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Vinegar and lye

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gigisiguenza

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In several other posts I've seen people make reference to vinegar and lye in a sceptical manner. Based on the context of the thread, I wasn't sure if it was a negative reference or a positive. Please clarify for me - is it indeed the default by soap makers to use vinegar in a spray bottle to treat skin that has been splashed with lye water or fresh soap batter? TIA for the response, I'm very confused lol.
 

cmzaha

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You do not spray vinegar on your skin if you have splashed lye on yourself, that just adds another chemical. Flush with large amounts of cold water. If you splash in your eyes flood them with cold water and seek medical attention. If I have a small spill on my counter top I sometimes spritz with a small amount of vinegar to help neutralize it before cleaning it up. After washing down work areas you can also spritz with vinegar.
 

Dahila

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Everywhere people give the explanation about vinegar and lye; I mean they advice to spray with vinegar. Facebook is a killer for that!!!
I was not sure how to proceed in case of spilling it on skin, but the people here know better and the share the knowledge. :)
 

lionprincess00

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Yes. The thinking, I believe, is vinegar is a strong acid. Neutralizing lye, a string alkali, with a strong acid will indeed neutralize it fast...while creating an exothermic reaction. Exothermic reactions are heat generating, and it will raise the temperature of the burn place more than flushing with neutral water. Water prevents the burn from heating worse, so always water on skin:)
 

IrishLass

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Vinegar is actually considered to be a weak acid- at least the kind we can buy over the counter at the grocer's that is (it has pH of 5). I specify 'over the counter at the grocer's' because I made some homebrewed apple cider vinegar last year and let it brew so long that it got down to a pH of 2 or 3- talk about strong!

Vinegar will take the 'fire' out of a lye spill/splash, but not without an exothermic reaction of some varying level. Because skin is much more sensitive/vulnerable than say a countertop or a floor, it's best to flush with it lots of water if you get lye on your skin instead of vinegar, in order to prevent any possible 'worse' scenarios from occurring to your skin.


IrishLass :)
 

TeresaT

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A great rule of thumb to follow is if any chemical comes in contact with your skin, flush with cool water for 15 minutes. The running water will get rid of the chemical and wash it down the drain. The cool water will prevent severe burns (not eliminate burns, just prevent them from getting worse).

If you spill a chemical on a surface, use its opposite to neutralize it and/or clean it. If you spill an acid, use baking soda to clean it up. If you spill a basic use vinegar to neutralize it and clean it up. If you spill oil, throw some kitty litter on it to absorb it then toss it all in the trash.
 

galaxyMLP

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Think about it this way, acids burn, right? And lye burns eat away at the skin. Imagine putting an acid on freshly burned raw skin. That's what adding vinegar to a lye burn is. And that's where the problem lies. It's not so bad for when you first get lye water on you. It's really bad if you've missed it (like when raw batter gets on your arm in your intese swirling!) and it already started "itching".

Yes, flush with lots of cold water (haz mat standards recommend at least 15 min but... No one really does that unless it's really big). Just keep washing until it no longer feels " slippery".

Also, to clarify vinegar is considered a weak acid by its chemistry no matter what concentration it is. Glacial Acetic Acid is 100% " vinegar". That's some potent stuff right there. Just cause its a "weak" acid doesn't mean it can't do any harm. And just as an aside, the vinegar we buy in the stores is 5% Acetic Acid. I like my science facts. :)
 
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