Lye or sodium hydroxide is a highly caustic inorganic compound, it can cause skin burns so you should take care. You should handle lye properly when you use it to make handmade soap. In this article, you will know more information about sodium hydroxide uses, forms, and safety precautions.
Lye chemical structure:
It is an inorganic compound, the chemical structure is NaOH.
You can find it in many forms, there are flakes, powder, and pellets.
Sodium hyroxide uses:
1- chemical experiments.
3- food industry.
Sodium hydroxide in soap making:
When you make a handmade soap you add lye to distilled water in order to make a lye solution. This process produces heat, the water temperature will become more than 200° F. This reaction will produce fumes, you should wear a mask to avoid inhaling the fumes.
How to protect yourself during using sodium hydroxide?
In order to protect yourself from burns or inhaling fumes your should:
1- Wear: protective glasses ( eye goggles), mask, gloves, pants, and long sleeves.
2- You should add sodium hydroxide to water slowly, you must not add the water to lye. If you add the water to the sodium hydroxide it may explode, which is very dangerous.
3- You should make lye water in a good ventilated place to avoid the fumes breathing.
4- You should mix the distilled water and the sodium hydroxide in a heat-resistant container. The heat-resistant container material should be glass ( pyrex containers are recommended) or plastic, you should not use any metal container. If you use a metal container there will be a reaction between lye and metal producing dangerous gases, for example, aluminum and caustic soda produce hydrogen gas.
5- You should keep it away from children and animals.
6- You should label it as dangerous and do not touch it.
7- If lye water touches your skin you should wash your skin with water, rinse your skin with water for at least 15 minutes then go to the hospital as soon as possible.
8- After you finish soap making you should keep gloves on before washing your tools to avoid skin irritation.
Sodium hydroxide importance in soap:
It is very important for saponification when you add the lye water to oil the saponification begins. The raw soap is caustic and very irritable to your skin but it is less dangerous than lye solution.
For the other lectures of the free handmade skincare products basics course, you should check these articles: