Quantcast

Master-batching lye

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

AliOop

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
2,375
Reaction score
3,077
Location
US
I'm about to try master-batching, have read through tons of threads here, and still have some questions that I didn't see addressed elsewhere (if they have been, please indulge me anyway).

1. I'm assuming most of you don't create that master-batch in your storage container. Most of those have small necks which are great for pouring, but which would make it hard to stir the mixture to ensure the lye is completely dissolved. Also, many of the containers suggested, such as old washing detergent bottles, are also not translucent enough to determine whether all the lye has dissolved. So, what DO you use to create the master batch? I am considering a large stainless pot, but would love to hear other suggestions that might work better.

2. Whatever container you use to create the master-batch, what is best way to transfer the caustic contents into the storage bottle? A funnel would of course help, and I also considered using a paint-pouring attachment on the pot rim, which would help direct the flow a bit. But I still worry about pouring lye over the edge of a large pot into the funnel. It seems almost impossible to ensure that all of the liquid is directed into the funnel without splashing, side dribbles, etc. Any tips or tricks for successful transfer from batch-making container to batch-storing container would be much appreciated.

3. I don't need more than one gallon at a time at this point in my soaping journey, so my proposed storage container is a repurposed one-gallon HDPE white vinegar jug that has a tight snap-top lid, a small pour spout and a sturdy handle. It is translucent, and of course I would store it in a cabinet away from light, heat, etc. As long as I rinse it well, and let it dry well, does anyone see any potential issues with using this container?

Thanks in advance for your wisdom and assistance!
 

jcandleattic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
3,864
Reaction score
3,316
Location
Stuck in my head
So, what DO you use to create the master batch? I am considering a large stainless pot, but would love to hear other suggestions that might work better.
I use a 3 gallon HDPE bucket to masterbactch my 50/50 solution of 12lbs each water/lye.
Also, many of the containers suggested, such as old washing detergent bottles, are also not translucent enough to determine whether all the lye has dissolved.
My bucket is white and not translucent. However, I add a little at a time and stir it in the water to make sure it's dissolved. I can tell when I stir by the feel and sound of the ss spoon in the solution whether there is undissolved lye on the bottom of the container. It will feel gritty and sound scratchy if it's not dissolved all the way, so I just keep stirring until that feeling and sound are gone. (sorry, not sure how else to describe it)
2. Whatever container you use to create the master-batch, what is best way to transfer the caustic contents into the storage bottle?
I transfer it to my storage container (a well cleaned out laundry detergent jug) using a ss ladle scoop and a ss funnel.
It is translucent, and of course I would store it in a cabinet away from light, heat, etc. As long as I rinse it well, and let it dry well, does anyone see any potential issues with using this container?
As long as it's rated for caustic substance (2 or 5 in the recycle triangle) it should be fine. I would just wait until the masterbatch is cool before starting the transfer.
My bucket gets hot (very hot) so I wait until it's completely cool (with that much MB it will usually take 4-6 hours to completely cool, so I let it sit overnight and transfer the next day)

HTH
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
12,957
Reaction score
18,104
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
You probably don't want to fill a 1 gallon jug with a whole gallon of 50% NaOH solution. It's going to weigh about 13 pounds when full, and that much weight will be tiring to hold especially if you're pouring slowly so you can measure the weight accurately.

Any jug that is brim-full of liquid is difficult to pour from without dribbling. Consider filling the jug only 75-80% full for ease of use and fewer dribbles.

Even though the oft-used Tide detergent container is opaque, there are good reasons for using it. This container is designed for holding securely with minimum strain and pouring slowly, accurately, and without drips. A vinegar jug isn't really designed with this function in mind.

I would not recommend using a container with a snap top lid. Screw on lids are considerably more secure. A spill of vinegar is a stinky mess but it's not very likely to hurt anyone. A spill of NaOH solution will be a major safety problem.
 

shunt2011

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
15,389
Reaction score
9,598
Location
Michigan
I do the same as jcandleattic. I use a cleaned out laundry soap container as well. I like the pour spout. I use a silicone funnel.
 

cmzaha

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
11,448
Reaction score
10,502
Location
Southern California
DeeAnna is correct. I fill my 1-gallon bottles about 80% full with my masterbatch due to dripping when I first pour out of my gallon bottle. Besides dripping, if the bottle is full it will shoot out the top of the gallon bottle and tend to go over your smaller container you are measuring into.

I make my master in 2 gallon HDPE opaque buckets which I put in the sink in an ice-bath. When the solution is completely cool I pour off into Rubbermaid pitchers then transfer via a non-metal funnel into my gallon storage containers. All transferring takes place in my sink. Because of age and arthritis, I cannot handle anything heavier than 2-gallon buckets. My storage containers are 1-gallon dish detergent bottles.
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,057
Reaction score
10,804
Location
Right here, silly!
For mixing my lye, I use a translucent Rubbermaid pitcher made out of PP#5 plastic, and once cooled down, I transfer it (using a plastic funnel) into a clean, repurposed laundry detergent bottle made of HDPE #2 plastic and cover with its tight-fitting, screw-on lid:

IMG_5462LyeContainers640.JPG

I really like the no-drip spout of the laundry detergent bottle. All drips go right back into the bottle instead of on my counter.


IrishLass :)
 

AliOop

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
2,375
Reaction score
3,077
Location
US
Thanks, everyone! That is really helpful info. And pictures are always a bonus!

I did wonder if the snap lid on the gallon jug might be a safety issue, so I appreciate that warning.

This may sound silly, but how did y'all get your laundry detergent bottles to be clean enough for storing lye? They all smell so strongly of the detergent scent, which gives me headaches, which is why I make my own laundry soap. I guess I could try to find an unscented version?

Plus it seems impossible to know when it's really clean inside. There's probably some simple solution that I'm missing here.
 

jcandleattic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
3,864
Reaction score
3,316
Location
Stuck in my head
This may sound silly, but how did y'all get your laundry detergent bottles to be clean enough for storing lye? They all smell so strongly of the detergent scent, which gives me headaches, which is why I make my own laundry soap. I guess I could try to find an unscented version?
I rinse good with hot (almost boiling water) then I run it through a dishwasher, then I give it a good rinse/swirl with some vinegar, and l let it dry (I let mine sit there for up to a week to make sure it's really dry (and it helps we don't have much humidity here)
All of that tends to get the scent of the detergent out fairly well. Once I fill it with lye solution a couple times, no detergent smell is left.

Not sure this is a simple solution, but this is what works for me.
 

AliOop

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
2,375
Reaction score
3,077
Location
US
I use a 3 gallon HDPE bucket to masterbactch my 50/50 solution of 12lbs each water/lye.
That's way more than I want to make, but I do have 1-gallon HDPE buckets with lids. And even though the bucket isn't see-through, the large top opening provides a good view to the bottom to make sure all lye is dissolved. Excellent suggestion!

I could use that to make the solution, put the lid on it while cooling to lessen evaporation, and add a paint-pouring spout to the lid to make it easy to pour into another container... or even to pour directly from the bucket. The lid has a pre-marked circle on the top of it for that very purpose. Best of all, I could do this with materials on hand except for the pouring spout, which is $2.68 at my nearby Lowes. THANK YOU!!
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,057
Reaction score
10,804
Location
Right here, silly!
I only buy unscented detergent, so there's absolutely no leftover perfumey smell at all with which to contend.

To clean the detergent out of the container, I just fill halfway with water, shake and rinse, and repeat as often as needed until all bubbles are gone, then I let it drip dry upside down in my dish rack.


IrishLass :)
 

cmzaha

Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
11,448
Reaction score
10,502
Location
Southern California
I could use that to make the solution, put the lid on it while cooling to lessen evaporation, and add a paint-pouring spout to the lid to make it easy to pour into another container... or even to pour directly from the bucket. The lid has a pre-marked circle on the top of it for that very purpose. Best of all, I could do this with materials on hand except for the pouring spout, which is $2.68 at my nearby Lowes. THANK YOU!!
Do not put the lid on tight while the lye solution is hot. It can build pressure and also I do not want all the condensation dripping back into my solution. I cover mine with light dish towel until it has cooled. If by chance the paint pouring spout comes off or leaks you have a nasty lye solution spill. I have had those spouts come off when pouring paint so we quit using them years ago for paint. I have also mixed my masterbatch in the rubbermaid pitchers instead of buckets since I have several of them, and they are easy to find at second-hand stores.
 

jcandleattic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
3,864
Reaction score
3,316
Location
Stuck in my head
I do not want all the condensation dripping back into my solution.
See I'm the opposite. I agree with the no tight fitting lid, but I put the lid for my bucket loosely on the top, so that the condensation does drip back down in. That way I don't have to replace much if any water that may have evaporated out. I just give it a quick stir before and during the transfer process and it's fine.
 

SPowers

Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
668
Reaction score
866
Location
Windsor
I only make a small portion... no more than 16 oz of each ingredient. I keep my in a tall ziplock container with the screw on lid. It's easy to stir and easy to pour. Good luck!
 

IrishLass

Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
17,057
Reaction score
10,804
Location
Right here, silly!
See I'm the opposite. I agree with the no tight fitting lid, but I put the lid for my bucket loosely on the top, so that the condensation does drip back down in. That way I don't have to replace much if any water that may have evaporated out. I just give it a quick stir before and during the transfer process and it's fine.
I keep my condensation, too.


IrishLass :)
 

chayah

Active Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Messages
32
Reaction score
11
Location
Kingston
For mixing my lye, I use a translucent Rubbermaid pitcher made out of PP#5 plastic, and once cooled down, I transfer it (using a plastic funnel) into a clean, repurposed laundry detergent bottle made of HDPE #2 plastic and cover with its tight-fitting, screw-on lid:

View attachment 47446

I really like the no-drip spout of the laundry detergent bottle. All drips go right back into the bottle instead of on my counter.


IrishLass :)
Does the lye not penetrate the plastic jug. I make lye in a glass bottle but I like your idea. How do you know what the jug is made of?
 

AliOop

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
2,375
Reaction score
3,077
Location
US
Does the lye not penetrate the plastic jug. I make lye in a glass bottle but I like your idea. How do you know what the jug is made of?
It is never good to use glass with lye. The lye will etch the glass over time, and it will eventually shatter, leaving a caustic lye mess everywhere.

The plastic containers that are safe to use with lye are the ones that have either a 2 or a 5 on the bottom, indicating that they are made of polypropylene or high-density polypropylene. These are safe for short- or long-term lye solution storage.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MGM

Tais

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
Messages
35
Reaction score
34
Location
Australia
Awesome tip about the detergent bottles! My screw top bottles always get crystal and I might try to see how the detergent bottles go!

Regarding condensation, what I do is weight my hot lye solution(container + lye solution) and take note of it, next day when it has completely cool down I weight again and add water to it.

I got this idea from someone here in the forum :)
 

SPowers

Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
668
Reaction score
866
Location
Windsor
For mixing my lye, I use a translucent Rubbermaid pitcher made out of PP#5 plastic, and once cooled down, I transfer it (using a plastic funnel) into a clean, repurposed laundry detergent bottle made of HDPE #2 plastic and cover with its tight-fitting, screw-on lid:

View attachment 47446

I really like the no-drip spout of the laundry detergent bottle. All drips go right back into the bottle instead of on my counter.


IrishLass :)
I was looking at a pitcher today just like that - it was Rubbermaid as well but it didn't have a number on the bottom.
 

DeeAnna

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
12,957
Reaction score
18,104
Location
Northeast Iowa, USA
It is never good to use glass with lye. The lye will etch the glass over time, and it will eventually shatter, leaving a caustic lye mess everywhere....
And glass can break if you simply drop it, etching or no etching. Plastic is far more likely to survive a fall without spillage. This is especially true if the jug has a secure screw-on cap, not a flip-top cap that can pop open from an impact. Even if it does happen to split open, a plastic container is not going to scatter shards of glass covered in lye everywhere.
 

Latest posts

Top