Your favorite gloves and respirator

Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by Kimberly60, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. Sep 24, 2017 #1

    Kimberly60

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    Hi all,

    I am still shopping for the basics to start making soap. I am down to selecting a respirator because I fear inhaling lye dust! I went to the home improvement store and they had all sorts to choose from so I asked for help. I told the guy what I was going to use it for and he searched the internet and he basically landed on this forum! LOL I told him I would do a bit more research and thanks for the assistance. So this brings me back to you to ask what brand and model respirator you use when working with lye?

    Also, there are so many chemical resistant gloves out there and reading the reviews on Amazon they are mixed and a few noted that their heavy duty gloves developed holes in them. So that is my next question to you; what brand gloves are your go-to gloves when making soap?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    Kim :bath1:
     
  2. Sep 24, 2017 #2

    Susie

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    I do not use a face mask of any sort. I mix my lye/water in a well ventilated area, and at arm's reach.

    I use nitrile gloves like health care professionals use. They are thin enough you can feel what you are doing, and nicely disposable, so I don't have to try to guess if they are holey or not on the next use.
     
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  3. Sep 24, 2017 #3

    Kimberly60

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    Unfortunately I will be mixing the lye in my basement which is not well ventilated. If you splash the lye on the nitrile gloves won't it burn a hole through them?
     
  4. Sep 24, 2017 #4

    2buck

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    I mix the lye for my wife, and I consider this the most critical step. I use a 3M full face respirator with N95 filters and long green chemical gloves. A 3M rep told me that N95 would be fine for NaOH fumes. When the lye has cooled, my wife uses ordinary nitrile gloves and chemical eye protection when adding it to the oil. So far, we have been lucky. I have had two trivial NaOH spills (a few grams each?) and one accident that spilled many ounces, all dry. Thankfully, we have had no liquid accidents.
     
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  5. Sep 24, 2017 #5

    Obsidian

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    I use heavy duty nitrile gloves too. Lye doesn't eat through them, at least it hasn't yet but I always rinse it off the gloves if I get a little splash.
    I also don't use a respirator or mask. I mix my lye in the kitchen and I don't have any ventilation. As long as you keep the lye container away from your face, you won't have to worry about fumes. You can use a handkerchief tied around your face if you are worried about dust.
     
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  6. Sep 24, 2017 #6

    Kittish

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    Lye doesn't attack nitrile. I'm pretty sure the MSDS says it doesn't attack latex rubber, either. It does attack vinyl, so don't get that kind of glove.

    Mixing your lye in an area that doesn't get much ventilation is kind of a bad idea, IMO. It's not just breathing the fumes you have to take into consideration, it's the deposits they can leave on other surfaces as well.

    Is masterbatching your lye an option? Mix it outside, then just measure out what you need for a batch. Otherwise I think I'd suggest setting up a small table outside to mix your lye at. Do all the measuring inside (lye into a safe container with a tight fitting lid, water into your mixing vessel), mix outside, then leave the lye water sitting outside while you take the bowl back in and rinse it really well inside and out. By that time, it should have stopped throwing off much in the way of fumes.

    I measure inside then mix outside, at arm's reach and upwind. I use Playtex dishwashing gloves for handling the lye and solution, then once it's mixed with my oils I switch to nitrile. Eye protection is worn throughout, and I have a chemical resistant apron as well. Had one drop of soap batter splash up and land on my goggles (NEVEReverEVERever going to forget to wear them!) and a few drops on my gloves, all of which rinsed off easily enough. Don't use any respirator or mask.
     
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  7. Sep 24, 2017 #7

    dibbles

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  8. Sep 24, 2017 #8

    Susie

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    If I had your situation, I would masterbatch for sure! Just do a lot all at once, then use it for months before needing to do it again.
     
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  9. Sep 24, 2017 #9

    The Efficacious Gentleman

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    I use a full mask with cartridges - lye is easy to avoid for most people, but I once had such a terrible headache from the scent that I wanted something more for that.

    Don't forget that lye fumes, if they would be bad for you, could also do a number on any materials in the mask which aren't resistant, like certain plastics. So best practice is to limit exposure regardless
     
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  10. Sep 24, 2017 #10

    IrishLass

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    Fellow forum member, DeeAnna, has a great blog post regarding the different types of respirators and how to choose the right one (see here: https://classicbells.com/soap/respirator.html )

    I myself don't use a respirator when mixing my lye, but I do make sure to protect my lungs by covering over my mouth and nose with 3 thick, tightly-woven cotton diapers stacked on top of each other and folded over so many times as to make about 15 layers. I hold it over my mouth and nose with my left hand while mixing my lye with my right hand. I also take the precaution of mixing it out in my garage and out of the presence of others. Lye fumes are not fun to breathe in. Been there, done that, don't ever want to repeat the experience.

    Mixing lye is the least enjoyable part of soap-making for me, so I master-batch a large enough quantity of lye solution at a time to last me through about 7 or 8 batches of soap over the course of weeks or months before needing to make more (lye solution stays good for an indefinite amount of time if stored properly- at least well over a year).


    IrishLass :)
     
  11. Sep 24, 2017 #11

    DeeAnna

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    I don't see you mention eye protection, and I consider proper eye protection to be even more important than a respirator for mixing lye solution. https://classicbells.com/soap/eyeProtection.html

    I don't wear a respirator when I mix NaOH or KOH solution. Instead, I mix my lye on my stovetop and use good ventilation (a stove hood running full blast that vents to the outdoors) while mixing and for about 10 minutes afterwards. I make a point to not put my face over or anywhere near the container of lye solution -- treat it like a loaded gun. ;)

    I minimize the problem at its source by lightly covering my lye mixing container at all times while the lye solution is still hot enough to create a mist (visible "steam"). That's going to be while mixing the lye solution and about the first 10 minutes or so after mixing. Once the mist stops, no respirator or cover is strictly needed.

    It's important to NOT use a cover that seals tightly if you do this -- you don't want pressure to build up. Choose a loose cover that stops the mist from getting into the room air. I usually lay a square of waxed paper or a folded paper towel over the container that I can dispose of, but a recycled polyethylene or polypropylene (recycle code 2 or 5) lid would work great -- just rinse well after use.

    Nitrile gloves are fine. Gloves are more likely to be chemically attacked if you get fragrance oils on the gloves than NaOH or KOH.

    Don't expect any gloves to last forever regardless of the type you get. Discard the disposables after a soaping session or two. You can double glove -- wear two gloves on each hand -- for extra insurance. The thicker reusable gloves should be regularly checked for pinholes -- fill with water and look for drips or leaks -- and regularly replaced. I prefer the disposables because they are more form fitting, but others like the reusables. YMMV.
     

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  12. Sep 24, 2017 #12

    SoapTrey

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    I masterbatch outside in my backyard and always wear a half face respirator mask like this. I also use latex gloves, chemical splash safety goggles (not just any safety glasses or goggles) and wear this apron.

    Why take a chance? If you do this long enough, it's not a matter of if you're going to have an accident, but when.

    Once the masterbatch solution is cooled and placed into storage containers, I don't wear a respirator, but I wear everything else when working with the concentrated lye solution.

    When working with Sodium Hydroxide, I believe overkill is underrated.

    edited to correct half-face mask - as always, I appreciate the correction DeeAnna
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
  13. Sep 24, 2017 #13

    DeeAnna

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  14. Sep 24, 2017 #14

    Steve85569

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    Exhaust fan in the bathroom. Mix the lye and water with the container in the sink just in case. NEVER put my face near the two. Even near the raw batter.
    Eyes are protected and hands wear disposable gloves.
    If there is ever any doubt I strip off gloves, wash off hands, dry and put on new gloves.

    Used the stuff at work for years and "only" sent one person to the hospital. Lye gives no quarter. It WILL eat you.

    Soap safe!!
     
  15. Sep 26, 2017 #15

    annalee2003

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    Thank you for the link to the apron!
    So far I've been wearing a long sleeve shirt, long pants and closed toed shoes.
    Recently though I've been looking for a good apron.
    Went to Lowes today and asked around, was surprised that they didn't have any. So online it is then!
     
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  16. Sep 26, 2017 #16

    Kittish

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    In one of the lye safety threads, there was some discussion along the lines of long sleeved shirts might not be the best choice from a safety perspective. If you spill on your shirt sleeve, or dunk a cuff or what have you, you have to take off several articles before you can remove the shirt and get it rinsed off your skin. Takes several seconds, at least. If you're in short sleeves and spill on your arm, you can stick it directly under running water.
     
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  17. Sep 26, 2017 #17

    Kimberly60

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    A lot of good information here, thank you! I will have to invest in a good apron then. I ordered these safety glasses which will give me good protection. http://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-S...-with-Clear-Anti-Fog-Lens-DPG82-11C/202220499

    I called 3M yesterday and was able to talk to their Safety Division and they recommended the Professional Multipurpose model which I also ordered.

    I live in Upstate NY (snow country right off Lake Ontario) and getting outdoors to mix would not always be an option given the strong winds and snow. Fortunately I am starting this venture in the fall and will practice mixing small quantities outdoors now and hopefully in a few months before the snow flies will feel comfortable mixing a large batch.
     
  18. Sep 26, 2017 #18

    Kimberly60

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    No, I did not mention safety glasses as I already had a pair in order. http://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-S...-with-Clear-Anti-Fog-Lens-DPG82-11C/202220499

    thank you for your response, a lot of good information.
     
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  19. Sep 26, 2017 #19

    Kimberly60

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    I totally agree with you on why take a chance prefer to err on the side of overkill. hopefully with all this protection I will not have any mishaps but if I do then I am as ready as I can be.
     
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  20. Sep 26, 2017 #20

    Kimberly60

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    I am glad that the accidents were not too serious. I am curious to know about the lye that was spilled. Did you scoop it up somehow and use it or did you dispose of it? And if you disposed of it how did you?
     

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