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Mixing lye outside

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Soaper987

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I want to mix lye outside but where I live gets very cold so I'm not sure if that will affect the lye. Its -30c outside where I live right now. Does anyone have experience mixing lye in extreme cold temperatures?
 

Bill Jones

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-30 is COLD! I lived for a few years where it got into the negative F scale. Dont want to do that again. My advice is dont go outside stay inside where it nice and warm.
 

Anstarx

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It never gets so cold here so I can't give you a direct answer on that.
However, I once mix lye with ice over an ice bath because I was really scared of it fuming even with all my safety gear. The lye ended up condensed into a small disk at the bottom of my pitcher and never really dissolved, had to chuck it out and make a new batch.
A low temp is good for lye-mixing but -30c may be too low.
 

TheGecko

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I want to mix lye outside but where I live gets very cold so I'm not sure if that will affect the lye. Its -30c outside where I live right now. Does anyone have experience mixing lye in extreme cold temperatures?
I lived in northern North Dakota and I used to hang warm sodas on my outside door handle and they’d be icy cold in about 15 minutes, and frozen in 20 so I wouldn’t recommend it.

1) You’re going to need to bundle up and you’re still going to want to wear proper gloves for protection because lye doesn’t have to be hot to burn you and you don’t want spill lye solution on regular gloves, because they will freeze.

2). As noted, it doesn’t long for water to freeze at those temps. Now I use frozen distilled water or frozen goat milk in an ice bath, but I do that because the lye heats up my water. And because it does heat up to around 70F, the lye is able to dissolve.

I know if I dump my lye into room temp water, it takes no time for the mixture to heat up to 200F. You would pretty much have to start with hot water because as soon as you expose it to -30F it’s going to start cooling down. You would probably want to dump your lye and stir as fast as you safely can and then cover it to transport into the house. If your lye solutions below room temp, don’t use it...cold lye can produce a false trace.
 

KiwiMoose

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I don't think it's necessary to mix it outside. With all the additional clothing and thick gloves you're going to have to wear in that temperature - you are more likely to spill it moving it about. I have always mixed mine inside, BUT I have always kept my distilled water in the fridge, AND I have always frozen a portion of it into ice cubes. For the 2 pound batches that I make, I add about 6/8 ice cubes and the rest in water, then add the lye to that and stir carefully until dissolved. If concerned about high heat at that point I just put that jug into a bowl of cold water from the tap to cool while I get my oils melted. A lot of people recommend mixing the lye and water actually in the sink - if you were going with this option you could partially fill the sink with cold water too. This has the added advantage of preventing any accidents if you have a lye volcano ( which I've never had by the way - but it is possible once you get into mixing lye with beer or other high-sugar liquids).
Try not to be too scared of the lye - it's to be respected, but being too scared will only make the experience more stressful and that's when accidents can happen. Once you've made a few batches you'll get into your groove.
 

Soaper987

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Well I tried to just open my kitchen window but it was frozen shut so I gave outside a try and it worked ok and no extra clothes needed I'm canadian I was born for the cold lol. I quickly mixed it outside and stirred it for about 45 seconds then came inside and put it on my stove with the fan running to cool. It did have steam/gas coming off it once I came inside so I think the cold did affect it a bit but everything worked out pretty good so far atleast. Picture of my first batch attached.
 

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CathyB

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I have been mixing mine outside (below 32F) and the only difference I've found is that it cools so quickly after the initial reaction. Makes bring to trace very slow, but lye still dissolves completely.
 

cmzaha

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Well I tried to just open my kitchen window but it was frozen shut so I gave outside a try and it worked ok and no extra clothes needed I'm canadian I was born for the cold lol. I quickly mixed it outside and stirred it for about 45 seconds then came inside and put it on my stove with the fan running to cool. It did have steam/gas coming off it once I came inside so I think the cold did affect it a bit but everything worked out pretty good so far atleast. Picture of my first batch attached.
As Shunt mentioned, it is still safer to mix your lye in the kitchen sink. The more you carry it around the more potential for a spill, especially in possible slippery cold conditions. Just turn your head and or cover your mouth while stirring. The fumes only last for a few seconds.
 

Misschief

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When it's that cold out, I would not be mixing my lye outside. It's -18ºC here and there's no way I'm standing out there to mix lye. Kitchen sink, all the way. And @Soaper987 I'm Canadian, too. Spent the first part of my life in Winnipeg, aka Winterpeg.
 

TheGecko

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Well I tried to just open my kitchen window but it was frozen shut so I gave outside a try and it worked ok and no extra clothes needed I'm canadian I was born for the cold lol. I quickly mixed it outside and stirred it for about 45 seconds then came inside and put it on my stove with the fan running to cool. It did have steam/gas coming off it once I came inside so I think the cold did affect it a bit but everything worked out pretty good so far atleast. Picture of my first batch attached.
Very pretty.
 

Carl

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I like to mix my lye outside so it can cool faster (it's colder than in the house). Biggest problem is leaves or bugs jumping in it for me. So now I do it elsewhere
 

Snowbell

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I used to mix my lye water outside in the winter too. Also a Canadian ;) . Safety first so make sure your container has a handle, and your path is clear. So all the shoes and boots out of your path and put away any animals that want to come in and out with you. I stuck my water container in the snow and add the lye slowly. Stir and back inside. I ran back outside every 5 minutes or so to give it a stir. You will get interesting ice sculptures wherever you put your container.
 

StormyK

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Are the only ones who have mixed lye outside Canadians? lol

I've also mixed lye outside, but it was my first attempt at a goat-milk soap so I mixed everything outside... IF I need cool temps - I may as well use the environment! That said, I usually mix over my stove with the vent on high. :)
 

jcandleattic

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Personally, I think mixing it outside and transporting it is more of a risk than mixing it in the kitchen sink. Just use proper equipment and turn your face away while mixing.
I agree. I'm too clumsy and I could just see a disaster happening if I were to try and mix anywhere there is transport needed.

I wear my respirator when masterbatching my lye, in my sink, because I do my soaping in my basement with no real ventilation other than the window across the room. As long as your face is not directly above the fumes, it should be fine and no need to be outside. In fact there are less fumes for me when masterbatching than when I made smaller batches because I am adding less lye at a time to a larger volume of water until the full amount is completely mixed and I have my 50/50 solution.
 

beckster51

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I live in the south of the US, and I mix my lye outside to avoid fumes, and it really does cool down the lye solution in the winter time.
 

SoapySuds

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I master batch my lye outside and keep my NaOH solution in a container that is marked and out of reach of children and animals with a spout on the container for easy dispensing.

Once it cools down, it’s easy to heat the solution back up if you need to on a hot plate in stainless steel.
 
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