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.