Psychosomatic or mishandling lye

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BlackBoar

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Hey all.

I've just started making soap and I've mentioned before I soap in my room.

Every time I make soap for the next couple of days I imagine that my skin is irritated, my lips, mouth and throat are stingy and I have a dry cough.

When I make soap in my room, my goggles fog up (I'm trying new ones soon) and I can't see. I almost always spill a few lye beads, and not being able to see, I just soak the area with vinegar and wipe a few times.

I don't know if I'm crazy but I swear I'm getting irritation from this. I'm a messy soaper. Is vinegar and some wiping really enough? If all the stuff I use for making soap can never ever be used for food then would a surface I touched and then touch my mouth be bad as well?

A lot of soapers on youtube are pretty loose, some not even wearing gloves, or they just wipe up a spill and continue on. Most cut their soaps the day after with no gloves and I swear when I touch my soaps even when I wash my hands after I get irritation, especially the soaps that aren't gelled.

Has anyone else "imagined" they are contaminating everything?
 

Arimara

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It sounds like you may have some sensitivities there. To deal with fly-away lye beads, you might want to consider trying fabric softener sheets and wiping down the inside of your measuring tools and the outside of your lye containers before you measure the lye. As for the combining of the lye to liquid, you probably should find a liter or 2L container with a lid to make your lye solution outdoors. That's the best way to ensure some ventilation. If you can't do that, open a window, if you can and make your lye solution around there.

The only time you may be able to get way with not using separate containers for soaping is if you use ONLY stainless steel equipment and even then, you have to do a good job cleaning the equipment. Everything else, I would NOT chance using for food.
 

topofmurrayhill

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Hey all.

I've just started making soap and I've mentioned before I soap in my room.

Every time I make soap for the next couple of days I imagine that my skin is irritated, my lips, mouth and throat are stingy and I have a dry cough.

When I make soap in my room, my goggles fog up (I'm trying new ones soon) and I can't see. I almost always spill a few lye beads, and not being able to see, I just soak the area with vinegar and wipe a few times.

I don't know if I'm crazy but I swear I'm getting irritation from this. I'm a messy soaper. Is vinegar and some wiping really enough? If all the stuff I use for making soap can never ever be used for food then would a surface I touched and then touch my mouth be bad as well?

A lot of soapers on youtube are pretty loose, some not even wearing gloves, or they just wipe up a spill and continue on. Most cut their soaps the day after with no gloves and I swear when I touch my soaps even when I wash my hands after I get irritation, especially the soaps that aren't gelled.

Has anyone else "imagined" they are contaminating everything?
It's possible that your mind is involved, and/or maybe you're just sensitive to something in the soapmaking process. Protect yourself sensibly, be careful and (maybe most importantly) find some way to ventilate your room better. Maybe an exhaust fan blowing out the window.

NaOH beads you spill probably don't survive the night. They will soak up moisture and liquefy. When they dry, they have turned into sodium carbonate, aka washing soda. Still alkaline but not as caustic.

Neither NaOH nor sodium carbonate are systemically toxic. The only materials of concern in using soaping stuff for food prep are fragrance and color. Even that is only an issue with some plastics. Stainless steel should be fully washable.
 

BlackBoar

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It sounds like you may have some sensitivities there. To deal with fly-away lye beads, you might want to consider trying fabric softener sheets and wiping down the inside of your measuring tools and the outside of your lye containers before you measure the lye. As for the combining of the lye to liquid, you probably should find a liter or 2L container with a lid to make your lye solution outdoors. That's the best way to ensure some ventilation. If you can't do that, open a window, if you can and make your lye solution around there.

The only time you may be able to get way with not using separate containers for soaping is if you use ONLY stainless steel equipment and even then, you have to do a good job cleaning the equipment. Everything else, I would NOT chance using for food.
I think I will start to mix the water outside ahead of time, good idea. I do open a window but I know for a fact my window air flow goes inward rather than sucking it out. I think using the drier sheet will help with the beads sticking to my containers/funnel.

I'm also sleeping here with all my fragrance oils so the smell isn't great for me either, is it? And then the bleach...

I don't know, when I started MP soap I got sick from the smell. When I used vanilla stabilizer I started to vomit. I think I'm just a weak soul *faints*.
 

lenarenee

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Have you used any fragrances? They may a problem for you.

You sound anxious about the lye, and that may be - like you mentioned - causing psychosomatic issues. If so, then after you gain some confidence I expect that will stop.

Cold process soap can take 2 or 3 days before its saponified enough that it won't irritate naked skin.

Check in and let us know how it's going for you.
 

galaxyMLP

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The smell is likely what's causing irritation. I make soap with certain FOs/EOs and they trigger that back of the throat itch for me. Some also give me instant headaches. Be careful with the scents.

Now that I have a soaping room it's much better but if I had to ditch the room I would get a closed container and attach a fan to it and place my soaps in there. That way my soaps can cure but I won't have to deal with as much fragrance in the air. You would need to open that box daily to let in new air so you don't saturate the air in the box with moisture though.

Ive never had problems with the lye (except the first two times I soaped where I inhaled some lye fumes... Oops!)

Edit: I forgot to add, it's a good idea to wear gloves when cutting a fresh loaf of soap! It always makes me cringe when I see people not wearing them in cutting videos!
 

topofmurrayhill

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I'm also sleeping here with all my fragrance oils so the smell isn't great for me either, is it? And then the bleach...

I don't know, when I started MP soap I got sick from the smell. When I used vanilla stabilizer I started to vomit. I think I'm just a weak soul *faints*.
Do NOT sleep with your fragrances. Trust me, don't do it. Move that stuff.
 

green soap

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lol I'm not a troll!
So sorry and I hope I did not offend you.

If you soap in the same room where you sleep make sure you have good ventilation, and make the soap early in the morning if possible.

If you spill lye beads, picking them up with paper towels is better than flooding the whole place with vinegar.

Don't know what you put in your soap. FO? EOs? if it is just plain unscented soap ......let saponification happen, do not handle it until it is complete. If you HAVE to handle it, wash your hands with lots of water.
 

BlackBoar

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The smell is likely what's causing irritation. I make soap with certain FOs/EOs and they trigger that back of the throat itch for me. Some also give me instant headaches. Be careful with the scents.

Now that I have a soaping room it's much better but if I had to ditch the room I would get a closed container and attach a fan to it and place my soaps in there. That way my soaps can cure but I won't have to deal with as much fragrance in the air. You would need to open that box daily to let in new air so you don't saturate the air in the box with moisture though.

Ive never had problems with the lye (except the first two times I soaped where I inhaled some lye fumes... Oops!)

Edit: I forgot to add, it's a good idea to wear gloves when cutting a fresh loaf of soap! It always makes me cringe when I see people not wearing them in cutting videos!
I did that too, I was hunched over staring at the lye as it dissolved. I wear gloves to cut, but then I go and admire my soap without wearing any and eat with my hands. Pretty sure my lip ring rubbed against the still soft soap when I stuck my nose to it too lol.
So sorry and I hope I did not offend you.

If you soap in the same room where you sleep make sure you have good ventilation, and make the soap early in the morning if possible.

If you spill lye beads, picking them up with paper towels is better than flooding the whole place with vinegar.

Don't know what you put in your soap. FO? EOs? if it is just plain unscented soap ......let saponification happen, do not handle it until it is complete. If you HAVE to handle it, wash your hands with lots of water.
Not offended at all :)
I use FO and EO. I spilled my EO and my room stank while I slept in there :/

I will be more vigilant!
 
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Obsidian

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I use quite a lot of my soaping tools for food. As long as its not something that any scent has clung too, like a silicone spatula then there really isn't any reason to worry. Soap is non toxic and safe to go in your mouth as long as its done saponifying.

Its more likely to be scent that is causing issues with your throat/lungs. If you ever breathed lye fumes in, you would know it. Its painful and causes you to immediately start coughing.

If I ever drop or spill lye beads, I just wipe them up with a damp towel. The only time I used vinegar was the one time I spilled a bowl of soap batter across the counter and onto the floor. I wanted to make sure there was nothing caustic on the floor for the dogs to get into.

If I was you, I would make a batch of unscented soap, see if you have any issues with that. Fresh soap, even if its not zappy, always dries my skin out and leaves it feeling cracked & sore. I try not too touch my soap much until its a week or two old. I can smell it without having to pick it up.
 

navigator9

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Anyone can be allergic to anything. And anyone can become allergic to anything at any time. And some people are just more sensitive to their environment. Lye fumes usually dissipate in about 10 minutes or so. If you don't mix outdoors, I would strongly suggest holding your breath while mixing the lye, and then leaving the room for a while. That's what I do. I have asthma, and I have no problems doing it this way. Cutting soap that hasn't gelled, the day after making it, could absolutely cause sensitivity. There's still active lye present, the same lye that causes "zap." Another reason to love gelled soap. :) And as for the FOs, I think you're very wise to have moved them. I would think that they're the biggest culprit in aggravating your sensitivities. You may find that your sensitivities in general will improve, now that you're not sleeping in the same room with your FOs.
 
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