handle it the less frightened I become. Now if the soap would come out to my liking, great!

I also make sure I'm not tired or rushed when I make soap, being preoccupied while handling chemicals isn't a good thing.
 

rubato456

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respect for lye

i was a bit spooked to work w/ lye, as i have a 'souvenir' from one of my college chemistry labs..it was too long ago to remember the details, other than i was working w/ sulfuric acid and somehow a drop got onto my hand. it ate a respectable size hole into my hand (pea sized but deep) which i still have a visible scar....that must have been 33 years ago.....but i wear my gloves, googles and so far after two batches no mishaps....

i'm wondering if it's ok to simply have my 2 lbs container of lye tightly capped, or do i need to keep the capped container in something else once i've opened it? i've only bought 2 lbs containers...because i was worried about how to store larger containers once they were opened....should i be worrying about special storage on even the 2 lbs containers once opened??
 

Lil Outlaws

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chrisinflorida said:
Sorry Joanne, I have you beat at being the worst. :oops:

I wear a T-shirt and shorts, go bare-foot, and don't wear any goggles or gloves. The first time I made CP soap I tried doing the goggle/glove thing, but it was more of a hindrance to me so I said forget it. For me, I think they would have caused more accidents than prevented them. I have a degree in Biology and have had many chemistry labs so I have worked with chemicals before and feel fairly comfortable with the lye.

The only precaution I do take is to mix the lye and water outside and to keep my animals away from the kitchen when I'm soaping. I've made 17 batches so far without incident. Oh, I almost forgot...I keep my husband out of the kitchen when I'm soaping too. :D

Chris
LOL I have YOU beat. I don't mix it outside!
:oops:
hahaha
 

Lindy

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I now use a full face shield when mixing the lye and when I add the mixture to my oils because I did manage to splash my cheek - still not sure how that happened - I wear the chemical gloves and long sleeves at thje same time. Once it's emulsified I take off the face shield because I reallt, really hate it! Fortunately I haven't had any real burns....which is good cause I can be a real klutz at times - you should seen what I've done to myself when carving and that was with using protective gloves and finger wraps~ :shock:

I store my lye dry in its container and in the cupboard - there are no children here and everyone in the family know where it is plus it is well marked. Since it is tightly sealed it seems to be okay ~ although I'm sure someone has a horror story to share to make me rethink my evil ways..... :lol:
 

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