Lye Safety Precautions

The list is fairly short and mostly common sense. There's no way to make it interesting, but read through it anyway. Becoming familiar with these lye and lye/water safety precautions will make your soap projects rewarding, not painful.

1. Lye is a caustic and poisonous so treat it with care.

2. Be careful not to inhale the dust when working and work in a well-ventilated area. Soapmaking is easiest if you have quick access to the stove and sink, making the kitchen the ideal work area. Use the exhaust hood when mixing lye or mix lye outside.

3. Have adequate space to work on. Protect all work surfaces. Lye can "redesign" your kitchen!

4. Wear protective goggles and rubber gloves, long sleeve shirts and close fitting clothing; protect your feet, no sandals.

5. Lye corrodes metal so remove all jewelry before making soap.

6. If you accidentally get lye on your skin, flush the area with ordinary vinegar and wash well with soap and water. (Lye will feel slippery on skin.) Lye in the eye necessitates a visit to the emergency room.

7. Do not leave the area unattended. If you're tired or short of time, leave soapmaking for another day.

8. When mixing lye with water, always add lye to the water, not the other way around. Pour it carefully in a steady stream.

9. Do not place bowls/pots near the edge of the counter.

10. Never reuse lye containers, stirring spoons or molds for other purposes.
11. Do not attempt to heat lye in microwave or on the stove.

12. Children and pets should be kept away from the work area until all equipment has been cleaned and put away.

13. Let soap cure undisturbed - away from children and pets.

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