We are here today to discuss soapmaking safety. You might be wondering if soapmaking is safe? We've all heard the story of the husband that drank his wife's lye mixture years back and although making your own soap from scratch is an extremely satisfying and addicting hobby, there are real dangers present. That's why I'm writing a list of the best safety equipment for soapmakers. If you are wondering about what safety equipment you need to make soap, these safety items are must-haves to help keep you safe while making your amazing soapy creations!
Even while I'm writing this soapmaking safety article, I think back to all of the times that I made batches and batches of soap. I know first hand how important it is to make sure that all of the proper steps are taken to keep safety in the soap room a top priority. Sometimes you get used to things and then stop respecting the dangers. So this article is an important soap safety reminder not only to our readers but also to myself that making soap is not only a rewarding pastime, it's essential to practice good safety habits every single time you make a batch.
I've been making my own soap since 2001. I made my very first batch after my son was born. I was thinking of a way that I could make a living by working from home and then something happened. I was watching Martha and she was showing how you could make your own soap. I was hooked. So I went on to learn everything I could about making my own soap and how to start my own business. This was before the internet so I actually had to go to the library to get books and if I wanted to get my soap into a store, I had to call them and set up viewing meetings. I laugh at that now because it is so easy these days! I grew my business over the following years and my soap was in quite a few stores and smaller boutiques and the income allowed me to work for myself.
Eventually, we moved back to the country and I sold my soapmaking business. BUT I still make my own soap. Of course! I LOVE making soap. When you make your own soap, you never go back to store bought, do you? Just thinking about making soap at this very minute may send me running to grab my oils and soapmaking equipment out of my cupboard, but I'll try my best to finish this article first. It will be hard lol.
What are the personal protective equipment to be used in soapmaking? This takes me to the safety equipment that every soapmaker must have. If you are making your own soap from scratch using the cold process method with lye, you may want to pay attention. Before you work with lye, be sure to do your research about it first because lye is a corrosive substance. It can be dangerous so handle it with extreme respect.
Always protect your eyes while making soap. Every. Single. Time. And even as I write this, there have been times where I poured the raw soap into molds without wearing proper protective eyewear. Let's declare together that from this moment on we will ALWAYS protect our eyes and keep our safety eyewear on from the beginning until the end of the soapmaking session. Getting a splash of lye water or fresh soap in your eye can cause blindness. Let us always remember that.
What are the best safety glasses for making soap at home?
Safety glasses that wrap around your head and have a safety strap at the back are best. Then they won't fall off when you are looking down while stirring your soap. These are my top pick because they have the safety strap that I mentioned and also fit tight against the face which is super important. These also have ventilation channels to allow breathability so that they won't fog up because who wants to try to look through foggy glasses!
A full-face mask with a respirator will offer you the best face and lung protection out there when you are working with lye. It also covers your eyes so you don't need to wear goggles with it, and the air is filtered. Now, if you are working in an environment where you have lots of good airflow and circulation, an open window might be all that you need (paired with safety goggles). But if you are in an enclosed space, making large batches, working with lye on a daily basis, or need protection for your employees, you might want to give this mask a look to see if it's right for you. Most of us soapmakers know what lye smells like and how it feels when you are stirring it and breath it in. Not good. And I'm not sure how soapmaking affects our lungs when we are baking batches year after year.
When looking for a full face for soap making, you are looking for one that protects from fumes, as well as one that feels comfortable on your face. A respirator mask that has an organic vapor respirator with organic filters is best. Also, the proper full face mask will have an N95 or N95 equivalent rating, which means that it will block at least 95% of small particles; small meaning around the size of 0.3 microns.
We recommend purchasing this Parcil PD-100 Respirator directly from the manufacturer, as it comes with a 1-year factory warranty.
Purchase this mask on Parcil Distribution right here.
This leads me to my second safety selection that every soapmaker must have which is hair ties. If you have any kind of long hair or hair that goes into your face, get it back. Tie it up so that strands of hair aren't accidentally dipping into your mixture and then rubbing on your face. It happens and it stings! I remember one time, I was just getting to trace and a bit splashed up on my hair. I kind of wiped it off not really paying attention to it until the stinging began! Ouch! Not something you want to be dealing with while making soap. Keep your hair away. Lesson learned! I found this pack of 100 hair ties and these hair clips on Amazon. Keep these with your soapmaking equipment so that they are always handy.
This is a must-have and your gloves should go all the way up your arms. Sometimes it's difficult to find a really great pair of gloves that aren't bulky! That's one of the main reasons people take them off, is because of the bulk. But there are some great options and I want to share my perfect glove find. I wear these long protective sleeves by Kevlar to protect my arms and then I can wear super tight fitting gloves on my hands like these latex ones. Just be sure to check the sizes first before ordering to make sure they fit.
Please don't make a batch of soap and then use that same pot for dinner. Just don't. Here are the basics that I use. I keep everything together in the large pot and then just bring it out when I need it, and everything is together and ready for soapmaking bliss. I really dislike looking for things!
Large Stainless Steel Pot
Look at local thrift stores first before purchasing a new one and the important thing here is to look for a pot that is large enough to hold your basic equipment to keep things tucked away. And stainless steel is a must. I like this one here. It's large enough to make big batches.
Don't ever use wood because over time, the wood will splinter and you don't want splinters in your soap! I like this set of silicone spatulas because it comes with several sizes so you can use one for mixing soap and then others to mix up any other ingredients. And they are super easy to clean!
Glass Measuring Cups
These glass measuring cups by Pyrex are perfect. Use these to mix your lye water and also essential oils, fragrances, and colorants. This set is great because it comes with several sizes so you can use one for your lye water mixture and other things like herbs, colorants and essential oils.
Use an instant read thermometer so you know exactly the right time to mix your oils and lye water together. Usually, the oils and lye water would be around 120 - 130 F. The oils and lye water solutions do need to be at the proper temperatures before mixing them together so an instant-read thermometer is PERFECT for soapmaking. Using a thermometer will help keep away common problems like lye crystals forming or little lye pockets within your soap.
All kinds of bad can happen when your lye water and oils don't mix properly. You can get splitting when the soap is curing, lye crystals and even worse, lye pockets. So I use a hand-held mixer to get my soap to trace. Just make sure you only use it for soap and nothing else. Keep it with your other soapmaking equipment and safety gear. I like this one because it's stainless steel and the price is reasonable.
When you mix the lye into the water, it produces fumes. You never want to breathe these in. You can purchase a fan and face it to blow everything outside an open window and that will carry all of the fumes away from you.
I like this fan from Honeywell. It's sturdy so that it won't fall over and you can use it right on your countertop.
I like to wear an apron to protect my clothes. And I also like an apron that doesn't have any pockets that can hide little bits of lye. So the best apron for soapmaking is this one here. It's just a plain adjustable apron that's comfy and easy to wash. It comes in black or white. (I like the white one).
I have a set of Sharpie permanent markers and I mark everything that's used for soapmaking so my family does not mistake their use. These will write on pretty much any surface. It's especially important to mark your lye mixing containers. Mark them good and all over with huge LYE DON'T DRINK letters. Let's be safe out there in our world of soapmaking!
I like to keep both on hand depending on what I need to wipe up. Always keep rags and paper towel handy just in case there is a spill that needs to be cleaned up right away. You don't want to be looking around for these! Check out these pink shop towels. They work great and they are washable.
Now if you are still not sure if you would like to make your own soap from scratch, you might want to start out with melt and pour soap. Here are some really great books to help get you started.
I hope you found this list helpful! Please Pin this to your board so that you can find it again later.
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