Quantcast

Making cold pressed soap in an apartment...

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

lovelylilacs

New Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
1
Reaction score
1
Location
Bismarck ND
I just attempted my first batch of cold pressed soap! I am in college and the only private place I really had to make the soap was my apartment room, which is pretty small. While making the soap my door was closed but the window was open and I had a small fan blowing, but now I’m worried about breathing in residual lye fumes while I’m sleeping tonight... is this a silly concern? I’ve tried to do some research on it but can’t find much info about after the soap has been poured. I’m embarrassed to ask the question but it would put my mind at ease to hear from some experts 🙈🙃
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
3,963
Reaction score
5,966
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
First, it's cold process soap, not cold pressed. :) Congratulations on your first batch!

No need to be embarrassed about asking questions - you'll be fine. The "residual" lye will have dissipated pretty quickly and your soap batter doesn't gas off lye residue. That lye is busy turning that oil into soap.

Now, you need to go to the intro thread and let us know a bit about you and your soapmaking journey. And, as for questions, we encourage them. It's how you learn.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,340
Reaction score
18,915
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
If you weren't bothered by lye fumes when you were making the lye solution and making your soap, any danger from NaOH mist in the air is long gone.

Lye fumes are created only when the lye solution is extremely hot. If you can see mist rising from the lye solution like steam from a cup of coffee, it's a problem. But you can control the problem with some common sense steps. The fan and open window are both good steps to take, but also focus on keeping as much of the lye mist IN the container as you realistically can. If the lye mist stays IN the container, it won't be floating around in the open air to cause mischief.

Keep the lye container lightly covered at all times when the lye solution is steamy hot (don't cover tightly because you don't want pressure to build in the container.) You can even cool the lye container in a bath of cold water to get past the misty, steamy stage a little faster. Or make the lye solution outside and leave it outdoors until it gets over being steamy. Regardless, the key goal is to keep the lye container lightly covered until the solution cools below the steamy, misty stage. After that point, the danger from the lye mist is over.

NaOH mist will be extremely irritating to the respiratory tract, so it will be next to impossible to ignore it if you happen to breathe any in. Your nose will burn, your eyes will tear, and your throat will feel rough and irritated.

To the good side, NaOH reacts quickly with anything and everything to form relatively non-toxic chemicals. That means by the time you're done making soap, any small amount of NaOH mist that might have escaped into the open air won't be a problem anymore.

I am far more worried about the effect of any fragrances you might have used, whether they be fragrance oils or essential oils. They are much more likely to be a risk to your health if you are forced to breathe them for hours in a confined area.
 

Jibbian

Member
Joined
May 11, 2018
Messages
14
Reaction score
11
Congratulations on your first batch!

As others have said, I doubt lingering lye fumes is something to worry about—especially with an open window. But! I just started wearing a cloth mask while I'm mixing my lye solution, and it's a total game changer. I can't recommend it enough to avoid those noxious lye fumes at the beginning of the process.

Happy soaping!
 

UrsaMinor

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
26
Location
Quebec
Personally, lye really bothers me so I wear a painter's mask from the time I make the lye solution to after my dishes are done. A lot of people who make a lot of soap I notice the lye ends up slowly deteriorating their vocal chords and they sound more and more raspy and 'old' sounding. Listen to Anne-Marie from Brambleberry 8 years ago and now and she doesn't soap with a mask.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
13,340
Reaction score
18,915
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
While lye mist can certainly be a health problem, it can be well controlled by keeping the lye container covered as much as possible, using good ventilation in the soaping area, and wearing a respirator rated for alkaline mists and fumes.

A far greater risk for one's health is fragrances, whether EOs or FOs. You cannot entirely control the evaporation of these vapors, and they can become quite concentrated in the work area when making soap.

Fragrances can cause long-term allergic reactions, central nervous system problems, and respiratory problems. That's especially true for people who routinely make a lot of soap, but even soapers who only make soap occasionally can also be affected.

Good ventilation is helpful when working with fragrances, but anyone whose health is being affected by exposure to fragrances must also wear a respirator fitted with an organic vapor cartridge. That's the only surefire way to control exposure.

edit: Well actually not using fragrances at all would be the only surefire control. But good ventilation and wearing the right respirator will help a huge amount.
 
Last edited:

GemstonePony

Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2020
Messages
1,108
Reaction score
1,610
Location
Minnesota, USA
I like freezing some of my liquids to cut down on fumes and waiting time. I start with some liquid on the bottom to ensure that I don't end up with liquid on top of lye and all the mischief that can create, and then I stir while adding the lye to make sure the lye is dissolving well as I go. Most of my batches are pretty small and call for 150g liquid or less, though, so if you're doing large batches or masterbatching this might not be as practical.
 

Lynnz

Crafty Addict
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
1,984
Reaction score
356
Location
Wanganui New Zealand
I am paranoid about mixing lye, I always do it outside with a mask on, I hold my breath when giving it a stir up.........Neighbours must think me either mad or into something illegal lol
 
Top