Lye crystals in measuring bowl and on spatula

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kmkieva

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I just finished my second batch and it went MUCH BETTER than the first. My question, though, is there are lye crystals in the plastic bowl and on the spatula I used to mix it into the goats milk; how do I clean them? Also, I let the lye temperature drop too low; I assumed I couldn't heat it up, so I mixed up another lye/milk mixture and put the original in glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Can I save that? If so, how do you reheat a lye mixture?
 

froggybean37

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Where are you getting your lye from? Do you know the purity? Are you adding anything else to the lye water?
 

kmkieva

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Lye beads from Bulk Apothecary, "high-grade sodium hydroxide".
 

commoncenz

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I just finished my second batch and it went MUCH BETTER than the first. My question, though, is there are lye crystals in the plastic bowl and on the spatula I used to mix it into the goats milk; how do I clean them? Also, I let the lye temperature drop too low; I assumed I couldn't heat it up, so I mixed up another lye/milk mixture and put the original in glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Can I save that? If so, how do you reheat a lye mixture?
For future reference, you could have used the lye mixture that you had already prepared. You don't have to reheat it. You don't have to do anything too it. Just use it. It will still work with the oils to cause saponification.

Now, the lye on your spatula and bowl. Are you saying that you didn't make sure that you dissolved ALL of the lye you added to your liquid before adding the lye mix to your soap? If that "IS" what you're saying, you have a problem as you will potentially have pockets/areas that are lye heavy in your soap. That is hazardous. You MUST make sure that you dissolve ALL of the lye into your liquid.

As far as cleaning the bowl and spatula goes, put your gloves back on and rinse the lye down your drain. Chase it down the drain with plenty of water. Be very careful that you don't splash when rinsing.
 
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DeeAnna

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Are you sure it is lye crystals? Are the particles floating or do they sink? If lye, the particles are usually at the bottom of the container. If not lye, the particles usually float.

If the particles are indeed lye, you need to be more careful when dissolving your lye next time to get the best results from your soap making. If the lye is remaining behind in your bowl, it is not in your batter to make soap. If you are dissolving lye in milk, getting all of the lye dissolved can be a problem. The milk is opaque so you can't see what you're doing. And the lye doesn't dissolve fast if if you are trying to keep the milk-lye solution as cold as possible. Stir, stir, and stir some more.

You may want to consider using the "split" technique many soapers use -- make a lye solution that is 50% lye and 50% water. Measure out the rest of your water-based liquid as fluid milk. Add the milk to your oils and mix in well. Add the lye-water mixture and soap as usual.

The reason why I asked the question whether you were sure the crystals were lye is that there are other particles that can form in a lye solution. The most common is that lye reacts with carbon dioxide in the air to make soda ash (washing soda). The soda ash looks like tiny flakes of white "snow" that will float on top of the lye solution and stick to your bowl and utensils.

Another thing that can happen is the lye can react with any fat contamination on your bowl or utensils. If that happens you'll see small flakes of soap form. They will look and act a lot like soda ash, although soap flakes tend to be a little heavier and more "curdled milk" looking.
 

shunt2011

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I just finished my second batch and it went MUCH BETTER than the first. My question, though, is there are lye crystals in the plastic bowl and on the spatula I used to mix it into the goats milk; how do I clean them? Also, I let the lye temperature drop too low; I assumed I couldn't heat it up, so I mixed up another lye/milk mixture and put the original in glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Can I save that? If so, how do you reheat a lye mixture?
You can use the lye even if it's at room temp. However, do not store it in glass. The glass can etch and fracture.

Just rinse your lye bowel, spatula etc under running water and let it go down the drain. Likely not enough to worry about.
 

cmzaha

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The few times I do add lye to gm, coconut milk, yogurts etc, It will saponify some of the fats and maybe because I stir continuous the saponified milk fat ends up as little specks which some will stick to the side of my lye pitcher and spatula, and I guess one could assume it is lye. I usually just scrape the pitcher and spatula off. This is why I normally use the 50/50 master batch method for my lye and if I want more milk than 50% of my liquid I use powdered milks and add to my milks. I could not really decide if the op was talking about the bowl the lye was measured into or the actual mixing container of milk, which would make a difference as to what is sticking to the sides
 

IrishLass

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Right here, silly!
Also, I let the lye temperature drop too low; I assumed I couldn't heat it up, so I mixed up another lye/milk mixture and put the original in glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Can I save that? If so, how do you reheat a lye mixture?

As the others have said- whether your lye is cool or hot, it will still make soap.

For future reference, you can heat up a lye solution that's too cold for the particular temp at which you like to soap if you wish, although I don't know that I would try it with a milk/lye solution. I do it all the time with my 50/50 lye master-batch which I keep stored at room temp (about 78F), but it's a water/lye solution.

I just place it in a hot-water bath on my counter to warm up while my hard fats are melting. Basically, I heat up some tap water in a pot just to the point where I see tiny air bubbles starting to form on the bottom of the pot. Then I pour it off into a container that's larger than my plastic lye-solution cup. Then I place my water/lye solution-filled cup into the hot water-filled container to warm up.

I wouldn't try it with a milk/lye solution because of the fats and sugars in the milk, which could more than likely prove to be problematic.

For the same reason, I would not store a lye/milk solution for future use, either, especially not in glass.

It's perfectly fine to store a water/lye solution, though..... as long as you use a proper storage container made out of either HDPE #2 plastic or Nalgene.


IrishLass :)
 

kmkieva

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To clarify, I measured the milk into a stainless steel pot and the lye in a separate plastic container. I then added the lye to the milk with continuous stirring with a spatula. There were some crystals remaining in the plastic bowl and on the spatula, so not all the lye made it into the milk mixture and thus I used slightly less than the amount of lye I should have. The advice to do a 50/50 version is well taken...:cool:
 

Seawolfe

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Oh just a dusting of left over crystals? Put the spatula in the cup and put both under a running faucet - rinse for a min or so and its good for the drains too.
 

Obsidian

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I use the spatula to scrap any left over lye out of the container it was measured in. Kind of confused as to why there was lye left on your spatula though, it should have dissolved while you were stirring.
 

cmzaha

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When I am measuring dry lye for mixing I keep out a little of my liquid to pour into my lye measuring cup so I can rinse it out. All that is going to really happen is you will have a touch of extra superfat. It will be so slight it will not be noticeable.
 

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