General Tips for Safe Soap-Making
(Simple Ways to Prevent Disaster)
Before you even begin to worry about the nitty-gritty of working with lye, make sure you're familiar with the following simple things that can help keep you safe, and keep your soap-making stress-free.
- Create a calm environment.
Distractions, especially children and pets running past you, can take your focus off your soap and create spills and accidents.
- Be organized.
Have everything within reach and ready to go. If you need to react quickly, you won't have to rush around in a panic, trying to find that one item or ingredient that must be used immediately. Rushing can cause careless errors and accidents.
- Label all soap-making gear and use ONLY for soap-making.
This reduces the risk that lye or soap will remain on your equipment, and be transferred to your food.
- Avoid touching your fresh soap with bare hands.
Fresh soap that has not yet cured contains free lye, and can burn your skin.
- Measure your ingredients by WEIGHT (ounces, grams), NOT volume (cups, tablespoons).
Getting the right proportion of lye and oils depends on accurate measurements of their weight. Using a good digital food scale helps too!
- Choose SKIN-SAFE additives for colors.
Shop at reputable retailers specializing in soap-making supplies for safe products.
- When your soap is finished, you can test its PH level, to ensure it's safe to use.
- Don't use containers made of tin, zinc or aluminum for soap-making.
Lye reacts with these materials. This goes for mixing your lye-water, and mixing the soap itself. Instead think about thick, heat-resistant materials such as glass (Pyrex!), thick plastic, stainless steel, enamel, and stoneware.
- Use distilled water (not tap water).
The impurities in tap water can react with your soap.