The most important safety issue is soap making is dealing with lye. Lye is the common name for sodium hydroxide and its chemical formula is NaOH.
Although lye is needed to make mild soaps, on its own it is extremely alkaline and will burn anything it comes into contact with. Because it is so harsh, you must always use caution when working with lye. Never leave lye or a lye solution unattended. Do not turn your back on a container of lye, because it only takes one brief second for a spouse, a child or a pet to get into it and irreparably harm themselves. It is also wise to keep a spray bottle of vinegar at hand to help neutralize any lye spills.
Lye can be purchased in most grocery and hardware stores in the household chemical sections.
- When in doubt, do not proceed. Get expert advice first.
- Always read through the recipe before beginning. Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and tools before beginning. Leaving the room once you have started making soap is not safe.
- Make sure all your utensils are clean and in good working order.
- Protect your workstation – newspaper, vinyl tablecloths or old towels will work.
- Teach you family to be wary. Label all utensils and equipment and store them far from all food preparation areas.
- Wear protective clothing: long sleeves, gloves, goggles, closed toe shoes and pull your hair back before starting work.
- Keep a spray bottle of vinegar nearby to help neutralize any lye spills.
- Before beginning work, eliminate distractions (kids, pet, spouse) until you are finished.
- Do not use any aluminum in working with soap. Aluminum and lye do not mix well.
Find some great soap recipes in the following Amazon Kindle eBook: Beginner Soap Making: Simple Homemade Recipes