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Learn what a Lye is in soap making in this soap making vocabulary video.
Tags:What a Lye Is in Soap Making,soap making,soap making chemistry,soap making information,soap making vocabulary,soapmakingsecrets,what is a lye
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What a Lye Is in Soap Making
As all hobby soap maker, you’ve tried making soaps using the melt and pour method or the glycerin method. You’ve made a lot of soaps and then you decided to go into the soap making business and luckily for you, it got bigger and bigger. But the old methods are getting harder and harder to use for the large batches you need. So, you’ll look at the other soap making methods like the cold process and the hot process methods. But both use a chemical that you’re unfamiliar with. Why? Is lye that good for making soaps? Isn’t lye to dangerous? Your questions build up and up until finally you ask us about it. You’re in luck we are here to answer all of your questions.
Lye also known as classic soda is a basic ingredient in soap making. But what really is lye. Aside from soap making, lye is also used for food curing known as food-grade lye and also for tanning hides and biodiesel production. Let’s first try to understand what lye is through acid base chemistry. Lye is a common name for sodium hydroxide, one of the strongest bases in nature, a chemical compound that can dissolve fats. Lye is the opposite of hydrochloric acid one of the strongest acids, a chemical compound used in dissolving metals and some salts.
Sodium hydroxide is useful for cleaning jobs inside the house. So just dissolving hair that clogs in the shower drain and dissolving fat deposits in the kitchen. Hydrochloric acid on the other hand is used mostly for cleaning culprit and removing rust from iron. However, lye and hydrochloric acid are both dangerous to handle and can be destructive to the skin. It’s always important that when having both chemicals to use gloves and goggles to protect the eyes. In case you’re accidentally get sodium hydroxide or hydrochloric acid on your skin, reduce the effect by using vinegar and baking soda respectively. The fastest first aid is to put the affected part under warm running water for about five minutes until all the chemicals are washed off.
In soap making, there are two types of lye being used, sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide commonly known as classic soda is used to make solid soap. It’s also used as drain cleaners or decloggers. It’s used as an ingredient in the production of methamphetamine, an illegal and dangerous drug. Thus, keeping large quantities of lye is controlled or regulated in some areas. However, for soap making only pure sodium hydroxide is used.
Lye comes in different solid dry forms such as powder, micro beads, granules, flakes and pellets and in liquid form as a solution mixed with water. Potassium hydroxide commonly known as classic potash is used to make liquid soap. It’s mainly used in commercial chemicals such as fertilizers, alkaline batteries and dyes. It’s hard to find than sodium hydroxide and soaps made of it are softer and can easily dissolve in water than sodium hydroxide soaps.
In soap recipes, sodium hydroxide cannot be substituted with potassium hydroxide and vice versa. Because soap making have different quantity requirements of these soap chemicals depending on the kind of soap being manufactured. In addition, the qualities are required for soaps -- differ when using classic soda and classic potash.
Both types of lye are dangerous to both humans and surfaces like metal, paint, cloth, plastic and aluminum. It should be stored safely in a cool dry place and properly labeled. Keep lye away from the reach of children or else. Even the fumes of light can be dangerous and must not be used when there is not enough air circulating around the area. This means that you should not close the door and windows in the toilet when using lye to deglog the shower drain.
Lye is not combustible when dry but when it comes in contact with water, it can ignite and can start a fire. Lye is a powerful chemical. Like everything powerful, it has it's draw backs and benefits. Used it horribly and you’ll literally get burn. Used it wisely and watch your soap making business grow and grow. Though lye is powerful it’s not a magical ingredient that can make soap makers successful. Proper materials are only a part of making a successful soap making business. There’s also marketing and strategy.
To understand the different elements of creating a successful soap making business, download a free report at supersoapmakingsecrets.com/free-report.html. Learn how to spot untapped market opportunities, evaluate competition and way through FDA regulations. Get your free download and learn the secrets to the soap making business.